'Community' Recap: Season 5 'App Development and Condiments'

Greendale Community College devolves into a futuristic dystopia all because of one word: MeowMeowBeenz. “App Development and Condiments” was yet another episode this season that has transformed the Greendale campus into something utterly ridiculous and very Community. While the show still lacks some of the tonal balance between ridiculous plot and heartfelt relationship development it’s still wonderful to see it completely commit to some of the more insane plots. And “App Development and Condiments” is about as insane as it gets.

At the beginning of the episode the group is about to go out to dinner, except for Shirley who Jeff did not invite because he knew she couldn’t go on a Tuesday night. While this becomes the heart of the conflict for the episode it never actually feels like it fully commits to building up the relationship between the two, despite trying to shoehorn it in towards the end of the episode. Regardless, “App Development” isn’t really hindered by the failure to strengthen their relationship because it is clear that the episode is much more focused on the outlandish.

While the group argues about whether or not to go to dinner Dean Pelton introduces two app developers who have a new app called MeowMeowBeenz. The app is basically a cross between Facebook and Yelp. It’s social networking but allows you to rate the members of the site based on what they do. It is later revealed that the higher your rating, out of 5 stars, the more rating power you have of other people. At no point of the episode does MeowMeowBeenz keep things normal at Greendale, instead almost immediately throwing things completely out of whack.

Jeff originally refuses to join but when he sees Shirley, who has the highest rating, convince others in the cafeteria to give Vicki a bad rating because Vicki had only given Shirley a 4 out of 5 Jeff quickly decides to join to take Shirley down. The episode never fully makes it clear whether Jeff is doing it selfishly because he is no longer on the top of the social strata or just because he sees how damaging the app can be. This cafeteria also begins the running gag throughout the show that Britta can only be taken seriously when she has mustard around her mouth because it humanizes her.

Soon only the people with like ratings are allowed to hang out in a crazy, future world where the 5s wear all white robes and the 2s and 3s wear gray so as not to seem like they are trying to stand out and move up. Jeff eventually makes it to a 5 after a comedy bit of sloppy observational humor about various rating points (“the 4s have a 4 walk”) only to be cast to the outlands with the 1s because he and Shirley begin to fight immediately. While this is happening Britta causes the 2s and 3s to revolt and becomes the leader for a short time as everyone is now a mere 1.

One last thing to note, the episode guest starred Mitch Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development as professor Koogler, who basically just wants to have a good time. The bit that ran during the credits was a fake ‘80s college party movie trailer simply titled “Koogler”. The episode was great fun and perhaps the most over the top of Season 5 but it lacked the emotional punch when Shirley and Jeff reconciled at the end.

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