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Recap: Community S 3 E 21 The First Chang Dynasty
They're just plumbers. Really. In case of doubt, look at their mustaches.
Chang has kidnapped The Dean and replaced him with a Doppeldeaner. The study group attempts to free him on the night of Chang's "25th" Birthday Party, but the school has become a near-impregnable fortress, and in order to save the day Troy might have to make a great sacrifice.

Tropes appearing in this episode of Community include:

  • The Alcoholic: One of the board members excuses his inability to see the very obvious fact that Chang was nuts with his drinking problem.
  • Answer Cut:
    Murray: And where is that key?
    (Answer Cut)
    Troy: Well, where is it?
    Murray: Oh, sorry; that was clearer in my head.
  • Anti-Advice: It's pretty clear Jeff considers anything Pierce might have to say on any subject this (not, it has to be said, without reason), as demonstrated when the two give farewell advice to Troy:
    Pierce: Never wear a rubber.
    Jeff: Never listen to Pierce.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: If Troy joins the AC Repair School, he will be forced to move out of the apartment, cut off from his friends, be unable to have a relationship and, for some unknown reason, will not be permitted to use the word 'sensational'.
  • Blackface: Well, more like "tan face". Pierce uses either make-up or a lot of bronzer to darken his face for the swami costume.
  • Binocular Shot: "They're like telephones for your eyes."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The study group expose Chang, rescue the Dean and get themselves readmitted back into the school, but Troy made a deal with the AC Repair Annex to help them do so, and so must move out of the apartment and leave the group to join the AC Repair School.
  • Blatant Lies:
  • Callback:
    Jeff: We're done right? Done? Done? Done? Done?
    • Yet again, the study group's season two-developed skills in making dioramas comes in handy as they build a replica of Greendale. Although Shirley objects to some of the levels of detailing:
    Shirley: You had time to make a working water fountain, and I'm a pine-cone?
    Troy: (in season 1) The only difference between Stalin and Seņor Chang is that I know who Seņor Chang is.
    Britta: (in season 3, on Chang) This is just like Stalin back in Russia times!
    • Chang's reference to Connie, the twin sister he ate in the womb, is a sort of Call Back-that-could-have-been; a proposed subplot for Season Two was that Chang would be increasingly haunted by visions of Connie, but it was quietly dropped.
  • The Caper
  • Cassandra Truth: Officer Cackowski is skeptical when the study group tells him of the "doppeldeaner" and makes it clear he will arrest them if they trespass at Greendale.
  • Catch Phrase: "Oof baboof!"
  • Character Development: Another glimpse of how far Jeff has come; when presented with an option that would easily enable them to enter Greendale to stop Chang but would mean forcing Troy to join the Air Conditioning Repair Annex, Jeff immediately rejects the easy option (something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago) and agrees with everyone to plan an elaborate heist and possibly risk jail if they get caught rather than risk losing Troy.
  • Comically Missing the Point
    Troy: (after Chang tells his entire Evil Plan) Chang, you're insane. You're still into keytar?
    • Also, earlier, when Officer Cackowski scoffs at their claim that the Dean has been replaced by a 'Deanelganger'.
      Jeff: Well, when you say it that way, it sounds ridiculous.
      Troy: Yeah, the word we used was doppeldeaner.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Dean Pelton had his hopes up that Jeff would be the one to personally rescue him, and is disappointed when it is Britta.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Pierce immediately suggests Britta and Annie do this to divert the guards when Shirley points out that We Need a Distraction, much to their disgust. Although considering the guards they're trying to distract are twelve-year-old boys...
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    Board member: Only a matter of time until everyone finds out what happened here. Nobody can sit on something this big.
    The Dean: I'll sit on it. When I became dean, I made a pledge to swallow this school's failures and spit out degrees, because that's. What. Deans. Do.
    • Also reminiscent of a video of Tupac Shakur in which he states that he drinks 40s and smokes blunts "because that's. What. Niggas. Do."
    • Chang's method of ruling the school is also very Stalinist dictatorship-inspired.
      Britta: It's just like Stalin back in Russia-times!
  • Double Caper
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Annie's disguised as one of Chang's child army.
  • Drunk with Power: This should go without saying, but Chang.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Lampshaded.
    Abed: Chang's started his solo. Knowing him, that only gives us 9 minutes.
  • Evil Laugh: A very disturbing and crazy one when Chang brings up the twin sister he ate in-utero: "This one's for you, Connie!"
  • Evil Plan
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Board Members end up admitting that they really probably should have noticed that Chang was a psychotic power-mad nutcase running the school into the ground sooner than they did.
  • Fanservice: Britta's Goth outfit as assistant to Jeff, who is disguised as a Criss Angel-esque magician.
  • Fiery Coverup: Chang's plan is to burn down the records, eliminating all evidence of his misdeeds.
  • Genre Savvy: The study group anticipate not only Pierce's obsessive need for attention and its likelihood of derailing the plan, but the fact that in any elaborate heist plan there's inevitably something which goes wrong and threatens to completely derail the plan. They therefore intentionally incorporate a derailment to the plan in their plan to avoid this. It almost worked as well.
    • Sadly, Chang turns out to be this too, as he anticipated that they were going to try to pull this and ends up stopping their real plan.
  • Heroes With Bad Publicity: the study group.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Troy agrees to join the Air-conditioning Repair School.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Chang's chief lieutenant Joshua is the fireworks obsessed kid from Super 8.
  • Hidden Depths: The Doppeldeaner has a wife, turns out.
  • Honor Before Reason: Troy completes his bargain with the AC Repair School despite the personal cost because "A man's only as good as his word. Or his nod through a camera to a guy with a button."
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Even if he was charming, the Board Members should have still picked up on the several warning signs that Chang was insane.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    Pierce: Is that me in my swami disguise?
    Jeff: No, Pierce. For the last time, you're in the getaway van because your swami act is notoriously horrible.
    Pierce: A. That is racist! B. Swamis can't drive; they're Indians.
    • Jeff gets in on the act as well:
      Jeff: Don't get so dramatic, Troy. The answer is simple; [Dramatically] we just have to plan an elaborate heist!
  • I Can Ex-Chang: Of course, when he's finally caught Chang can't explain. So he just legs it out the door instead.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • It's a prescription throne. Chang has back-mumps. (Don't look them up. They're very obscure.)
    • When Officer Cackowski scoffs at the idea of Chang replacing the Dean with a 'Deanelganger', Troy immediately lambasts him... because the term the study group used was doppeldeaner.
  • Just Between You and Me: Chang cant resist telling the group about his Evil Plan after capturing them.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The study group intentionally make things look like the plan has derailed in order to obscure the real plan. Unfortunately, they didn't count on a further derailment.
    • Arguably a Deconstruction as it turns out to be a needless complication that actually threatens a plan that was running smoothly up until that point.
  • The Ladys Favor: Britta gives Troy a lock of her hair when he leaves to join the AC Repair School. He found it creepy.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Changlorious Bastards suffer this when the study group get the upper-hand against them, as they're subjected to various indignities common to childhood pranking (stuck in a room suddenly plunged into the dark, menaced by bigger people, getting Stuffed into a Locker, etc). Considering that in their appearances to this point they've basically been acting like insufferable power-mad little brats, it's rather fitting.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte: Chang is dressed like him for his birthday party.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jeff is disguised as Ricky Nightshade, a rock 'n' roll magician with obvious overtones of Criss Angel.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Annie tries to warn Chang, but apparently, he has no idea how fire works.
    Annie: You're going to burn down the school and kill everyone!
    Chang: Fire can't go through doors; it's not a ghost.
  • Non Sequitur: During the argument with Officer Cackowski at the beginning, Britta at one point feels the need to interject "Look, I hate cops!" for absolutely no reason. Needless to say, this doesn't help get Cackowski on-side.
  • Perky Goth: Britta's magician assistant persona.
  • Police Are Useless: The study group goes to the police first to try to report Chang kidnapping the Dean and taking over the school. Not only does the cop refuse to believe it, but warns them that he'd arrest them if they went anywhere near the campus. Although in his defense, the scenario was pretty difficult to believe.
    • But to add onto this, one look at the disturbing commercial or heck, just one look at the campus and it should have been obvious that something was wrong.
  • Portmanteau: Doppeldeaner, copera, policical.
  • Power Walk: The study group do this down a hallway after they rescued the real Dean from the basement. It was a bit premature.
  • Propaganda Machine: Chang's posters and TV ads.
  • Pun-Based Title
  • Race Against the Clock: The group marks time at the beginning of Chang's big solo: they have only nine minutes left.
  • Reality Subtext: Annie disguised as a twelve-year-old boy was the crew's reference to the fact that all of the kids were, at some point, replaced with small adults during filming due to union rules. In the commentary, they point the adults out.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Subverted, Abed immediately tells everyone that Troy whispered, "I know you hate when people do this in movies."
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Chang, when he captures the group, which he lampshades.
  • Ship Tease: Troy/Britta gets teased a few times.
    Britta: Troy, we are not losing you to save the Dean or Greendale. [Meaningfully] Or anything. Ever.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spies in a Van: The study group operates out of a van during the rescue operation.
  • Spy Speak: One of Chang's guards announces the Dean's escape with "The pixie has left the toadstool!"
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • Troy and Britta agree that binoculars are "like telephones for your eyes."
    • Upon learning that Officer Cackowski is writing a 'cop opera', seconds later every member of the study group except Pierce yells out "Copera!" as a possible title.
    • Cackowski's "Deanelganger" and Chang's "Deanelchanger"
  • Stuffed into a Locker: One of Chang's guards suffers this fate when the study group gain the upper hand over them.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: The goodbye scene with the whole group.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Annie disguises herself as one of Chang's boy guards.
  • We Need a Distraction: Used word-for-word by Shirley. Pierce being Pierce, he immediately suggests Annie and Britta employ Distracted by the Sexy on the guards.
  • Wham Episode: As a result of the Heroic Sacrifice, Troy completes his deal with the AC repair group and has to leave the group to go the AC repair school.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we see of Chang is him legging it after his scheme has been exposed and ruined, with no indication of what happens to him after this. The next episode reveals he's living in the air vents at City College, presumably having lost his job and being no longer welcome at Greendale.
  • Wimp Fight: The Dean versus Faux-by.
  • Wire Dilemma: Parodied with a single wire.
    Abed: Which wire do I cut?
    Troy: There's only one.
    Abed: I hope to God I'm right.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Britta's magician assistant disguise which is a rank B.

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