'Community': Did you think Malcolm Jamal Warner was the best pick to play Shirley's ex?

communityImage Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBCI didn’t have huge expectations for Malcolm Jamal Warner as Shirley’s ex-husband on Community — I was pulling for Isaiah Mustafa. But last night proved why I’m not a casting agent.

Ideally, an actor will bring to life the character a writer has written. But in rare great casting moments, an actor will bring to life a character we didn’t expect to be great. I absolutely loved Andre — and not just because he wore a Cosby sweater (which his character claimed his dad gave him!).

In the episode, Andre and Shirley had rekindled their love, and it was met with skepticism from the group because they were all too familiar with how Andre had hurt Shirley before. Troy tried his best to also keep Pierce from spilling the secret about Shirley and Chang’s Halloween hook-up. (Troy accidentally let it spill to Pierce at the beginning of the episode.) As you would guess, Pierce let the secret out in front of everyone after getting pissed about kettle corn (That’s another story…), and Andre stormed off after learning about it (presumably to run off and vomit).

I was about to hate the guy, but then Jeff had a manly heart-to-heart with him in which Andre said that he had every intention of raising the child as his own. (“If he’s mine, he’s going to be a great football player. If he’s Chang’s… we’ll try golf.”) My roommate and I wouldn’t hold back the “Awww.”

I had my doubts about Warner and the character. But I guess you can say, I Chang-ed my mind.

What did you think, PopWatchers? Warner is going to be in a few episodes. Are you totally loving him, too? And what did you think of the rest of the episode?

On Twitter @EWSandraG

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  • allie

    YAY!!! I have been waiting all morning for a chance to post on Community. My FAVORITE was when Jeff or someone commented on Isaiah’s sweater (which was patterned) and Isaiah says “Thanks, my dad gave it to me”. Becuase it was totally a Cosby sweater! Subtle, yet hilarious!!

    • allie

      …Or Andre. I didn’t read the whole post and I couldn’t remember “Theo’s” name on Community.

  • tracy bluth

    Great episode, as usual. I loved the Cosby reference! Although I thought it was obvious Jeff was running to Perfect Doctor Guy’s apartment instead of Annie’s, I loved that moment (of course his apartment was filled with pottery).

    • Jake

      I knew he wasn’t at Annie’s, but I didn’t know to whom he was talking until they revealed it.

      • Monty

        I though he may have been talking to the stats teacher

      • Ember

        I thought maybe he ran to Chang’s apartment.

      • J.J.

        Figured it was Rich’s place, but I thought Annie would be in Rich’s apartment and ruin Jeff’s rain-soaked “better man” moment.

        Well played, Community. Jeez I love this show.

      • Summer

        For some reason, I thought it was sexy teacher lady from last season.

    • Mr. Holloway

      To me, it didn’t matter where he was running…it just mattered that it was raining!

      • tracy bluth

        I enjoyed it because rain makes Joel McHale even hotter.

      • J.J.

        I 2nd that opinion

  • Pam

    Thank you for recapping Community!

    • jmo

      Yes, you need to do recaps every week. I’m tired of going to TVSquad, I’d rather stay with EW.com

    • Ann

      Agreed there should be a recap here!

    • Liz

      Yes, please, please recap every week! As for my favorite moment, it was definately when Jeff was running in the rain. Didn’t care to who or where (but would have been dissapointed if it was Annie)just happy this old movie cliche was used. Community rocks!

  • Kate

    I loved MJW as Andre, but make no mistake I’m rooting for a sweet little baby Chang!!!

  • Kyle

    Community is awesome. Small jokes like the Cosby sweater are what make the show hilarious, just wish the rest of America would realize how good this show is.

    • Ember

      agree! I was waiting the entire episode to see if they would throw in a Cosby reference. It did not disappoint!

  • Gob Bluth

    Was obvious to you, maybe….
    I though MJW did a really good job as Shirley’s ex. I hope we can see more of him.
    On a side note, why no recaps? This is one of the top 4 funniest shows on TV. You guys (EW) recap horrible crap like Jersey Shore and Real Housewives, why not Community?

    • tracy bluth

      I’m very surprised you didn’t end that sentence with “come on!”

      • lefty

        it must be an illusion, tracy.

      • Jake

        The OC: don’t call it that

    • sassyfras

      Amen, GOB!!

  • Travis

    Another amazing episode! I would totally watch a morning show with Troy and Abed!

    • Beck

      So would I!!!

  • Gob Bluth

    The “was obvious to you, maybe” in my post was in response to Tracy Bluth. I just type really slow and everyone else snuck in there.

  • Bruce in NC

    Mezzanine?!

    • Mr. Holloway

      Fat Neil strikes again!

      • Liz

        Oh God yes, love all the names-who doesn’t do that in real life? Thanks for the reminder.

    • J.J.

      HA! Nice one

  • Bug

    I was actually surprised when he appeared on the screen. My first reaction was “whoa, there is no way that Theo is old enough to be Shirley’s ex!” Then I had to do the math and realize that yes, he would be. Which made me feel old. But aside from that, I was surprised at how much dimension he added to someone that previously had just been a generic sleaze character.

    • jk

      That’s what I thought! But once I realized it made sense/wasn’t distracted by that any more, I really liked him.

  • Jen

    Please start recapping Community every week!

  • Mallory

    I thought he was great, and I loved the subtle Cosby joke about the sweater! My husband totally didn’t catch it. On a sidenote: I really hope that the writers don’t try to be Annie with Jeff. I like Jeff with Britta and think they have more chemistry. Course, no one has as much chemistry as Troy and Abed…LOVE THEM!

    • Kate

      I agree that Britta is the better match for Jeff. Annie is too childish for him.

    • sandd

      AMEN!!!! Jeff and Annie as an item is just gross to me. She is way too young and childish. I actually skip the debate episode and the season finale when I rewatch season one.

    • BLM

      I prefer Jeff with no one from the study group. Annie’s too young and Britta’s too annoying.

      Chang’s inappropriate slow clap was awesome! Always at the wrong time…

    • tracy bluth

      I’m apparently one of the few who does like Annie and Jeff together. I didn’t start warming up to Britta until after they stopped making her a love interest.

      • Monty

        I agreed on both. Maybe Jeff and Annie at the end of the senior year…Britta became interesting when she stopped being the object of Jeff’s attention, but as a couple I just don’t dig it.

      • lace

        I love Annie and Jeff together! I think they bring out the best in each other and their interactions are always interesting. Britta has never really appealed to me, but I agree that I started liking her more after she stopped being Jeff’s love interest.

      • Seth

        lace, monty, tracy: Agree with you all!

      • SteveKong39

        I’m a Jeff/Annie fan. I think that they have more chemistry than Jeff/Britta (Really, as much as I liked “Mixology Certification,” it just cemented my dislike for Jeff/Britta as a couple).

        Also, sorry, but I just don’t find Jeff/Annie creepy at all.

      • BearHalpertSchrute

        You’re not alone, Tracy! I’m an Annie and Jeff shipper, too. Annie’s 20 years old. Jeff’s in his early-to-mid thirties. I think that’s okay (maybe it’s because that’s how old my parents were when they met). Besides, Vaughn is about Jeff’s age, or at least only a few years younger, and no one seems to care about that, lol.

      • ambee

        You’re not alone. I’m much closer to Annie’s age and I feel like I should find it creepy, but I don’t. I think they have such great chemistry.

        Also agreed with not liking Britta for quite some time until she was her own character and not just Jeff’s interest.

      • Thalia

        You are definitely not alone! I adore the idea of Jeff and Annie together. That being said, their characters are just not ready for it yet. We need some more character development. If we get some more moments between them a la the bathroom scene in this episode or pretty much every scene between them in ‘Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design’ along the way, then it will be a fun ride.

      • Becca

        I honestly find it somewhat amusing that Community did not start off this way, but Dan Harmon saw potential with last year’s Halloween episode and decided to pair up Jeff and Annie, which blew up into this great love affair for fans (myself included). I think I love it so much because it was not intentional, but it just happened.
        Also just look at the bathroom scenes with Jeff and the two girls. I saw chemistry with Jeff and Annie whereas I saw more friendship between Jeff and Britta. Also about the earlier Annie is childish comments, sometimes I believe she is more maturer than Jeff. Britta and Jeff together turn into two little immature kids especially while competing.

      • Tom

        I love Annie/Jeff, whats funny is I don’t think the writers counted on the actors having such great chemistry with each other so the age thing didn’t really come up till they started writing for the sexual tension between the two, but in real life they are actually close in each which is probably why I keep forgetting how “young” Annie is supposed to be

      • J.J.

        I like Jeff and Annie too. I wonder if Vaughn is ever coming back. And did we ever find out if that was his first or last name?

  • Monty

    This show has gone from an ok concept in the beginning to a brilliant show in a very short amount of time. I just hope that we get 4 years of these of watching ‘Human Beings’ go through college. Please NBC, do the right thing. Maybe give this timeslot to the wildly mediocre Outsourced and give Community a slot where it doesn’t have to go up against tBBT. The writing and acting are only getting better and better with each episode.

    • Ben

      Slow clap

      • Carol

        Nicely done, Ben. Nicely done.

  • Flyer

    I knew Jeff was running to the apartment of “Perfect Doctor,” not Annie, but I WAS surprised because I thought Jeff might just care about Annie as a friend, and therefore do something nice for her by encouraging “Perfect Doctor” (Rick?) to date Annie despite the age difference. Instead, I came away thinking that Jeff really does love Annie and was asking Rick to help Jeff become good enough for Annie. Is my interpretation correct? Or am I just being misled by my wish that Jeff and Annie eventually get together?

    • The Soup

      My interpretation was that when Jeff heard that the Doctor had turned Annie down, he actually realized that the guy was really morally good since he had the chance to get with Annie and didn’t, whereas, Jeff took the opportunity to kiss her when he could. It proved to Jeff the guy really was as good as he pretended to be.

      I don’t know, maybe it is because I watch her on Mad Men, but I don’t have a problem with Annie and Jeff together. I know she is playing a 19ish girl, but I see her a Trudy with a baby by Pete, not as emotionally young as she is supposed to be. :)

    • Becca

      After Andre’s speech, yeah my shippy heart is with you.

  • PN

    I think that they were really trying to recall the ’80s dominance of The Cosby Show in that same 8 pm slot by having Malcolm Jamal Warner to guest star on it. Maybe that one-time-only move will help Community’s ratings, to make people remember NBC’s dominance on Thursdays in the ’80s. And he wore the sweater, a common thing that Bill Cosby wore on his hit show!

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