Recap: Community S 4 E 01 History 101

All of the Dean's dreams coming true.

This can't be good. He's dressed as himself!
Jeff on the Dean

The Greendale Seven return for their final year at Greendale Community College. They show up for their first class, "History of Ice Cream", only to find that it has been overbooked, the classroom overrun by students who all believe they have a seat after some nefarious individual counterfeited a number of fake admission forms. Feeling there is only one way to fairly solve this issue, the Dean institutes "The Hunger Deans", a ridiculously elaborate series of physical competitions, the prize of each one being a plastic ball granting a seat in the class. Determined, Jeff sets out to obtain seven of the balls, so the Greendale Seven can get their history credit.

Jeff is determined to get all seven of them into the class, as he took a number of online summer courses, and only needs a single history credit to graduate "early", and the History of Ice Cream is the only history credit being offered that semester. The other study group members are sent into distress, with Abed suffering a near-mental breakdown, for which he only has Britta's advice to help him through. Meanwhile, Annie struggles with the impending "doom" in her own way (by pulling senior pranks with Shirley), Troy and Britta have some issues, and a well-known face turns up out of the blue, calling himself "Kevin", and remembering nothing of his previous actions. note 

This was the first Community episode without series creator Dan Harmon involved, and also the first new episode in almost nine months (due to the powers that be being unable to decide where to put October 19th).


The Community episode "History 101" provides examples of:

  • Audible Sharpness: Featured in the American Sword Cooks Commercial Pop-Up.
  • Batman Gambit: The History of Ice Cream class, the Hunger Deans - all of it was part of the Dean's master plan to keep Jeff at Greendale. He reduced the number of history classes to one, made it a class everyone would want to take, counterfeited admission forms so he would have to stage a competition to get places in the class, and then made the competition itself as unattractive as possible for Jeff.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Invoked, as Troy tells Britta not to make any "all" wishes, because that's just begging for ironic consequences.
  • A Bloody Mess: Shirley is concerned that Jeff is bleeding out on to his shirt. He reassures it isn't the case, it is only Leonard's blood.
  • BSOD Song: With such gems as, "For those times when life's too hard to face, I'll find some happy in my happy place."
  • Brick Joke:
    • "The fountain works."
    • When she and Shirley break into the Dean's office, Annie suggests that they move his desk and everything on it except his stapler an inch to the left. At the end of the episode, when summing up his bad day to Jeff the Dean complains that someone moved his stapler.
    • When the Dean gets his keys out of his pocket to unlock his new apartment, popcorn falls out from when Annie and Shirley popcorned his car.
  • Cameo: Fred Willard plays Pierce in Abed's mind.
  • Callback: The entire opening in Abed's head: Annie's pen, Evil!Abed with a bone-cutter, Troy's jersey from the pilot, good news/bad news Dean, Jeff and Britta's kiss during paintball and the pillow fort. And of course, the altered lyrics to the original opening tune calls back to Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas.
  • Commercial Pop-Up: On Abed TV, for shows called Blind/Blonde (starring Britta and Annie) and American Sword Cooks (starring Abed and Troy).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Britta is there to therapize for Abed at the beginning, just as he'd requested in Introduction to Finality.
    • Britta is also wearing the same glasses she wore during her first therapy session with Abed.
    • Garrett tweeted a Crisis Alert about the History of Ice Cream class.
  • Clothing Damage: Jeff's shirt is badly damaged by the Hunger Deans.
  • The Couch: The characters on Abed's Happy Community College Show deliver their lines (including pauses for Canned Laughter) on the classic Dom Com couch, center stage and right in front of the Fourth Wall. The "real" study group's table is never touched and is almost out of frame.
  • Cross Dresser: In Abed's mind, this is how Troy and Abed get into Antics 101, due to a Double Standard involving prereqs for the course.
  • Damned By a Fool's Praise: In Abed's Happy Place, everyone gets their hipster glasses off when they see the same model on Pierce.
  • Determinator: Jeff throughout the episode.
  • Dressed in Layers: The Dean tears off one dress to reveal another.
  • Dream Within a Dream: When Jeff gets close to getting all seven necessary red balls, and the events within Abed's happy place come similarly close to resolving a similar conflict, Abed goes to a happy place within his happy place.
  • Exact Words: Troy tells Britta not to use "all" in her wishes because of this, due to it guaranteeing ironic consequences. Her wish to "end all wars", as he explains, would also lead to the end of things like Star Wars, thumb wars, and Storage Wars.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Leonard steals the group's balls while they're trying to help Abed.
  • Flanderization: Abed's Happy Community College Show reduces the characters, including himself, to one-note jokes.
  • Food Fight: The freshmen mixer in Abed's Happy Place descends into one of these thanks to Pierce.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The study room white board in Abed's Happy Community College Show.
    • After Jeff removes his Purely Aesthetic Glasses and gives them to Fat Neil after he sees Britta wearing them, Fat Neil can be seen wearing them later in the scene.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Jeff is hell-bent on getting seven red balls so that the entire study group can take the class together.
  • Groin Attack: Jeff hits Neil with a pugil stick.
  • Group Hug: Pierce excluded.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Annie's rant to Shirley concerning Jeff's desire to leave Greendale hints at some concerns she might be having of this nature, in particular suggesting a reluctance to leave Greendale and some anxieties over whether she's chosen wisely with regards to her degree in hospital administration.
  • Happy Place: Abed retreats to his own mind at Britta's suggestion. It's the show, but as a standard formulaic sitcom, Laugh Track and all. And when changes start to happen in that place, he retreats to a deeper one.
  • Heroic BSOD: Abed goes into one when he realizes that Jeff is going to graduate early and the study is going to split up.
  • Hey, Wait!: the Dean in The Tag, stops Troy and Abed only to ask where they got their dresses.
  • Hurricane of Puns:
    Dean: Simmer dean, simmer dean. [..] So, follow me toooooooooooooooooooooooooo the Hunger Deans!
  • Irony: Jeff is outraged in Course Listing Unavailable that his whole summer was going to be lost taking classes at Greendale, but this episode reveals that he took summer classes anyway on his own volition, due to his Character Development at the end of season 3.
    • More likely, he figured he's forced to be at Greendale anyway, he might as well get closer to graduating
  • Jar Potty: Leonard peed in jars several times within an hour so he could save his seat in class.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The other members of the group react poorly when they learn that Jeff will be graduating early, accusing him of selfishness in not telling them, but he not unreasonably points out that they have to leave Greendale sometime.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: in The Tag, The Dean mistakes Britta for a man.
  • Laser Hallway: With colored string, similar to the training in Entrapment.
  • Laugh Track / Studio Audience: Parodied in Abed's Happy Community College Show. The imagined crowd laughs, cheers, whistles and "aww"s at the slightest provocation.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: By the end of the episode The Dean has moved into the condo next to Jeff's.
  • Medium Shift Gag: Greendale Babies.
  • Nerd Glasses/Purely Aesthetic Glasses: During the Cold Open of Abed's Happy Community College Show, all the main characters except Jeff and Abed show up trying out 'hipster' glasses, only to become crestfallen when they see the others wearing them before everyone takes them off when Pierce walks in wearing them. Ironically, in the real world, Jeff himself is trying out hipster glasses but immediately takes them off when he sees Britta wearing them, and hands them to Fat Neil.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Much like her attempt in the previous season's premiere, Britta's attempt to help Abed once again isn't the most well thought out plan.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: "This can't be good. He's dressed as himself!"
  • invokedThe Other Darrin: In Abed's Happy Community College Show, everyone is As Himself, except Fred Willard as Pierce.
  • Out of Focus: Pierce is really Demoted to Extra in this episode, not even getting to play himself in Abed's mind.
  • Poke the Poodle: Upon breaking into the Dean's office, Annie's initial idea of a prank is to... leave again, thus leaving the Dean with the creepy feeling that someone has been in his office. When pressed for something better by Shirley, she amends it to... moving his desk and everything on it an inch except for his stapler.
  • The Rainman: Abed instantly counts twelve additional thumbtacks in the bulletin board.
  • Recursive Reality: Abed TV, Abed's Happy Community College Show, and Greendale Babies.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: After the rather dark turns that the second half of season 3 took, this episode is arguably a return to the zanier feel of many season 2 episodes. Especially Dean Pelton dancing with Jeff.
  • Rousing Speech: Jeff claims he had one planned for everyone regarding changes, but the group walks away in disgust. Later Abed makes one up in style of Jeff's usual fare to bring himself out of his head. Jeff doesn't actually say anything.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Parodied with Shirley in the Abed-TV version of the show. "Oh lawd no!"
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shirley after the Dean explains he marked each ball with his distinctive bite mark.
  • Shipper on Deck: If the opening credits are anything to go by, Abed seems to regard Jeff and Britta this way. Britta's growing closeness to Troy lead to a breakdown in "Virtual Systems Analysis", and in the same episode he did his best to debunk Annie/Jeff.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Social Semi-Circle: The sofa in the study room in Abed's Happy Community College Show.
  • Special Edition Title: Complete with a reworked version of the theme song.
    "This is my show / It's about me / And all my friends / On Abed TV..."
  • Spinoff Babies: Greendale Babies, Abed's happy place within a happy place.
  • Spoiler Opening: Ken Jeong's still in the opening credits. Guess what character is somehow managing to return this episode?
  • Status Quo Is God: Abed's Happy Community College Show. They were that close to graduation, but have to redo the last three years because the Dean lost their student records.
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Dean's reason for adding another history course.
  • Take That: Abed's Happy Community College Show is a jab at more traditional sitcoms in general, but the graphic used when going in and out of Abed's Happy Place is a direct shot at an almost identical screen-transition used in The Big Bang Theory.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Immediately after his friends react with horrified offense after Jeff's Wham Line, Jeff notes that he could probably have phrased it a little more tactfully.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I want us to take this class together. I just want it to be the LAST class we take together!"
    • "Hello, my name is Kevin. I have Changnesia."
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Inverted; when Annie expresses approval over Jeff showing up early to class, demonstrating generosity to others (by saving them seats in the over-booked class) and chasing girls away (by shooing away the attractive girls he convinced to take those seats by informing them it wasn't the 'Instagram for Besties' class he'd told them it was), Jeff retorts "Don't ruin it by approving it."