Episode 108: Home Economics

Community Season One, Episode Five Review by Unregistered Guy Named Eric

AvatarUnregistered Guy Named Eric

108 Home Economics

"Home Economics" is one of the most complete and satisfying episodes of S1, with 3 witty, intersecting character-based plots that find skewed, rapid-fire approaches to the humor that effortlessly circumvent typical sitcom expectations. In the A plot, Jeff is temporarily homeless due to a dispute with his condo board, and while taking up in Abed's dorm finds himself easily seduced by the slacker life. The somewhat more memorable B plot shows Vaughn and Pierce fueding over credit for a catchy, passive-aggressive song  that calls out Britta by name. The C plot is a standard: pushover Annie helps Troy prepare for a date while desperately wishing it was with her. Britta deftly moves between plots A&B, showing how connected the campus is before a concert at the end ties all 3 stories together and makes the characters' private neurosis the subject of a very public Greendale-wide celebration. (Not to omit Shirley, who hovers around the A&C plots, her bluntness forcing Britta to consider her possible attraction to Jeff, and refusing to let Annie stay entirely quiet as Troy takes her for granted.)

A: The Jeff/Abed plot is great because of how quickly it bypasses the lifestyle differences between the two, or Jeff's forced exile from the perch he once held, and gets right to the bonding. Plus, it's easy to identify with the fun Jeff has letting himself go. He has as much gusto in finding an ice cream bar or an unlocked vending machine as he puts into a Winger speech or chasing an attractive woman. Also, this is the first time he talks (however briskly) about his father's neglect, and his self-invented world and cocoon of a persona suddenly seems very comparable to Abed's, even though one is highly social and the other virtually antisocial. Also, for the second week in a row, Abed tries to protect the group's dynamic and get them to do what's best for themselves, a growing core to his place in the Study Group. Honestly, the Jeff/Britta stuff isn't as unique, except in how it connects to the Vaughn story, both physically – in showing how close everyone is in terms of space and time on campus, and emotionally – in how Britta's once again rejected by the world outside the Study Group and finds it worth her time to connect with Jeff (by helping him out of his rut) and Abed (by helping him get Jeff out, albeit ignoring Abed's hilariously inappropriate advice to seduce Jeff, and doing it on her own terms).

B: The highest triumphs of this ep revolve around Vaughn's songs (and as with all the best things in S1, Britta's quietly pained reactions). The scene where Britta goes to hear Vaughn's band Some Worries play is one of the quickest, funniest escalations I've ever seen. It's been established that Britta wants to use her sense of superiority over him not to mock him or remain angry with him after the events of "Social Psychology" but to apologise and be supportive. So the moment when he begins singing explicitly and rudely about her, and she's forced to stand there and listen while registering gradual shock and horror on her face is amazing. It doesn't sound funny as I describe it, but the song is so upbeat and jaunty, and Vaughn's dopey innocence is just as present as in his stupid poem. The chorus of "She's a GDB" takes it one step further into ridiculousness, using network TV's abolishment of swearing in a way that makes the nasty edge of the song even funnier. You know, in decades of TV, the lack of swearing was always evident, but it never became the joke up until a few years ago, and it makes for a fresh, wide target. (Made more blatant and strange by the fact that he calls her a bitch outright earlier in the song.) It's such an abrupt reversal of the social dynamic between the two, it's a perfect comic sequence. Later, when Britta confronts Vaughn (and Pierce) about the song, it's another brief scene that exceeds expectations. Because of how Chevy Chase and Eric Christian Olsen each add physical histrionics that elevate the material and spell out their characters even better than the dialogue, it tells a story while making both of them seem absurd. Vaughn's oblivious, childish pouting and overseriousness about his band are priceless. Especially in contrast with his disregard for Britta's concerns, which you'd think would be the whole point of this plot but are basically brushed aside by the end (which secures Britta's larger role in things: when she tries to be a good person, she ends up finding out how unimportant she really is). By the final outdoor concert, when all these little problems smooth out into kind of a cohesive joy binding all of Greendale, everyone (including Pierce) finds their worries unfounded because none of them are alone. I see this ep as the 2nd part in a "Vaughn trilogy" along with "Social Psychology" and "Romantic Expressionism", where every old trick of half hour comedy gets a new wrinkle, then each wrinkle gets another wrinkle, till it's this precise spiral that defamiliarizes a rigid format and makes it feel real again.

C: Speaking of old tricks, the Troy/Annie stuff is a lot more fun to watch now, knowing what better material they'd soon graduate to. It's an opportunity to see both actors and the writers gradually developing the characters. Alison Brie is adorable in her futile stabs at expressing her feelings for Troy, unspoken emotions and repressed sexuality playing in a constantly shifting map across her quivering face. Luckily, Patton Oswalt is inserted as a school nurse who wants to get rid of Troy so he can hit on Annie, and her disproportionate response ("My appendix is exploding!") is great cause it makes the situation so much worse, much like Vaughn's songs escalate what could've been a simple truce between he and Britta, or Pierce.

Stray Observations:

  • Britta is quick to show gratitude to Pierce for (kind of) sticking up for her with Vaughn. The wall between those two has grown so much greater in the two years since, I can't imagine anything like that now.
  • "Like a grownup date, but within biking distance of my parents' house."
  • "You're welcome. And I hate you. And I want to have your children."
  • "Can't we still be friends? And isn't the word -later- already short enough?"
  • "It's better if it's man to man. That way we won't be thinking about our chubby thighs or whether or not we can have babies."
  • Jeff doing arm curls with weights while getting dressed out of his trunk is hilarious.
  • "My room has a bunk bed, which is kind of a misnomer cause…it's the real deal!"
  • Jeff: "Hey, wanna see my place?" Britta: "I can see it from here. Two girls are making out on the hood." This one great exchange justifies all the banter between the two in this ep.
  • "What kind of an offer is that? These are mint condition issues. I mean, the premise alone is priceless. The guy has the powers and strength of a spider." One of those quick bursts that turn a barely-there establishing couple of lines into a nudging joke. They stuffed this episode with humor.
  • "You're Goldie Hawn, Jeff."  "Is it the lips?"
  • "A picnic blanket. Genius! I was just gonna lay down newspaper."
  • "TV's the best Dad there is. TV never came home drunk. TV never forgot me at the zoo. TV never abused and insulted me. Unless you count Cop Rock."  "Cop Rock. That sounds cool."  "Doesn't it?"
  • Pavel immediately recognizes Britta from Vaughn's song (and does a half assed rendition of it). Jeff says "Coolcoolcool."(!)
  • Pierce: "Are you trying to Garfunkel me?" Vaughn: "Maybe. Assuming to Garfunkel somebody means to put up with them even though they're a fat, lazy cat who hogs the spotlight and eats all the lasagna."
  • "Maybe because when I put on these skinny jeans my ass looks like a baby pumpkin." Who comes up with lines like that?!
  • "A shadowy flight into the world of a man who does not exist."
  • "Tell him you'll make love to him if he showers and finds a nice place to live."
  • "Abed! It's open!" <– line of the ep, and a solid contender for 10 funniest lines in the whole show.
  • "I know, honey. Let's go get you some pants."
  • Rap/reggae section of "Pierce, You're a B":
This is a song for Pierce, he so old
His body made of wrinkles and folds
Stupid and ugly, he smell like a fart
Poo-poo in his pants and poo-poo in my heart
  • Pierce's revenge rap about Vaughn:
East side, West side, North side, South
Vaughn's breath is so bad, his butt's mad at his mouth
This rap is by Pierce, Vaughn is dumb
He wears diapers to bed, sucks his Mother's thumb
And when he wakes up, stupid wishing he was me
He has a big poop breakfast with a glass of pee
Then he goes to school where he's stupid again
And everybody hates him, even all his friends
When you come after Pierce, the battle is on
So this rap goes out to stupid Vaughn
  • Just a great tag that's goofy and brings the ep full circle.
  • Britta calls Jeff "the worst" !

Commentary

  • With Harmon, Joel, Pudi and writer Lauren Pomerantz. Lauren is super shy, speaks very little (and very quietly when she does). Harmon says how great it is to get good first drafts that he doesn't have to rewrite, how well she connected with the show, and how he'd like to have her back but she's contracted with Ellen now.
  • They tease Yvette throughout. She can hear them in the other room, but can't respond. They keep joking about her destructive drinking (she doesn't drink alcohol). Harmon sums it up like this: "Have you ever known somebody so sweet, but who rewards you so much for being mean to them?"
  • At one point, Harmon finally calls Pudi out for explaining the jokes. Danny's super nice and charming, but he's way below the level of conversation on most of the S1 commentaries.
  • On the other hand, after Joel laughs at something Jeff says in the episode, he dryly quips: "I laughed at my own joke. What a jerk. What a dick."
  • They had Pudi add ADR saying "I'll race you to the bunk" out of concerns that Abed racing to jump on the bed, then propping his head on his arm to look back at Jeff made him seem gay (you know, like he's calling Jeff to bed or something).
  • The songs were written by Ludwig (music) and Harmon (lyrics). The rapper is KU (aka Kustoo  http://www.jacquesslade.com/ab… ). He was Community's "in-house rapper" for S1, and performs all the raps heard in episodes. Harmon's original version of Pierce's rap in the tag was "an amateur's attempt at a violent song" that'd talk about shooting Vaughn with bullets that were also tiny guns, etc. But KU told him it'd bring down the scene with negative energy, so Harmon re-wrote the classic we have today. (He also seems understandably pleased with the line "Poo-poo in his pants and poo-poo in my heart.")
  • The writers had a long discussion about the marks on Jeff's faucet, about the best way a vain person could recognise his own faucets.
  • Harmon says "someone" (no name, no hint, but it sounds like he's serious and not teasing Lauren) called him to suggest cutting the whole Troy/Annie plot, and he feels vindicated that it worked.
  • They crack on Britta's leather vest, saying it reminds them of Mad Max, Rent and The Legend of Billie Jean.
  • Harmon wonders aloud why they make Gillian wear those awkward stilts/heels in nearly every scene. "What's the worst that could happen if she didn't?", he asks. Joel answers honestly, "it'd be harder to frame the shots." This leads them to bring up Peter Dinklage, and none of them can remember the title of The Station Agent.
  • Joel quips that all Chevy's vests from this ep were donated to Planet Hollywood, which cracks Harmon up. Danny then tries to remember which Planet Hollywoods, if any, still exist. It ends with Lauren chiming in, for the first time: "I used to collect shot glasses from Planet Hollywood."
  • Final random exchange to end the commentary…. Joel: "Let's go out to my car, Danny, I'm gonna get you that quilt." Danny: "I'm gonna get a quilt, guys."

23 LIKES
On the A.V. Club: http://www.avclub.com/articles/regional-holiday-music%2C66270/#comment-401067974 (page 52)

Discussion:

    • Excellent review!

      I had so much with fun with this episode. *backpack*

      I think I am supposed to add Gwen Stefani to the Community shitlist now; I could use a ruling, though. (She shaves.)

      I loved the Vaughn-as-Pierce's-nemesis vibe at the end. (Plus Unregistered Guy Named Eric 's two exclamation marks: Jeff's "Coolcoolcool" and Jeff as The Worst.)

    • Thanks! It's a really fun episode.

      I guess it's probably more fun to imagine a silly, long running feud between Pierce and Vaughn than it would've been if they built a story around it.

    • I was thinking about this, too–whether it's better to get the trilogy you mention (and no more), or risk diluting the impact with constant "Newman!"-ness.

    • Also, Stefani's on my shitlist for "Don't Speak" and "Hollaback Girl", the two most annoying songs I ever heard upwards of 1000 times.I don't need any encouragement (plus, everything Gavin Rossdale ever did, by proxy).

    • Next time Pierce repaints the mansion, he will have visions of the Harajuku Girls.

    • I love that our first "the worst" (that was the first, wasn't it?) came FROM Britta!

    • Ahhh…so second "worst"  Thanks! (Jeff's sassy hip tilt in the RHM clip always cracks me up!)

    • Britta Britta'd being the first The Worst. Does that make it–wait for it–just "worse"?

    • This probably has already happened somewhere on the internet, and a long time ago to boot, but imagine Tina Turner's "Simply the Best" (which HBO used for a while, I think) adapted into "Simply the Worst." "Weird" Al sings.

    • "Britta Britta'd being the first the worst" is almost a tongue twister.

    • This is the hand that finally caught the tapeworm.http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

      The World's Cutest Nose, in profile. http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

      "The faucets are Italian?!" http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

      "Never mind homeless. Those abs are doing it for me."http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    • "The hand that caught the tapeworm" makes that scene sound so much richer/dirtier than it actually was. Plus, it reminds me of that one S3House with the girl who can't feel anything and her enormous stomach-worm.

      That last Britta/Shirley photo should be the pitch for a reboot ofMission:Impossible. Maybe the only upside to going 6 seasons would be they'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel and find the inevitable Charlies' Angels paintball spoof.

    • The seventh season would extensively explore Elisabeth Shue's oeuvre. Troy as Ralph Macchio? Jeff as The Saint? Pierce as Nicolas Cage? (ew, I just grossed myself out)

    • i love that britta successfully broke in to jeff's old place and stole those faucets. she's not the worst at everything!! 

      "you sure you don't want a piece of that?" oh yes, she does.
      http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

      love that nose. very lickable nose. 

      i love this episode. episodes 7, 8, 9, 10 are fabulous, and cemented my love for community.

    • "very lickable nose."

      I'll get Alison Brie on this.

      http://images.google.com.do/se…

    • I will Pudi it all up in here and explain the "bunk bed" joke. In this instance, "bunk" is "bunkum," which means "nonsense" and, by implication, "fake." So they're called fake beds, but in fact they're real ones. Good one! *notch*

      Ironically enough, the word "misnomer" does not apply to itself.

    • Oh man, I love that joke (puns!!), although I had to think about it for a second the first time I heard it. "Bunk" isn't really too common in our parlance nowadays, which is a load of tosh.

    • bunk is a good word! he's also just a humble motherfucker with a big-ass dick.

    • ZombieAttack The Bunk: One of the few constants in a show otherwise filled with ever-shifting characters. And did we ever love him for it.

    • Nice writeup. 108 is one of my favourites from the first season (I say that too often). And you're right, some great acting from Jacobs in this one.

    • Thanks. It's one of mine, too. (And you have to make yr. own list, it's the only way to know for sure which ones are actually your favorites)

    • I've tried doing this, but I can never choose. I know that Cooperative Calligraphy and Mixology Certification are both in the top five, but beyond that I'm stuck.

    • The CGI to make Vaughn's nipples so tiny must wreak havoc on the budget. Maybe this explains why Vaughn doesn't show up more often.

    • actually they explain that it is an elaborate set of tape that makes his nipples tiny.  They wanted to get prosthetic tiny nipples and actually designed them, but they were too expensive

    • lol, I actually thought I was making a joke, and that the actor was naturally like that. One to grow on.

    • The wonders of modern technology!

      ('Nac: This is your Waterloopig!)

    •  yeah it's in the commentary of the first vaughn episode.  apparently it was very difficult to make nipples tiny.

    • So there are a lot of great things about this episode but the parts with Vaughn and Pierce really stand out to me.  First, i love Pierce's arc in relation to vaughn in this episode.  He goes from wanting to be in the band immediately upon hearing about the band, co-writing their hit song (She's a GDB), getting into an argument with Vaughn about authorship of the song, and then the final little song feud they have.  And really the songs in this episode are top notch, a 2 year advance warning to us that they could pull off Regional Holiday Music.  Honestly i think the getting rid of britta song is one of the most memorable parts of the entire season.

      The Jeff and Abed is good but it is already fading from my memory and i watched it three days ago.  I just remember Jeff lying on the couch and looking as lazy as possible a lot.  I do like that they establish that Abed cares about the roles of the people in the group and the dynamic within.  We'll see them return to Abed's preservation of the status quo with Jeff and Abed's next team up.

    • Joel McHale has a nice bit of stage business in the manner in which he eats his cereal. The angle is so low that it makes sense to switch his grip.

      http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    • It seemed to me like he was eating with the bowl resting gently on his pecs so as to minimize the distance the food had to go to reach his mouth. This eliminates much of the cleanup of spilled milk that is the result of the inevitable sloppiness and loss of smooth spoon-to-mouth movements that accompany this newly downtrodden stage in his life. I recognize this maneuver as a former tired student and cereal eater.

    • Oh man, the way he eats the cereal is so disgusting and so telling at the same time.  

      I also enjoyed Abed sitting on the couch eating cereal because it reminded me of the first place I ever loved Danny Pudi: the T-mobile commercial.  It was clear from his butt-dialing days that he was headed for great things :-P

    • I'm surprised the show had the restraint not to give him black socks and sandals for maximum (TV) patheticness.

    • Yeah, the Vaughn stuff is so cool. The way the songs re-contextualize the plots so Britta and Pierce's problems seem so small and the stupid, irrepressible enthusiasm of a guest star overwhelms everything else was like a big notice that "Sitcoms are something different now"… except, I guess, that it was more like a small, subliminal notice compared to the concept eps that the press-at-large noticed. They'd understand it better if they'd just been munching on the pizza episodes all along like the fans have been.

    • "his self-invented world and cocoon of a persona suddenly seems very comparable to Abed's, even though one is highly social and the other virtually antisocial."–You know, I think I know what you mean in relation to this episode, but I also think it's interesting that, by this point in S3, you could justify flipping who's who in this statement.  Also interesting because Jeff says something like "the world is better off with me in it" in this episode, and I think RCT will later reply "Is it?"

      I love your description of the scene with Vaughn singing and Britta's reaction. 

    • I know what you mean about social/antisocial–I had to pause to work out which one was which here.

    • Thank You!

      It seems at times like S3 Jeff is a whole other person from S1, and not just because we know so much more about him now. But it seems to me that for cool guys, aging can be a really angsty experience. 

    • Yeah, who works out after showering? ("showering") It won't stave off death, Jeff! (Actually, tabernacle  …)

    • NewlyRegisteredRandom

      Annie: It's the blanket my grandmother used to court my grandfather.
      Troy: Yeah?  That's pretty hot!

      Always cracks me up. This was one of the first episodes I felt that really connected, and in my top 10 for the season.

      Also, there is a brief flash of Annie butt after Shirley says 'Let's get you some pants.'

      Great example of an episode where everyone came with it, though Britta, Annie, Abed and Pierce in particular were excellent.

    • This one snuck up on me.  At first I thought it was just a surprising collection of a lot of the quotes I like but forgot where they came from ("Hence, AIDS"; "I beg your unbelievable pardon?") but as an episode it wasn’t much.  I didn't see it being quite as cohesive as you did.  To me, It’s pretty pizza—maybe even calzone (/wrongshow).  But slowly there emerged some themes that continue the threads we’ve been seeing.

      First and foremost, Abed's line “You can do what you want, you just have to know what that is.  For me it’s Lucky Charms and TV”  which is almost a little on-the-nose in how it describes the fundamental difference between Abed and Jeff.  Still, it does really level those two and fast-foward us to the bonding, as you mention.  And we see Abed sublimating his desires for the group, which becomes a pretty frequent occurence–leading us to the super-cute "You’re a huge nerd!" scene (which apparently makes Dan Harmon cry)

      Also, as was mentioned with Pierce's fears about his irrelevance in Intro to Stats, Pierce ends up embracing the song because it it makes him relevant (at least for the moment) and gets him attention. 

      And, of course, Manipulative Annie hones her craft again.

      I love that Britta ended up being the one to encourage Jeff's to go back to his shallow ways–it fits so well with who she eventually becomes both in that she's shown to be a bit more shallow than she puts on and that she uses her old bad-girl ways to do a very sweet thing for Jeff by getting the faucet.  (Also, it may or may not be the thing I woke up thinking about this morning, but, man, Dan Harmon hates Britta in heels.  He mentions it in the commentary for Advanced Criminal Law, too.  To me, Britta would totally wear heels to be kick-ass, but maybe that's because I'm looking at it with the knowledge of who we know Britta becomes later).

      Reaction shot of the week award goes to Vaughn, who is apparently very sensitive about his lack of a baby pumpkin ass.   
      Honorable mention: All the PainedBritta faces as she's talking about lobsters and the sport with the long hammers.

      Art department nudge-of-the-week: Abed is playing with a cootie catcher during the scene in the study room.

      Also, smart humor be damned, when KU comes out during "Pierce, You're a B," it cracks me up every time.  It's just so ridiculous.

    • A lot of really good stuff in this post!!

      I loved this: "I love that Britta ended up being the one to encourage Jeff's to go back to his shallow ways–it fits so well with who she eventually becomes both in that she's shown to be a bit more shallow than she puts on and that she uses her old bad-girl ways to do a very sweet thing for Jeff by getting the faucet."

    • Aww..thanks!  I didn't think I had much to say about this episode, but then once I got going I couldn't stop!

    • I think the fact that Pierce enjoys the attention, even though it's negativeattention (that Britta, for one, had not been enjoying) sets up well Pierce's future (temporary) role as the bad guy.

    • Could you guys and gals help me unpack Abed's "You're a huge nerd"? There's what I think is the obvious reading–though of course now I'm not sure–of Abed simply meaning what he's saying: You're one of us. But the look Abed gives Britta on the sly is conspiratorial: The plan worked. I guess it can be both things at once: the plan to get Jeff back worked–logistically it was a success–and, emotions-wise, they are genuinely glad to have him. (Not that Jeff would not realize there was a plan on, right? In which case, what would the need for subterfuge be about?)

    • I wondered the same thing and for the same reason: that look Abed gives Britta after.  The whole episode seems to be leading to the "you're one of us" reading, but I wonder if I'm missing something more.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Jeff is extremely put off by the group's pity and charity (as he puts it) about his living situation. Abed is trying to help Jeff move out because he realizes it's the best thing for him, but I think he recognizes that it could be dicey going about his plan with this as their explicit goal in case Jeff bristles at becoming someone's project. There's not a huge attempt to mask what's going on–Jeff knows Abed would have been fine with him staying much, much longer, as he explicitly states–but it's as if Abed's still trying to help Jeff save a little face by not having his sacrifice for Jeff morph into a very special episode, hence responding to Jeff's sort of gooey "You're pretty cool" with "You're a huge nerd."

      Plus the application of these labels (nerd, cool) are the reverse of what we (purely superficially) would assign to these guys, so you know, that's funny, but we're increasingly learning that both are true, because COMMUNITY IS JUST THAT DEEP, YO.

    • I like this a lot. What Abed is doing is face-saving and defusing the moment of sentiment (cutting it with humor).

      I also like your point about Abed, nominally the nerd of the two, and Jeff, nominally the cool one of the group, each rising/lowering toward the other's level–but that does not even apply, really, as you say, since Abed was cool to begin with and Jeff was a nerd to begin with. (And "nerd" is being used affectionately, though "cool" does not have a corresponding negative connotation here, which would have been nice for symmetry's sake.)

    • Loki100

      I took it to be, Jeff, once stripped of his veneer of coolness is a huge nerd. He goes to incredible lengths in order to appear cool, aloof, indifferent and above it all.

      But Abed got to see Jeff in his down time, when Jeff was just being Jeff. And it turns out that Jeff likes reading Spider-Man comics and watching the Jeffersons. When Jeff isn't trying to impress anyone, he really is just a big nerd.

    • He enjoys TV without context, chilling out and talking about dumb stuff. He's a nerd. That's really what I got out of it.

    • It's also funny to note that Jeff kind of is right in that Britta is attracted to him; she's still just denying it "to be alternative" at this stage.

    • I'm taking notes here.

      (1) Wear a cowboy outfit.
      (2) Become homeless.
      (3) Discover, and mark, the exact optimal temperature for my [metrosexual jargon I cannot retain, because I am THAT masculine].

      These are the things that seem to work on Britta. And not writing stupid poems.

    • I'm mightily impressed that you knew offhand where those images occurred.

    • 'Nac, in the Top 5 Things I Learned the Hard Way, #3 is that cool girls aren't won over by stupid poems.

      *emo tear*

    • Been there! Also to be avoided: do-it-yourself handicrafts for Valentine's. Like dead, sometimes store-bought is bettah.

    • i love that Pierce embraces the song at the end.  it is a really great and true Pierce moment.

    • Yeah, that's what makes it such a happy ending for me.

    • Yeah, it's definitely one that grew on me thru closer study.

      And I totally agree about KU's flamboyant rapping of such silly lines being endlessly hilarious. Community fulfills my young dream of having my dumb little microcosmic world of friends and classes and absurd half-formed ideas being treated as seriously and bombastically as the "real" world I saw on TV and in media. Vaughn's band is sort of the ultimate manifestation of that. I mean, to have the whole school singing along to "Pierce, you're a B"? Too great.

    • Great review! While I wouldn't call this episode one of the best of S1 personally, there's a few points which I really like.

      #1- Alison Brie puts in some absolutely fantastic work as Annie this episode. She's adorable, and conveys so much emotion with facial expressions alone. Great stuff. Plus, we get to see manipulative Annie develop a bit more, and that's always nice.

      #2-This is the first real glimpse we get at Jeff's dorkier side, krumping aside. When he doesn't have to worry about looking attractive to pick up women and maintain his "cool" veneer, he really does just enjoy vegging out and watching TV with Abed. Quite touching, actually, and a side of the character which will be developed more in the future.

      #3-Vaughn is too funny. "Maybe, if to Garfunkel someone is to exclude them because they're a fat lazy cat that eats all the lasagna" and his angered "LATES!" as he storms out of the practice room get me every time.

    • Yes! Vaughn's outraged "LATES!" absolutely makes that scene!  I also didn't notice til watching the commentary that Chevy totally and hilariously flubs the line before that.  Those two make quite a pair.

    • Thanks! Agreed about Alison and especially about Vaughn. I keep wondering if he improv-ed the angry "lates!" or not. So funny.

      I agree that there's more memorable eps in S1, but the sweetness and the way all the jokes and plots connect and make kind of a three dimensional shape keeps this in the Top 10  of the season for me.

      There's not a lot of consensus about the first 15 or so episodes. I think it's cause we all discovered (or rediscovered) them on our own, unlike the more shared reactions to S2.

    • Hopelessly-in-love Annie is so adorable that words fail.

    • It's unfortunate (or is it?) that "prick" or somesuch isn't a more famous word, since "Pierce, you're a P" might have been a nice iteration. I say "Or is it?" because, then again, it might be funnier to call him a B–because he's a guy, and because stupid Vaughn (I should trademark the phrase, or capitalize it at least)–Stupid Vaugh can't be arsed to come up with a new song and instead repurposes an old one, a la Elton John.

    • Loki100

      I love the little hug that Jeff gives Abed at the end (seen here, and here, andhere, and even here, and finally here.

      Shirley was the first person Jeff sought out just for company, but Abed was the first person he expresses real affection for. This might be the first "let's end our episode on a hug" ending, even if it isn't a group hug. I like to think Jeff is just a really huggy kind of guy.

      I also love the Spider-Man and "Huge Nerd" lines. Jeff is a huge nerd, and even though he spends all his time trying to be cool, he'll always be a huge nerd.

    • britta's expression in that third picture is absolutely adorable

    • Yeah, this episode is also great as it's the first time we ever really get to see Jeff being a huge nerd.

    • Was he out-nerding the nerd on the other end of that phone call? I think it's a possible reading.

    • Harmon mentioned in the commentary that he tears up when Abed and Jeff hug.

    • I always found it odd that Harmon would tear up over that line but these threads have explained it so well.

    • Not one of my favorite episodes, although it grows on me with subsequent viewings, and your review helps me appreciate it more as well. I know Jeff's story here is an important step in his departure from his former life, but it's just not one of my favorite A plots. I did, however, love virtually every moment of those dorm scenes. And the Annie-Troy plot left me pretty cold, although Annie in particular is really great in these moments. The B plot, though, is fun and reveals a lot of good stuff about Pierce, like his pathological need for attention and grasping attempts to ape the younger generations' culture. The scene at the end there where he belatedly defends Britta's honor is a nice touch too. He's a jackass, but quite often he's not too far gone, to the point that the mere suggestion (in this case Britta's mistaken belief that he already did stand up for her) that he could do something decent is all it takes to get him to actually do it. Other stuff:

      -Pierce calls Britta "Brittles", a fun mixture of condescension and endearment.
      -Some more nice Jeff/Britta banter in this episode. "This is your chance to grow as a human being, maybe even become one."
      -"Jeff, did I say anything in my sleep last night about farm animals or Brian Williams?" What is going on in that subconscious, do you think?
      -"And one day, you will know it by its true name–diabetes."
      -"No, your incredulity perplexes me, nerd."
      -"Think how much happier the Jeffersons were than that family on Good Times." "Yeah, but they had good times…."
      Jeff's posture when he thinks Britta is into him is a thing of beauty.

    • It's like he thinks he's posing for Goya or something.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L…

      "Brittles" is awesome for all the reasons you cite. "brittle," "Skittles," the thing where one adds an S for Valley-girl-type (or is it Indian English?) slang ("ridiculous" becomes "rids").

    • He thinks he's a real picture, that's for sure.

      I also thought "Brittles" was funny in keeping with all the crap Britta gets for her name in this season–Slater's "Bitter, Butter, Beetlejuice" line and Duncan's comment about the blonde with the ridiculous name, for a couple examples. (God, how cruel is everyone in this universe? She gets made fun of not just for innocent quirks and foibles but also the things over which she has no control, just for good measure.)

    • why does it seem like some comments get randomly flagged for no reason?

    • A few thousand comments ago Todd said it was because Disqus was overwhelmed by number/rate of comments.  It clearly didn't know what was coming….

    • Walking NPR  i think this article has basically beta tested disqus by seeing how much it can handle

    • And I think those fish won.

    • Well, now I really want to know what Snowmania said. It won't even let me reply to him. Hope that comment gets resurrected before it gets buried 7 pages back.

    • [This space for rent.]

    • Unregistered Guy Named Eric Not sure what happened with my comment, but whenever you want to see comments that have been flagged, you can like them, then click on your own little avatar wherever it appears in the comments section here, then click the "Activity" link in the window that appears. It should show you the comment you just liked in its pure, unadulterated form. Oh also, I'm a ladyfolk!

      Edit: I lied, you have to click the avatar that appears at the top of the comments section with the "Add new comment" heading, or the avatar next to new comments you are typing elsewhere in the thread. Yeah, it's stupid but it works.

    • Nice point about Pierce being induced to defend Britta's honor (and I forgot to mention before, Unregistered Guy Named Eric ,  that I really liked your point that their interaction wouldn't happen now).

      I gotta ask: how are you people hypertexting? 

    • Like this:

      <a href="[paste url here without brackets]">Your text</a>

    • Ooooh…fancy like cat bowties and toilet olives.  Thanks!

    • snowmania  i will never remember that.  it took me like ten tries to get bolding right, i think i'll just admit defeat on being able to do any more. 

    • I copied these instructions into a Word file–no way I'm ever remembering all that.

    • mratfink you figured out how to bold!? i'm still pretty bad at this. but look, i figured out how to put someone's name in the little box like that!

    • High on my own drama!

    • Links work without code on AV Club comments, just leave a space on either side of the address.

    • awesome review, unregistered guy named eric! thank you!

      i'm annie's backpack!
      http://www.fishsticktheatre.co…

    • NewlyRegisteredRandom

      Can't help noticing that despite going through reams of skirts, cardigans, blouses and flats that Annie still has that cheap white watch.

      Nice 'O!' face by Troy there.

    • Thanks!

      I don't know if I'd want to be Annie's backpack, given it's ultimate fate in "American Poultry".

    • poor annie. she was programmed to love that backpack!!!

    • So does it feel as though Annie, for instance, didn't so much as find out that Jeff was homeless?

      Not a peep from Jeff about Slater, either–but I suppose any mention would have felt shoehorned.

      Having watched this episode, 108, what would you ladies and germs have guessed we would be getting in the next episode? Movement on which of the fronts?

    • That's interesting: I hadn't thought about it, but we certainly never see Annie find out.  

      I'm bad at these guessing games, especially when I already know what comes next, but I will say that based on this episode they appeared very clearly to be setting up the Troy-Annie and Jeff-Britta ships.

    • I have the same difficulty trying to "guess" when I already know. And I tried to come up with "fronts" that were not 'shipping-related, as examples, but all of them sounded too diffuse to be necessarily addressed in the next episode ("Will Pierce gain respect?" etc.–important, but not urgent).

      What are Jeff and Annie to each other at the moment, do you think, based on the available evidence to date?

    • Hmm…that's a hard question because we saw a glimmer of a ship at the end of 107, but then in 108 she's totally hung up on Troy.  Not that college girls can't be like that…*ahem*…moving on…

      I think we've basically seen 3 iterations of Jeff-Annie at this point
      1.  Annie who's annoyed at Jeff for being a slacker and/or insensitive and/or not "doing the right thing"
      2.  Annie who's charmed by and idolizes Jeff–all the milord-milady stuff, dancing at the end of 107
      3.  Annie who's just as manipulative as Jeff and can hold her own against him–Football onwards

      1 is maybe fading a little bit as 3 takes precedent as the main source of tension between them (though, as discussed before, Annie still often convinces herself she's doing right).  As far as the shippy stuff, I think up to this point it's coming more from a place of Annie being excited to have the attention of one of the cool kids than anything romantic.  I'll have to decide when I watch 109 if the kiss there is more about 2 (that episode is very high on the Jeff-Annie chemistry) or 3.   Overall,  Ithink it's morphing from her having a starry-eyed puppy-dog sort of relationship with him because he's "cool" to finding her footing and becoming more of an equal (which her discovering she's hot and can manipulate people plays a role in, so it gets a little circular…)

      ETA: Trying to figure out where they stand does make me wonder what Abed saw in them that made him put them together in his video…

    • I like the way you break it down; this makes a lot of sense to me. Number 1 comes pretty close to a role ascribed to Britta, "Jeff police." The dropping of number 2 (sorry about that regrettable deuce) to focus exclusively on Annie and Troy took me a little by surprise, though it's understandable for the reason you mention (and had been established a little: "Deploy Troy!"). She was using very little of number 3 on Troy himself, right?, and didn't seem to incorporate her Jeff-like Jedi powers into her demeanor while interacting with Troy. I guess even if Jeff and Troy were otherwise interchangeable as "cool kids," it'd be easier for Annie to fall into her old habits and attitudes when she's dealing with the person with whom she has more history, Troy. I'll keep an eye out for this stuff, too, during the 109 rewatch to see how it tracks.

      Edit: Good point about Abed!

    • Good point about her manipulating Jeff about Troy but not so much directly manipulating Troy.  I think you're right about the difference in how she interacts w/ Jeff vs. Troy being based on her history w/ him….hmmm…gotta get around to watching 109.

    • Doesn't their reaction in the next episode to Community College Chronicles imply that they all know what happened?

    • I'll watch for this; I don't recall at the moment.

      I do seem to remember that in 108 Annie walked out of the study group and it felt weird to me because none of the previous shots had included her, so I didn't even know she was at the table (though there was no reason she wouldn't be).