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Recap / Community S1 E18: Basic Genealogy

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It's Family Day at Greendale. Slater has dumped Jeff, so he tries to score with a girl named Amber, who turns out to be Pierce's ex-stepdaughter. Britta tries to prove her tolerance by befriending Troy's ornery grandma. Abed and Shirley are visited by his cousin and her sons.

The Community episode "Basic Genealogy" provides examples of:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: There's at least one actual prominent Asian-American rabbi, Rabbi Angela Buchdal.
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  • Bilingual Bonus: Abed's cousin's Arabic is flawless. She probably actually speaks the language.
  • Buy Them Off: Pierce's solution to getting a family involves writing checks.
  • Care-Bear Stare:
    Jeff: You're becoming dangerous, Annie. Its those doe eyes. Disappointing you is like choking the Little Mermaid with a bike chain.
  • Character Development: Jeff wouldn't have hesitated to sleep with Pierce's ex-stepdaughter on day one.
  • Con Man: Pierce's stepdaughter is scamming him for money by letting him think they have a genuine familial connection.
  • Compliment Backfire:
    • Pierce compares his ex-stepdaughter's appearance to those of the call girls he frequents. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
    • Britta's comment about the attractiveness of Troy's grandmother ends in her being spanked.
      Nana: I ain't no hussy!
  • The Conscience
    Annie: Well, sounds like you've got it all figured out so why are you talking to me about it?
    Jeff: Because you’re, y’know...
    Annie: A decent person?
    Jeff: Maybe.
    Annie: And you knew that talking to me about it would make you feel like a bad friend? And you wanted to feel like a bad friend because you want to be a good friend?
    Jeff: You really suck, you know that?
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  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Trying to teach Troy a lesson about respecting and "cherishing" family, Britta says something she would consider complimentary but which "Nana" considers offensive. Nana orders her to get a switch, which Britta does. Britta seems to think that the switch was for striking her hand. Nana quickly corrects her ("I ain't no nun!"). She bends over—even though Troy tells her she doesn't have to—and pulls down her pants. She realizes very quickly she doesn't know what she's gotten herself into.
    [Britta crying from the spanking]
    Troy [crying]: I don't understand you, Britta! I don't understand you at all! She's had enough! SHE'S HAD ENOUGH!
  • Dueling Shows:
    Jeff: [in tears] We always used to watch the shows she wanted to watch. I hate Glee.
    Pierce: [beginning to tear up too] I'm not crazy about Glee either.
    Jeff: [sobs] *sniff* I don't understand the appeal at all!
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  • Fight Unscene: We only get to see the aftermath of the fight between Chang and Pierce.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences:
    Abed: I hope they’re not twins. Twins freak me out. They always know what the other one is...
    Troy: Thinking.
    Abed: Yeah. And they’re always finishing each other’s...
    Troy: Pie.
    Abed: It’s creepy.
  • Foreshadowing: Rabbi Chang questioning if his brother realizes how ridiculous "Señor Chang" sounds like a piece of Hypocritical Humor, until it's revealed that he actually doesn't know the language.
  • Hypocrite: Amber points out Pierce is acting as one.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rabbi Chang pointing out how ridiculous "Señor Chang" sounds. Although it's worth noting that a Chinese rabbi at least has cultural and historical precedent on his side. Shanghai, in particular, has a surprisingly large Jewish community. Many Jews have immigrated to Eastern countries in the past seventy years or so, due in part to Sugihara, the "Japanese Schindler." It's also foreshadowing the revelation of Señor Chang's abysmal knowledge of Spanish.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Britta unsuccessfully attempts to invokes this to get on Troy's grandmother's good side.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Stepdaughter." "Technically, ex-stepdaughter."
  • Jerk Ass: Troy's grandma. Britta calls her pretty; she takes it to mean Britta thinks she's a whore and finds this sufficient excuse to deliver a brutal spanking. This seems to be her standard response to any conversation.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shirley's boys are introduced as being somewhat out of control and a liiiittle bit racist (introducing themselves by pointing blaster guns at Abed's father and yelling "Freeze! Homeland Security!"). But then they disguise themselves as Abed's cousin (by putting on her burkha) so she can go have fun. Shirley thought it was Abed's idea, but it was theirs.
  • Knuckle Cracking: Chang cracks his neck badass-style before taking on Pierce.
  • Metaphorgotten: The Booty-nator.
    Shirley: You know, "I'll be back" — but with booty.
  • Mistaken for Racist: To be fair, Pierce actually is pretty racist, but for once he makes an innocent mistake with his attempt to draw a windmill while playing Pictionary. And apparently he's not the first person to do it.
  • Morality Pet: Annie, to Jeff. This episode takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Britta learns this the hard way.
  • Non-Nazi Swastika: Pierce's windmill in Pictionary.
  • Offscreen Breakup: Jeff and Prof. Slater. Well, not quite, but the next closest thing. When we last saw them, their relationship was doing okay, but they break up before the opening credits. Word of God, this development occurred to have Jeff get together with the Guest Star of the week.
  • Overprotective Dad: Overprotective ex-stepdad Pierce.
  • Pet the Dog: Pierce reveals that he knew all along that his step daughter was scamming him, shares a Not So Different moment with Jeff, then helps Jeff realize that he cared more for Michelle than he let on.
  • Playing Pictionary: With actual pictionary.
  • Ship Tease: Troy and Britta are paired up again in this episode, and once again Jeff finds himself gravitating towards Annie as he's undergoing his moral dilemmas.
  • Sorry to Interrupt: Jeff and Amber walks in on Britta being spanked by Nana, while Troy is bawling his eyes out:
    [Jeff and Amber watches the scene in confusion and horror]
    Jeff: ...You know what? Totally wrong room. You get the door?
    Amber: Uh-huh.
  • Stereotype Flip: It is revealed that Señor Chang's older brother is a Rabbi. This is lampshaded by Dean Pelton (though he also mistakenly assumes that the Changs are Japanese).
    Dean: Well, it was wonderful meeting your brother. Adios Señor Chang, Shalom Rabbi Chang, and to both of you, Sayonara.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Apparently, a lot of people make the same mistake as Pierce when drawing a windmill in Pictionary.
  • Symbology Research Failure: Rabbi Chang is wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) out in public for some reason. They are meant to be used during services.
    • There are tallises that are worn in everyday life, but they're generally worn under the clothes and look rather different.
    • Maybe Rabbi Chang is Jewish in the same way Señor Chang is fluent in Spanish.
  • Take That!: To Glee.
    Jeff: [Weepy] We always used to watch the shows she wanted to watch... I hate Glee.
    Pierce: [Also getting emotional] Yeah, I’m not fond of Glee.
    Jeff: I hate it... I just don't understand the appeal at all!
  • Totem Pole Trench: How Shirley's sons disguise themselves so Abed's cousin can go play.
  • True Companions:
    Jeff: As long as you have friends you have family.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Discussed.
    Annie: [about Abed's female cousin] Does she look like you but with a wig and lipstick?
    Abed: No, that's Halle Berry.
  • Wall Bang Her: Downplayed. Jeff gently presses Pierce's step daughter against a cupboard in the storage room.
  • When Elders Attack: Troy's Grandmother.