Recap / Community S1 E24: English as a Second Language

The study group is studying for finals when a secret about Chang is uncovered that threatens to cause everyone to fail. Meanwhile, Troy discovers a hidden talent for plumbing which, much to his mystification, everyone seems to think is worth dropping out of college for.

The Community episode "English as a Second Language" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Pierce's "Tierra del Fuego!"
  • Call-Back:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Annie's Class Recorder. It recorded Chang's confession to Jeff that he's not a real teacher.
    • When Pierce wakes up before the exam, the book he's been studying isn't the textbook - it's a guide to talking dirty in Spanish. It looks like Pierce being Pierce — until you get to the end of the episode and find out he seduced the Spanish teacher.
  • Chirping Crickets: Lampshaded - they're part of the Dean's "relaxing" ambient noise broadcast.
    Dean: And now, crickets! [chirp chirp]
  • Deconstruction:
    • Abed pulls a paraphrasing of Ben Affleck's "the best part of my day" speech from Good Will Hunting on Troy, to try to get him to 'use his gift' and become a plumber. The next day, Abed turns to find that Troy is no longer sitting next to him in class... but not because he's inspired and has dropped out, but because Troy has switched seats because he's offended that his best friend would actually think the prospect of him just leaving without a word would be the best part of his day. Turns out, that would actually be a really horrible and offensive thing to say to a friend, no matter how gifted.
    • Also deconstructs Abed as the Meta Guy. Not all his pop culture references can be understood.
    • Prof. Escodera treats the class to a real Spanish class, as in devoid of English dialogue. The mass crash-and-burn from the whole class is practically an art form.
  • Double Entendre
    Pierce: Thanks for making it easy.
    Escodera: I was going to say the same thing [beat] but you were gone before breakfast.
    Pierce: Heh, I'm an early riser.
    Escodera: I'll say.
  • Double Subversion: Troy stops to check out an "unsolvable" equation on a blackboard, picks up the chalk... and walks off with it. Then he finds out the water fountain's broken and discovers his latent plumbing skills.
  • Dreadful Musician: Chang on Key-tar.
  • El Spanish "-o":
    Jeff: El crapo.
  • Foreshadowing: Jeff mentions that he has a dinner appointment on May 23, 2013. That's a Thursday, the day the show airs.
    • Ultimately amounted to nothing on screen, as the fourth season finale aired two weeks prior to that date. However, on that day, Jeff's Twitter updated to invite the rest of the Study Group to the restaurant, and wound up having his plans derailed by the Dean & Chang inviting themselves along.
  • Held Gaze: Jeff and Annie have one during their exchange where Jeff notices she's dressing like a professor.
  • Homage: Abed and Troy's Good Will Hunting subplot.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Intentional on Jeff's part.
    Chang: I hear you faked your bachelor's degree. Two questions: where did you get it; could you have prevented being caught; and how?
    Jeff: One question: where did you learn to count questions; and are you telling me you need a fake degree?
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Annie's explanation that she ratted out Chang because she wanted the study group to stay together.
  • Instrument of Murder: Key-tar vs. windshield
  • Instant Waking Skills: Discrimination Lawsuit!
  • Iris Out
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Annie's motivations for exposing Chang were selfish and her actions harmful to the rest of the group. But at the same time, Chang was an incompetent Sadist Teacher who knew nothing about the subject he was supposed to teach and had taught them next to nothing of value, was grossly abusive of his power over his students, and all up had no place being in charge of a classroom.
  • Kavorka Man: Pierce is a Dirty Old Man Rich Idiot with No Day Job Racist Grandpa, but when he puts his mind to it, he can seduce someone with little effort.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Pierce can really seduce someone if he really wants to. Like the replacement Spanish teacher.
  • New Year Same Class: Annie actively works to invoke this trope, going so far as to risk all of her classmates failing class so they can stay together. She fails - they instead make a conscious choice to pick another class to take together.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jeff leads the charge to get Annie kicked out of the study group for her actions and orders no one to contact her, insisting that they need to 'beat her' and don't need her to study for and beat their Spanish final — something which backfires on everyone seconds later when they realize that Annie's the only one out of them who actually knows how to study.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor:
    Troy: Why is she teaching Spanish if she's a doctor? Go cure something!
  • Oh, Crap!: The moment the Study Group realise Annie hasn't turned up to the exam, and has gone to make things right with Chang.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Annie freaks out majorly at the mere thought of a failing grade, yet she is willing to let the whole class fail. It's somewhat justified in how she really wants to stay together with the group. But in the very next episode, she plans on leaving the state with Vaughn. Then a few episodes later, she tries to sabotage the simulated space launch so she could transfer to City College, without even telling the group until being confronted about it.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Pelton apparently hired Chang without checking his credentials, because he thought running a check for Spanish qualifications on an Asian man would look racist.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Jeff says that he can only become a lawyer again on schedule "if I take a full load." Pierce is opening his mouth and Jeff - without looking at him - says "Don't!" before finishing "a full load of classes."
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Annie's Disney face is so overpowering that even Abed has to close his eyes.
  • Ship Tease:
    • When Annie reveals that she's been dressing in a way that she hopes make her look like a professor (Jeff dated a professor earlier in the season).
    • The fact that Jeff knows Annie really well is what leads to him discovering she got Chang fired. Also, Jeff breaking down the door because he thought Annie was in possible danger, and then his decision for the group to take Anthropology. He even teasingly indicates Annie when asking three times like she did previously!
    • Britta and Abed sleep on each other and walk arm in arm behind the rest of the group at least twice once with a spotlight zeroing in on them. Usually, Abed and Britta don't interact that much.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stealth Insult:
    Britta: Music lessons would be great for you.
    Chang: Awww, thanks Britta!
  • Strange Minds Think A Like:
    Abed: Like the first season of The Wire.
    Troy: Exactly like... ah hell I can't stay mad at you.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The black male of the group is pressured to drop out of school. This is done for parody however, and lampshaded in that Troy thinks the idea of dropping out of college to become a plumber is ridiculous. invoked
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Britta
    Annie: Of course you think that, Britta. It's obvious from your name that your parents smoked pot.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Troy's subplot in "English As A Second Language" is a parody of Good Will Hunting with faucets. So really, just in reverse.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
    Troy: Someone make her a dude so I can punch her!
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Abed assumes Troy's subplot is following Good Will Hunting. It isn't; it's a parody instead.