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Fridge Brilliancenote Examples are organized in order of the episode in which they can first be detected.
Why does Pierce repeatedly mispronounce Abed's name as "Ay-bed" throughout the series? Because when Pierce "introduces" everyone and gets their name wrong during the pilot (either mispronouncing it as in Abed's case, mangling it in the case of Troy and Britta or offering the wrong name entirely in Annie's case), Abed is the only one not to correct him. Knowing Pierce, he probably thinks everyone else is wrong.
In the Pilot, Troy mishears "Asperger's" as "ass burgers". At first, it just looks like Troy is immature (and he is), but the comment takes on another level when you realize Troy has a thing for "butt stuff".
In "Spanish 101" Senor Chang introduces himself by giving a lengthy, insanely defensive speech about how he is a "Spanish genius" and needn't conform to Asian stereotypes. Much later, in "English As A Second Language" we learn that Chang was never credentialed or trained as a Spanish teacher. On learning this, the Dean implies that he didn't ask for Chang's credentials because he didn't want to appear racist. The speech Chang gives to the class is likely the same Insane Troll Logic he used to con the Dean into hiring him without checking his background!
Furthermore, when people ask him "why do you teach Spanish?", this later revelation suggests that they're not asking "why do you teach Spanish because you're Asian?" but "why do you teach Spanish when you clearly know little to nothing about it?"
Chang not knowing Spanish also explains why everyone at Greendale calls him "Senior Chang" instead of "Señor Chang," but no one is ever corrected. It seems strange that he would ignore the mispronunciation until you realize he likely TAUGHT it.
Chang's immediate failing of Jeff's and Pierce's project—which Jeff mentions is "surprisingly critical of Israel"—makes a lot of sense when you find out that his brother is a rabbi.
It could explain why Abed (who is half-Palestinian) is the only one who seems to be really into it. Then again, it could just be Abed's enjoyment of terrible, terrible movies. That presentation could not possibly have been better/worse than Kickpuncher.
Related: also in the pilot, Jeff introduces himself to Britta as a "board-certified" Spanish tutor. She challenges him to say that in Spanish, so he rattles off a sentence in broken Spanish (see the main entry) that has nothing to do with being a Spanish tutor. Britta's convinced herself so well that she needs help that even if she understood the words he was saying, he's so confident in his delivery (and she's so unconfident in her Spanish) that she'd decide she needed help anyway because she must be misunderstanding him.
Alternatively, This drops an early hint that Britta might be more of the ditz that she's presented as later on.
In "Introduction to Film" Jeff was all up in Britta's face about not getting involved in each other's personal lives. Jeff eventually did get involved however, which led to solving the conflict between Britta, Abed, and Abed's father. Eventually Britta kissed Jeff then said, "Now we're even," as Jeff's Robin Williamswannabe professor witnessed and exclaimed that he passed because of the kiss. He then said "I know a life changing kiss when I see one." To some this may seem like a one off joke, but it can actually be read as true: Jeff got involved and helped his two new friends, Abed and Britta. This was the first episode that Jeff did something to help without trying to get into Britta's pants. And Britta in turn helped Jeff as a friend, and her action did not result in them getting together like Jeff expected. In layman's terms: this is the first episode that the True Companionship is firmly established.
In "Social Psychology", contrary to what Professor Duncan ends up thinking the Duncan Principle works perfectly; unfortunately for Duncan, he thought he was controlling the experiment and ended up being the subject.
In "Advanced Criminal Law", the study group are discussing who could be responsible for cheating in the Spanish test. The chain of accusation goes from Jeff, to Annie, to Troy, to Pierce, before ending on Britta. While the others offer a defense of themselves before turning the accusation to someone else, notice how when it gets to Britta rather than continuing the chain, she changes the subject. Britta is the actual cheat.
It may seem out-of-character in "Advanced Criminal Law" for Annie, who was an unpopular, unattractive nerd in high school, to have been a high-school cheerleader. It makes even less sense in the context of her cluelessness about what slogan to bring to the football rally in "Football, Feminism, and You". Then you remember that she had a huge crush on the school's star quarterback, Troy. Since all she cared about was getting close to Troy, of course she never worked out anything else about cheerleading...which may be part of why the other cheerleaders "left [her] behind at a Taco Bell" at one point. And this, in turn, explains part of why she goes out of her way to take out the cheerleaders in "A Fistful of Paintballs."
As well as this, she's also clearly established as an obsessive over-achiever who would take any chance to gain extra credit or extracurricular activities — hence why she'd sign up for the cheerleader team despite having little-to-no interest or enthusiasm for cheerleading or football; it looks good on a college application.
Of course Jeff was leaving the Dia de Muertos party in "Introduction To Statistics": Annie was to begin the dance with Las Golondrinas ("The Swallows"), the quintessential Mexican song to say goodbye.
Abed attends the costume party in "Introduction To Statistics" as Batman. In "Debate 109", we discover that Abed can predict the behavior of the study group based on their personalities. What is the trope for a plan which is based on how you expect those involved to react? A Batman Gambit.
The ninth episode of season 1 is called "Debate 109."
In the actual debate, the Greendale team is arguing that people are inherently evil, while the City College team is arguing that people are inherently good. Each side, however, has at least one member who arguably reflects the opposite position; the star debater for the City College team, Simmons, presents himself as an idealistic, sensitive, and thoughtful person, but is actually just a snide, arrogant bully, while Jeff constantly presents himself as an aloof, cynical and above-it-all Jerkass but deep down possesses a genuine heart of gold (as witnessed in the way he stands up for Annie when Simmons is mocking her).
Also, Troy and Jeff trying and failing to finish the word "fiiiiiigh…ting" any other way becomes doubly funny when you realize it's the end of the semester and Jeff has spent half the episode worried about his Spanish final.
In "Romantic Expressionism," Jeff convinced Britta to help him sabotage Annie's relationship with Vaughn by explaining that Vaughn is a "gateway douchebag" and will make Annie more likely to date other douchebags down the line. Later in that same episode, Starburns sees Jeff from across the classroom and remarks, "See that guy over there? He's a douchebag." Cut to the Season Finale....
In "The Science of Illusion," Britta's ill-fated prank, at which Jeff scoffed early on, would have become a more mainstream joke had it been completed. Rather than a benign animal costume "prank," it would likely have created mayhem in the Spanish class at Senor Chang's expense, given the "crippling fear of frogs" that Chang is revealed to have (not to mention his penchant for over-reacting). Either way, Britta's prank would have backfired from her point-of-view.
When Pierce, Shirley, Annie, Troy and Britta are having their tearful group hug at the end, Pierce insists that they "never let Jeff divide us again!" It seems just like Pierce being Pierce — except that Jeff kind of is responsible for their hurt feelings by that point, at least in part. It's because he leads the taunts that Britta's a 'buzzkill' that she feels insecure enough to try the prank that causes all the trouble as a means of fitting in, and because he callously intended to rat her out for his own self-involved reasons that she framed him for the prank — both which in turn exacerbated Shirley and Annie's conflict over their Good Cop/Bad Cop routine, which was itself fuelled by their insecurities. And he was the mastermind behind the mean prank to exploit Pierce's beliefs to dress him up as the Cookie Crisp Wizard, which Troy only went along with because he was insecure about how Jeff perceived him. So Pierce isn't entirely wrong to lay the blame on Jeff.
In the pilot it is Abed that invites 4 out of the 7 students to the original study group. In "the art of discourse" we discover that on the top of his "quintessential college experiences" list is "bond with a group of lovable misfits." Since Abed processes reality through television it is very likely that Abed picked these individuals from spanish class because he recognized the roles they would fill in an ensemble cast: good girl (Annie), sassy black single mom (Shirley), lummox (Pierce), and dunce (Troy). He probably already recognized Jeff and Britta as hero and love interest.
In the tag of "Interpretive Dance," Troy and Abed do a crossword in which seemingly every answer is a member of the study group. (Water filter? Britta. Helen of? Troy.) They then get to "Bridges brother, four letters," at which point Jeff gets frustrated with how long it takes them to get to the answer - Beau, obviously. This is not just a random tag - it actually make perfect sense that the study group members are the basis of the crossword, since Annie edits the crossword of the school paper as of "Investigative Journalism."
In "Communication Studies", Shirley and Annie play a prank on Senor Chang where they claim he's been asked to teach at Princeton. However, he sees right through it and immediately realizes it's a prank. Later, "English As A Second Language" reveals that Senor Chang doesn't actually have any teaching credentials. So, he knows that Princeton wouldn't be asking him to teach there.
During "Basic Genealogy", Senor Chang's brother Rabbi Chang tells him that being called "Senor Chang" sounds ridiculous. This seems like Hypocritical Humor - in fact, Rabbi Chang might be referring to the fact that he knows his brother doesn't speak Spanish.
Why does Jeff hate Rich so much? He's basically Jeff's opposite in every way. Whereas Jeff puts up a front of not caring & explicitly states he became a lawyer because he admired their ability to not care, but when you dig deeper, you find he's actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with an inferiority complex & more often than not does the right thing; Rich, on the other hand, comes off as a perfectly likable guy, until you start to look beyond his first impression - He takes Beginner Pottery despite being a more advanced level and he enrolls for Anthropology 102 despite (In Annie's words) already knowing a lot about the subject, meaning he gets lots of praise for his skills despite being a "beginner". Subsequently, this twists his work for the community & his skills as a doctor (Remember that Rich has never lost a patient) as not being because Rich is simply that good, but into all being one big ego boost. Simply put, Rich comes off as a Nice Guy, but is ultimately a self-centred egomaniac - The opposite of Jeff.
This also explains why Rich never shows up in Anthropology after his initial class - He figured out that class was a giant blow-off & Duncan was giving everyone top grades. To paraphrase Syndrome: If everyone is special, then no-one is.
During the tag of "The Science of Illusion," Jeff angrily storms out of his guest spot on "Troy and Abed in the Morning" upon realizing they're not filming. However, the people holding signs in the background stay, and re-appear in future TAITM spots - in other words, there is a large group of Greendale students who show up at 6 AM to hold signs against windows in the study group room despite knowing they're showing them to no one.
As of season 3, episode 19, (in a moment that may count as a Brick Joke payoff to this earlier scene) we see that on some occasions, TAITM may actually be filmed. Annie is wistfully creating her own TAITM moment when they walk in on her. She denies she's up to anything, and they want to know why there are cameras there (while looking down the barrel of the fourth wall).
While this is certainly a possibility, it's more likely (to this troper, at least), that they're simply referencing how Abed and Troy are always merely pretending there are cameras there; they can 'see' Annie's cameras because they're just as real as the cameras that film them (i.e. not real in the slightest). Both Troy and Abed have pretty flexible relationships between reality and their own imaginations and 'dreamscapes', after all.
In "Contemporary American Poultry", Troy acquires a monkey, which he names Annie's Boobs to annoy Annie. He takes every opportunity to use Annie's Boobs' name, to the point where Shirley irritably lampshades what an Overly Long Gag it's become ("Alright, we get it; the monkey's name is Annie's Boobs.") When the monkey reappears in "Paradigms of Human Memory", it appears that Troy has taken this on board (or the scriptwriters have at least); in this episode, the monkey is never referred to by name. (He refers to the monkey as "Annie's Boobs" again in the Season 3 Premiere, but this is after "Paradigms of Human Memory" — by which point, the joke hasn't been done for a while, so it's okay to start doing it again.)
Señor Chang, as a teacher, will often make gender mistakes in Spanish. For example in "Modern Warfare," he says "Buenas días chicos," when it should be "buenos" because "día" is actually a masculine noun. Then in "English As A Second Language" we find out that Chang isn't a licensed teacher and learned Spanish from watching Sesame Street.
One of the early scenes in the season 1 pilot is Jeff Winger asking Professor Ian Duncan for help cheating in his classes. One of the early scenes in the last episode of season 1 is Ben Chang asking Professor Ian Duncan for help cheating in his classes. Both occur less than 5 minutes into the episode.
In "Pascal's Triangle Revisited", Duncan suggests Britta embrace her nomination for Tranny Queen in order to deal with her childhood fears of being used like a blow-up doll. Britta would embrace her nomination, however, it is mainly due to her attraction to Jeff and her competition with Prof. Slater. Duncan also mentions a young Britta's situation at a birthday party between her and a man dressed in a dinosaur costume (here). It seems Britta would take Duncan's advice to embrace her fears in "Epidemiology" when she comes to the party dressed as a "T-Rex" (or Dragon-Turtle).
It's been pointed out that despite Dan Harmon asserting that "Annie's pretty young, we try not to sexualize her," the show still does that fairly often, more so than it does Britta. But remember that Jeff also says this word for word to Buddy, who was sat next to Annie at the time; and Annie asserts that she doesn't want to be treated like a little girl in "The Science of Illusion" - The Study Group may try not to sexualize Annie, but that's not going to stop her from doing it herself.
In the season 2 opening sequence we see Troy hop out of bed wearing Spider-Man pajamas. This is a reference to the summer's internet campaign to have Donald Glover considered for the role of Peter Parker in the Spider-Man movie reboot.
We also see Jeff working out in striped underwear. Later in the season Britta mentions that he is usually seen in stripy "Beetlejuice" underwear.
Pierce comparing himself and Troy to Batman and Shaft seems racist at first. But in Pierce's mind this is because he views Troy as an equal and not a sidekick (ie. Robin.)
Remember when Abed delivered a baby in the background of "The Psychology of Letting Go"? At the end of the sex education fair episode in season one, right after Abed told everyone not to wear condoms while having sex that night, you can see a guy throwing away a condom while getting cozy with a girl in the background behind Jeff. This is probably not the same couple who got pregnant in season 2, but it's probably a very subtle Brick Joke.
The episode was also the second filmed for Season Two, and if it had shown in this order, it would have been screened in September... roughly nine months after "Politics of Human Sexuality". (Word of God is that the timing was a brilliant accident.)
Another from The Psychology of Letting Go. During the Oil Spill plotline Britta is shown as overtly political, but brash and confrontational (to an at-times unnecessary degree — as one person points out, her overt anger is completely unnecessary if no one is actually disagreeing with her), while Annie is shown as more compassionate, yet naive and overtly sexual. Shirley repeatedly attempts to join in, but is either ignored or forgotten about. In the end, Annie and Britta end up coming to blows over comparatively minor differences, while Shirley becomes bitter and washes her hands of the two of them. Which is, very broadly speaking, a pretty decent analogy/parody of the split between the Second and Third Waves of Feminism:
Very basically (so please don't kill me) the split occurred as the Third Wave rejected (and then rebelled against) the Second Wave's confrontational (and often overtly Socialist) style and fixed notions of gender. The Second Wave repeatedly attacked the Third Wave as being "feminism lite" and too concerned with the petty details of everyday life (see: The Spice Girls/Ally Mc Beal/Sex And The City). Meanwhile, Black Feminism grew tired of being ignored in favour of the petty infighting and accused both the Second and Third Waves of being too centered on white, middle class, college educated women, and sort of broke away into the related, but separate, Womanism.
Admittedly, that is a fairly esoteric reading, and could possibly just be a coincidence. But the show has demonstrated at least a basic understanding of feminist concepts in the past, usually as a way of highlighting Britta's failings as a feminist. Given their penchant for very buried jokes and meta narratives, dedicating a plot line (or perhaps even whole character traits, depending on how you want to look at it) to a critique of Feminism as a whole doesn't seem all that unlikely.
"Often overtly Socialist"? That *is* a fairly esoteric reading, though more for the odd capitalisation and detached unfamiliarity of the description. All liberation movements have socialist (and un-socialist) wings, including 2nd wave feminism; one might as well say "often overtly dedicated to using leaflets to spread ones ideas"; "often overtly English-speaking", etc - you see my point. I think this is very much an esoteric reading going beyond anything we see in the episode itself.
Not wanting to trigger a Thread Mode war or anything, I think the OP's interpretation — while not necessarily intended by the writers (but then, since when have welet that stop us?) — works on the level of a very broad satire of the conflicts between the various movements/approaches to feminism (and let's be fair, in a subplot around an oil-spill diorama on a twenty-minute sitcom, you're not going to get much more in-depth than what we got). It might be more accurate, though, to describe it as a very broad and all-ages-friendly representation of the 'Feminist Sex Wars' — essentially, and again to very broadly simplify, the conflict between the branches of feminism that view male sexuality and sexual dominance as inherently the root of female oppression, and female submission to male sexuality as furthering the patriarchy (Britta) and more 'sex-positive' feminism that views female sexuality as liberating and criticises the former branches as being repressive themselves (Annie); their whole conflict, after all, stems from Britta's objection over what she sees as Annie using her sexuality to get money, and Annie getting offended by what she sees as Britta judging and trying to dominate her over what she just views as naturally being herself. Plus, this is the Fridge zone — esoteric interpretations are kind of welcome here. And if we're criticising people's grammar and the way they're writing their arguments, it's perhaps worth noting that 'un-socialist' isn't exactly a great choice of phrasing either; 'non-socialist' or even 'anti-socialist' might be better choices of terms.
A similar, albeit less specific, interpretation is that while feminists are engaging in bitter in-fighting over relatively trivial and even meaningless differences and issues, bigger problems are going unaddressed. It's notable that the oil slick that was the whole motivation for Britta and Annie's campaigning in the first place quickly gets forgotten as they get more wound up over their trivial differences, petty rivalries and sniping matches.
The sudden oil wrestling match is strangely reminiscent of Buddy's third flashback from "Investigative Journalism". (The one where Britta and Annie mud wrestle in cheerleader uniforms, which Buddy says might have been a dream.)
In "Basic Rocket Science" there is a lot of discussion about Greendale's new school logo. Jeff says "...and I told him it was a butt. He kept not seeing it. It was driving me crazy." Is it possible this is the show's staff being frustrated that nobody saw the obscene joke in the original Greendale logo?
Additionally, the study group gets into trouble after Jeff explains it was a butt. Now what rule of comedy did Jeff just violate?
In Epidemiology, Troy is the one to save the group... using air conditioning.
In Cooperative Caligraphy, Annie asks Abed if he took her pen. Abed replies he's strictly mechanical pencil these days, and Pierce quips, "More relatable?" thought the joke was just that Abed is mechanical. While on the surface this comments appears to just refer to Abed's mechanical nature, it also works as a call back to the Pilot, the Winger speech makes a point about humans being able to relate to a pencil by simply giving it a name.
From the same episode, Jeff's speech at the end about how the pen is more likely to have been stolen by a ghost than by someone in the study group isn't just showing how they are True Companions, it's also subtly Leaning on the Fourth Wall. Jeff's attitude towards the idea is reflective of the audience's attitude towards realism in fiction-we will accept paranormal phenomena like ghosts as part of the universe of a work, but still expect characters not to break from their characterization without explanation, even though in reality the latter is far more likely than the former.
Jeff needs to learn that he can't just dishonestly coast his way out of his studies, and that whenever he tries to do so chaos and trouble inevitably results.
Annie needs to learn that you can't just force someone to change to make them 'better' if 'better' only means 'more suitable / agreeable to you'.
The Dean needs to learn that you don't make friends by constantly sneaking around behind people's backs and plotting against them.
Everyone apparently needs to learn that prop guns actually aren't toys and can be just as dangerous as real guns if they're not used carefully with proper precautions.
In Mixology Certification, we discover that Shirley "had a few bad years." It's never stated that this was before she found Jesus, but that would explain her constant attempts to foist her religion on the rest of the group: There is no worshiper more evangelical than the new convert.
She also becomes much less overtly Jesusy once she gets back with her husband, which would suggest that both her drinking and her religiousness were attempts to deal with, or at least distract herself from, the problems in her life.
At first, it doesn't seem to make sense that everyone can see the events in Abed's imagination in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas", let alone play along with them. But when you listen to the dialogues, you'll realize that Abed tells everyone every event that is happening; "I'm on the roof of the train!" and "I'm going to the front car!". In fact, EVERYONE in the episode states what they were doing; Annie tells Abed that she's unhinging the train cars, Duncan tells that he's teleporting, etc.
This episode reveals the reason for some of the strange claims about British culture and language made by Prof. Duncan in the series. Like an American 8 is a British 10 and using terms such as "Gravedigger's biscuits" and "Italian fanny" and claiming that "Everything in Britain means 'vagina'". For a British viewer like myself, this just seems like another random joke at Britain's expense, but in the stopmotion Christmas episode's "cave of frozen memories" scene we discover that Duncan moved to the US with his grandfather when he was very young, meaning that his experience of British culture is actually very limited.
Related to Professor Duncan - he's definitely not moral, what with exploiting Abed for his own personal gain, but, judging from his reactions to Jeff and Chang asking him to help them cheat (in the Pilot and the S1 finale, respectively), he has a real problem with cheating. It becomes obvious why in the "Cave of Frozen Memories": it's heavily implied that his father cheated on his mother and ran out on them both.
I don't want to upset the OP (s/he does make a good point about Duncan's morals) but although both events use the same term ("cheating"), getting answers to exam papers and Duncan's father committing adultery are fairly different forms of deception. My interpretation on Duncan's outburst about his dad is that it parallels to Abed's loss of his mother (for Christmas at least). We see that while Abed copes without his mother by wanting to spend time with friends and hoping to find a new perspective on Christmas, Duncan suppresses his anguish by undermining the Christmas spirit and criticism.
Abed goes into Santa's workshop looking for an answer to his questions, and instead finds a DVD of LOST, which he interprets as a metaphor for lack of payoff. He later realizes that the true meaning of Christmas lies in his relationship with the other characters. The general consensus among Lost watchers is that those who were more interested in getting answers were disappointed, while those who were more interested in the characters were satisfied.
Abed comments that the other members of the study group "should move around more; not much point in being stop-motion animated if you don't." When they're in the 'real' world, the stop-motion figures of the study group hardly move throughout the entire episode, spending most of the time seated and stationary. Of course, from their point of view they're not stop-motion animated, so there's no reason for them to move about any more.
When the group passes through the Valley of Christmas Songs, Pierce asks if going through there will be expensive. Abed explains that the songs are all public domain. Pierce's question gets a little more meta when you remember that the Abba songs in "Epidemiology" completely wiped out the second season's music budget.
When everyone is trying to find out who Annie's dating in "Asian Population Studies" (IIRC), both Pierce and Abed suggest Bluestreak and Optimus Prime. Why would Pierce know anything about Transformers? Because his "Buddhist" cult runs on Energon.
In the season 2 opening sequence we see Annie combing her hair in a very cute girly room. If you look closer you can see that there are bars on the window. Later in the season it is revealed that she lives in a rough neighborhood.
In "Celebrity Pharmacology" Ben Chang asks "are you ignoring me because I'm Korean?" Shirley corrects him "You're Chinese." To which he replies "Oh, there's a difference!" Ken Jeong is a Korean actor playing a Chinese character.
In "Celebrity Pharmacology" Pierce ruins everything by making drugs look cool... but he is the only one in the show on drugs. Then in "Early 21st Century Romanticism," we see just Pierce passed out on a park bleach alone. The star of the anti-drug play is the one with a drug problem, and he was the one that needed to hear it the most.
To add to this, why was Pierce so determined to do this? Because otherwise he would have heard some things about himself and his drug use he didn't want to hear. One of the classic symptoms of drug abuse is denial.
Jeff's insecurity over how nobody would like him if he was fat has probably been around for a long time. But it was probably fueled even more after helping out Neil in "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons", someone who was disliked because he was overweight.
More so because Jeff was (inadvertently) responsible for coining the cruel, fat-baiting nickname that took such a toll on Neil in the first place.
It also explains why Jeff seemed so upset when Abed and Troy were making fun of him about Jeff's egg comment in one of the flashbacks in "Paradigms of Human Memory."
"Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" has a lot. The narrator says this is the game that decides the fate of good and Pierce. This episode was a Moral Event Horizon for Pierce: he Took A Level In Jerk Ass because of his addiction for drugs, which had taken a firm hold and led to him OD-ing in the next episode. Second, Jeff holds a campaign to cheer up Neil and get Neil's sword back as he was bullied as a kid. Third, he was the one who coined the term "Fat Neil" in the first place, so this is just a bully victim turned bully making up to the victim.
Also in "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons", Annie is shocked to discover her game character is named "Hector, the Well-Endowed." Abed explains that he didn't realize they were going to grab the character sheets at random and made that one for Troy. Shirley responds "Yeah, I just bet you did." She might have a point. Abed previously displayed an ability to predict the actions of the study group based on their personalities ("Debate 109"), so he might have predicted the order they grabbed the sheets.
While this is a possibility, Shirley's tone suggests that this comment is based more on her referencing the Ho Yay between Troy and Abed.
Pierce's 'punishments' towards his friends in this episode, while frequently condemned as being over-the-top cruelty, in fact act as a somewhat warped reflection of how he views the recipient's general relationship with and treatment of him:
Annie is generally nice to him, or at least is more patient with him than the others, and is also a fellow addict who showed noticeable concern about his addiction where the others were less interested; she gets a genuine gift.
Abed generally acts as a neutral observer; he receives no gift, but is permitted to record and observe.
Troy, Shirley and Britta usually more or less get on with him (although there's spikiness on both sides) — as such, they get gifts that, while intended maliciously as a Mind Screw, can also be viewed as a kind of warped kindness (Troy's getting to meet his hero, Shirley's getting validation of the group's regard for her, Britta's getting $10000 to do with as she pleases.).
And Jeff? Pierce clearly wants to be a father figure to Jeff, but Jeff not only repeatedly shoots him down, but is often openly and unrepentantly dismissive and snide towards him, so Jeff not only gets a completely malicious gift, but one which reflects how Jeff's father rejected him just as Jeff rejects Pierce.
Jeff is also the only one — apart from Abed, who as mentioned above is just an observer — who receives nothing tangible from Pierce. Pierce is also noticeably flustered and thrown off guard when Jeff actually agrees to see his dad, which is a little surprising given the intricate nature of the mind games he plays on the others; given the lengths he goes to, he could have easily hired an actor to play Jeff's dad or something. So it's likely that given how Jeff is usually the most savvy of the group, while Pierce definitely intended to mess with him he probably expected Jeff to ultimately see through it and miscalculated just how messed up Jeff is about his dad.
When Britta visits Pierce, the exchange is 'Knock knock,' 'Is that you, Death?' 'It's Britta.' 'Oh...' This is reminiscent of in The Science of Illusion when Britta laments as to being a buzzkill: 'Knock knock. Who's there? Cancer. Oh good, come on in, I thought it was Britta.'
In "Intro To Political Science", Troy and Abed comment at the election polling is spilt 48%-48% between Jeff and Annie, with a 2% margin of error — before admitting that they don't even know how to do margins of error and got the polls simply by "talking to two guys at a vending machine". It only sinks in later that Troy and Abed are broadcasting from the vending machines — the clear implication is that they are the two guys at the vending machines...
In "Intro To Political Science", Annie Edison's campaign flyers read "EDISON [drawing of a lightbulb] SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD IDEA!" Blindly missing the obvious "bright idea" pun.
This is because Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the lightbulb. She wasn't really thinking about the lightbulb when she drew it.
But maybe she was also thinking of the phonograph since Edison is credited with inventing that, too.
In "Intro To Political Science", when Troy and Abed are introducing the candidates with a slide for each one giving some basic information: Pierce's slide has the line "Age: 66, dick" which at first seems to imply Abed and Troy think Pierce is a dick.. unless you remember this conversation from the D&D episode.
Abed: As you watch the goblins retreat, you notice a 67-year old naked man with no weapons lying in the wet grass shivering. His name is..
It's clear that noone's really inspired by Britta's anarchist statements in "Intro To Political Science", but Jeff seems the most annoyed. Why? Because it threatens his position as leader of the study group if someone in the study group doesn't believe in leaders.
Jeff's overtly macho Halloween costumes appear at first to just be another joke, but make perfect sense after we learn in "Critical Film Studies" that he was once forced to wear an Indian princess costume for Halloween, which caused some big psychological scars as he was just happy to be told he was pretty by the end of the night.
Not just overtly macho, but in "Introduction to Statistics" he was a cowboy, almost as though he's trying to murder the memory of the little Indian girl.
Jeff was expecting a night full of Pulp Fiction references, just like the audience after they saw the Misleading Promo NBC aired. And, like the audience, Jeff got a completely different night than he expected.
In "Critical Film Studies" Abed reveals he chose My Dinner With Andre because "It's about a guy who has an unexpectedly enjoyable evening with a weird friend he's been avoiding lately." Jeff assumes that in this scenario he's the guy who's been doing the avoiding (as he all but admits to at the beginning) and Abed's the 'weird friend'. However, if you think about it the example also works the other way around; in "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" Troy and Abed admit they've been avoiding Jeff (partly because of the things Britta has told them about him based on their sexual encounter), and Jeff — while certainly 'normal' compared to Abed, on least on the surface — is himself ultimately a rather messed-up and 'weird' person, as his story about the Indian girl costume demonstrates. Could be that instead of / in addition to feeling that Jeff had been putting some distance between them, Abed felt guilty about his part in avoiding Jeff and wanted to bridge the gap, but couldn't figure out how without referencing a movie. It also explains Abed's non-committal response when Jeff asks if Abed feels that Jeff's been avoiding him: "We did hang out more last year."
At the beginning of "Aerodynamics of Gender", Pierce announces his radio-controlled hovering spycam by saying "Hey, remember last week when you were racing those radio-controlled cars and you thought you were cool? Well, turns out you're not!" We never saw the car episode, but during the Dean Pelton costume flashback montage in "Paradigms of Human Memory", one clip shows Jeff sitting with a neat-looking radio-controlled car.
In one of the flashbacks in the mock Jeff / Annie montage in "Paradigms of Human Memory", Jeff saves Annie, who has frozen up in fear from a rampaging robot while everyone else is running. Remember that in Annie's backstory, upon becoming hooked on Adderall she had a breakdown in which she started to see people as robots, which explains why she's frozen — she's not sure whether she's hallucinating again or not.
The robot's name is Boob-a-Tron 6000. Troy and Abed created Boob-a-Tron 4000 in season 1 episode "The Art of Discourse." Abed was hoping that when someone spilled bong water on Boob-a-Tron it would come to life.
On the robot's chest is the same panel that Chang rewires in season 2 episode "Basic Rocket Science."
It appears that the Boob-a-Tron robot may have been after Annie's boobs. Annie's Boobs is also the name of Troy's monkey that re-appeared earlier in the episode.
In Paradigms of Human Memory, a series of flashback showed Abed displaying love of the short-lived show The Cape by wearing a cape. In some of the other flashbacks, he can be seen wearing a shirt that says "Save The Cape", probably in response to its cancellation.
In Paradigms of Human Memory, there is a flashback to the group in the study room during the events of Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas. All of the characters are wearing the EXACT clothes that their claymation counterparts were wearing in the special.
And it works; but not for the reasons they suspect. The members arguing that they should keep arguing commonly cite that it's better to get everything out in the open because "they'll stop fighting (forever)". This, obviously, doesn't happen (and indeed would never happen), which gives them cause to believe that they are merely dysfunctional people incapable of getting along — but what it actually means that they are in fact very comfortable and open with each other, since they are more willing to confront and challenge each other whenever they feel one (or more) of them has crossed the line, rather than bottling it up to unleash it in a more potentially destructive and irreparable fashion later — which ultimately helps them resolve the matter they're currently facing quickly and constructively. And the episode reflects this; If we ignore the flashbacks, what's left is the group discovering an issue, arguing about it quite heatedly but then hashing it out and resolving it very quickly (their argument in total probably takes up no more than ten minutes if we take out the flashbacks, and then by the time everyone simmered down they'd realized they were making a big deal over something comparatively little) and making sure they remain friends in the process.
Further Fridge Brilliance; Jeff's final speech, of which we only saw a brief excerpt, probably pointed all this out, but we didn't hear it because we actually saw it in action all the other times he'd made a speech to help resolve the issues that had risen amongst them. Show, Don't Tell in action.
Paradigms of Human Memory: When you watch all of the flashbacks, you can see that almost all of them link together in some way to give us a sense of what happened in the 'episode' that we didn't see, or which at least suggest a plot which we didn't see. Almost all of them, that is, except for the short scene of Troy and Abed mocking Jeff behind his back by wearing his jacket and playing with his phone, which occurs outside of any context and seems to have no link to any of the other scenes. In fact, it seems very similar in both subject and length to the end-of-episode 'tags' that Troy and Abed star in at the end of every episode — and if there are entire episodes we didn't see, it stands to reason that there are also episode tags we didn't see...
Annie and Britta also get a short 'tag'-like moment (when Britta takes Annie's lip balm without asking, uses it and then uncaringly throws it away), which underscores this point but also adds another one; just because the only people we usually see in the tags are Troy and Abed doesn't mean the others don't get tags we don't see either...
Again in "Paradigms of Human Memory", the haunted house segment seems to show Pierce and the gang meeting a ghostly Civil War-era ancestor of Pierce's. Then you notice that Jeff's speech excerpt seems to be about the absence of any real ghosts, and that only Pierce acknowledges the apparition, suggesting that it's one of his pill-induced hallucinations. Moreover, the ghost resembles both Colonel Sanders and Pierce's abusive father.
At the end of "Paradigms of Human Memory", Chang sits down with Annie's Boobs and mentions "We've had some times, huh?". While this just leads into another shipping video parody, both Ken Jeong and Crystal (the monkey) appeared in The Hangover:Part II.
In "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts", when questioned on whether students giving birth in classrooms is a common occurrence, the Dean blurts out that "a lot more are conceived." No doubt, the the STD fair alone saw a lot of students get frisky in the empty classrooms with faulty condoms...
Also in "Competitive Wine Tasting," why is Troy's acting name between "Trevor St. McGoodbody or David"? What's the last line in Kickpuncher? "Don't call me Kickpuncher. Call me... David."
Also from "Competitive Wine Tasting", Britta develops a thing for Troy after he relays his false story of being molested by his uncle as a child. This could just be Britta's thing for damaged goods expressing itself — however, according to this among other hints around the place, Britta's own backstory is also implied to contain at least one instance of molestation which could, in Britta's mind, have made them kindred spirits.
In "A Fistful Of Paint Balls", it's revealed that Annie is the only hold-out in the vote to remove Pierce from the group. Why? Because unlike the other members of the group, she can most relate to Pierce and why he does the things he does; like Pierce, she has first-hand experience of what it's like to be excluded by people who you want to be accepted by and how painful that can be, like Pierce she has first-hand experience with drug addiction and how that can potentially ruin your life and drastically affect your behaviour and outlook, and like Pierce she has an over-competitive ruthless streak that she struggles (rather more successfully than he does) to keep in check and from destroying her relationships with the people around her. Where the others just look at Pierce and mostly see an insufferable Jerk Ass, Annie sees both a reflection of how she could end up and someone who, like her, could be redeemed with help from the people around him.
Which makes the gun duel between the two of them all the more heartbreaking, as it demonstrates that Annie has finally lost all faith in the possibility of redeeming Pierce.
From the first five or so minutes, it's subtly established that the group has made a decision that excludes Pierce, and Annie is the only dissent. The Greendale Seven (minus Pierce) are introduced in this episode via title cards with a playing card motif. Annie is the first of the seven that we meet, and is the only one with a red card (the ace of hearts at that).
Annie and Jeff argue over Pierce's behavior. Annie argues that Pierce is a jerk because they exclude him while Jeff argues that they exclude him because he's a jerk. So, who's right? Well, most of Pierce's "jerk" behavior was a result of his addiction to painkillers, which he started taking because he broke his legs in a trampoline accident, which occurred because he tried to play with the trampoline "better" than Troy and Jeff, which he most likely did because they excluded him from playing on it.
At the end of For A Few Paintballs More, Britta suggested that they take Anthro 201 next semester, and Abed said it was too risky because 'sequels are always disappointing'. This can both be a reference to the Star Wars franchise, and the episode itself, which was a Sequel Episode.
For A Few Paintballs More was obviously filled with callbacks and references, too many for any one person to be able to catch them all. One such aspect of the episode though that I saw as being rather poignant was Leonard's little arc. Leonard as a character has been portrayed as an old man who acts like a teenage brat, swearing and acting up constantly. In the episode he reveals to Britta that he's been in several real life wars; the reason he acts like a rebellious teenager in his later years is that he spent his actual teenage years fighting in one of the most humourless periods in recent human history.
Further brilliance here is that each of these times Abed is pretending to be a particular character type - a charming, suave, emotionally closed off manipulator. Who else fits that description? Jeff. Annie definitely has a type.
Yet again for For A Few Paintballs More; during the planning session, the Greendale students are gathered around a picture perfect diorama of the campus that they seem to have just quickly put together. Of course, they'd be good at this by now, seeing as they've made twenty of them for Anthropology class. Guess it came in useful after all...
Yet another from For A Few Paintballs More: Shirley's role in the plan is to pull the fire alarm and activate the library's paint-filled sprinklers. She runs out into the hall to pull a fire alarm over there, despite a fire alarm being in very clear view in the study room. Why not just pull that one? Well, as The Tag from Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts demonstrates, not all the fire alarms actually work.
I thought the point was more that if she pulled that one in the study room then she wouldn't be able to get out in time and as she says "someone's gotta win this!"
There seems to be a pattern in the first and the second season finale; both had Annie making out with someone who then promptly left her, and both had a problem that has two obvious solutions, but ended with a third solution; in For A Few Paintballs More, either the group takes back Pierce and he rejoins the group, or the group kicks him out. The group decides to take him back, but he decided to quit. In Pascal's Triangle Revisited, Jeff wil either end up with Britta or Slater. He made out with Annie at the end. Then, Cliff Hanger...
For A Few Paintballs More, it appears Pierce has gone over to the City College team, and as part of this is feeding Dean Spreck information about Jeff — which turns out to be a whole load of stuff about how gay Jeff is. On one hand, this is Pierce being Pierce and thus deluded / spiteful about Jeff. On the other, it's possible foreshadowing about which way Pierce's loyalties really lie, since he's knowingly feeding Spreck inaccurate, useless information of no worth to distract and hinder him from dealing with the study group.
Just after Magnitude speaks up at the briefing in "For A Few Paintballs More", we hear briefly from a British student known as Paradox. This is a rather appropriate name because Paradox is played by an American actor. Magnitude, an American character, is played by a British actor.
Why does Magnitude throw himself on the paintbomb? Because he's a one-man party, and as he says, a one-man party can't be part of an alliance. His Heroic Sacrifice means the alliance can proceed.
The musical number that opens "Biology 101" works on at least two levels; it's a lazy daydream by Jeff (specifically, about how great things will be since Pierce is no longer in the group — he's the only person not participating and how the lyrics can all be applied to what Jeff feels is Pierce's negative effect on the group) and there's the meta-commentary / spoof of the show's surreal brand of humour and it's effect on potential mainstream appeal.
THREE levels. It's also a Take That directed at their hated rivalGlee, basically saying "That show is like us without all the bits that make us good."
Or, it's a daydream kicked off by the question he was asked just beforehand, which is 'What are we gunna do without Pierce in the group this year?'.
FIVE. While the sequence means all these things, Jeff clearly isn't thinking about it that much in depth — he's just having a daydream. The creators, meanwhile, probably only created the sequence with one or two of these levels in mind, while we find so many more.
Six. Because as we learn in "Regional Holiday Music" the Study Group filled in for the Glee club before. Jeff is remembering that too.
Seven. It also acts as ironic Foreshadowing for the rest of the season, which has in general been one of the most difficult so far for the study group in general and Jeff in particular (who has been subject to an ongoing process of Deconstruction revealing his numerous issues and neuroses). In between such things as Troy and Abed falling out and causing a school-wide pillow war, Shirley and Pierce's sandwich shop dreams gettin stolen and sold to Subway by the school, everyone in general having numerous issues, problems and difficulties and even getting expelled towards the end of the season, this year has been anything but 'finally fine' for the study group.
Why does Pierce help Jeff out even though he was the member who was the most antagonistic to him? It's cause Pierce saw Jeff and himself as Not So Different. Up until Annie tells Jeff that they are no longer friends. Even during all of Pierce's antics, Annie always stuck by him. Jeff was basically losing the one positive thing Pierce had last season, so he took pity on the guy. At least that's my interpretation of it.
To go even further with this: Pierce's lowest point in the last season was arguably when even Annie got fed up with his antics and turned on him in "A Fistful of Paintballs". They really are Not So Different — but the group was willing to give Pierce another chance, so Pierce pays it forward with Jeff.
How important is the Air-Conditioning Repair Annex to Greendale? It's mentioned in Pierce's school song from season one.
Pierce: Dancing in your underwear, taking air conditioner repair. So you can get a job ...
Not just that, but it is heavily hinted that the air conditioner repair course is the only viable education that Greendale has to offer. Keep in mind that Greendale gets most of its money from alumni donations and that most of those donations go straight to the Air-Conditioning Repair Annex.
After Abed discovers that Cougar Town has been pushed back to mid-season, Britta finds the British sitcom it was based on to fill the void, Cougarton Abbey. The title appears to be a Portmanteau of Cougar Town and Downton Abbey. One episode of Cougar Town had the cul-de-sac crew play a game where they'd combine the names of two movies in such a manner.
Abed becomes upset when the sixth episode of Cougarton Abbey ends with the characters killing themselves and the series ending. Britta then explains that they only made six episodes. This is an obvious example of British Brevity, but it was also around the sixth episode of Cougar Town that the show abandoned the "Jules seeks younger men" premise and started to come into its own.
Professor Kane's questions about LEGO in "Competitive Ecology": he asks why now all Lego is in sets around various themes and pop culture tie-ins, rather than just being piles of bricks. The whole point of Lego is to build things, but you can only construct things out of the Lego sets he mentions if you first de-construct what they were intended to be.
In " Remedial Chaos Theory", it can be interpreted that what happens in each timeline is a rough summation of what would happen if the group lost the member getting the pizza. To briefly sum up the many interpretations floating around for each member:
Losing Annie makes it feel more indie movie. Things are a bit more relaxed — however, there's also an element of danger without her (the gun is found and brandished around) and the group is lacking a distinct nurturing, healing presence (there's no one to tend Jeff's head injury and she's "a pretty good nurse").
Another way to interpret it is that this timeline is probably the least eventful of them all. While nothing particularly bad happens, nothing particularly good happens either. Things become stale and less exciting without Annie's drive and ambition around to propel the group.
Losing Shirley makes everyone behave meaner and be a bit more inclined to be selfish. Without her nagging, prodding and Team Momming them, they're inclined to forget their responsibilities and to not do what they should, even if they don't want to (taking her pies out of the oven).
Losing Pierce makes everyone happier (temporarily, at least) and leads to ship teases.
Alternatively, losing Pierce is the forefront to casting out the more mature people since Shirley, after baking pies, is quickly dismissed by Jeff very condescendingly.
Losing Britta loses the sardonic bent and increases the wackiness. However, it also makes the group a bit less warm, inviting and comforting; no one comforts Pierce when he has his meltdown or tries to make things better. While she might not always succeed or do so most effectively, Britta does try and make everyone feel better.
In addition, without the group to rein in her impulsiveness, Britta makes worse decisions.
Losing Troy leads to chaos, madness and death. Things go to hell quickly. Furthermore, while other timelines may see everyone unhappy and at each other's throats, this one ends up with everyone actively turning 'evil' in some way — more than anything else, this suggests that Troy is the true heart of the group.
The same timeline also suggests something similar about Pierce, oddly enough; when he's around, he acts as both a sufficient target for the group's negative impulses and as a warning for what'll happen if they overstep the line to prevent them from going to far. Take him out permanently, however, and the group are free to become 'evil' and act on their darker impulses.
A more negative interpretation is that Troy is in fact the cause of all the chaos and madness, since in his haste to get the pizza he caused the boulder to roll down.
Or it's foreshadowing how Troy's departure from the group during the end of the Air Condition Repair Annex plotline caused the group to fall apart at the seams.
Or, if one subscribes to the theory that all timelines are in Abed's imagination, it could just be that Abed thinks that being seperated from Troy would lead to chaos and doom.
Losing Abed causes the group to become too dramatic and self destruct. Although it seems like everyone is a bit more emotionally open without him, they end up taking it too far; he regulates the emotional pressure of the group.
Losing Jeff makes the conflicts go away. Everyone's a lot more relaxed, happy and willing to let their hair down and have fun without him shooting them down before they start.
A more favourable interpretation of Jeff is that without him, a lot of the underlying tensions and issues facing the group remain pushed under the surface, where they might fester and do more damage in the long run unless they're exposed. However, it's also worth noting that several of these issues are either directly caused by him (mocking Troy and shooting down Britta), are exacerbated by him (his organized opposition to Shirley's baking only ends up making things worse and leads to her storming out; by cutting Britta off before she can start singing he just drives her to get high) or managed to be resolved both in a much less emotionally turbulent fashion and without his involvement (Annie's living situation). As such, while he might help expose problems that threaten the fabric of the group and help resolve them, he is at least partially responsible for many of them in the first place and his methods of attempting to resolve them may often hurt as much as they help.
Looking at his approach to Shirley's problems a bit closer, Jeff's solution to Shirley's over-baking is to secretly collude with everyone to refuse to eat her pies because she's "not allowed to have an identity around baking." Shirley eventually confesses to Britta that she bakes too much because she feels excluded by everyone in the group. Jeff's approach to the problem essentially validates Shirley's insecurities; that everyone in the group is ganging up to exclude her.
In this regard its worth noting that in the episode produced/set after this (but aired before) Competitive Ecology Jeff's main contributions are the preferred partner list which made the group's problem worse and to blame Todd for their issues rather than actually addressing them. Jeff may very be doing more harm than good this point.
Another reflection of this: throughout each timeline, whenever someone approaches Jeff with a problem or raises a question he's not comfortable addressing, his response is to disinterestedly shut down the conversation by declaring that he's going to get a drink. Obviously a demonstration of his difficulty in / lack of interest in addressing the problems of the group, which as mentioned above only brings harm — but note that immediately after he does so, he stands up and hits his head on the fan. Jeff's maintaining a distance from the group and his problems isn't just harmful to them, it's harmful to himself as well.
This concept of removal from the group works with the third season's Biology motifs. It's like a food chain/web/thing. The removal of one element has all kinds of rammifications on the other elements.
Jeff's policing of everyone else's behavior also seems like a Call Back to his daydream musical number at the beginning of the season: he thinks that everyone will be "sunny and shiny and fine" if they're "more calm and normal," so him doing things like trying to get Shirley to stop baking all the time, get Abed and Troy to "grow up," and get Britta to not sing "Roxanne" are extremely misguided signs of love just as much as their signs of him being kind of a Jerkass. Of course, he's completely wrong. Which might also make it a Tearjerker?
Jeff stifles Annie's emotional growth. She's too busy doing what he tells her to do to tend to her own needs. Jeff tells her to get out of her bad neighborhood but when he's not there, it's Abed who offers an actual solution. ("You should live here.")
Look again at The Tag for Remedial Chaos Theory, which shows the darkest timeline. All (present) study group members are clad in black... except Jeff and Troy. Jeff is wearing purple, the colour of royalty and power, to re-estabilish him as the group's most dominant member, alongside black. Troy on the other hand is apparently the only one not fully taken over by darkness - he wears a light blue shirt, representing his position as The Heart (which his timeline in the episode further elaborated on).
Furthermore, Annie, in the mental ward, would likely be wearing white hospital robes - representing both her underlying insanity and inherent pureness.
Although keep in mind that Evil!Abed didn't appear in the 'dark' timeline until after Pierce had died, and Pierce was shot by Annie's gun without any involvement from Abed, so Evil!Abed probably wasn't involved. It certainly wouldn't have boded particularly well for Pierce in the regular timeline if Evil!Abed had stuck around there, however...
Also the fact that Abed keeps making Science Fiction references to solve problems like with the U.N competition or the Alternate Timelines this season when he hadn't before is because he started watching Inspector Spacetime.
Britta tells us in Remedial Chaos Theory that Jeff keeps his bathroom toiletries locked up in a safe. The most likely time for her to have seen this is sometime in Season 2. And a very strong motivation for Jeff to do this in Season 2 is that during a significant part of the year, Chang was living in Jeff's apartment.
In Remedial Chaos Theory, there is a mild example in Timeline 5. When all Hell breaks loose, Jeff tries to put the fire out with a shirt. We see the shirt catch on fire and slowly start crawling up it, closer to Jeff's arm. Suddenly, it becomes a lot clearer how he lost his arm in the fire.
In Remedial Chaos Theory the reason Jeff has to roll a dice to determine who gets the pizza is because "Nose Goes" fails when everyone does it at the exact same time. In Aerodynamics of Gender they play "Nose Goes" to determine who has to make sure Pierce doesn't overdose on painkillers. Jeff loses, and asks when they started doing that. Apparently, they do it so often that everyone has become incredibly good at it to the point where they all win.
However, while it's a pretty clear Not So Different moment, it also has a few indicators of how Jeff has undergone Character Development which has to some degree distanced him from his implied fate of ending up like Pierce; while Pierce is preoccupied with getting rid of his cruel housewarming gift to Troy so he doesn't get in trouble, Jeff is happily watching his friends enjoy themselves. While he might not yet be ready to take the step of actually joining in, Jeff has still bonded with them sufficiently to take simple pleasure in their happiness however silly he might think it.
The two characters most shipped with Annie are Jeff and Abed. In Remedial Chaos Theory, in the timeline where Abed leaves, Jeff and Annie kiss. In the timeline where Jeff leaves, Abed asks Annie to move in with him and Troy.
An alternate interpretation of the different timelines Remedial Chaos Thoery, as discussed on the Recap page, is they were all scenarios ran in Abed's head in the time it took Jeff to roll the die - being a student of the group's character he can assume everything that would transpire if each of them left the room, as well as all the per-existing elements such as Annie's Gun, and Pierce's Troll.
Additionally, this eventually affects Abed's character development throughout the entire season: The "Dark Timeline" scared him so much (as he is a control freak, and the scenario was far beyond his control) that it stuck with him, he continued playing it subconciously, and haunted him, as hinted by his ability to "sense" the aftermath of the fire and Evil!Abed's plotting in the tag.
Evil!Abed being a figment of his imagination is furthered by the fact that he connects with him via the dreamatorium, and represents Abed's control freak nature. Abed drifts closer to the dark timeline when things feel like they're slipping from control. Evil Abed's plot revolves around trying to control the prime timeline to make it "the darkest." At the end of Contemporary Impressionists when Evil!Abed first makes contact - Abed is alone, and has just confronted his control freakiness with Troy calling him out. Evil!Abed's second appearance is when Abed is alone, Troy had left for the annex, and Abed is feeling abandoned - Troy's leaving was something he could not control, and so once again he drifts into something he can. It's Annie teaching him sympathy in Virtual Systems Analysis, combined with Jeff's friendship speech in Introduction to Finality that helps him to snap out of play-acting Evil!Abed by helping him to accept the things beyond his control.
A Fridge Pun, if you will. It works with the above, if he's constantly running scenarios like those in Remedial Chaos Theory in his head, but Abed Nadirnote a word meaning "the lowest or worst point in a situation" dwelling on the darkest timeline fits together quite nicely.
Annie's story in Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps had her teaching Vampire Jeff how to read, which got them romantically closer to each other, or she thought so, at least. This is exactly how she treated Troy in the beginning of season 1, where she tried getting romantically closer to him by tutoring him.
Also in Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps, it was revealed that Abed was the most sane person in the group. This makes sense, because his story is the only one with no wacky or insane situations.
Or because of his shamanistic knowledge of human behavior, he filled out his test so that he would come out as a sane person.
Or because Abed is the only member of the study group who is actually sane. In universe he comes off as being unbalanced and delusional for acting like life is a tv show, but his life is actually a TV show. He can recognize genre shifts, and plot points, and can even tell when the camera is going to cut away.
Or it's because Abed doesn't have a personality disorder, he has a developmental disorder. It's clear Abed is non-neurotypical, but not in a way that would show up on a test for psychopathy or sociopathy.
Also in Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps, when lightning strikes and the group scatters and all draw improvised weapons, Britta is the only one with an actual weapon, (a switchblade), possibly pointing to her being a murderous psychopath.
How did Annie know Britta had put the tests in the wrong way up? She had taken one when she was in rehab for her adderall addiction.
She knows because the scores were printed on the bottom of the page, rather than the top, presumably upside-down. Scantron marking sheets are pretty much independent of the questionnaire sheet, so the scantron sanity tests would look just like any scantron test for any other subject.
This is actually a piece of fridge brilliance as well. After all, who would know more about scantron forms than the girl obsessed with grades?
Could this upside down thing mean that the insanity result from the first scanning was Abed's?
Why were Abed and Troy dressed as Inspector Spacetime and Constable Reggie before Britta even called them to come to her Halloween Party? They'd probably been playing in the Dreamatorium, which would be first introduced two episodes later.
With the reveal of the Secret Cabal of Air Conditioning in Advanced Gay, Greendale's ridiculous standards start to make sense. Think about the nature of the AC Repair Annex. They pride themselves on secrecy. What better way to stay hidden than to have a campus's reputation marred by incompetent staff, ridiculous public events (paintball riot, decrepit promotional KFC van press conference), and substandard cirriculum? This explains overall the school's reputation and staffing choices. The more ridiculous Greendale is, the easier the AC Annex is to hide.
This has the side effect in "Curriculum Unavailable" of supporting the psychiatrist's claim that Greendale is actually an insane asylum. He even brings up the points of how ridiculous a college it is.
In Studies In Modern Movement, the hitchhiker sings that he loves marijuana during the Kiss from a rose montage, while Britta and Shirley's facial expressions turns to horror as he claims he likes 'drinking human blood', per his Jesus Delusion it actually isn't as disturbing as one would initially imagine as Transubstantiation ie symbolically eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ is the way one receives salvation.
When the hitchhiker begins to sing his song about interracial marriage entitled "Don't You Do It", both Shirley and Britta scream at him to get out of the car. In Britta's case, while she's obviously someone who isn't racist (or at least values not being seen as racist), there's another reason she might take particular exception to this; after all, a significant subplot over the season has been her developing crush on Troy.
In the Dean's confession scene in Documentary Filmmaking: Redux, we see him burning his diploma, from Appomattox University. Appomattox is a small town in Virginia that doesn't have a university in it. Were the writers (and/or set designers) just going for something that sounds like a last-tier university? Perhaps. But a re-watch of Basic Rocket Science will find the Dean telling Jeff that "if you don't get back here in time for the launch, City College wins, and Greendale becomes just another school on my résumé that no one can call, because it doesn't exist". Who knows how he actually got that diploma.
In Foosball And Nocturnal Vigilantism, we get confirmation that Abed is very powerful. When Troy finds out that Annie has broke Abed's DVD, he has a panic attack, sputtering in a fearful voice, "He knows everything." He realizes, as shown in Remedial Chaos Theory, that if Abed was properly traumatized, he could become a full-blown villainous mastermind. (While Troy might not know about the timeline, he knows Abed well enough to know he could be evil, and this is consistent with the alternate timeline.)
Why was Britta the last hold-out to be 'converted' to the Glee Club in "Regional Holiday Music"? Because she was the only one Mr. Rad didn't actually want around. Why was she converted anyway, despite having the 'vital' role of a mute tree? Because even Mr. Rad has to accept that with the study group, even when brainwashed you include all of them or have none of them.
The best way to get Pierce to join the glee club? Prey on his fears of irrelevance. During their second song Troy and Abed do homages to music from every decade, starting in the 40s and ending in the mid-90s when Pierce (singing as Baby Boomer Santa) jumps in with "You're Welcome!" He jumps in at that moment because that's roughly the point where he'd have been too old to understand the references to any popular music.
To add to this, all of the members are suckered in through key aspects of their personality and / or insecurities being exploited: Abed through his desire to have a happy Christmas time with his friends/family, Troy through his codependence with Abed and desire not to get left out from anything Abed's doing, coupled with his desire to celebrate Christmas (and secret agent fantasies), Pierce as discussed above, Annie through her bossy insistence on confronting authority figures when things don't go her way, Jeff through his conflicted feelings towards Annie and Shirley through her religious beliefs and conviction that the religious aspects of the holiday are being marginalized. Britta would seem to be an exception, but this article suggests that she's only going along with things because everyone else is and she doesn't want to be left out or make them unhappy.
It also preys on his fears of aging and mortality — Baby Boomer Santa is "never gonna die!"
The Glee-corrupted study group members immediately try to corrupt the member that they are closest to, or have been in the past. Abed corrupts Troy, Troy corrupts Pierce (seems odd until you remember that Pierce let Troy stay in his mansion in Season 2), Pierce corrupts Shirley (who he was obviously attracted to early in Season 1), Troy and Abed (roommates) corrupts Annie, Annie corrupts Jeff, and Jeff corrupts Britta (he had a thing for her in Season 1, remember?).
When the study group first comes into their remodeled study room, there is a piano guy (spoofing the piano guy on Glee that nobody ever acknowledges). Pierce then asks "Who's that guy? You guys all see him too, right?" Why he asks this? Remember, in "Paradigms of Human Memory", the haunted house segment seems to show Pierce and the gang meeting a ghostly Civil War-era ancestor of Pierce's and Pierce is the only one who can see him. Moreover Jeff was speeching about how there were no ghosts there. Pierce was checking if he was seeing ghosts again.
When Annie is assimilated into the Glee club, Troy appears from behind a door to sing at her, apparently having been hiding there for no reason at all. Except there is a reason — Troy is celebrating Christmas as an 'undercover Jehovah's Witness', so in his mind he's spying on Abed and Mr. Rad's Christmas plans.
In the number with Abed and Mr. Rad, Abed sings that he'll "understand every scene because they'll sing what they mean instead of making a face". If Abed is face-blind like he implies in Competive Ecology, then he'd have difficulty reading facial expressions.
It's also possible that it's another nod to the idea that Abed is on the autism spectrum and thus has trouble reading facial expressions and body language. He says something similar in Cooperative Calligraphy ("I hate bottle episodes. They're nothing but emotional nuance and wall-to-wall facial expression. I might as well sit in the corner with a bucket over my head").
The same idea is also given a nod in Troy and Abed's rap with the line "On the spectrum? None of your business." The line "thoughts too fast to comprehend" immediately after may also be a nod if it's referring to the hypothesis that characteristic autistic behaviour stems from autistic individuals processing more information too quickly to filter it properly.
In the episode Regional Holiday Music, there were two very strange moments where it seemed that Word of God broke two of their old time rules. 1. Abed might have broken the 4th wall with his comment on "spinning cameras", and they semi-sexualized Annie in a santa outfit. Yet this makes a lot more sense when you remember that they've been Glee-ified, meaning they're not acting like themselves in the show as the writers originally envisioned.
Why was Pierce so hostile to the Col. Sanders AI in "Basic Rocket Science"? We find out in "Advanced Gay" that he looks like Pierce's father.
Makes even more sense if you hear what Pierce is saying as he smashes the Sanders TV "Get off my mommy, I'm her man!
Her intense nagging might also be motivated by jealousy which she's expressing through intense reaffirmation of her feminism-inspired negative views towards marriage — she does, after all, have a very sour look on her face during Andre's romantic wedding proposal, and her whole subplot with being good at wedding arrangement kind of suggests a woman who deeply wants a 'perfect wedding', on some level at least, but has managed to convince herself she hates the institution and everything it stands for.
It seems a little strange that Chang is so accurate with his tranquilizer gun in "Contemporary Impressionists" until you remember that he spent much of Season 1 playing Paintball as a hobby, as mentioned in "Modern Warfare".
In Pillows And Blankets, The Dean tries so hard for the two forts to come to an agreement so that Greendale can hold the world record for biggest pillow or blanket fort, but failed. The irony is that they could have held the world record for biggest pillow fight.
Also in Pillows And Blankets, The Chang-glourious Basterds, a parody of Inglourious Basterds, were all recruited at a Bar-Mitzvah. The real Inglourious Basterds were all Jewish-Americans.
I'm sorry, but I just have to comment... that's brilliant.
Another from Pillows And Blankets; why is there a crazed pillow fight raging in the background of every still shot of Jeff texting on his phone? Because he's been going around delivering rabble-rousing speeches to all the armies; each one is a pillow fight he's just incited. It even matches the MO he displays in the one speech we see him deliver, where he's fired up and passionate while giving the speech only to immediately switch to disinterest and start playing with his phone once he's gotten everyone's blood up.
"Origins of Vampire Mythology": aside from a subplot where Troy and Abed are trying to watch Blade without interruption, there's not actually much to do with vampires in this episode... until you remember that the classic vampire subtext is of a mysterious man who has a powerful and all-consuming allure to women (usually metaphorically standing in for sex) despite being bad news for them, and who will, if they are allowed to sate their desires with him, ultimately lead them to ruin — i.e. Blade. And Jeff spends the entire episode trying to figure out where this allure is somehow coming from. Hence origins of a vampire's (Blade's) mythology (sex appeal).
Don't forget Britta acting like a vampire/werewolf. It wouldn't be the first time an unwilling vampire with an uncontrollable thirst for blood (or for Blade) has locked themselves in a room, asking their closest friends to never let them out until the hunger (for Blade) is over (when his carnival leaves). She even tries the often used trick of betraying friends trust to get out of the room or get what wants.
Troy seems notably disinterested and reluctant to help Britta with her problems throughout the episode and would rather watch Blade, which makes him seem a bit callous and uncaring. Except, it's clearly established that Troy at the very least has a bit of a crush on Britta, Britta's problems in the episode centre around an old boyfriend who she finds irresistible despite herself, and there are few things worse than having to put up with someone you're romantically interested in continually going on about someone else...
Urology is also the study of amongst other things part of the male anatomy. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
One has to wonder why Star-Burns would build a meth lab in his trunk of all places. Then you remember that he was kicked out of introductory biology at the beginning of the year, and therefore has limited knowledge of how to actually make meth. Which also justifies in how it was so unstable, all it took was a rear end for a drastic explosion.
As we see in the season finale, he probably did it intentionally to make it easier to fake his death.
In "Course Listing Unavailable", Annie urges the group to discuss "this really serious thing that happened". Pierce immediately retorts "Is it always about the Holocaust with you people?" It would seem cruel - even for Pierce - to lash out against the single person in the group who is most benevolent towards him with such an insensitive comment, unless you remember that when Pierce gave Annie a tiara because she was his favorite, she offended him by assuming it contained "Holocaust diamonds".
At the end of "Course Listing Unavailable" Troy lifts everyone's spirits when they're depressively musing that this could be 'the worst timeline' by pointing out that despite having been expelled from Greendale "We're all alive and we're all fine!" Compare to the actual worst timeline from "Remedial Chaos Theory", where one of the members was dead, one had gone insane, two of them suffered serious and crippling injuries, one had succumbed to alcoholism and one had... dyed a blue streak into her hair.
Adding to that, the worst timeline happened because he wasn't there to prevent the chaos that erupted while getting the pizza. Him being there after the expulsion prevented another chaotic timeline.
It also goes to show why exactly the Troy-absent timeline was the darkest one. It wasn't just any tragedy that made it bad. It was the fact that the group was broken apart, by Pierce's death and Annie's absence. But as long as the group stayed together, their happiness would still be salvageable.
It's been pointed out that in "Course Listing Unavailable" the group essentially goes through the five stages of grief — only over their lost Biology 101 credit and it's repercussions, not their lost classmate:
Denial: The news that they're going to have to repeat Biology over summer causes Jeff to scream a Big "NO!".
Anger: The study group, upon delivering their eulogies, become consumed with anger and each instead delivers a rant about how terrible Greendale is, prompting a riot.
Bargaining: The group attempt to get out of trouble for the former by making a deal with the Dean to blame the whole thing on Chang.
Depression: After Greendale expels them, everyone glumly sits around the table at Troy, Abed and Annie's apartment, Annie and Shirley look like they're about to start drowning their sorrows, Britta and Jeff acknowledge they're the worst and Britta, when she goes to get the pizzas, looks like she's about to succumb to the charms of the creepy pizza guy.
Acceptance: After Troy and Abed deliver a speech about how, while things are bad, they're not nearly as bad as they could be, everyone cheers up a bit and begins eating the pizza companionably.
Why was Chang so chummy with the members of the Greendale College Board? In "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux", upon viewing the Dean's commercial at least one of them was quite taken with him — "he pops!"
Why did Starburns choose Abed to do his memorial video? Well apart from being Greendale's most well known filmmaker the two must've gotten along well during The Spanish Video Assignment they did together.
The video tribute to Starburns in the closing credit tag features a rocking song stating "He will never die." At first, this could be interpreted as him living on in people's memories, but it later proves to be subtle foreshadowing that Starburns faked his death.
In the 'Greendale asylum' sections of "Curriculum Unavailable" Annie is pretty much dressed in the 'psychiatric hospital' equivalent of what she is usually seen to wear anyway — a cardigan and a dress.
There are more Call Backs to the first Clip Show than one might think. First off, one clip in the first one shows the group in an asylum. Two, Jeff notes that he thinks the universe is making them into a super-group. By "Curriculum Unavailable", they are one.
In "Cirriculum Unavailable" Abed says he's part polish. His friendship with the Polish background character and him speaking polish in "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" makes alot more sense. - Spider Fan 14
Actually, his half-Polish-ness was already officially established way back in "Physical Education", although his speaking Polish and his friendship with his Polish neighbor was established even before that in "Home Economics".
In "Curriculum Unavailable", when the group are attempting to convince Dr. Heidi that Abed is perfectly sane, Jeff suggests that Abed is the most sane one of the study group, which prompts the other members of the group to backtrack a little bit. Not only is this a Call Back to "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps!" — where according to the psych tests Abed was the most sane member of the group — but over the course of Season 3 both Abed and Jeff have been gradually deconstructed with regards to the various issues that they face; psych test aside, Abed's clearly not the sanest member of the group, and Jeff clearly isn't the best judge of who's sane and who isn't.
In "Digital Estate Planning", Cornelius designed the video game after Pierce suggested that they invest in video games, citing that while moist towelettes are still being sold in stores, "arcade after arcade closes!" At first, this just looks like Cornelius being stubborn and set in his ways in light of video games now being a multi-billion dollar industry — however, Pierce made his initial suggestion in the early 1980s, right before The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 completely decimated the industry in North America. In this at least Cornelius had a point — if they'd made the switch then Hawthorne Industries would have probably been completely wiped out in the fallout.
The game was designed by an obvious racist, and Troy, out of all the players, has the best jump ability and uses it in lieu of walking. "Some people are just natural jumpers."
Each of the in-game avatars of the characters generated from their photographs has a subtly different skin colour, even those members who have more-or-less similar skin tones in real life ... as is fitting for a game designed on the orders and specifications of a man so obsessively racist he micro-categorises the groups of people he's racist towards.
The game was designed for competition instead of cooperation as evidenced by Cornelius referring to teamwork as "a coward's strategy". So, of course there's no hug button.
Vice-Dean Laybourne has something of a mini-character arc throughout the third season as represented by his hair. At the beginning of the series, he is all-powerful, dominant and arrogant, striding over Greendale like a colossus and effortlessly acquiring what he wants through dominating the Dean — as represented by his clean-shaven, short-haired appearance. Then, he encounters Troy, who is not only a greater repairman than he will ever be but who rejects his authority and overtures. Cue something of a life crisis as his authority and belief in himself as the greatest repairman is threatened, as represented by numerous attempts to cajole, bully or manipulate Troy into joining the AC Repair School — and by his growing a beard and an ill-advised ponytail in the middle of the series. Then, once Troy joins the school, Laybourne has what he wants, but realizes that it doesn't matter that he's not the greatest repairman, as he can instead mentor Troy into embracing his destiny. As represented not only by his seemingly more mellow and calm attitude in the final episode, but by the fact that he's cut off the ponytail and shaved away the beard, but has kept a moustache.
Chang's rise to Big Bad and Star Burns' death were all omens of Evil Abed's appearance, as the timeline grew darker. Why was Star Burns seen alive at the very end of the season finale? Because the timeline had been un-darkened when Jeff's speech defeated Evil Abed.
In "Introduction to Finality", Ted dying from a shark attack actually makes sense—swimming with a hole in your hand puts you at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to speed.
Troy is prophesied by his air conditioning repair school to be one who will not only repair air conditioners, but also the people around them. And this is exactly what he does with the study group. It is repeatedly demonstrated that without his influence, the group falls apart.
And he does the same thing with the air conditioning repair school itself. Discovering the murder of the vice dean, and making them stop being so nutty and actually just call the police and turn it into a normal school.
Either knowingly or not, Evil!Abed is targeting the other members of the study group in order of how affected they are by Troy's absence or when they are otherwise at a point vulnerable to being replaced by their 'dark' selves. He takes over Abed first because Abed has been reduced to such a low point by Troy's absence that he hasn't left the apartment since Troy moved out and is, for the first time ever, beginning to be genuinely afraid that there is something wrong with him and that he needs some kind of therapy. After Abed himself, Britta for numerous reasons is clearly the most visibly affected by Troy's absence and is the one who is vocally missing him the most; she is also Evil!Abed's first target. He then goes to target Jeff with the bone-saw at exactly the moment where Jeff has been confronted with his moral dilemma of either sacrificing his job to help Shirley or sacrificing his friendship with Shirley (and the others) by stabbing her in the back to save his job, thus putting him to the brink of despair either way; it's only because the bone-saw cord isn't long enough and Shirley at that moment tells him that it's okay for him to put his job first that Jeff is pulled back from the brink, has his epiphany that he values his friends more than his old life, and is able to recover.
Aside from the 'Darkest Timeline' stuff, Evil!Abed is essentially the manifestation of Abed's fear of actually recognising and addressing his issues and maturing to a point to where he is less reliant on pop culture and more reliant on other people. Notice how, in "Introduction to Finality", his dismissal of Britta's therapy is not based on her qualifications or skill as a therapist (a more reasonable point of dismissal) but because she doesn't know who the X-Men are.
A common complaint about season 3 is that there's not enough Greendale in the episodes and not enough shown of the Biology class. But when you think about what Harmon has described the characters' journey as. During Spanish, they're beginning to understand each other and grow as a group. During Anthropology, they've cemented their trust as a friends and as a study group moreover that (notice that Pierce is on the dangling end of the former, but his place in the group wasn't challenged until the finale). During Biology, well, they're studying life. They're each discovering their lives out of Greendale, Abed moves out of the dorm, Shirley starts her business, Britta chooses her major, they do get kicked out in an unfortunate example, but in the end they aren't ready to let go of Greendale and vice versa. Also notice how they still are together even 2 months after they got kicked out. They're more than a study group, they truly are a community. In season 4, they'll finally come full circle and be able to let Greendale go and head back to their normal lives, having changed.
There's also another reason. In the first two years, the study group's classes were conducted by a psychotic power-crazed bully and an incompetent drunk respectively, neither of whom knew the first thing about what they were supposed to be teaching. In other words, ample opportunity for wacky hijinks. The third year, however, saw them being taught by a sensible, knowledgable and intelligent man who looked dimly upon any hint of wacky hijinks... meaning that the classes were probably carefully planned and run. Meaning that, for a sitcom, there probably wasn't a lot to see anyway. Meaning that the characters — and audience — would have to look elsewhere for wacky hijinks anyway.
In "History 101", Britta suggests that Abed envision a babbling brook as his 'happy place', but when we see it, it's a multi-camera sitcom. Abed informs her that he started with the babbling brook but overlaid it with elements from his own life. The babbling brook is still there in some small way, however — it's become the sitcom's laugh track.
At the end of "History 101", we discover Chang suffering from amnesia and going by the name Kevin. "Epidemiology" had the entire cast get amnesia and ended with an answering machine message for guys named Kevin.
The Dean moving into a new apartment (that coincidentally is next to Jeff's). In "The First Chang Dynasty", he asks if anyone has been paying his rent while he was Chang's prisoner... and that clearly wasn't the case, so he was evicted.
Abed's happy place being a sitcom version of reality combines his control freak nature with the lessons he learned and development from season 3. Where by the end of Season 3 Annie had taught him sympathy, and Jeff's friendship speech both played rolls in helping him realize that he can't control the people around him, his happy place is a world he can control; when the world around him is changing, he retreats to where it hasn't changed. He develops further when the changes start to seep into his happy place after all, and he makes up Jeff's speech in his head to save himself from retreating further and to get used to his changes.
There is also another aspect. Happy place Jeff is starting his speech exactly when Jeff in reality is about to come to the others to help them snap Abed out of it, giving up his chance to get a spot in the history course. Abed is still aware of what his happening around him while he is in his happy place. Seeing Jeff do this, reminded Abed that while the situation around him might change, his friends are still the same, so Abed reacts to this by envisioning a speech Jeff would make.
In "Conventions of Space and Time," Abed tells Toby about how Inspectors need their Constables and how the combination of both can make the world better. Part of this is Abed giving a short "Winger Speech." While obviously, a reference to Abed and Troy/The Study Group's relationship, it also parallels the relationship between Jeff and the study group. Jeff, a selfish individual who sees himself as better than everyone else, has been developing beyond that characterization due to his relationship with the group.
In "Alternative History Of The German Invasion," the group gets called out for it's selfishness in hogging the study room, similarly to how other characters have expressed resentment for how they tend to make everything about themselves in previous episodes. The mob scene bothered me, though, because it implies that the whole school sees them as terrible people, overlooking all the ways that the group actually helped the school. Everyone enjoyed Troy and Abed's blanket/pillow forts (at least until the war), Pierce saved the school during the second paintball fight, Jeff and Annie got the victory for the school back in the season one debate, and even Shirley's pregnancy seems to have saved the class from having their easy A taken in Anthropology. Then, it occurred to me: All of the other students feel like they're the stars of their own shows. Of course they're jealous and upset with the study group seeming to put themselves above everyone else. In the minds of the other students, the protagonists of this show aren't protagonists. They're rivals.
Fat Neil: "We came so close to having one class that wasn't all about them."
Some have pointed out that Neil is among the protesters despite the study group going to great lengths to convince him not to commit suicide. But look back at "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons". It wasn't the group's intervention that convinced him not to do it. It was Pierce lashing out at the group for excluding him and Neil realizing he wasn't alone in being excluded. He's joined the protesters to protest their treatment of Pierce.
In "Herstory of Dance," I thought it was strange that, after "leaving" the dance(s), Rachel would just show back up at the end. Before then, I was wondering how Abed would find her because, presumably, she'd have left campus. After going to the kitchen to prepare lunch after watching the episode the next day, it occurred to me that, while she might've been genuinely hurt, she was still being "meta." She was helping Abed fulfill the public declaration of love trope mentioned earlier in the episode. So, she couldn't leave without subverting it.
There's been some wank over Annie's secret in Intro to Felt Surrogacy, mostly because of the dishonesty of it. It's more understandable when you take into context Annie's desire to forget morals in order to get an A. She nearly screwed Todd over in Basic Lupine Urology, not to mention resorting to Adderall in high school.
Just realized upon watching Basic Human Anatomy again, but it relates to the show as a whole. I thought it was unlikely that Jeff would be the person following Abed!Troy, even with his justification of trying to get the assignment done. Jeff and Troy's story arc together has focused largely on Troy looking for acceptance from Jeff. Earlier, this seemed to be about Jeff being this Cool Big Brother type of character. But, even then, Jeff was a Bad Man, (at least in Troy's mind) teaching Troy how to grow up from being a boy. Throughout the show, though, Jeff has become much better. He's still bad, in many ways, but it's almost as though it's only because that's what's most comfortable for him. But he's been steadily working towards being a Good Man, despite himself. Troy, meanwhile, has pretty much always been recognized as a Good Boy, but has struggled with maturity in varying ways. He needs help and wants to become a Man. And, as exhibited in this episode, Jeff is still showing him what that means, maturing both into better people. Their interactions in this episode exemplify how Jeff has accepted his mentoring role towards Troy.
The Darkest Timeline and the Evil Study Group as they appear in "Advanced Introduction to Finality" are notably different in several ways to how they appeared in season three of the show. This, of course, is because this time Jeff is imagining / conjuring up the Darkest Timeline instead of Abed; he's heard the basic details before from when Abed has talked about it in the past, but is piecing together the details he doesn't know from his own understanding of his friends and what Abed's talked about.
Similarly, why's Evil!Jeff the leader now instead of Evil!Abed, when last time we saw him Evil!Jeff was openly dismissive of the whole concept of evil timelines? Because Jeff is still the guy who thinks he should be in charge of the group; he can't conceive a scenario where Abed is the leader instead of him.
It's also because Evil!Abed is much like Mirror!Spock from Star Trek. The Darkest Timeline is obviously riffing on the Star Trek concept of the Mirror Universe, right down to the goatees, and as Abed is The Spock of the study group, Evil!Abed is the Mirror!Spock of the evil study group. As revealed on DS9, Mirror!Spock eventually underwent a Heel-Face Turn and attempted to set the Mirror Universe to rights, which is also what happened to Evil!Abed.
And why is Darkest Timeline Pierce alive when his death caused the darkest timeline to be? Because this version is taking place in Jeff's mind and Jeff thinks Pierce faking his death is the sort of thing he'd do.
The season finale is called "Advanced Introduction to Finality" - Compare the prior season's finale being titled "Introduction to Finality" & merely provided closure to the season's events, "Advanced..." sees the Study Group starting to reach the end of their time at Greendale with Jeff and Pierce graduating.
In "History 101" it's stated that 'History of Ice Cream' is the only history class that Greendale is offering, and the Dean only adds an actual history class after it's made clear that he has to have one on his curriculum. Since Cornwallis had to hired specifically to teach the class & he doesn't teach his first class until after Halloween, that's over two months of class time lost & subsequently explains why the class doesn't conclude until after Christmas, when most '101' classes taken in the Fall Semester would end.
Why do Abed and Britta raise their hands over who will miss Jeff most? Their majors. Jeff is a psychologist's goldmine and Britta could easily base her thesis on Jeff's narcissism. As for Abed, if he still does his show The Community College Chronicles, he just lost his protagonist, making it harder to write.
At first, it seems like Shirley's Sandwiches failed because Shirley wasn't business savvy enough due to Greendale's poor education. Even though in Season 3, she actually did show competence at running a business. This could simply be because of the economy or that her self-acquired business knowledge had its limits. OR it could be that Pierce left and she lost her business partner. Perhaps he was more important to the business' survival than people realized.
OR it could be that, due to the "Gas Leak Year" of Season 4, she wasn't actually paying very much attention to her business. OR, the shop was always failing, but Pierce's bottomless pockets would've kept it afloat and, with him gone, Shirley (as stated) had to pump her own family's money into the failing business, which would be just as devastating as using all of the family's income to fuel her previous alcoholism.
The season premiere mirrored the pilot in several ways. Jeff came to Greendale in both episodes because his law career was ruined. In the pilot, Jeff (unintentionally) united the group (after Abed invited them all) under the false pretense of a study group when he was actually just trying to hook up with Britta. This time, he (unintentionally) reunited the group (after Abed invited them all) under the false pretense that they were saving Greendale when he was actually meaning to sue it. Lamphsaded by Abed as he pointed out that Jeff brought them together and Jeff replied that he did it with lies. But Abed then pointed out that what he did was above lying, it was showing them the right truth. And just like how in the pilot they became an actual study group, the gang actually did try to save Greendale (Jeff told the Dean to get his crap together, he became a professor and the gang created a teacher-student union in order to improve the school).
In a funny way, it makes sense that Troy would be the first to agree to help Jeff sue Greendale since his plan for the future was to sue Abed when he got rich.
Both this and his line about being "much sadder than the rest of you ... I'll figure out why, later" foreshadow/lampshade his leaving the show this season.
Troy being the only member of the group whose life hasn't fallen apart makes sense. He's from the AC Repair school, the only part of Greendale that actually teaches students skills and has a high job placement rate
"Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" has been criticised for having Pierce's death come out of nowhere towards the end of the episode, due to it's abruptness - that was the point. Death is abrupt.
The episode is also filmed in such a way to provoke a moody, grim atmosphere, similar to a serial killer movie — which is at odds with the decidedly low-key exploits of the Ass-Crack Bandit. It seems like just another Community trick of taking something relatively small and blowing it up to Serious Business levels... until the characters receive news of death. And then you realise that the dark atmosphere the show was creating was never about the Ass-Crack Bandit; it was ultimately building to the news of the death of someone the characters loved. The Ass-Crack Bandit was just a misdirection all along.
Jeff & Hickey are the only two who realise the lunacy of treating the Ass Crack Bandit like a serial killer. Jeff's formerly an Amoral Attorney who defended people for far worse crimes than putting a coin down someone's crack, and Hickey's a former forensic investigator who dealt with actual serial killers, so naturally they would be only ones to realise how dumb the situation is.
Also note that Jeff only gets involved after Troy falls victim to the Bandit - once again, he's spurred into action by someone targeting a member of the Study Group, and the idea that it might be a teacher behind the crimes.
Professor Duncan returning to Greendale after being absent for two years provides a subtle explanation for Britta's incompetence as a psych major - Whilst Duncan's not exactly the most competent psychologist himself, it's not exactly out of character for Greendale to just put a random teacher in charge of his classes, much like Duncan himself being made the Anthropology professor despite admittedly knowing nothing on the subject.
When we learn that Pierce's mother wanted a girl in "Cooperative Polygraphy", this explains why his middle name is Anastasia.
Pierce cheating on his worldwide quest by staying at a nearby island the whole year explains how he was absolutely clueless when he took a sailing class. Also, his regret on not finishing the quest also helps explain why he was the first one to sign up for the class.
In "Geothermal Escapism", Buzz Hickey is "killed" by Britta when she pushes him into the "lava". In earlier episodes, Britta is referred to as a "buzzkill".
Hickey referring to Labyrinth by name might seem odd at first, but considering he has a son "getting gay married," it's more than likely that he either took his son to see it when it was first released or his son had it on VHS.
The end of Chang's storyline in Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality calls into question whether or not Chang actually went to the play that night. However, if you think back on it, it's obvious he couldn't go, as he's supposed to still be under house arrest.
At the end of "Advanced Advanced Dungeons And Dragons", the study group viciously turns on each other when their two parties are reunited. Why does this happen? Because Shirley was asked to leave the game after her character was killed. The group lost their moral compass.
I was a little bothered by a minor detail in "G.I. Jeff". That detail was that Chang's character was named "Overkill" which was the name of an actual G.I. Joe character. For a while, I thought this was a minor case of Redundant Parody on the part of the writers, then I remembered that the G.I. Joe character Overkill was introduced in 1992. This provides both an in-universe and out-of-universe explanation for the name. Out-of-universe, the character was featured in the Dic cartoon while the episode focuses on the Sunbow cartoon. In-universe, the entire fantasy is a coma dream of Jeff's based on his affection for the G.I. Joe toys he used to play with and Overkill was introduced after he outgrew them.
The episode constantly poked fun of the G.I. Joe cartoon. But it was more than just being an Affectionate Parody. It was to show how as much as Jeff wanted to regress to his inner child, he was simply too grown up to belong in such a universe. As an adult, he saw all the things wrong in this childlike universe. Which partly lead to him abandoning it (although the real deal breaker was the fact that there was no nudity or alcohol in that universe either).
The study group are stereotypes / Deconstructions of characters from different sitcoms.
Jeff is from a work-com like The Office but his Jim-like mischievous behavior and the stuff that makes him seem cool in the workplace just doesn't work in the real world, and just makes him look like an uncaring Jerkass.
Britta is from chick sitcoms. Women from those shows are idealized as knowing all the answers but in the real world these assumptions are arrogant and misplaced.
Annie is the overachiever from high school sitcoms but her loyalty to her school doesn't pay off and it makes her bitter. Her obsessive overachiever nature also ends with a drug addiction that spirals out of control and ruins her ambitions.
Troy & Abed are what would happen to the heroes of Disney or Nickelodeon kid sitcoms if they grow up.
Shirley would fit great in a family sitcom except her self-righteous, religious, prejudiced Team Mom behavior is often negative in this diverse group.
Pierce is from a sitcom from the past that everyone liked but his humor is either outdated or prejudiced by today's standards.
It's perhaps for this reason Abed could predict their actions even when the group was just starting out. He can run through the scenarios because he's seen these scenarios, or is at least familiar enough with the archetypes to apply them to different situations.
Shirley shares several similarities with Scrubs character Laverne, namely the fact that they're both devout Christians & a larger black woman. It's a fantastically meta Stealth PunShout-Out to both Scrubs & Laverne and Shirley.
The paintball episodes are won by the main character of the season (Jeff, Pierce and Abed).
The class the study group takes each year represents the overall theme of the season it takes place in.
In season one, they take Spanish 101. At this point, they're all getting to know each other and learning how to exist within a loving, supportive group setting, something that was a foreign concept to them previously. They don't end up learning any Spanish, of course, but they learn the "language" of friendship nonetheless.
Season two = Anthropology, the study of human beings. This season involves the group learning more about each other, and about how their actions impact the other members of the group as well as the school at large. Many plots are driven by detailed character studies. Some examples: Pierce's descent into drug addiction and severe antisocial behavior as a result of the group excluding him, Abed's temporary psychosis when faced with spending Christmas alone and being reminded of his parents' callousness, and multiple episodes where trivial events bring much more serious issues within the group to the surface and the group is forced to confront them.
Season three was Biology, the study of life. Much of this season occurs outside of GCC, with many episodes following the group as they confront the "real world" outside of Greendale, which had by this point become their safe-haven. While the season barely involves biology as a subject at all, it does give the group a chance to learn about life in general, especially life after Greendale.
In season four, they take a history class. Much of the season (thus far at least) has been devoted to callbacks to previous episodes/jokes, making it somewhat of a study in the history of Community itself.
Season five sees a minor Retool of the series after a less-than-well received fourth season that did not have Dan Harmon as showrunner. Dan Harmon came back on for season five and within the show the group joins once more, not as a Study Group, but as the Save Greendale Committee. As the characters are trying to redeem Greendale and prevent it from closing, the cast and crew are trying to save the show and prevent it from being cancelled.
In "Community Airing Someday", Annie identifies herself as "viewer & occasional co-host" of Troy & Abed in the Morning, but Troy & Abed & Annie in the Morning was just her playing around by herself. But considering that in the third season, she lives with the two of them & we also see Troy & Abed "filming" the show in the apartment a number of times in the season, it's not unlikely that they've let her join in as a co-host from time to time or that she's taken part often enough that she's no longer a "guest" on the show.
I just realized the significance of Jeff Winger's name. He's the guy who's always winging it.
Most of the caring and sensitive pieces of Jeff's personality are brought about by interactions with the female members of the group. Now remember that by his own admission, the only person he ever loved was his mother, and he was raised by her and her alone considering he had a deabeat father. Him being more emotionally comfortable with women stems from the fact that as a youth, the only person he could be emotionally comfortable with was female.
In "Community S1 E08: Home Economics", Troy jumps on Annie's back, saying "I'm Annie's backpack!" But later, in "Romantic expressionism", after Jeff and Britta told him about Annie's crush on him, he tries to seduce her, saying "You should know I have a thing for butt stuff"... Oh my...
This is more a reference back his obsession with "butt stuff" in "Social Psychology" - in which "butt stuff" involves his OWN butt.
In "Physical Education," Pierce makes the one-off joke that white!Abed is "like Abed, but employable!" Typical Racist Grandpa humor... until you realize that Pierce is a CEO who has probably hired (and not hired) a lot of people. How many Abeds has he turned away due to race?
Technically that could be his father talking also, for all we know he never hired anyone.
I think the basic fact that in "Remedial Chaos Theory" if Jeff rolled a 1, then Pierce would die, Annie would go insane, Jeff would lose his arm, Troy would lose his larynx, Shirley becomes a drunk, and Britta dyes a streak of her hair blue. If that had been real, the show would have been much darker. It's also shocking to realize that that timeline will continue naturally, meaning the characters will have to live their destroyed lives because of a single dice roll. Also, Abed is going to try to invade the good universe, and who knows what that will mean.
While most people assume that Pierce died directly from being shot, it isn't actually outright stated. Britta simply stated that he got shot AND died. Why is this important? Because the apartment was on fire at the time, and Pierce was obviously the least likely person to escape it given his leg wound. Seeing as how the others managed to escape (albeit with injuries), you have to wonder exactly how/where he died.
While this is certainly a valid possibility, the link between 'got shot' and 'died' isn't incredibly ambiguous; the most likely interpretation is that Britta is simply clarifying that Pierce got shot, the consequence of which was that he died. Since if he'd died some other way, she could have clarified that instead (as in, "Pierce got shot and then burnt to death").
Also, the timeline in which Jeff, the supposed leader of the group and the closest thing to a main character on the show, is absent, everyone else is happy. Are they setting Jeff up to be the villain this season?
Or perhaps setting him up for a Deconstruction; he's the leader in many ways, but that doesn't necessarily make him a good leader.
The current glee club's reaction to cease and desist seems like nothing more than an over the top reaction, right? Then we find out how Mr. Rad runs his glee club and what happened to that last bunch of members...
Jeff's plan in Epidemiology was to leave everyone but him, Abed and Troy in the school. That means that Abed and Troy and the Dean (If he wasn't arrested for endangering the populace) would be the only survivors.
In "Asian Population Studies", when Pierce mistakes Andre for a waiter, he replies "I'd say you have two good years left." Two years later, more or less, Pierce leaves the show, and dies soon after. Around the same time, Shirley's business had collapsed, causing Andre to leave her, and serious financial hardship to them both. Combine that with the fact that such stressors can sometimes set off serial killers, and that the news of his death occurred in the same episode set up to look like it's dealing with a serial killer...
Abed has a sex video (likely unknown to him) of Jeff and Britta.In "Paradigms of Human Memory" it was revealed that Britta and Jeff got very frisky in Abed's dorm room on St. Patrick's Day. In "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" Abed reveals to Britta he had a security camera installed in his dorm room for the purpose of making autobiograghical documentaries. Abed's is going to be in for shock when he goes to edit it.
At the end of Contemporary Impressionists, Abed had a conversation with Evil Abed. Of course, that's just his imagination going wild, right? Well, at the end of Remedial Chaos Theory, when Alternate Troy and Abed decided to become evil, Prime Timeline Abed felt a presence, which he promptly ignored. This could suggest that there is some sort of link between the two Abeds. Could the Evil Abed that Abed saw in the Dreamatorium be the real Evil Abed, communicating to him through his mind?
Basic Lupine Urology: Starburns' death. He was building a meth-lab in the trunk of his car which exploded and killed him. Bad enough in itself, but it's stated that it exploded when he was rear-ended — which suggests that there was someone else driving behind him who was also caught in the blast and possibly killed.
Jeff's father was an abusive alcoholic who eventually left the family, leaving Jeff with a lot of emotional scars. Additionally, he has seriously deep self-esteem, vanity and body image problems amongst other things.
Britta was taken advantage of at a young age, with no one, not even her controlling father standing up for her. Adding to the many insults and put-downs thrown out by the study group, other students, and even a priest.
Abed's father is cold, controlling, and distant towards him since his parents' divorce, blaming it on his son. He has a hard time to try and connect with other people, feeling alone and stuck in a metaphorical locker. He is so withdrawn he cannot allow himself to exist in his own ideal universe, and he constantly feels the need to scheme and change himself so that his friends won't abandon him.
Shirley used to be a happy, married mother, never thought about going to college and starting a business, until her husband left her, causing her to try and turn her life around while being a single mother and college student for the most of the series. She also used to have what seems to be a drinking problem.
Annie was driven by the pressure and stress to succeed that she ended up taking Adderall. Went to rehab against her parent's wishes (but ultimately for the better of her own health), and is currently estranged from her family.
Troy's parents overprotected him from the ideas and concepts of the adult world, despite him being out of high school. They left him unprepared, overly innocent, and naive. Furthermore, his parents are divorced and his father has pushed him out of the house because it is uncomfortable to have Troy there with his new girlfriend - who is Troy's age.
Pierce has spent his whole life trying to get any hint of appreciation, approval or affection from his prejudiced father, who has constantly emotionally abused him. Even to his dad's grave, he has never once gained any of that.
The video game in Digital Estate Planning was designed with the intention of bringing together Pierce and his seven closest friends, and getting them to turn on each other to fight for Pierce's inheritance. Given how clearly inept Pierce is at playing the game, he's very lucky the friends he ended up making and bringing along were as scrupulous and decent as the study group are.
Given how Cornelius sprung the legal agreement on Gilbert that would only grant the inheritance to him if Gilbert renounced any claim towards being Cornelius' son, and given how dickish and spiteful Cornelius was towards Pierce in general ("Worst son ever!"), it's not hard to imagine that he would also have pre-rigged some kind of hidden catch to try and stymie Pierce's chances of claiming the inheritance if he managed to win the game.
In Introduction to Finality, if Evil Abed is trying to turn the cast into their dark timeline counterparts, this means that at some point he would have tried to kill Pierce.
Even worse, he would have orchestrated it where Annie would be the one to do it and thus go crazy from the guilt.
Pretty much all of his efforts to turn them into their evil counterparts counts as this, considering how dark the 'worst timeline' ended up being.
An offhand comment in "Digital Estate Planning" one way or another suggests some rather unhappy things about Abed's childhood:
Abed: Each baby has custom code, which means you can write a code which makes one baby tell another baby what to do; much like real children in a playground. Annie: Oh, Abed, but — Jeff: Annie, let's find the Tin Man's heart later.
The Season 3 finale is called "The First Chang Dynasty." This implies that there might be another "Chang Dynasty" coming up in Season 4 ... ''tol'ja''
Speaking of that episode, as we see in the fourth season finale, Chang was still in power in the Darkest Timeline, one year after season 3. Now, with the possible changes of that timeline, It could mean Chang had Dean Pelton KILLED and replaced by the "Dopple-Deaner" with the group disbanded and none the wiser. Apparantly he also didn't feel the need to burn the records room down and might be even Dangerously Genre Savvy to boot.
In "Cooperative Polygraphy", one of Annie's secrets that is revealed is that she secretly doped the other members of the study group in order to help them pass an anthropology final. Since Shirley was pregnant for much of this year, this leads to the unavoidable conclusion that Annie unwittingly or, worse, knowingly drugged a pregnant woman.
In Remedial Chaos Theory, the group fell apart without Troy being there even for a few minutes, causing the Darkest Timeline. Now, they just revealed in Cooperative Polygraphy he is leaving for a year.
Assuming the Tag for "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" is canon, every faculty member at Greendale can, potentially, start an air strike against Greendale. This includes people like Chang.
That's only a day and a bit; he's hardly going to succumb to starvation or dehydration in that time. IIRC he has a bag with him, so he might have a bottle of water or some snacks with him. And even if he doesn't, it's not like he's in the middle of nowhere or anything; he can just go to the cafeteria down the corridor or to one of the vending machines when he leaves. As for the bathroom, he could just be very good at holding it in (and assuming he went before the experiment started and he didn't eat or drink during it, this would probably be even less of a problem). In short, he'd probably be a bit uncomfortable, but it's hardly beyond the limits of human endurance.
The experiment is to see how soon people throw tantrums and leave in disgust when kept waiting. They're not locked in — if they were it would defeat the whole purpose, since it would make it obvious something more serious was wrong with the situation. While leaving for half an hour to go to lunch would be unlikely if the experiment was supposed to start "any minute," he could surely leave to go to the bathroom.
True, but it is heavily implied that Abed didn't move at all during the time of the experiment.
In "Remedial Chaos Theory", during the prime timeline Shirley is about to retrieve her pies from the oven. But she's stopped and joins in with Britta's singing. Given how easily those pies evidently burn in the Shirley timeline, one has to wonder how long the group would dance before they smelled something burning.
Yeah, but this time, Shirley said nothing to the group about taking the pies out, and was present in the room, meaning that there's no one to blame but herself.
Actually a bit of Fridge Brilliance - Shirley feels like she is part of the group in that timeline and is having fun with her friends dancing and singing to Roxanne. It was established in the earlier timelines that Shirley is basically excessively baking because she didn't feel like she fit in with the group.
Also in that episode, Shirley complained about being the only married woman in the group. Does that mean she and Andre remarried over the summer?
She's previously said that "the Bible doesn't recognize divorce", so in her mind, they were married all along.
They officially remarried in "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"; most likely, as the troper above suggests, either in Shirley's mind they were never really divorced or they'd rediscovered so much of their old dynamic that it was as if they'd never stopped being married, and she simply misspoke.
Annie's definitely the type of person who would carry around some money separate from her purse in case she's separated from it and she needs some cash in a hurry — sort of like an emergency fund. She probably has a few bills tucked in her pocket (or elsewhere) and paid from that.
It's also possible to pay for a pizza (tip included) when ordering online.
This is certainly true, but the way Abed asks Jeff to give him the money for the pizza when it's the timeline where he goes for the pizza would seem to suggest that they didn't pay online.
In "Regional Christmas Music", why do Abed and Troy go into their blanket fort bedroom to sing their song in front of an imaginary audience with imaginary back-up singers when there is a perfectly good Dreamatorium in the apartment for those exact moments?
I don't think Troy and Abed's over-active imaginations are bound by the need to be acted out solely in the Dreamatorium; they can probably lose themselves in fantasy anywhere. The blanket fort was just closer than the Dreamatorium (especially since Abed was explicitly trying to brainwash / convince Troy to the Glee club, and probably didn't want to risk losing him in the extra time it would take to get there). In any case, at the risk of overanalysing the Dreamatorium is a clear reference to the holodeck on Star Trek; perhaps they just go there when they're bored or want to have a specific fantasy / dream sequence.
It's stated that the Dreamatorium runs off of Abed's imagination - he "constructs imaginary dreamscapes" there. The rap was Troy's imaginary dreamscape, so they couldn't use the Dreamatorium.
As much as this troper enjoyed "Course Listing Unavailable", he cannot help but notice some logic problems with it. For one, why would the teacher resigning force the study group (and presumably the whole class) to get an "Incomplete" for their grade and retake it in the summer? They were almost at risk for this in the first year with Chang, but even then they managed to bring in a replacement.
In the former question, it's possible that unlike the earlier example a suitable replacement could not be found in time to salvage the class. Alternatively / in addition, given that Greendale is hardly an example of the most efficiently-run of higher education facilities, it could be something to do with how the school is administrated in this regard; all the study group were quick to blame the Dean for this as if this was his fault. In the latter case, the board have clearly been swayed by Chang to not trust the study group an inch, not to mention that — $100,000 donation to the school earlier aside — they did incite what looked like a pretty destructive riot and caused a prominent (and no doubt profitable) commercial deal the school had to be threatened.
Actually, this is Fridge Brilliance. It's established in Biology 101 that as a result of the Air Conditioning Repair School Annex's new policies, the school has almost no money for this year. Whereas during Season 1, they had the funds to bring in a teacher at the last minute, they just don't have those kinds of emergency funds available anymore - they've been used to keep the school open. This also explains why the school reacts so much more harshly to the riot than to their previous destructive escapades - Greendale doesn't have the money to clean up after their shenanigans this season, and they put Greendale's relationship with Subway at risk when they might have been looking to the corporation to bail them out.
Didn't Troy and Abed already take Biology in season 1? Why did they take it again in season 3?
Some science classes are bundled in twos; you have a lecture portion and a lab portion. Chemistry and life sciences are most common for this. It's atypical to take them separately(many colleges just won't let you), but since Troy and Abed are only seen doing the lab projects it's probably possible to take lectures and labs independently.
It was never mentioned that they passed Biology. Abed would probably retake it anyway for the sake of the group dynamic. Troy would probably have forgotten that he took it.
In the Season 3 Finale, Jeff treats the mock trial as a big dilemma between helping his friend or choosing his job. But then you remember that he's trying to help Shirley claim the simple title of ownership, as it's doubtful that even Pierce would kick Shirley out of the business completely. This is rather trivial compared to Jeff losing the chance to work at his past law firm, probably one of the few places left that would accept him given his past (faking his credentials, going to a bad community college to get his bachelor's).
It's the principle of the thing; yes, it's a fairly small deal in the scheme of things, but his choices are to either screw a friend over for his own benefit or stand by that friend at personal cost to himself. We can also look at it with regards to how Jeff has come not just as a person but as a lawyer; an Amoral Attorney like Jeff previously was wouldn't hesitate to put himself above his client's best interests, whereas Jeff — who is clearly becoming a better lawyer as well as a better person — chooses to put his client first and represent their interests to the best of his abilities at personal cost. Also, while it might be a small deal legally, it's a big deal to Shirley — this is representative of her lifelong dream to own a business of her own rather than just work for someone else's interests (as she's done throughout her whole life). Plus, given how spiteful Pierce can get and given how the study group are, in Troy's absence, clearly beginning to fray at the edges somewhat, there's no guarantee that Pierce wouldn't kick her out of the business if he got his way out of sheer mean-spiritedness.
Alternatively, he could be doing it not to win over the "judge" and jury (after all, the Dean would probably have rigged things in his favor anyways), but to win over Pierce to not be an asshole (at which he succeeds).
In For A Few Paintballs More, Pierce fakes a heart attack to steal the stormtrooper's weapon. Presumably that means he shot the stormtrooper...meaning the uniform would have paint on it and he would have been disqualified.
The 'uniform' is basically black combat gear over a white shirt; since Pierce is also wearing a white shirt, he could simply have shot the guy on his shirt and left the actual armour itself untouched. Or he could have grabbed the gun, made the guy take his armour off, then shot him. Or shot the guy in the helmet and then found a clean helmet that someone (such as a previously disgruntled contestant who stormed off after being removed from the game) had discarded; it wouldn't be beyond Pierce to cheat in such a fashion, and it's not like anyone could prove it.
Assuming that Chang's assertion that all Chang babies are born with tails is a fabrication, we don't actually know for certain that Ben is Andre's. It's not unusual for biracial children to completely resemble only one of their parents, so really, only a DNA test could tell for certain.
How do we know it is a fabrication? This is Chang we're talking about here, and he arguably doesn't gave any reason to lie about that.
Doesn't matter if it is a lie or not, it is likely an exaggeration based on possible genetics. If it is a recessive trait, it is unlikely Shirley has a tail gene. If it is dominant, there is a possibility Chang is heterozygous, and could still have a tailless baby.
How can they tell what "deviant sex act" Britta and Subway did just from the audio?
From Britta and Subway vocally communicating precisely what they would like the other person to do and where precisely they would like certain things to be ... inserted.
The show is set in Colorado. At one point, you see a YouTube-type video from Leonard, a frozen pizza review. He states that he got the pizza from Kroger. But Kroger does business in Colorado under the name King Soopers.
Probably just bad research, like when the TV Show Martin had an episode where the title character goes to the DMV, but the show is set in detroit, which doesn't have a DMV. It's an external mistake.