Episode 103: Introduction to Film

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103 – Introduction to Film

There is a theory that a show should repeat its pilot six times so that new viewers can pop in at any time and be drawn in.  Community chooses an interesting way to repeat its pilot.  In the Pilot the show was centered on the Jeff and Britta dynamic and this was repeated in Spanish 101 with an additional introduction to one of the other group members in Pierce.  Introduction to Film chooses to once again ground part of its episode in the Jeff Britta dynamic while allowing us insight into Abed.  This is actually very similar to the way Cheers approached its first season with one of the two main plots of each episode focusing on the Sam-Diane dynamic and episodes immediately after the pilot introducing us to one bar denizen at a time.  This comparison should not be shocking for anyone that knows Harmon’s respect for Cheers.

The theme of this episode is articulated by Professor Whitman; seize the day.  Professor Whitman, a Dead Poets Society clone, counsels his students to live in the moment.  But even though the seeming  A-plot of this episode is dealing with Jeff trying to convince Professor Whitman that he can indeed seize the day, it is Abed who seizes the day in the B-plot.

To recap quickly for those not watching along.  Jeff takes a class that he thinks will be a cakewalk but is quickly confronted with the fact that the Professor knows he is full of shit.  The professor challenges him to truly seize the day.  Meanwhile Abed cannot take this blow-off class with the others because his father will  only pay for classes related to the Falafel business.  Britta outraged at this gives Abed money to take a film class and he spends the rest of the episode filming Britta and Jeff for a documentary. Finally there is a very slight C-story involving Troy who sneezes like a baby.  Pierce teaches Troy how to sneeze like a man.

Jeff plays a large role in both his own story and in the Abed story and most of the heavy lifting this episode goes to Jeff, Britta, Abed and the guest-starring John Michael Higgins as Professor Whitman.  On rewatch what impressed me about this episode was how the A and B stories were integrated together.  As mentioned above it is Jeff’s involvement in the class that spurs Abed to take a film class.  Then Abed’s film starts infringing on the entire group particularly Jeff and Britta.  Finally Jeff’s involvement in Abed’s project convinces Britta to help him seize the day by ordering him to kiss her (a nice callback to one of the examples of day-seizing that Whitman gave to Jeff earlier in the episode). 

But even though Jeff is still the “main” character in this episode, this is an Abed episode through and through.  This is still the point in the series where Abed’s Asberger’s is being played up (in fact it is directly referred to as such in one of these early episodes).  Abed uses Britta’s generosity to drive her crazy and create the reactions he needs for his film.  Meanwhile Jeff’s distraction because of his quest to seize the day already led to the distance that Abed was able to use to substitute Jeff for his father.  Using Britta and Jeff as his surrogate parents in order to create a documentary of his own parents is an effective and heartbreaking infodump into Abed’s past (and I do mean heartbreaking, I tear up everytime I watch that video).  Abandoned by his mother and blamed by his father, Abed’s “disease” has made him an outcast even in his own family.  Abed is finally able to convey this nature to his father through his film because he couldn’t convey how he felt to his father in any other way.  And in the end his father accepts that film may allow his son to communicate in a way that he has never been able to and allows Abed to continue taking film classes.    It’s a beautiful little story that sets up the continuing Abed arc we have seen where he uses pop culture and film to grow closer to people in ways that he otherwise cannot. 

Meanwhile, this is a pretty funny episode filled with small hilarious moments.  My two favorites are Jeff’s elaborate attempt to seize the day which involves flying a kite and jumping rope with some paid off school children only to be told that the effort was sloppy.  My other favorite moment is Professor Whitman’s reaction to Jeff and Britta kissing: “I know a life changing kiss when I see one” followed by Professor Whitman doing a heel tap and climbing a lamppost (probably the most random sight gag ever).  Now obviously there was one layer of irony here in that Britta was kissing Jeff as a mercenary move knowing that it would get Jeff his grade.  Harmon comments on this in the commentary.  He wanted to deliberately subvert a will they won’t they here by having them kiss under false pretenses.

Stray Observations

  • So Shirley admits the real reason she is at Greendale: she wasted 15 years with nothing but stretch marks and a foggy memory of a man who only gave her two orgasms.
  • Meanwhile Annie has a future as someone who will have sweater-wearing cats trained to use the toilet.  Ironic since later it is established that Britta is the cat person.
  • “That mole is raised and dark; that is not good”
  • “9/11 was pretty much the 9/11 of the falafel business”
  • “You’re not my mother” “she’s not?”  Pierce has some brilliant lines in these early episodes.
  • “This is no way to teach accounting!”
  • “I shall have a birthday cake”
  • For the second time in three episodes Jeff is compared to Seacrest.
  • In the weirdest cross over ever, the latte delivery guy was Badger from Breaking Bad.  I love that s.o.b.
  • The Iraq metaphor joke used by Abed’s dad was fantastic. “We don’t need your speeches and guided missiles” which he later clarifies as Jeff’s speeches and Britta’s ‘guided missiles.’
  • One part of the episode I didn’t mention yet is Britta’s breakdown when she can’t get through to Abed.  It is by far the funniest moment the show allows her in the first three episodes and she nails it. 
  • It is also revealed that Britta had a dad like Abed’s dad.  An interesting little note for those of us awaiting more familial cameos. 
  • Gillian Jacobs has the most hilarious boxing pose ever. 
  • “Shazbot”
  • “Dreams are for sleeping” “You don’t know that” “It’s clinically proven!” “So is polio!”

Fun with Commentary:

  • Harmon calls out random extra for messing up the line he gave him at the beginning of the episode. It’s hilariously petty. 
  • Gillian Jacobs answering how you know you aren’t a lesbian “it’s called freshman year of college.”
  • Harmon talks about changing Britta’s character, Gillian doesn’t want him to ever take her leather coats.
  • Glover, Pudi and Jacobs all sing along to the theme song in hilarious fashion
  • Harmon justifying the tone of early season 1, of course it isn’t as warm as it was later because the characters don’t know each other, and then he makes fun of critics for watching it wrong.
  • They talk about picking on Glee and talk about why they wouldn’t make fun of Vampire Diaries, basically they are jealous of Glee and you can make fun of stuff that is doing better than you.
  • Harmon talks about how early episodes suffer from more cuts than later episodes because they don’t have a page count rhythm, apparently the Troy c-plot suffered from this.  They cut from 29-31 pages to 25.  Modern Warfare was 23 pages.
  • According to Gillian her skankiness cannot be contained by only one shirt. I love her so much.
  • Badger from Breaking Bad lost his voice doing improve with Dan Harmon 15 years ago. That is the best random fact I’ve ever learned from commentary.

Discussion:

  

  • I believe Badger appears at the end of Social Psychology as well, as one of Vaughn's hacky sack buddies.

  • Yeah, isn't he the one whose world appears to be shattered by "Some worries"?

  • I believe so, but I can't break out my Season 1 DVD right now to know for certain.

  • DoctorChimRichalds

    It is. I rewatched it a couple days ago and got really excited to see Badger. He's replaced meth with hacky sack and tie-dye shirts.

  • ugh, when the camera cuts to abed's dad crying i lose it! every damn time! 

    awesome review. thanks!

  • thanks for the kind words!
    Yeah i think i realized after rewatching this episode that the saddest moments on this show all revolve around Abed

  • I can't believe I took this long to realize that the "Seize the day" professor was named Whitman. O Captain my captain, indeed.

  • I can't believe i forgot to point that out in my review. But yeah that is a nice under the radar reference

  • Given the way Abed spoke of Robin Williams, I am sure there was a scene left on the cutting-room floor showing our authority figure–don't laugh–reining in Professor Whitman. Maybe over the PA system.

  • Murray just wrinkled my brain.

  • i really have to wonder how professor whitman ever gets served at coffee shops. i mean, it's possible, i suppose, that some barista has a slice of cake on hand, but it seems very unlikely.

  •  

     

    For me, the most revealing aspect of the commentary was discovering how funny and goofy Gillian Jacobs is.

    Well, that, and her name's pronounced Gil-lian.

  • yeah the commentary only increased my huge crush on her. 

  • There's all these weird threads and callbacks throughout the S1 commentaries. But the main one is the funny-bordering-on-creepy thing where Gillian keeps self-effacingly referring to herself as skanky, dirty, and I think once as a ho. The closest we get to an explanation is when she finally says "That's what the people want, isn't it, Dan Harmon?" Maybe because of all the times he's said mocking Britta made her more likable, I don't know.

    Harmon and Donald Glover both seem to find it delightful. But, Joel keeps disagreeing, in a low voice like the commentary's not gonna pick him up or something, telling her how beautiful she is like he's sincerely trying to repair her self-esteem. She keeps blowing him off, kinda like "That's the joke, Joel. You're messing me up."

    (Another awkward thing is how Pudi, these being presumably his first ever commentaries, keeps pointing out the obvious, till someone makes fun of him like 2 or 3 commentaries in and he stops.)

    The S2 commentaries are much more lighthearted and professional, and everybody's more clear on what they're doing. But they don't have all the actors' insecurities just laid bare like the S1 ones do, with everybody clearly trying to impress Harmon. It's a fun but strange thing to overhear.

  • I will imagine them all "krumping" while doing the commentary.

  • Eric, I prefer the S1 commentaries so much more. Harmon isn't even on most of the S2 ones (why!!) and they goof off too much without his guidance.

  • Yeah, I figure Harmon was too busy. I miss his Twitter answers (brrrrr-ooooo).  But I do like the actors goofing off together, especially the one where Yvette and Danny (IIRC) make fun of Donald and Gillian behind the glass, and then they eventually barge in.

  • TW-TW-TW-TWITTER QUESTIONS

  • I want to say Harmon felt he'd already gone over S2 in his AV Club interview and wanted to give everyone else some time to talk. But I don't actually know if that interview was done before the commentaries were recorded or not.

  • It's cool to know other people think about this stuff too.

  • Unregistered Guy Named Eric

    The S2 commentaries suffered from not having Harmon there riding shotgun. I was read to reach through my computer screen and throttle Dino Stantanapolous (or however you spell it) by the end of the "Intro to Political Science" commentary. A complete waste of 20 minutes of my time, which was really disappointing compared to how insightful and detailed the S1 commentaries were.

    Instead of really in-depth insight such as Dan talking about how one single shot from the pilot was the initial spark for Jeff/Annie, we got the cast dicking around. Don't get me wrong, they were often hilarious, but I was really hoping for more insight into the creative process behind the show itself.

  • TheTuna

    I was read to reach through my computer screen and throttle Dino Stantanapolous

    Yeah, you ain't kidding. Though for sheer agony, the Chevy-dominated one for "Celebrity Pharmacology" is almost worse. He is just adrift in his own world. Rash is funny, but there's so much awkwardness.

  • I lost it when Pierce said "She's not?"; at that point, so many jokes were paying off in quick succession that the laughter just kept building. Pierce/Chevy's sneezes were also surprisingly deep in their specificity–someone put a lot of thought behind that seemingly slight idea.

    This episode gave us, IINM, the first instance of Shirley's trademark "That's nice." In addition to Britta's hilarious "dukes" when she's ready to box with Abed's dad, we also get plenty of ::Britta lip curl:: and other assorted hilarious faces. (Some of them, ironically?, are meesteereeous and eenscrootable.)

  • The Pierce "She's not" is like an advanced course in set up and punchline, with jeff providing the set-up the group ignoring and then bam he nails the punchline and we go right to the theme song.  It is just a brilliant joke

  • Yeah, the Pierce stuff in S1 isn't funny so much cause of the material, it's funny cause of how sneaky they are in getting it in there almost subliminally. Then when you finally think about it, you're like "Oh, shit" and you can't help laughing.

  • how sneaky they are in getting it in there almost subliminally

    The "tardiness" joke was pretty stealthy.

  • Ben Affleck, Ryan Seacrest, Dane Cook:

    ? > ? > ?

  • amazingly i think that is the correct order.  i mean i'm not an affleck fan but he is head and shoulders above the other two.

  • yeah, that's the order i'd do. it's like choosing between being waterboarded, an hour or ten on the rack, or listening to dance cook. and yes, that's the order i'd go with on those three options as well.

  • Is Dance Cook a new Food Network show? That sounds like something I might watch.

  • …i would, too. maybe we should pitch it.

  • It's like letting poop spoil.

  • I love that Jeff's way of finding out whether the class is easy is to ask whether the guy likes Dane Cook. It's such a quick joke that I didn't even notice it the first couple times, but it's hilarious.

  •  

    "How about I pound you like a boy that didn't come out right."

    This is still one of my favorite Troy lines in the whole show. Glover is amazing conveying Troy's realization of the double entendre and his dismayed inability to stop it coming out of his mouth.

  • sll03

    Great review mratfink!  I especially enjoyed your discussion of Abed: it becomes really apparent in this episode that he uses pop culture as a bridge between himself and reality and it can be truly heartbreaking.

  • First of all, if you're apologizing for length, then I should commit ritual suicide.

    I guess I saw this as much more of a Britta episode than others and a continuation of her characterization initiated in 102 except, as you astutely pointed out, the show seamlessly folds in another character's backstory into the mix. The Jeff plot was more of a sideshow to me (literally, considering the way Jeff is dressed).

    Remember that moment in 102 where Britta grabs Abed's hand and patronizingly explains to him that real life isn't like TV? Similarly, this one has Britta indulging her compulsion to save and fix Abed. It also features a story about broken homes and neglecting parents, which is a reality for every one of the characters (clearly, Harmon is injecting his background into the group's backstory). In this case, the show establishes Britta as someone who sublimates her daddy issues into tortured attempts at caring and helping people, resulting in the awesome and hilarious confrontation between her and Abed's dad.

    This plot between the two lays the foundation for the plot in AUC with Abed's psychotic breakdown. Not being able to save Abed absolutely guts Britta (a lot like how Annie's always trying to refine Jeff, now that I think about it, although it's a lot more agonizing for Britta). Look at how distraught Britta gets before she storms off at the pizza party ("All I want to do is take care of you!….Why won't you answer me!?"); in AUC, it's something like "I was trying to save you!" followed by her devastating ouster by Abed. In keeping with her compassion of convenience, when Abed and his father reconcile at the end (which was crushing, btw), Britta is quick to take credit ("I made this all happen"). Well, she's not completely selfish about it, but it's definitely not ALL about helping Abed for her.

    Anyway, this is another of the much-maligned early episodes that I absolutely adore. That's without even mentioning the incomparable John Michael Higgins and a rare and cute little Pierce-Troy C plot. It's chock full of pathos, hilarity, 'warmth', and great acting.

  • Those are some great insights.  I think to a casual viewer this appears as a Jeff episode because his plot begins the episode and sets the balls in play rolling and because his plot ends the episode.  I consider this an Abed episode because it is the first chance we really have to get to know him.  But you make a compelling point about why this is also a Britta story because her reactions reveal so much about her compulsions and possibly also why she chooses psychology as her major. 

    The funny thing is that even though Britta takes credit for making it happen i think she realizes that Jeff had more to do with the eventual happy ending.  Jeff was the one that brought Abed's dad and Britta together at the end which forces the catharsis.  Of course the irony is that Abed doesnt really need their help. But this is why i think she kisses Jeff at the end, she is willing to help him because he was willing to help Abed.  Between this and Spanish 102 Britta obviously likes Jeff best when he helps others

  • That's another thing that's interesting about the Jeff-Britta dynamic. Britta is the one who wants so badly to help people and bends over backwards to do it, but she isn't completely honest about her motivation in doing so, nor does she have the the resources or knowledge at her disposal to truly help. Jeff wants just as badly to stay out of people's business, but time and again is forced to interfere, and he unwittingly ends up doing good…think this episode, think his accidentally restoring Troy's love of football in a few episodes, and probably many others if one cares to dig. Even in these early episodes, I think Britta is beginning to realize that Jeff has this capacity and a part of her probably begrudgingly admires it while another part of her is driven crazy by it. This comes to a head nicely in their conversation about compassion in Modern Warfare ("you're not a jerk, you're fine").

  • I should've worded it differently. Abed is definitely the central character, but we learn about him through the actions of Jeff and Britta. You're totally right about Jeff being the more effective 'parent'. I just think the episode is more about Britta because it engages our feelings about her and Abed, whereas Jeff's part in it is more practical.

  • LloydBraun oh i agree with your assessment, which is why i keep saying it "appears" as a jeff episode because he drives so much of the plot.  Looking back it is clearly more important in informing us about Britta and Abed.  jeff remains kind of a cipher in this episode, though that is probably to increase the aspects of audience surrogacy he has

  • It's interesting to look back and see how much Abed has progressed from this episode, both in terms of his relationship with his friends and his creative endeavors. You would never hear today's Abed–maybe the most unifying, diplomatic force among the group–say, "It isn't called friend business. It's show business." His movies have become so much more sophisticated along the way, too: next stop, hyper-meta auteur and documentarian! Still, his movie in 103, with some production values that look straight out of PowerPoint, always makes me a little verklempt. Ludwig's score here is just wonderful, too.

    It's also fun seeing Jeff and Britta unwittingly slide into their roles as the group's mom and dad for the first time (if just with Abed).

  • I like to think that Abed's show business line was one of his personas.  Showing how he slides into a role.  I mainly think this because of the way he pulled the cigarette as well.  Still i agree that he has become much more sensitive to the way the rest of the group feels.

    One of the joys of watching this episode again is seeing where Abed pulls the Jeff and Britta quotes for his video and how they are all work seamlessly in context.

  • It's much the same way as how he had the cigarettes on hand to play Don Draper (which is one of my favorite scenes on this show, of course).

  • I think you're right about the persona (the cigarette is a bit much–was he also wearing sunglasses too, or am I imagining that?). And maybe it's not much more than the setup for a hammy joke between Jeff and Britta (gotta let him leave the nest sometime…). But still, I think Abed would have handled a friend's disappointment in him in a less flip way than pulling out this persona–and, probably not manipulated a friend to that extent to begin with.

  • The way the storylines are integrated is one really nice thing that sets this show apart from a lot of others (I'm looking at you, Modern Family), and it's that way right from the start; like you mentioned, it can be seen in this episode. It's such an established part of the series that episodes that don't really combine the plots (Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism is a recent example) tend to stick out.

    Also, this is another great review; hats off to you and to LloydBraun for making this happen. No need to apologize for the length; it's nice to have plenty to chew on as we venture into the dark caverns of hiatus.

  • Thanks for the kind words.  I personally am fascinated by structure and so rewatching these early episodes and seeing how the various plots spin out of the same circumstances and weave in and out and inform on each other is something i notice and admire the crap out of. It is also why i love to see how the show slowly introduces us to each member of the group, the choice of how to introduce the audience to the group and each member is just fascinating to me.

  • It's so cool to know every one of these will be thoughtful and ripe for discussion. I wish some of the lurkers would participate more, including critics. And if Todd is still around, I'd like to know his thoughts on these episodes two years later.

    We better be getting a 'Great Job, Internet' out of this!

  • When was the last time Todd dropped by the comments here, anyway? A week ago? Seriously, though, this is great, and my only regret is that to do a commentary review for 106 I'll need to get Disc 1 of the Season 1 DVD, and I loaned that disc to my friend nine months ago; said friend has since graduated from high school, meaning that I don't really see him anymore. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

  • i can't imagine that it would be impossible to find the commentary for one episode somewhere online.

  • Cool cool cool. I don't have to feel bad about it if I already bought the DVD, right?

  • Oh there was one line i forgot to point out which is Professor Whitman's asking Jeff what he is doing with his life.  This line is played for laughs but it does pose a question that i think still haunts Jeff. 

  • Another great review. They're coming so fast  I'm having trouble keeping up.

    This was the first episode I loved, because the Mr. Whitman stuff is such a good premise, executed with all kinds of crazy surprises (it's not like Dead Poets Society has never been parodied before, but they call it by name then go about taking it in all kinds of weird-ass directions). The full commitment to the gags, the way Jeff and Whitman keep one-upping each other with BS, and just the thoroughness of them. The girl falling off her desk is enough to trump the film by itself. But there's still "I shall have…a birthday cake!", one of the best laugh lines of the whole show (or any show ever, IMO).

    Plus the fact that each character has various degrees of dishonesty, but they're all trying to weed it out of each other, to call the others on theirs (after all, whether he's fully aware of it or not, Abed's film is largely about how Jeff and Britta have just as self-serving intentions as his parents do for the way they treat him).

    As LB pointed out on 102, Community's most unusual trait (for me to adapt to, anyways) is it takes some very vibrant comic threads in the second act and dovetails them into something much more bittersweet or even sour at the end. The results of Abed's film are an especially strong example of this, they take the wind out of everybody, but in a way that makes it meaningful for the characters. It's so out of nowhere (as many of the somber endings were in S1) that my reaction was more like Jeff's, but seeing Abed's Dad cry really paid off the whole plot in a way that was fairly real and didn't cheat him as a character, or Jeff and Britta's more cynical approach (I mean it deflated them by making them seem immature, but it didn't teach them some big, forced life-changing lesson or whatever).

    But the capper of Britta kissing Jeff really takes the ep to another level. How cool is it that she finds a way to kiss Jeff that puts him even more under her thumb? That it ties up the plot but still leaves the bigger Jeff/Britta arc hanging cliffhanger-style? And, just…on the scale of romantic fantasies, to have the girl you're into kiss you on campus in front of everybody, just as a friendly favor to help you out of a jam? Yeah. So, I kinda ship Jeff and Britta. (Scrawler's on vacation, no one tell her we've been shipping while she was gone.)

  • Thanks for the kind word.  I saw the conversation around 102 had died down and i figured we had a long weekend, so i wanted to put it up and give us something to discuss. 

    I had totally forgotten about how funny the Whitman stuff was before rewatch but it was consistently hilarious.  Higgins just has a lot of enthusiasm in his delivery and committed to the ridiculous stuff they had him doing.

    I totally agree that Jeff is totally under Britta's spell at this point in the show.  and i really enjoy the fact that she is reveling in the power she has over him at the end.

    But you and LB are correct that it is the bittersweet nature of the show that really takes it to another level and is probably why i feel so strongly about the show.  I have reached a point in my life where i feel bittersweet is the truest of all emotions and endings and love entertainment that doesn't shy away from that. 

  • On the subject of the guided missiles, I eagerly await the "… and Handling" portion of "Shipping and Handling."

    she finds a way to kiss Jeff that puts him even more under her thumb: Yes! That kiss was perfect, for all the reasons you state. The episode pulled off a neat trick in selling such disparate aspects: the mom-and-dad-ness, the sexiness, the power dynamics (she definitely has the upper hand), the (in audience terms, and for Jeff) cliffhanger aspect.

  • Great points, especially about Britta and Jeff, which I hadn't even thought twice about. This really is a perfect episode.

  • On rewatch, I was surprised by how much each character has already learned about the others, some of it offscreen. (I think it's mentioned that two weeks have passed?) For example, Jeff can confidently predict that Pierce will out-racist Shirley in less than a minute (this proves correct).

    What is there to parse in the way Jeff greets each member of the Spanish study group–excuse me, "community"? We already see him being (mock-?) deferential to Annie, a thing that allows him to display (real) chivalry and at the same time keep a distance. She plays along. "My lady." [He kisses her hand.] "My lord."

  • Jeff, its been noted, is a really good lawyer and i think it was established later that he is a trial lawyer.  A really good trial lawyer can size up 12 random people and start appealing to them very very quickly.  Jeff just knows how to shmooze

  • That reminds me of one great little bit in The Politics of Human Sexuality; as Britta is scrolling through Jeff's contacts, she remarks, "Juror Number 6. That sounds above board." It speaks in a lot of ways to the sort of lawyer and person that Jeff is (or was).

  • Troy is shown bonding with, of all people, Pierce (over the mention of Asperger's). In the tag (tags are canon, right?), however, Troy and Abed's friendship seems to emerge fully-formed. I re-watched 101, 102, and this one, 103, in one burst, and some bonding must have occurred offscreen between 102 and 103–I didn't spot any intermediate steps along the path to Troy and Abed's tight connection.

    So far we have mostly had: Pierce being attracted to Shirley; Pierce wanting to be Jeff/be friends with Jeff; Jeff wanting to date Britta; a bit of "Grow up, Annie!" from Shirley; some Troy growth with Jeff's help, over whether or not to wear the football jacket. (Has Jeff managed to heed his own advice so far? I can't make up my mind about the purity of his motives in doing the Spanish presentation with Pierce.) Britta and Jeff as Abed's surrogate parents, and all the progress that was made with the film classes and Abed's dad. Britta facing up to her poseur traits when it comes to protesting and such.

  • There's also an Annie/Troy moment in there; she disdains the idea of a blow-off class, but then signs up for it as soon as Troy expresses interest. So far, perhaps the only thing established about Annie's character is that she likes Troy.

  • Stuff
    -90% of the show's greatness (made up number) is in the reaction shots. This is one of Annie when they talk about Aladdin. She's just a little girl who loves Disney movies: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…
    -Britta swelling with pride as she writes Abed a check for the film class:http://www.fishsticktheatre.co….
    -Shirley doesn't realize what she said about Muslims was racist. In Advanced Gay, Annie calls her out for smiling while thinking about murder suicides and she has the same "was I smiling?" reaction.
    -Troy puts out for a fist bump and Jeff reluctantly bumps back. In AUC, it's Troy who doesn't want to tarnish the high five for a cheap shot Pierce took at Abed.
    -Jeff recognizes how direct the Dead Poets spoof is:http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…. Like with Abed's Breakfast Club reference in 101, only Jeff gets it while the others in the classroom are just confused.
    -That girl falling off the desk was awesome! In the commentary they marvel at how game the actress was.
    -There's sign-up booth for the 'AV Club' at 7:05.
    -Dreams are for sleeping. You don't know that! It's clinically proven. So's polio! You lost me!
    -Something I just noticed now: Jeff successfully uses lawyer speak to get Mr. Nadir off Abed's back, but that just earns him a role as Abed's father. In 202, we learned that he became a lawyer precisely because they weren't like his father and  "rise above the sloppy stuff".
    -I love the early episodes where CEO/cultured Pierce is dispensing his brand of ludicrous, yet ultimately helpful advice and people actually respect it because they don't know him yet. Here he's showing Troy an array of sneezes. In 110 he's giving public speaking tips to Shirley. Britta lets him hypnotize her in 109.
    -The show had the characters' soda preference fleshed out from the beginning. Abed loves orange soda. Everyone else likes their colas.
    -The scene where they eat pizza as a family with Jeff and Britta as the parents is a lot like the family scene in 205.
    -"You don't really have tickets for Ravi Shankar, do you?" Incidentally, Britta was looking a lot like Norah Jones in this episode.
    -Mr. Nadir stole every scene he was in. Where's Weezer?; You go host American Idol; falafel as a fallback (nice alliteration); Is that your take? It sounds like he says 'pillowleptic girlfriend' but it's really pillow-lipped according to the subtitles. Britta's lips are fodder for multiple jabs by different characters. Duncan calls her pouty and Chang says her mouth looks like a coin purse.
    -Both Britta and Mr. Nadir say "Have you met Abed?"
    -Going back to what a couple of us have noted about Abed's improvement as a filmmaker, he starts here with "not exactly Citizen Kane" to a legit documentary in 308 and an understanding of empathy along the way, starting with his quizzical look as he sees his father crying for probably the first time ever: http://www.fishsticktheatre.co….

    God, this was an awesome episode. Definite A+ for me.

    I hope I'm not stepping on the reviews with these things but I'm just hopelessly OCD.

  • not stepping on my toes, i love your observations and screen grabs

  • I think I speak for everyone here when I say that everything you add is appreciated. I'd never noticed that Annie reaction shot before, for instance; it's great. I do remember Ravi Shankar; any reference on TV to a fellow Bengali will make me beam with pride altogether too much.

  • Oh, you're Naveed?

  • DrAwesome That's my name, and now I'm a little bit confused. Is this common knowledge on the Internet?

  • I'm curious, too; how does one deduce the name?

    Edit: So far, unless there is additional information, it reads as "You're Bengali; your name must therefore be Naveed." Or rather: "You're Bengali; you must be that one (internet) Bengali, the one called Naveed."

  • Excellent points, particularly about how people are still willing to go to Pierce for help at this stage.

    Mr. Nadir is also fantastic, I hope to see more of him at some stage. Just a hilarious character all-around. And that Annie reaction shot is a great find.

    Also, sorry for more confusion on this topic, but did you want 104? I don't want to take 3 reviews if you only have 1. Lord knows you'll probably do a better job of it than I would, heh.

  • I don't think I should do any more. You can have it or you can put it up for grabs.

  • 1) Was it really an Accounting class?

    2) I still don't get the money thing. I get that it proves the point that he doesn't really need Britta's help, but where were the funds coming from?

    3) Higgins is a great guest star. Up there with Corddry and Guzman.

  • as capable as abed is, i think that if he wanted/needed money, he'd be able to get it somehow. 

  • I have no idea whether it was an accounting class but that is a line that Jeff yells out in disgust. 

  • If it wasn't, I'm really curious what it was… A big text book was involved.

  • It was an accounting class. I actually won a $10 bet with my buddy about that a year and a half ago; he still hasn't paid up.

  • Great review. I wasn't keen on the Jeff/Britta dynamic at this early stage of the season but I loved this episode for the great insight it gave to Abed. I think I recognise it as the start of Abed using people for his own means. I don't mean that as bad as it sounds (as the end result can/does have positive outcomes) but as you comment, Abed deliberately pushes people's buttons to get the reactions he desires. We saw this as recently as Documentary Filmmaking Redux; he clearly knew the Dean was on a downward spiral and taking the study group with him, and yet he never helped them because it was good footage. 

    Another great moment was the girl falling off her chair: ouch. Seriously that made me wince. Professor Whitman's life-changing kiss line made me gag and eye-roll. Bleugh. Though agreed on the heel tap and lamppost climb- hilarious! He was definitely a great guest star; I'd love to see him return. It's one of the things I love about Community; that is a possibility. 

  • Scrawler

    I'm a week late, but I just wanted to say that this was an excellent review. I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    And you're so right about the choke-up effect of Abed's family history. It was emotional even back in the third episode and even more moving post Uncontrollable Christmas.

    Good call on the subverting will-they-won't-they so early on in the game, especially considering all the ways they've found for Jeff and Annie to kiss that don't actually count throughout this season so far.

  • hey welcome back, hope you enjoyed your holidays! good to hear from you even if it was late.  I find Abed to be the most emotionally affecting character on the show because he can understand it but he is usually so removed from it.  He gets written off as a gimmick character a lot but his "condition" has him presenting one of the more visible character arcs on the show. 

  • Scrawler

    I tried in vain to look for this review while I was out of town, but I was only on my phone and it was too hard to wade through the mobile comments system to get this far.