Recap: Community S2 E20: Competitive Wine Tasting

The gang picks their spring quarter electives. Jeff and Pierce sign up for Italian Wine Tasting, where they meet the lovely Wu Mei Hong Long. Troy and Britta take an acting class and are instructed to share painful emotions from their past, which proves difficult for Troy. Meanwhile, Abed takes "A Critical Analysis of Who's the Boss?" taught by the person who wrote the book of the same name; however, Abed's theories about who the 'boss' was turn out to be controversial..


The Community episode "Competitive Wine Tasting" provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In addition to Pierce's usual mispronunciation of Abed's name ("AY-bed"), the Who's the Boss? professor keeps calling him "a-BED". He also seems to think it's Abed's last name ("Ah, Mr. Abed, what do you want?")
  • Awesome McCoolname:
    • Troy considers one of these for his stage name - Trevor St. McGoodbody. Or David.
    • Mei's middle name, "Hong Long", means "red dragon".
  • Affectionate Parody: At the end of the episode, Troy is cast in an all-black Fiddler on the Roof show. It's as funny as it sounds, and couples as a Shout-Out to Patrick Stewart's all black show of Othello.
    • Potentially also referencing the re-imagining of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into The Wiz; the original Broadway musical has been condensed into a black box theatre show called Fiddler, Please where Troy and the others perform some dances while he sings "It's hard to be Jewish in Russia/ YO/ It's hard to be Jewish in Russia/ YO".
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Italian on the bottle of wine Pierce gives to Jeff translates as "You become more attractive with each bottle."
  • Bondage Is Bad: Pierce is revealed to have a "special gym with swings and saddles", and if this is the "Pierce is evil" season...
  • Break the Haughty: "CLASS DISMISSED!"
  • Call Back: Pierce holds his engagement party at the same restaurant featured in the previous episode, "Critical Film Studies".
    Troy: Seems like just yesterday me and Abed dined and ditched here.
    • Professor Garrity shows up in his actual role as professor of drama.
  • Continuity Nod: As seen in the Kickpuncher movie in "Romantic Expressionism," Kickpuncher's name is David, or Troy's backup actor name.
  • Creator Career Self Deprecation: Jeff asks Troy how he got roped into an acting class, something Joel McHale would probably have to take to get into the career he's in now.
  • Dramatic Pause: The drama professor, naturally.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Abed proves Angela was the boss, they tease this as the professor opens a drawer to reveal a gun... and opens it further to reveal What Was Happening?: An Analysis of What's Happening. See What Could Have Been.
  • Fauxreigner: Pierce's fiancee.
  • Faux Symbolism: Invoked: Professor Sheffield's class on Who's the Boss? is apparently based on an increasingly in-depth exploration of what is actually meant by 'boss'. Unfortunately for him, Abed manages to conclusively and empirically prove that by any definition or context, the 'boss' was Angela.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    Annie: That's why the call me Irony-Free Annie.
    Jeff: Trust me, that's not what they call you.
    • Pierce has a "special gym" in his basement.
  • Gold Digger: Jeff exposes Mei as one of these. However, oddly for this trope this actually makes Jeff the bad guy; as Pierce points out, he was using Mei just as much as she was using him, there was still the possibility of good feelings between them, and it's clear that Jeff's real motives in doing so were less out of concern for Pierce and more because his vanity was wounded by Mei turning him down for Pierce.
  • Irony: To have a traumatic experience as a source for acting, Troy lies about being molested as a child, thus giving the drama professor's next words another meaning:
    Garrity: This is where acting begins.
  • Large Ham: The drama prof again.
  • Male Gaze: Troy appreciates Britta's stretching routine.
  • May-December Romance: Mei is significantly younger than Pierce, prompting Jeff's disgust/jealousy.
  • The Mole: Pierce's fiancee turns out to be a spy from a rival moist towelette company.
  • Rape as Drama: Troy makes up a story about being molested by his uncle so he can have a "painful" memory to share with his drama class.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Abed has an app for that.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Who was the Boss?
    Abed: Angela. Angela was the boss.
  • Rule of Cool + Rule of Funny: Why would Abed need organic chemistry to prove Angela was the boss?
  • Serious Business: Who's the Boss? spawns a whole course, which seems to be mostly based on a metaphysical view on what a boss is. Abed deflates the entire thing in just one class.
    Abed: The professor of this class is the author of this book!
    Jeff: Wow, we got him?
    Abed: I know!
    • Abed's excitement at the situation is also funny to the countless college students whose professors have required their students to read (i.e. BUY) their precious book, which is oddly enough the textbook of the class, and tout their own work just a little too highly. More annoying in broader topics like History and Literature, less so in narrowed fields where less research and criticism is being done. The situation is made even funnier in that while the specific focus of the class (Who's the Boss?) probably counts as the latter, the professor's attitude towards his work — and Abed's questioning of it — is quite conclusively the former.
  • Ship Tease: Between Troy and Britta.
  • Shout-Out: To Who's the Boss?, Veronica Mars, and What's Happening!!.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The in-universe motivation behind the acting class, to the extent that it seems less like an acting class and more like a rather pretentious therapy session. This prompts Troy to make up his lie about being molested as a child. When he confesses the truth at the end, Professor Garrity interprets it as 'the pain of having no pain'.
  • Unholy Matrimony: At the end of the episode, after having publicly spilled the beans about Mei's intentions, Jeff brings her back to see Pierce and declares that they might just be well-suited towards each other anyway. His reasoning reads like this trope.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Troy has several for his no-no hole. Or his plop-plop place.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: Britta actually develops an attraction to Troy when he lies about being molested as a child. Lampshaded when Britta reveals she has a tendency to do this, as an old boyfriend once pointed out (and apparently exemplified):
    Britta: Before my ex-boyfriend Pablo was arrested for forging church relics he accused me of only being attracted to 'a certain kind of guy'. Hard to understand him, though; he was pretty huffed up on paint-thinners.
    • and earlier in the episode:
    Abed: Britta's attracted to men in pain. It helps her to pretend to be mentally healthy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pierce calls Jeff out on his real, selfish motives for exposing Mei's intentions regarding her relationship with Pierce.
  • The Woobie: Troy becomes this to Britta In-Universe after he lies about being molested as a child.
  • Wrote the Book: Abed's professor wrote the book on Who's the Boss?. He tries to foist his opinion on Abed, but it turns out Abed knows more then he does.
  • You No Take Candle: Pierce's fiance, but it's an act.