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Recap / Community S2 E05: Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples

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Concerned about a lack of what she considers to be wholesome entertainment, Shirley sets out to make a religious film and asks Abed for help. However, Abed is consumed in the project, which evolves into a gratuitously metafictional study of the relationship between Jesus and God, with Abed himself in the starring role. Shirley worries about the blasphemous implications while Abed sweeps the rest of the school into his vision.

Meanwhile, Pierce grows fed up with being the "child" of the study group despite being the oldest member and joins the "hipsters", a trouble-causing clique of other senior citizens.

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The Community episode "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" provides examples of:

  • Against My Religion: Subverted: Abed does not object to making a Christian movie as a Muslim: as a filmmaker, he does.
  • Amateur Film-Making Plot: Abed's plot. Taking inspiration from Shirley, Abed decides to make his own religious film. While he's making it, the film starts to take on some Memetic Badassinvoked traits. Unfortunately, the result turns out to be terrible and Shirley destroys it to save Abed's reputation.
  • Aside Glance:
    Abed: This is the movie.
  • Audible Sharpness: Parodied when Shirley picks up a (wooden) baseball bat.
  • Batter Up!: Shirley uses a baseball bat to trash Abed's set.
  • Book-Ends: Duncan's anthropology class where he just shows online videos in lieu of anything like the actual curriculum — only in the last one, he starts a video that Abed uploaded, which forces him to instruct the class, "Open your books, because Abed has broken the Internet."
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  • Crying Wolf/Playing Sick: Leonard's comrade Richard continually says, "Where am I? What year is this?" and the rest of the Hipsters laugh at this genius ploy of getting out of trouble. This leads to a Tear Jerkerinvoked moment towards the end when Pierce and the others discover Richard is, in fact, suffering from dementia and may not have been previously faking.
  • Designated Parents: Jeff and Britta, even more so than usual, despite all Jeff's efforts to defy such. Pierce plays the role of the rebelling teenager and Annie is the concerned younger sister.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Invoked by Abed when he plays Jesus in his own movie.
  • Dresses the Same: In The Tag Abed and Troy both Speak in Unison with and dress the same as Jeff. Annie apparently wanted in on the gag too, but got stuck in traffic and arrives just after the joke has ended — only to become the impromptu next victim as the two imitate her, instead.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When the senior citizen group has the idea to take a joy ride in the Dean's car, Pierce is the only one to protest, partially because of it being theft and partly because all of them have been drinking. After Richard crashes the car, Leonard tells the rest of the group to run, but Pierce willingly stays behind to look after Richard, who it's just been revealed is suffering from dementia.
  • Everybody Is Jesus in Purgatory: In-universe. Abed's idea for a viral video for Shirley's church was a film about a filmmaker who was making a film about Jesus who realized that he himself was Jesus having a film made about him.
  • Exact Words: Duncan shows YouTube videos to the Anthropology class. When Annie protests, he says the descriptor of anthropology as "the study of humanity" is broad enough to justify practically anything.
  • Freudian Slip: That's Dopey.
  • Friendship Moment: Abed makes a new, actually serviceable Jesus rap video for Shirley.
  • Funny Background Event: Jeff awkwardly dancing in the background in The Teaser.
  • Give Me a Sign: Abed asks and is being heard.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Nobody besides Abed and Starburns will ever see whatever was in Abed's movie, since Shirley destroys the tapes. Abed himself thanks Shirley for her intervention, since he does not want anyone to see what's in the movie.
  • Jesus Delusion: Abed comes uncomfortably close to it.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: How Abed reacts after reading the New Testament.
  • Joins to Fit In: Pierce's reason for becoming a Hipster.
  • "Last Supper" Steal: The shot of Abed and his production crew on a table.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Britta's reaction to Abed as Jesus.
  • My Greatest Failure/My God, What Have I Done?: Abed refers to his movie as the worst piece of crap he's ever seen. He thinks that if the movie goes out, critics will turn against him and ending his career before he even has a chance to start it.
    Abed: It's a self-indulgent, adolescent mess; I can barely sit through it.
  • Not So Different: Jeff is clearly confused by some of the viral videos, just like Shirley and Pierce.
  • One-Woman Wail: A female vocalist ululates Abed's name for a sort of joking biblical epic effect many times throughout the episode, then in the "dramatic" ending, the singer eerily wails Shirley's name.
  • Perp Walk: The Hipsters give the Dean and Shirley a hard time when the two pass from the car to the school's entrance.
    Dean: Don't make eye contact and we'll be fine.
  • Pretty Boy: Jesus!Abed.
  • Recycled In Space: This episode is Man with a Movie Camera WITH RELIGIOUS SUBTEXT.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: When Abed and Starburns review the daily, the sountrack playing sounds like the main theme of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Leonard and his elderly clique, the "Hipsters", so called because they all have replaced hips.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple references to Charlie Kaufman, a screenwriter known for his use of metafiction and Mind Screw-y films.
  • Shrouded in Myth: "I heard it's the same film backwards and forwards."
  • Stop Copying Me: Jeff's reaction to the Dresses the Same gag.
  • Stylistic Suck: Shirley's attempt at making a video without Abed. Featuring Bad "Bad Acting" by Troy and Britta.
  • Take That!
  • Team Dad/Team Mom: The roles are the most obvious with Jeff and Britta, but the entire study group plays the "concerned family" in Pierce's B-plot.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Pierce joining the Hipsters leads him to lash out at his true friends, destroy school property and be an accomplice to motor vehicle theft.
  • What Year Is This?: Pierce uses the line when pretending to have dementia. Gets a Dark Reprise later by Richard in the car.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: One of the Hipsters.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Shirley ruins the shot when stumbling into Abed's production.


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