Through the first two episodes of Community's return to the airwaves, I hadn't really bothered to concern myself with the flipped order in which they aired. Aside from the awkward "welcome back" scene that opened up the second episode (instead of the first), it really hadn't seemed to matter. Then Thursday's episode, "Digital Exploration of Interior Design", aired, and it suffered for the first two episodes having been flipped.
First, there was the Subway plot. A Subway sandwich shop opened in the "cafetorium", and to comply with the school bylaws the company had to get a person to legally change his name to "Subway" and become the human personification of a corporation. That led to hilarity between Subway (the person) and Britta (the anti-corporation crusader who fell in love with Subway The Person). It was a plot that was clearly designed to directly follow the Subway conclusion to "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts", both in terms of the direct Subway references and in Britta's general identity confusion.
But more disconcerting was the Troy and Abed plot, and how it was affected by airing directly after "Contemporary Impressionists". The ending of the previous episode was, well, as Abed put it, "inaccessible and maybe too dark", and a lot of that stemmed from the argument between Troy and Abed. If the episodes had aired in their intended order, than the Troy/Abed hijinks of "Urban Matrimony" would have served as a darkness buffer between two episodes that saw Troy and Abed at odds with each other rather than teaming up.
Obviously "Contemporary Impressionists" laid the groundwork for continued Troy/Abed conflict, with this episode taking it in a sillier direction with the blanket fort/pillow fort debate. What's interesting is that for two-plus seasons, Troy has basically subjugated his previous identity (popular jock) to better conform to Abed, who has regularly proven himself superior to Troy in multiple aspects of life and thus essentially dominates their friendship. Troy has rebelled against this in the past, most notably in Season 2's "Epidemiology", but now that conflict is coming to the forefront, as Troy no longer feels like his entire life should be up to Abed's whims.
It reminds me a bit of the conflict between -- and stay with me here -- Regina George and Gretchen Wieners in "Mean Girls." When Troy stands up to Abed, forcing him to destroy the pillow fort, it's like Gretchen giving her "Brutus" speech. And when Abed tells Troy, "I shouldn't have to compromise my craftsmanship to placate mediocrity," he's basically telling Troy to stop trying to make "fetch" happen. There's even an outsider with ulterior motives secretly spurring both of them along, driving a wedge between them for nefarious purposes, which I guess in this analogy makes Vice Dean Laybourne the Cady Heron to Troy and Abed.
Oh, also, there was a plot with Jeff and Annie and some guy named Kim. I guess I'm being as inconsiderate to that plot as Jeff was to Kim, but the Troy/Abed thing was the biggest thing in this episode to me. And as interesting as it was, it was definitely really crazy. And inaccessible. And maybe too dark. Which, I think, is kind of how I want my "Community".