What happens when you take the cast of Community and digitize them as 8-bit characters and then let them loose upon a computer generated world? A awful lot of fun! Pierce (Chevy Chase) shows up with the study group to meet Gilbert (Giancarlo Esposito), his father’s longtime assistant and executor of his will who informs he before his death Pierce’s father created an old school 8-bit video game for Pierce and seven friends. Whoever wins the game will become the heir to the Hawthorne fortune.
Because Pierce only brought six friends (LeVar Burton was a maybe) Gilbert also joins the group to take the fortune for himself, and his familiarity with the game (and his ability to constantly cheat) gives him an unfair advantage. The real fun, however, comes in the group exploring the digital world as Abed (Danny Pudi) falls in love with a computer-generated character, Pierce keeps moving in the wrong direction, and the game brings out the violent side of both Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie (Alison Brie).
When Community goes for broke, raising the levels of nerdiness and insanity, the show delivers its best episodes. But hidden underneath all the computer-generated action (and crazy, crazy racism inherent in “Journey to the Center of Hawthorne”), there’s also a nice story about Pierce and his strained relationship with Gilbert. I’m glad the show has been renewed for another season because I want more episodes like this one.