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Recap / Community S1 E24: English as a Second Language

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The study group is studying for finals when a secret about Chang is uncovered that threatens to cause everyone to fail. Meanwhile, Troy discovers a hidden talent for plumbing which, much to his mystification, everyone seems to think is worth dropping out of college for.

The Community episode "English as a Second Language" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Pierce's "Tierra del Fuego!"
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Abed misleads to imply Jeff might have failed the Spanish class, a Call-Back to Chang doing the same at the end of the first term.
  • Big "NO!": Annie's screaming coming from Chang's room.
  • Call-Back: The Big "NO!" sampling is from Advanced Criminal Law when Chang said he would flunk everyone.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Annie's Class Recorder. It recorded Chang's confession to Jeff that he's not a real teacher.
    • When Pierce wakes up before the exam, the book he's been" studying isn't the textbook - it's a guide to talking dirty in Spanish. It looks like Pierce being Pierce — until you get to the end of the episode and find out he seduced the Spanish teacher.
  • Advertisement:
  • Chirping Crickets: Lampshaded - they're part of the Dean's "relaxing" ambient noise broadcast.
    Dean: And now, crickets! [chirp chirp]
  • Continuity Nod: Chang faking his death is brought up.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Abed pulls a paraphrasing of Ben Affleck's "the best part of my day" speech from Good Will Hunting on Troy, to try to get him to 'use his gift' and become a plumber. The next day, Abed turns to find that Troy is no longer sitting next to him in class... but not because he's inspired and has dropped out, but because Troy has switched seats because he's offended that his best friend would actually think the prospect of him just leaving without a word would be the best part of his day. Turns out, that would actually be a really horrible and offensive thing to say to a friend, no matter how gifted.
    • Also deconstructs Abed as the Meta Guy. Not all his pop culture references can be understood.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Jeff leads the charge to get Annie kicked out of the study group for her actions and orders no one to contact her, insisting that they need to 'beat her' and don't need her to study for and beat their Spanish final — something which backfires on everyone seconds later when they realize that Annie's the only one out of them who actually knows how to study.
    • Anne ratted out Chang so that their grades would be invalid and that they would repeat the class. However, the dean believed that that would be unfair to the students, so he hired an actual Spanish teacher. So, not only did nothing go according to plan, but she made things worse.
  • Double Entendre:
    Pierce: Thanks for making it easy.
    Escodera: I was going to say the same thing [beat] but you were gone before breakfast.
    Pierce: Heh, I'm an early riser.
    Escodera: I'll say.
  • Double Subversion: Troy stops to check out an "unsolvable" equation on a blackboard, picks up the chalk... and walks off with it. Then he finds out the water fountain's broken and discovers his latent plumbing skills.
  • Dreadful Musician: Chang on Key-tar.
  • El Spanish "-o":
    Jeff: El crapo.
  • Easily Forgiven: Chang wrecks Jeff's precious Lexus but the latter bears no grudge here or in later episodes.
  • Held Gaze: Jeff and Annie have one during their exchange where Jeff notices she's dressing like a professor.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Intentional on Jeff's part.
    Chang: I hear you faked your bachelor's degree. Two questions: where did you get it; could you have prevented being caught; and how?
    Jeff: One question: where did you learn to count questions; and are you telling me you need a fake degree?
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Annie's explanation that she ratted out Chang because she wanted the study group to stay together.
  • Instrument of Murder: Key-tar vs. windshield.
  • Insulted Awake: How you wake up a napping Pierce.
    Jeff: Discrimination Lawsuit!
    Pierce: Hypocrisy!
  • Iris Out: The episode fades out like this.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Annie's motivations for exposing Chang were selfish and her actions harmful to the rest of the group. But at the same time, Chang was an incompetent Sadist Teacher who knew nothing about the subject he was supposed to teach and had taught them next to nothing of value, was grossly abusive of his power over his students, and all up had no place being in charge of a classroom.
    • Jeff may have been harsh with Anne when he and the group finds out, but who wouldn't be pissed if someone sabotaged their chances at succeeding?
  • Kavorka Man: Pierce is a Dirty Old Man Rich Idiot With No Day Job Racist Grandpa, but when he puts his mind to it, he can seduce someone with little effort.
  • New Year Same Class: Annie actively works to invoke this trope, going so far as to risk all of her classmates failing class so they can stay together. She fails - they instead make a conscious choice to pick another class to take together.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: It's mentioned that Pierce didn't stay for breakfast after his night with his Spanish teacher.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor:
    Troy: Why is she teaching Spanish if she's a doctor? Go cure something!
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The moment the Study Group realise Annie hasn't turned up to the exam, and has gone to make things right with Chang.
    • Also, the whole Spanish class when they realize they don't know a lick of spanish for the final.
  • Only Sane Man: Troy is mystified that people seem to genuinely think that he should drop out of college and become a plumber simply because he has a gift for fixing faucets. As he points out, getting a college degree will broaden his future opportunities.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Pelton apparently hired Chang without checking his credentials, because he thought running a check for Spanish qualifications on an Asian man would look racist.
  • Preemptive "Shut Up": Jeff says that he can only become a lawyer again on schedule "if I take a full load." Pierce is opening his mouth and Jeff - without looking at him - says "Don't!" before finishing "a full load of classes."
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Annie's Disney face is so overpowering that even Abed has to close his eyes.
  • Reality Ensues: Prof. Escodera treats the class to a real Spanish class, as in devoid of English dialogue. The mass crash-and-burn from the whole class is practically an art form.
  • Sarcasm-Blind:
    Britta: Music lessons would be great for you.
    Chang: Awww, thanks Britta!
  • Sarcastic Clapping: The plumber after Troy fixes the bathroom sink.
  • Ship Tease:
    • When Annie reveals that she's been dressing in a way that she hopes make her look like a professor (Jeff dated a professor earlier in the season).
    • The fact that Jeff knows Annie really well is what leads to him discovering she got Chang fired. Also, Jeff breaking down the door because he thought Annie was in possible danger, and then his decision for the group to take Anthropology. He even teasingly indicates Annie when asking three times as she did previously!
    • Britta and Abed sleep on each other and walk arm in arm behind the rest of the group at least twice once with an Iris Out. Usually, Abed and Britta don't interact that much.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Significant Reference Date: Jeff mentions that he has a dinner appointment on May 23, 2013. That's a Thursday, the supposed finale of season 4. Ultimately amounted to nothing on screen, as the fourth season finale aired two weeks prior to that date. However, on that day, Jeff's Twitter updated to invite the rest of the Study Group to the restaurant, and wound up having his plans derailed by the Dean & Chang inviting themselves along.
  • Sleep Cute: Britta and Abed fall asleep on top of each other after the study group's all-night study session, compounding their Ship Tease in this episode.
  • Strange Minds Think A Like:
    Abed: Like the first season of The Wire.
    Troy: Exactly like... ah hell I can't stay mad at you.
    • Also, when Chang tells Jeff he wants a word in private, Jeff and Chang both expect everyone to leave the room.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Jeff reprimands Shirley for texting Annie and "playing into her ploy for attention". Annie immediately texts Shirley back and says that she's fine and it isn't a ploy for attention.
  • Take That!: Jeff wants everyone to picture Annie as Paul Giamatti, trying to invoke What Measure Is a Non-Cute?.
  • Taught by Television: Chang admits that he learned some Spanish by watching Sesame Street.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The black male of the group is pressured to drop out of school. This is done for parody however, and lampshaded in that Troy thinks the idea of dropping out of college to become a plumber is ridiculous. invoked
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Britta
    Annie: Of course you think that, Britta. It's obvious from your name that your parents smoked pot.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Troy's subplot is a parody of Good Will Hunting with faucets. So really, just in reverse.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
    Troy: Someone make her a dude so I can punch her!
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Abed assumes Troy's subplot is following Good Will Hunting. It isn't; it's a parody instead.


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