Recap / Community S 4 E 03 Conventions Of Space And Time
InspectiCon here we come!

The study group ventures forth to an Inspector Spacetime fan convention, called InspectiCon.

While Troy and Abed's friendship seems endangered when Abed meets his pen pal Toby Weeks (Matt Lucas), another passionate fan of the series, the rest of the group has their own troubles. Jeff meets up with an attractive woman (Tricia Helfer) at the bar, which seems not to go over too well with Annie.

The Community episode "Conventions of Space and Time" provides examples of:

  • 419 Scam: Played with. Abed's internet friend Toby is a banker who works in Nigeria. He had financial difficulties so Abed sent him 700 pounds and a plane ticket. Britta is about to break the news to Abed that he was scammed when Toby shows up and gives Abed back his money. He then complains that of all the people he contacted, only Abed was willing to help him.
  • Actor Allusion: Toby is played by Matt Lucas, most famous for being half of the duo that star in Little Britain, with the other half being David Walliams. Now, what did Toby say was the name of his best friend who couldn't come to the convention...?
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Toby has one like Abed's, and even condescendingly refers to the rest of the populace as "neurotypicals", an actual term coined by the autistic community.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Referenced when Jeff wishes to wake up during a final exam completely unprepared—a common Real Life Anxiety Dream.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Jeff itemizes Annie's elaborate details for simulating a hotel room occupied by a married couple, then swerves to concern over how she acquired his hair.
  • Building Swing: Britta swings around the corner of the building to the fire escape.
  • Call-Back:
  • Catch-Phrase/Kneel Before Zod: "Bow before Thoraxis!" The con attendees obey. Pierce lies prone.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Troy and Abed wait to reveal that Jeff looks like Thoraxis.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Both Troy and Annie, towards Abed and Jeff respectively.
  • Continuity Nod: In "The Psychology of Letting Go", while Annie and Britta were fighting, Annie accused Britta of "getting up an hour early to ever so slightly curl [Britta's] hair." In this episode's scene where Britta is changing into her clothes outside of the apartment, Annie hands her a curling iron through the window.
  • Dirty Coward: Toby immediately leaves Troy & Abed alone when he learns Troy can make a fist.
  • Drink Order: Annie orders scotch ("the good kind") for her pretend husband, Jeff. She's not a fan.
    Annie: Tastes of bog.
    • She also later gets Jeff to (begrudgingly) order her an appletini.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Britta & Annie when Jeff rips open his shirt & quotes the "Bow before Thoraxis!" line from Inspector Spacetime.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: San Francisco, must mean we're within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • Evil Is Hammy:
    • Toby gets a lot hammier upon locking Abed into a DARSIT.
    • Thoraxis, a villain in Inspector Spacetime, was clearly written this way.
  • Fanservice: We start out the episode with Troy and Britta in bed together; then we get one nice long shot of a Britta in her underwear making her way to Annie's room while dressing herself.
  • Fan Convention: InspectiCon, duh.
  • Fauxreigner: Jeff pretends to be Nigel Cuthbertson, Thoraxis's British actor, to flirt with an attractive fan.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The name of the episode's real life writer appears on the pilot for the american remake (the one shown to the focus group that includes Pierce and Shirley).
  • Food Slap: Jeff gets two drinks thrown in his face. Annie tries to then throw two drinks in his face simultaneously, but they're the same (now empty) cups from the first two times, prompting her to bashfully order more drinks.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: The planned American version of Inspector Spacetime is titled Epochs of Eternity: Inspector Spacetime.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The hotel staff is very supportive when Annie confronts Jeff.
    • Britta gets a gaggle of nerds following her.
    • When Abed expresses his distate to the changes Pierce had made to Inspector Spacetime, Britta & Shirley can be seen nodding in the background.
    • When Abed is trapped in the booth, you can see postcards with a Green-Skinned Space Babe lying in a suggestive pose.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Annie's apparent reaction to Jeff flirting with another woman; she later claimed it was just to keep up the act that she's his wife with the staff.
    • Troy also goes "psycho girlfriend" in reaction to his anxieties of Abed leaving him.
  • Handshake Refusal: Toby ignores Troy's extended hand, and Troy plays it off by brushing his hair. Britta also brushes her hair sympathetically.
  • Held Gaze: Jeff and Annie on the couch during the "If we were married...." conversation.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Britta tells Troy the "if you love someone, set them free" cliche regarding Abed and Toby, but she's also referring to herself.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Troy audibly cracks his knuckles when making a fist to threaten Toby.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Toby resorts to this after Abed sees through his ruse.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Poor Jeff, the hotel staff believe he is cheating on his wife. A wife that he doesn't have mind you. Jeff emphasizes that he would not cheat if they were married.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • The "leggy blonde with the tennis racket" in American remake of Inspector Spacetime.
    • We also got to see Britta run around in nothing but bra and panties for half of the cold open.
  • My Own Grampa: The American Inspector must impregnate his own grandmother. According to Abed and Toby, the original Inspector Spacetime is both his own grandfather and grandmother.
  • Not So Above It All: Jeff, who had previously called the convention lame, finally has fun at InspectiCon at the end, by uttering Thoraxis' immortal line.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Britta gets confrontational about the (unpopular) female Inspector to Abed, after a moment of tension Abed — claiming that he is trying to be more relaxed about such matters — cheerfully replies that everyone is entitled to their opinion. Troy begins to panic.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Jeff claims that he needs to practice his American accent so that he can stop faking a British one.
  • Open Secret: Troy and Britta are having sex. Abed knew, even though they went to extremes to hide it. He just likes Britta bringing donuts when she "drops in" every morning.
  • Out of Order: Like last season a door appears in this episode with what was supposed to be the episode number. This time Annie's hotel door says 404.
  • Person as Verb: Winger. Used in the sense of giving an epiphany speech.
  • Prematurely Bald: Jeff is very concerned about how Annie acquired his hair.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The Inspector Spacetime fan who thought Jeff's "American accent" wasn't remotely convincing.
  • Reality Subtext: Pierce dumbing down the American Inspector Spacetime continues the themes from "History 101".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    Abed: Maybe all relationships are made up of logical Inspectors and emotional Constables and we need both to make space and time a better place.
  • Running Gag:
    Annie: "You're on your own, Al Capone."
  • Ship Tease:
    • Britta warns Troy about Toby: "That dude is trying to steal your boyfriend."
    • Jeff & Annie's entire subplot - First, they're planning to go skiing whilst Troy, Abed & Britta were at the Inspector Spacetime convention. The ski resort being closed leads to a bored Annie pretending to be married to Jeff, and she later admits to have pretend-married Jeff a number of times; whilst Jeff tells Annie that if they were married, she'd never find him flirting with some random girl at a bar.
    • There's also a very brief moment towards Annie/Troy, as when she admits to pretend-marrying Jeff a number of times, she mentions that she's done the same thing with Troy.
  • The Scrappy: In-universe—there was a much-maligned female Inspector, Minerva. Since Britta is present, Abed is quick to point out that she isn't hated for being female, she's hated for sucking.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Jeff rips open his shirt and delivers Thoraxis's Catch-Phrase.
    • There are several nice shots of Troy shirtless in his room.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Obviously, several to Doctor Who dressed as things from Inspector Spacetime. For example, the Pharaohbots. The episode also shows a different version of the quantum spanner (based on the sonic screwdriver) than the one seen last time.
    • Troy thinks Abed finding out he's sleeping with Britta will lead to Abed having a breakdown that can only be solved by re-enacting Fantastic Voyage, which he realizes he would actually like.
    • Annie has had many marriage fantasies with Jeff, Troy, and Zac Efron. A Charlie St Cloud poster is visible in her bedroom.
    • "Bow before Thoraxis!!"
    • The much-hated female inspector may be a nod to how many Star Trek fans feel about Captain Janeway.
      • And to the still on-going debate between Doctor Who fans about whether the Doctor should be able to regenerate into a woman or not (there is a sizable minority completely deadset against it).
    • The fan Jeff flirts with is Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica fame (slightly hard to recognise with her naturally darker hair).
  • Stylistic Suck: The American version of Inspector Spacetime after Pierce's input. The little we see is full of excessively explanatory dialogue, Bad "Bad Acting", terrible innuendo, and outright worship of the 1960s.
    • The 1960s version of the British Inspector Spacetime continues its proud tradition of somehow managing to look even cheaper than the show that inspired it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial/Blatant Lies: "I'm not psycho!"
  • Take That!:
    • A rather unsubtle one to the new run of Doctor Who, where the Inspector states that "we can go anywhere, at any time in the universe! ...But it'll probably be London during the Blitz" — a reference to the common fan complaint that the Doctor can go anywhere, at any time in the universe... but keeps going to Great Britain's "Finest Hour".
    • Epochs of Eternity is one to every Transatlantic Equivalent that manages to completely bastardize the original show in the process, and the producers who miss the point of why the original show is popular to begin with.
  • Title-Only Opening: This is only the second episode after season 1 to use the short version of the standard opening theme. Its last appearance was in season 2's Cooperative Calligraphy.
  • Tranquil Fury: Abed's reaction to the effects of Pierce's input on the American Inspector Spacetime remake.
    Abed: (whispered) I hate you.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: An American version of Inspector Spacetime, apparently called Epochs of Eternity, was shown in production during the show.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Shirley (black, female, and older than original demographic) and Pierce (old) cover "several significant quadrants" in the focus group.
    Shirley: We have every right to be here, and I don't know if you're being sexist, ageist, racist, or what, but I don't think I like your -ist.