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Recap / Community S1 E03: Introduction to Film

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Britta upon finding out that Abed's dream is to be a film maker helps support him financially. However Abed's behavior becomes increasingly erratic leading to a confrontation between Abed, Abed's Dad, Britta, and Jeff. Meanwhile Jeff convinces several members of the study group to join him for an easy A course in Accounting, but is stymied when he must either 'seize the day' or risk not only failing the class but also life.

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The Community episode "Introduction to Film" provides examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Ken Jeong as Chang does not appear at all in this episode nor is mentionned.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Whitman: "What do you mean, Jeff? What does your life mean? How long does it take you in the morning to make it look like you have bedhead? How many sweatpants-sport jacket combos did you try before you found the one that said 'I don't care?'"
  • Big Damn Kiss: Jeff and Britta kiss in this episode, though less out of romantic tension and more so Britta can help him pass Whitman's class.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Arabic Abed and his dad speak? It's real, albeit with an accent (Abed's is thicker). The text for "And I think the wrong person just left" in Abed's film, however, is a bad translation, confusing the Arabic words for "left" (the direction) and "left" (referring to the past tense of the verb "to leave"). This could in itself be a joke.
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  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In The Tag. Troy showing Abed how to krump—and then Jeff showing the two how to krump.
  • Cool Teacher: Prof. Whitman tries to be this. Depending on your taste he may or may not be successful.
  • Designated Parents: Abed manipulates Britta and Jeff into these roles for the sake of making his movie seem all that more authentic.
  • Deconstruction: Of Jeff and his Mellow Fellow personality; as Whitman notes, his every action is precisely calculated to make him appear laid-back, indifferent and relaxed, which just serves to prove how ultimately uptight and incapable of truly relaxing he really is.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Jeff's plot in Whitman's class turns into this. In their confrontation, when Jeff yells about how much work he's putting into his efforts to seize the day and why Whitman won't give him a break about them, Whitman retorts that his attempts to seize the day are unconvincing because Jeff clearly has no real idea how to seize the day; he's just acting out superficial expressions of happiness and unconventionality because he has no understanding of how to relax and do something just for the simple pleasure of it. He shouldn't have to "work" at embracing life.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: In-Universe, Abed's first student film has him intentionally annoy and frustrate Jeff and Britta to the point of them abandoning him so he can capture a perfect metaphor for the dissolution of his parents' marriage.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Abed's father wants him to Follow in My Footsteps instead of pursuing a career in filmmaking.
  • Foreshadowing: During his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Jeff Whitman urges him to, among other things "kiss a girl in the middle of the day!" in order to seize life. Whitman is ultimately convinced to pass Jeff when he sees him kissing Britta.
  • Funny Background Event: During the scene where Jeff and Britta first meet Abed's father there's the Greendale Karate team showing off their skills in the background — which consist of Wax On, Wax Off and dancing the Macarena.
  • Genre Savvy: Professor Whitman might act like he's actually in Dead Poets Society, but it helps him see Jeff as both the slacker student who's just trying to coast through his studies and as the uptight guy who has no real idea how to loosen up and 'seize the day'.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Abed's father is short-tempered and still grieving from his divorce years earlier. He's also a fan of Weezer.
    • Professor Whitman initially seems like a clueless boob who thinks he's in Dead Poets Society, but much to Jeff's exasperation and discomfort he quickly proves a lot savvier and more perceptive than he appears.
  • Hollywood Beauty Standards: Mocked by Abed when he mentions that his first assignment was a documentary.
    Abed: They're like real movies but with ugly people.
  • Homage: While Jeff is trying to seize the day under the mentoring of Prof. Whitman, Abed is having his own Dead Poets Society experience in the form of his father forbidding him to study film (as with Neil and his dad in Dead Poets Society). Thankfully, it ends up subverted.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: Pierce to Troy, with two cans of Brand X Cola.
    Pierce: Those are both for me.
  • Irony: Jeff signs up for Whitman's class expecting it to be an easy "A". It turns out to be one of the hardest classes he has, but not for the reasons he may have thought.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Abed's father is a rather distant, dominating and short-tempered man who is (initially at least) belittling towards his son's passions and interests, and is forcing him to embark on a career he wants nothing to do with. But he does love his son deep down and is genuinely mortified to realise that Abed believes that he believes Abed is responsible for Abed's mother abandoning them.
    • Underneath his spacey exterior, Professor Whitman is shrewd enough to see that Jeff is simply planning to coast through the class and strict enough to threaten to fail him if he doesn't seize the day, without bothering to give him any further advice on how to do so. He also talks down to Shirley and Annie, which was he presumably meant to be Tough Love. However, once he sees Jeff and Britta kiss, he congratulates Jeff and hands him an A+.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Britta: Raising him means letting him follow his dreams.
    Abed's Father: Dreams are for sleeping!
    Britta: You don't know that!
    Abed's Father: It's clinically proven!
    Britta: So's polio!
    Abed's Father: You lost me!
    • Later, Abed's dad makes a seemingly heavy-handed speech comparing Britta and Jeff's involvement with Abed to the Iraq War. It turns out that they had misinterpreted it; the "speeches" he was talking about were Jeff's, and the "guided missiles" were Britta's breasts.
  • Mood Whiplash: The goofy Vanity Plate at the end of Abed's student film.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After watching Abed's film, Abed's father is moved to tears when he realizes that his treatment of his son has led Abed to believe that he is responsible for Abed's mother walking out on them.
  • Not So Above It All: Jeff in the tag. At first it seems like he's going to mock Troy and Abed for krumping in the study room... but then he steps in to show them how it's done.
  • Out of Focus: Shirley and Annie. Especially Annie, who barely ever has any lines in this episode.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Jeff, Britta and Shirley make Islamophobic remarks to and about Abed's dad, though they're mostly one-off.
  • Psychologist Teacher: Professor Whitman both parodies and plays this trope seriously. He's an accounting teacher who acts like he's in Dead Poets Society. However, he's also savvy enough to realize that Jeff's just trying to coast and has no real idea how to 'seize the day'.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Whitman lays one on Jeff when he informs Jeff precisely why he's likely to fail the class:
    Whitman: Had I not already cried at the sunrise this morning, I would be weeping right now.
    Jeff: What does that mean?!
    Whitman: What do you mean, Jeff? What does your life mean? How long does it take you in the morning to make it look like you have bed-head? How many sweatpants-sport jacket combos did you try before you found the one that said "I don't care?" Seize the day, Jeff! For real! Go running naked in a hailstorm! Kiss a girl in the middle of the day! Fly a kite, but do it for yourself! Or you won't just fail my class; you'll fail life.
  • Running Gag: Jeff being compared to Ryan Seacrest.
    Gobi: You go host American Idol!
  • Shaped Like Itself: As Abed puts it:
    9/11 was pretty much the 9/11 of the falafel business.
  • Shout-Out: A particularly meta one, when a disgruntled Jeff, wearing rainbow suspenders, exclaims "Shazbot!" after a run-in with Professor Whitman, who acts as though he is Robin Williams' character in Dead Poets Society.
  • Stereotype Flip: How Jeff tricks Britta and Abed's dad into coming near episode's end. By lying about having Ravi Shankar tickets for white as rice Britta, and lying about Weezer coming for Abed's dad.
  • Synchro-Vox: How Abed has Jeff and Britta play his parents.
  • Take That!: To Dane Cook.
  • Tear Jerker: In-universe. Jeff and Britta are rather nonplussed by Abed's student film, but Abed's father is able to recognize instantly what Abed is doing and is moved to tears by it. His change of heart concerning Abed's film classes might also be this for the viewer.
    Gobi: But falafel is a fallback!
  • Tempting Fate: When one of Professor Whitman's homages to Dead Poets' Society goes wrong:
    Whitman: All your lives you've been told 'don't stand on your desks'! Well, why not?
    [A student's desk collapses from underneath her, sending her falling painfully to the ground.]
  • That Came Out Wrong:
    Jeff: Hey! Troy sneezes like a girl!
    Troy: How about I pound you like a boy?! That didn’t come out right.....
  • This Is the Part Where...: Abed's "This is the scene where you leave." to Britta.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-universe. Upon seeing Jeff's "seizing the day" kite-flying attempt, Whitman points out that it's not only unconvincing and sloppy but also, given the age difference between Jeff and the girls he's roped into joining in and hugging him afterwards, "unwittingly creepy."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Annie calls Shirley out on making a racist comment about how Muslims can "chop off your head with a salami sword". Jeff correctly predicts that Pierce would say something worse within a minute.

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