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Recap / Community S2 E08: Cooperative Calligraphy

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"Yeah, well, tell your disappointment to suck it. I'm doing a bottle episode!"
Jeff
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The study group has finished an assignment for their anthropology class and everyone is getting ready to go their separate ways. Jeff has a date, Britta has a photography project, and the rest are going to a puppy parade on the quad. Then, Annie notices that her pen is missing. Hilarity Ensues as each member of the group is successively accused of having taken the pen and the group starts to turn on each other.

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The Community episode "Cooperative Calligraphy" provides examples of:

  • Airvent Passageway: The duct used by Annie's Boobs is huge and well-lit.
  • All There in the Manual: The DVD case for the first half of Season 2 is styled after Abed's notebook. Abed's notes can be read on the menstrual cycles to see exactly what he wrote without having to freeze-frame the episode.
  • Anger Montage: Jeff becomes unhinged and starts ripping out the carpet, tipping over a bookshelf and throwing a tantrum.
  • Anvilicious: In-Universe, the Equality and Togetherness float at the puppy parade. The Dean, of all people, lampshades it.
    Dean: Okay, now this float feels a liiiiittle preachy. BOOOO! BOOOOOOO!
  • Artistic License – Biology: There's a fairly wide time period in any given woman's cycle when she could potentially ovulate, and that day can change from cycle to cycle. Unless Abed was tracking everyone’s temperature or even more personal things, he wouldn't be able to track anything except actual menstruation.
    • Abed's claim that Shirley couldn't have gotten pregnant on Labor Day because she was ovulating on Halloween doesn't make sense even if he was able to track it. If Shirley was ovulating at the beginning of November, it's perfectly possible for her to have been ovulating at the beginning of October and the beginning of September as well, given that most women's menstrual cycles are a bit shorter than a full month. Fridge Brilliance hits when Shirley gives birth to the baby and it turns out to be her husband's, not Chang's, proving that she did get pregnant on Labor Day and Abed was mistaken.
  • Advertisement:
  • Born in an Elevator: Abed is of the mind that if someone is pregnant they should invoke this trope or not be pregnant at all.
  • Bottle Episode: Lampshaded by both Abed and Jeff.
    Abed: Are we going to the puppy parade or not? Because this is starting to feel like a bottle episode.
  • Brick Joke: Britta tries and flubs one of the group's rhyming celebrity name jokes ("My oh my, Mike Ty... son"), which Pierce pulls off successfully ("Nice try, Stephen Fry") a minute later, to Britta's chagrin.
  • Call-Back:
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Annie's Boobs the monkey, introduced in Season 1, is the thief.
  • Collective Groan: The group's response to Britta's complaining about "invasion of civil liberties".
  • Continuity Nod: The collection of items amassed by Annie's Boobs contains numerous nods to previous episodes.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Every member of the study group points out that if Annie hadn't made a big deal about the pen in the first place, then they wouldn't be stuck glaring daggers at each other.
  • Easter Egg: The theft of Annie's pen during the drive-by deaning.
  • Eat the Evidence: One of the suggestions.
    Troy: Maybe nobody took it. Sometimes I think I lost something really important to me, and it turns out I already ate it.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Annie started the whole Bottle Episode by yelling at everyone to stay and throwing a temper tantrum. When Jeff starts actually trashing the place to find the pen, however, she has a My God, What Have I Done? expression.
    • When Annie starts stripping off her clothes when accused of hiding her own pen, Jeff (while still furious with her) tells her to relax and stop.
    • Even the Dean, no stranger to Political Overcorrectness, finds the "Equality and Togetherness" float with a puppy and a kitten a bit too much.
  • Eye Take: When Abed remarks that Shirley could only have conceived on Halloween, Troy gets one, as he's the only one who knows that Chang and Shirley had sex on Halloween.
  • Fanservice: Everybody (except Pierce) strips down to their underwear in order to find the pen.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When removing Pierce's casts to find the pen, Abed expresses concern about their course of action, noting that "this is how supervillains get created." Throughout the second half of the season, Pierce's increasingly erratic, Jerkass and cruel behaviour becomes an ongoing subplot, culminating in his revenge scheme in "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking"; essentially, he becomes the show's equivalent of a super-villain.
    • At the beginning of the episode when Annie starts to get upset, Abed has a chocolate for her — hinting at the reveal later in the episode about his tracking the women's menstrual cycles.
    • While the Dean talks about the puppy parade, the pen can actually be seen being stolen. note 
    • Later, as Jeff and Troy trash the study room, the camera lingers on the vent where Annie's Boobs will later emerge.
    • Britta sultrily comments that Jeff "usually" wears "stripey turquoise Beetlejuice" boxers, implying that she regularly sees him in his underwear. Only Abed notices, setting up his realization in "Paradigms of Human Memory" that they have been sleeping together.
    • At one point, it's suggested that Annie might be hiding the pen in her bra. The pen was actually stolen by Troy's pet monkey—whose name is "Annie's Boobs".
    • When discussing whether Abed could have taken Annie's pen, the group notes that he isn't as innocent as he often seems, and they list a few of the mischievous and/or nefarious things that he's done in the past. One of them is "setting Troy's pet monkey free". Said monkey is living in the air vents—and he's the one who really took the pen.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: On the whiteboard, the phrase "If we evolved from monkeys, how come we still have monkeys?" with the second monkey crossed out and replaced with "Pierce?" can be seen.
    • When the Dean comes into the room to tell the group about the puppy parade, a small hand can be seen next to Troy and Abed coming up from below the table and taking the pen while they're distracted looking at the puppy.
  • Funny Background Event: During the Dean's announcement about the cold weather affecting the puppies, Pierce is trying to eat the Slim Jim.invoked
  • Ghostly Goals: Discussed by Jeff when he brings up the theory of the culprit being a "specter with unfinished, pen-related business".
  • Held Gaze: Jeff and Annie have a very UST-y moment of holding each other's gaze as their anger ignites after Annie tries to calm down Jeff with the line: "It's just a pen!" The Held Gaze continues even as Britta butts in and Jeff keeps staring at Annie's chest. Once again, the Held Gaze is used to establish that Jeff and Annie's UST is off the charts!
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When Britta accuses Annie of hiding the pen:
      Annie: I am not hiding my own pen, you paranoid weirdo! Everybody stay within each other's eyelines please, one of you is a monster.
    • When the group discover Shirley's pregnancy test:
      Annie: Guys, this is a terribly childish way to handle this kind of situation. [Runs over to Shirley and hops up and down in excitement] Does this mean you have a new boyfriend? Who, who, who?
    • The Dean, who is usually the orchestrator of Political Overcorrectness, booing the "Equality and Togetherness" float.
    • Lampshaded by Pierce, when the study group react with horror and disgust over the discovery that he's been using Slim Jims to scratch his legs, despite having only discovered this by forcibly removing his casts:
      Pierce: Have we not gotten to a place free from judgement yet?!
  • I Can Explain: Abed, when the group discovers his charts of the female group members' menstrual cycles. Double-subverted in that while he didn't expect them to actually give him a chance to explain, he's prepared with an explanation when they do.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: On his way out of the study room, Abed calls Dean Craig Pelton a "non-miraculous son of a bitch."
    Craig: Non-miraculous?!
  • Locked Room Mystery: The situation plays out like this, despite the mystery being over who has Annie's pen.
  • MacGuffin: The pen.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Annie's Boobs takes the pen early on, during the Dean's visit. note 
  • Menstrual Menace: Which would explain Annie's attitude in this episode.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Annie is horrified when she drives Jeff to trash the whole room to find the pen.
  • Oh, Crap!: Troy's face when he finds out that Shirley was ovulating on Halloween, when she had sex with Chang. Doubles as a Call-Back.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Shirley calls Britta and Annie a pair of "anorexic Jezebels", which she regrets immediately.
  • Parody of Evolution: Apparently man will evolve into a dragon monster with three legs. Or into woman, according to Britta.
  • Political Overcorrectness: An Invoked Trope with one of the floats in the puppy parade features a puppy and a kitten with the caption, "Equality and Togetherness". Even the Dean finds it sanctimonious.
  • Precision F-Strike: Downplayed when Abed calls the Dean a "son of a bitch."
  • Precious Puppies:
    Dean Pelton: Attention, students! The puppy parade is starting on the quad! Better come quick — with every passing moment, these puppies grow older and less deserving of our attention.
  • Pun
    Jeff: I have a date to catch, or, should I say, a catch to date.
    Britta: Oof, I hope you just came up with that.
    [Later]
    Dean Pelton: I expect to see you all at the puppy parade. Except you, Jeffrey — I know you've got a catch to date.
    Jeff: [off Britta's look] Oh, like you're famous for your wit.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Jeff eventually concludes that whoever took the pen was not trying to hurt the group and certainly not a member. We find out he's right; it's Annie's Boobs innocently taking whatever catches his eye. Jeff, however, agrees with Troy that a ghost took it.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Shirley.
    Shirley: Mother Hen? I think we're about the same age!
    Britta: Sure, unless time is linear.
    Shirley: I'll make your ass linear!
    Britta: That doesn't make any sense!
    Shirley: I'll make your ass sense.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    Jeff: Whoever so insidiously and with great malice aforethought abducted Annie's pen, confess, repent, and relinquish, so we can leave.
  • Ship Tease: Jeff and Annie angrily doff their clothes while using another one of their customary Held Gazes.
  • Shout-Out: To Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue". Just like in that story, the culprit turns out to be a monkey.
  • Skewed Priorities: This exchange regarding cutting into Pierce's casts:
    Troy: Dammit. Broke the scissors.
    Jeff: Here. Be careful. That's the last pair we have. [As an afterthought] Also, don't cut his legs.
  • Squick: Britta dumps her bag at the group's insistence. invoked
    Britta: There! Happy?
    Jeff: Not if that's a used Q-tip.
  • Sudden Principled Stand: Annie starts Suddenly Shouting and refuses to let anyone leave the room as this has been her ninth pen being stolen and she's finally fed up.
  • Take That!
    • Jeff's would-be date is named Gwynnifer after a Twitter troll.
    • Jeff thinks that the Patriot Act is pretty one-sided.
  • Tempting Fate: Right after Pierce brags about outbidding three hospitals for his motorized wheelchair and claiming it was worth every penny, it starts malfunctioning.
  • Title-Only Opening: This is used for the only time in Season 2.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: At one point, Annie is accused of hiding the pen in her bra. This leads to an ironic twist that "Annie's Boobs" did have the pen.
  • A Wizard Did It:The group concludes that a ghost did it.
  • Women's Mysteries: The response of the women to their finding Abed's charts of their menstrual cycles.

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