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Recap: Community S1 E15: Romantic Expressionism
Annie starts dating Vaughn, and both Britta and Jeff attempt to derail this nascent relationship. Meanwhile the rest of the studygroup and Chang have a movie night to do some good old-fashioned MSTing.

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The Community episode "Romantic Expressionism" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: The only way Pierce can get a laugh is to take a massive tumble across the room.
  • Asian Drivers: Mentioned by Pierce.
    "Directed by Kim Yang. Asian. Can't direct, can't drive."
  • Callback:
  • Cast Incest: Invoked by Abed.
    Abed: When you guys first came in, we were as wholesome as the family in The Brady Bunch. Now we’re as dysfunctional and incestuous as the cast of The Brady Bunch.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Vaughn calls Shirley "that Sherri Shepard lady."
  • Crack Pairing: In-Universe. "Romantic Expressionism" parodies this with a long sequence of Ship Tease suggestive glances between all of the characters. In order, it goes: Pierce/Shirley, Jeff/Britta, Abed/Britta, Britta (gasp!)/Annie (gasp!), Troy/Shirley, Troy/Annie, Pierce/Annie, Jeff/Annie, Jeff/Abed.
  • Designated Parents: Jeff & Britta.
    Britta: I guess we feel like we're sort of all a family, and Jeff and I are like your Greendale parents.
    Annie: You're not my mom, Britta. She would never wear boots that go up that high.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe example.
    Pierce: Directed by Kim Yang. Asian. Can't direct, can't drive.
    Chang: Dude, I'm right here.
  • Fan Film: In-universe example — Kickpuncher with Abed and Troy.
  • Fight Scene Failure: Invoked with the incredibly cheesy film that the study group watches on their movie night, "Kickpuncher". Even more so in the Fan Film Abed and Troy make.
  • Foreshadowing:
    Jeff: [Annie] is 18. Her taste in men hasn't been established. Creepier and creepier dudes will start thinking of her as an option, and it all starts with Vaughn. He’s a gateway douchebag.
    Starburns: See that guy over there? (Points across the cafeteria to Jeff) Yeah, he's a douchebag.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up:
    Kickpuncher Narrator: It is the year 2006 A.D. and nuclear war has ravaged the planet.
    Abed: Must have missed that.
  • I Resemble That Remark:
    Pierce: You don't feel good about yourselves so you have tear down everything around you. What's the matter? Mama Chang didn't breastfeed?
    Chang: (sad face) She read in a book that it wouldn't make a difference.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Although the group is unmoved by Pierce's accusation that they just make criticise films to compensate for their own lack of creativity and self-worth and quite accurately point out that he's just sour that his own jokes fall flat, he still has a point in general — regardless of how bad they are, it's a lot easier to sit at the sidelines and be an 'ironic' Accentuate the Negative Caustic Critic making snide comments about other people's creative efforts than it is to create your own works of art. This said, since Abed is a junior filmmaker and Troy and Abed are later shown to be making a Kickpuncher fan-film, they at least are willing to put their money where their mouths are.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Jeff is into Britta. Britta used to date Vaughn. Vaughn takes an interest in Annie who has been in love with Troy. Troy dates another girl but Britta and Jeff convince him to pursue Annie romantically. The group also discuss their status of True Companions — their as close as a family, but they are not actually a family which means romantic and sexual relationships are not off the table.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Jeff & Britta
    Jeff: Crash course in manipulation. You don't actually tell the person what you want them to do. You help them realize they want to do it, so it can't be traced back to you.
  • Matzo Fever: Troy is particularly impressed with Annie who is Jewish.
  • MSTing: Abed and Troy apparently have a tradition of doing this to horrendous B-movies; Shirley, Pierce, and Señor Chang show up, too. (And yet Jeff, played by the one cast member who had guest starred on RiffTrax, does NOT show up.) Pierce attempts to compensate for his lack of ability at this by writing his jokes with a team of writers beforehand, like the actual Mystery Science Theater 3000 did after its first season.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Jeff really did eat all the macaroni. It's weird that Leonard knows that.
    • For a less literal example, it is never explained exactly why Chang was wearing a tuxedo.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Used by Abed and Troy in The Tag.
  • Operation Jealousy: Jeff and Britta want to break up Annie and Vaughn. They know that Annie has been in love with Troy, so they tell Vaughn that Annie is only dating him to make Troy jealous. He believes them but it's not actually true as Annie's interest in him is sincere.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: How Pierce tries to compensate for his failure to perform on the first MSTing night.
    Pierce: Change! Time to change the channel! This guy'll be begging for change soon, he keeps making movies this terrible! We should change to something good, this movie stinks! We should change his diaper. That's change we can believe in!
    Abed: [Hits pause] Okay, it's obvious something strange is happening here.
    Pierce: What are you talking about? I'm making jokes during a movie.
    Troy: Yeah, but you're doing it with the speed and determination of the incomparable Robin Williams.
  • Rule of Three: Annie and Troy yelling at Jeff and Britta leads up to the abovementioned Leonard.
  • Sarcasm Mode:
    • Courtesy od Senor Chang:
      Chang: Obviously none of my other plans fell through. (motions toward his tuxedo)
    • Annie points it out to her pals:
      Annie: Hey guys thanks for getting involved in my love life! That was super cool and mature of you! Oh and since you're both clearly idiots, I should let you know that I'm being sarcastic!
  • Serenade Your Lover: Vaughn plays the guitar and sings a song he wrote for Annie.
  • Ship Sinking: Pierce/Everyone Else, played for laughs:
    Pierce: So, just to be clear... I don't have a shot with any of you?
    [Everyone else shudders audibly and hurries away from him.]
  • Ship Tease:
    • Jeff's jealousy over Annie's sudden interest in Vaughn.
    • In The Tag, Troy asks if Britta couldn't play the love interest in his & Abed's Kickpuncher film before they go to film the sex scene.
    • All in the scene lampshading the show's various potential couples mentioned under Crack Pairing:
    • According to Troy, Jeff was "weirdly specific" when describing Annie's body. Jeff & Annie both take offence to the other saying that their kiss in "Debate 109" was purely for winning the debate & not sexual at all.
    • Jeff notes that Troy was also specific when describing Britta's body.
    • Shirley comments on "Troy & Abed's weird relationship" which prompts a simultaneous "They're just jealous" from both of them, complete with hand holding.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To the speed and determination of incomparable Robin Williams
    • Vaughn's song for Annie quotes a line from the Troggs "Love Is All Around" (and is a reference to John Denver's "Annie's Song")
  • Slippery Slope Fallacy: Jeff thinks that Annie would be more attractive to douchebags by dating Vaughn, the "gateway douchebag".
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When his second attempt at making the group laugh while MSTing ends in failure, Pierce lambasts them for snidely making fun of the creative endeavors of others rather than attempting to create anything of their own and using mockery to compensate for their own lack of self-worth. The group immediately calls bullshit, accurately pointing out that Pierce doesn't give a damn about defending the creativity of others and is just sour that he couldn't get a laugh.
  • Squick: In-universe. Starburns commenting that Annie "just made the the top of [his] To Do List" elicits this response from Britta and Jeff, and is ultimately what leads to Britta trying to split up Annie and Vaughn.
  • Strangely Arousing
    Troy: I have the weirdest boner right now.
  • There's No "B" in Movie: Kickpuncher. "It is the year 2006 and nuclear war has ravaged the planet..."
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Jeff and Britta make this happen for Troy.
    Troy: Thanks for taking ugly Annie out of the palm of my hand, and turning her into another hottie WHO WILL NEVER GET WITH ME!
  • Zany Scheme:
    Jeff: If we say we disapprove, we'll just drive her further into his hemp-braceleted arms. We need to be smart, we need to hatch a scheme.
    Britta: Mmm... hatching schemes' not really my wheelhouse.
    Jeff: Let's not confine ourselves to your wheelhouse. This problem won't respond to tap dancing or casual revelations that you spent time in New York.

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