Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Community S1 E10: Environmental Science

Go To

In the aftermath of his wife leaving him, Chang becomes increasingly petty and spiteful towards his students, culminating in a twenty-page essay written entirely in Spanish. The study group persuades Jeff to approach Chang and persuade him to back-off a bit, but he's soon tempted to put personal gain over the good of the majority. On top of this Troy and Abed are having difficulties training their lab rat thanks to Troy's fear of rats, and Shirley is nervous about an upcoming presentation, which leads her in desperation to consult Pierce's advice.


The Community episode "Environmental Science" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Jeff and Chang laughing about Cherry Daiquiri — which was the name of Gillian Jacobs' character in The Film of the Book of Choke.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Played straight in practice when Jeff asks Chang if his wife has left him. Although Chang's immediate emotional breakdown parodies the trope.
  • Backhanded Compliment: And Chang doesn't catch it.
    Chang: You make no mistake about this, Winger; I pleasured that woman greatly.
    Jeff: Yeah. You look like you would have to. I'm not surprised you said that.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun
    Jeff: Can I ask you a personal question, Señor Chang?
    Chang: [Laughs] Okay, Freud. Sure! You try to penetrate my psychological armor, and you—
    Jeff: Did your wife leave you?
    Chang: Holy-! did you know?
    Jeff: Well, when you pick juries, you learn to read the little stuff. Same shirt twice in one week. Teaching us the word esposa means 'liar'. [Gestures] A picture of you with a woman, with a post-it note dialog balloon above her head that says "enjoy it while it lasts."
  • Advertisement:
  • Disproportionate Retribution Serial Escalation: Annie fails to hear Chang quietly mutter that the test is finished. This leads to the following, and increasingly disproportionate, chain of events:
    [Chang drags Annie out of the classroom using her desk and slams the door shut behind him. To the rest of the class:]
    Chang: I want you all to write a one-page essay, in Espanyol, entitled "Annie's Mistake."
    Pierce: ... Why doesn't Annie have to write it?
    Chang: Okay, two pages, on "The Consequences of Questioning Authority."
    Shirley: Uh, this is Spanish 101. I know how to say "hello", "tomorrow" and that tables are female. That's the only Spanish you taught us.
    [The class begins to protest and raise their hands]
    Britta: Guys, put your hands down! Señor Chang, please continue. We respect your authority.
    Chang: Thank you, Britta. TWENTY PAGES on ASSKISSING! Due on Monday.
    Annie: [From the outside window] This Monday?!
  • invokedDude, Not Funny!: In Spanish, Chang calls Pierce "old"; Abed "ugly"; and Shirley and Troy "dirty."
    Troy: DUDE.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: For a change, Pierce actually has some effective public-speaking tips for Shirley.
  • Eek, a Rat: Apparently, Troy is afraid of rats.
  • Foreshadowing: Dean watching buff men dressed as Dalmatians on the internet. "This better not awaken anything in me."
  • Green Aesop: Parodied; the Dean decides to celebrate Green Week and announces that he's changed the name of the college to Envirodale, only to be told the school is already named Greendale. The Dean then orders the 5,000 leaflets he's had printed with "Envirodale" on them destroyed, and another 5,000 printed up with Greendale in them.
  • Homage:
    • In The Tag, Pierce behaves like Michael Corleone in the restaurant scene from The Godfather, shooting Troy and Abed in the face with a water pistol filled with pepper water, then dropping the gun as he leaves.
    • Abed and Troy's mouse is named after Fievel Mousekewitz, one of the characters in An American Tail, in which he sings "Somewhere Out There", the song Abed and Troy sing to lure their mouse out.
  • Hypocritical Humor: To celebrate Green Week, the Dean prints out 5,000 posters changing the name of the school to Envirodale. When it's pointed out that they're already named Greendale, he orders all 5,000 posters to be reprinted with Greendale. This is of course a huge waste of paper, defeating the point of Green Week's Green Aesop.
  • Interscene Diegetic: Abed starts one by singing "Somewhere Out There", and it continues through two other scenes.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: It's Starburns who points out the needlessness of changing the name "Greendale" to "Envirodale."
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Jeff takes advantage of Chang's vulnerability and gets himself out of the homework assignment by playing along with Chang's attempts at making friends, betraying his friends in the process. Then, feeling guilty, Jeff arranges for Chang to get back with his wife. This prompts Chang to call off the homework assignment ... for everyone except Jeff, having by this point clocked what Jeff was originally up to and not appreciating it.
  • Moral Myopia: Jeff is asked to approach Señor Chang on behalf of the group and get him to call off some of the ridiculously harsh amounts of homework he's been setting. Chang, bonding with Jeff over his recent separation from his wife, agrees to call it off — but only for Jeff. Jeff goes along with this, and when the other members of the group learn this and angrily call him out over it Jeff initially acts as if he's the one who's being wronged.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: This clip is one of the show's most popular on YouTube, if not the most popular outside the Troy-Abed tag scenes at the end of each episode. In it, Troy and Abed sing "Somewhere Out There" at Fievel in a vent; Chang does an Irish tango kind of thing, screams, and starts making out with his wife as Jeff silently watches; and Shirley talks very slowly about Orgasmically Delicious brownies in front of a mesmerized class (and briefly impersonates Jack Nicholson from The Shining), while Pierce waves a sandwich in the air.
  • Never Suicide: Jeff reminds the group not to believe the suicide note tagged to his body if his talk with Chang turned bad.
  • Orgasmically Delicious: In her public speaking assignment, Shirley calls out this trope by name.
  • Sadist Teacher: Chang is shown to be especially petty and vindictive when dealing with his students. Particularly since he spitefully takes out his personal problems on them.
  • Sherlock Scan: Jeff uses one to deduce Chang's wife left him (Chang wore the same shirt twice in a week, said that the Spanish word for "wife" meant "liar" in class, and has a Post-It note saying "Enjoy it while it lasts" on his office's framed photo of him and his wife). Jeff explains he used to read juries like this as an attorney, to figure out the best angles to use in court.
  • Squirrels in My Pants: Fievel ends up in Troy's pants.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    Pierce: You know if Señor Chang gets any more crazy, he's going to win one of those Grammy Awards.
    Jeff: If that guy goes any more nuts, he's going to win a Grammy.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: While Ken Jeong certainly isn't hideous, Ben Chang's personality is pretty ugly. And, in any event, Andrea de Olivera ("Señora Chang") is far easier on the eyes.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Troy and rats, with Troy even referencing the trope namer. Also Chang and frogs, apparently.