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Recap / Community S2 E18: Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy

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As the end of Shirley's pregnancy draws closer and the question of who the father of her child is comes nearer to an answer, Senor Chang is increasingly insistent on inserting himself into the child's life — and by extension, Shirley's. Equally eager to keep him out of their lives as much as possible, Shirley asks Jeff to persuade Chang to sign away his parental rights in the event of the child being his; however, Jeff is soon torn between keeping his promise to Shirley and seizing an opportunity to get Chang, in persuading him to change his ways in preparation for fatherhood, out of his apartment.

Troy and Abed have made a new videogame friend, Lukka, and beg Britta not to sleep with him, fearing the inevitable disillusionment which will come with her, having entered a failed relationship with him, spilling all of his embarrassing and awkward secrets. Unfortunately, this places Britta in a tight spot when she eventually learns the truth of what Lukka actually got up to during the ethnic cleansing in the Balkans.


The Community episode "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" contains examples of:

  • Adorkable: Britta has shades of this with her Britta-ney Spears rendition.
    Abed: "Hit me with your genie bottle?"
    Troy: What the... What *was* that?
  • Affably Evil: For someone who is hinted to have done some very nasty things in the Balkans, Lukka is a rather charming fellow.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Unsuccessful attempt by Chang.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted; even for Britta, no stranger to this trope in general, apparently Balkan war criminals are a shade too far.
  • Black Comedy: Lukka's reminiscing over his past war crimes is at least partially Played for Laughs, despite the fact that both the audience and the characters are rightfully expected to be horrified by them.
  • Blunt "Yes":
    Jeff: I spent the night learning arts and crafts from my cellmate, Chabo. Did you know that you can make an ashtray using only a cigarette and a snitch's forehead?
    Andre: Yeah.
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  • Brought Home the Wrong Kid: A classic example when Chang screws up his attempt to prove he's a good father by picking up someone else's kids instead of Shirley's.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Chang calls his arresting officer "Officer baby".
  • Cassandra Truth: After borrowing a DVD without permission Britta is unable to convince Troy & Abed of the real reason they should stop being friends with Lukka.
    Britta: You guys have to believe me! He's so much worse than Tall Kyle!
  • Caught on Tape: Abed has a video camera installed in his room which catches Britta stealing the DVD.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Lampshaded when Andre's attempt to convince Chang about the realities of fatherhood ends with Chang fleeing:
    Andre: I'll go ahead and consider that point missed.
  • Conflict Ball: Both Troy and Abed have a death grip on it this episode. To wit, they flatly refuse to believe Britta's claims that Lukka is a genocidal war criminal simply because she's "ruined" some friends they've had in the past by dating them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Abed subverts this. He doesn't have a security camera, he has a camera for a documentary that occasionally comes in handy.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Chang gets himself a pipe in an attempt to look mature.
  • Dramatic Pause: Britta attempts this ("!") but gets blank stares from Abed, Troy and Lukka.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Abed, Troy and Lukka are very freaked out by Britta's Dramatic Pause moment.
    Troy: I don't want to play any more.
    Abed: I feel sick.
    Lukka: She's strange.
  • Foreshadowing: Chang escapes through the ventilation shaft at the police station. In the next series he'll live in the air ducts at Greendale
  • Friendship Moment: Britta has one of these with Troy & Abed where they agree to go easier on her if she doesn't tell them details about guys she is dating. With the exception of if they have committed genocide or are left handed (Abed's making a chart).
  • Glasses Pull: After Chang kidnaps the kids and Jeff calls him on it
    Chang: I am *nuts*, Jeff! Get with the program!
  • Guide Dang It!: Abed's reaction to hearing about the situation in the Balkans.
    Abed: If I ever go to the Balkans, I'm going to bring some serious cheat codes and walkthroughs.
  • Hey, Wait!: When Britta is about to leave Abed's room, Lukka shouts after her "Wait a minute" but then it turns out he wasn't talking to her but spotted the blu-ray disc of Kick Puncher 3 - The Final Kickening on a shelf next to the door.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: This line by Jeff combining this trope with Look Behind You:
    Jeff: Oh look, is that a reason to leave?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Whether she ruins their male friends or not, Troy and Abed are pretty dickish to Britta this episode. They do acknowledge at the end that they've been a bit hard on her and resolve to treat her better, however.
  • Jumping the Shark: Lampshaded. Abed has made sweatshirts commemorating the paintball adventure. "It's all downhill from here" is printed on the back.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Britta
    Abed: You're not allowed
    Britta: Not allowed?!
    Troy: You'll ruin him
    Britta: I'll ruin him?!
    Abed: Stop repeating
    Britta: Stop rep...rimanding me and explain why I'll ruin him
  • Left the Background Music On: After Lukka spoils the mood, a standard "Wa Wa Aa Aa". plays. Lukka's jazz musician neighbor is a real mood killer.
  • Losing Horns: Heard during Britta and Lukka's makeout session after she discovers he committed atrocities when he was a soldier in his homeland. They're actual sounds coming from Lukka's next door neighbor practicing playing his trombone.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Shirley is clearly not shy about using her pregnancy to guilt people into doing what she wants, frequently with the refrain "You're not gonna make a pregnant woman [do X]!". Taken to the nth degree in her argument with Jeff, in which she makes him storm off instead of her:
    Jeff: Let me guess: I’m not going to make a pregnant woman storm off?
  • Moment Killer: Lukka's neighbor. Although Lukka himself does a pretty good job of killing the moment for Britta when he fondly reminisces about performing atrocities in the Balkans.
  • Only Sane Man: Andre, when he convinces Jeff and Shirley that their plan to have Chang imprisoned might be a little bit over the top. Also when he tries to convince Chang that acting like a Standard '50s Father doesn't mean he's ready for fatherhood.
  • Out of Focus: Annie and Pierce.
  • Shout-Out: Abed and Troy gift Shirley at her baby shower a bottle of purified water, claiming that in the future when their child is a lone scavenger in a nuclear wasteland, pure water will be worth its weight in gold. Troy also wanted to get a Sawed-off Shotgun, a possible weapon in Fallout, but claims they were too expensive.
  • Significant Reference Date: The end of the episode occurs on St. Patrick's Day, the same day this episode first aired. Abed, Britta, and Troy are all wearing green. Ends up being a Dresses the Same instant when Troy realizes both he and Britta are wearing the same neckerchief.
  • Standard '50s Father: Chang acts and dresses like one in an attempt to show Shirley he can be a responsible dad.
  • Stripping Snag: Chang's attempt to fix the pool table results in a girl getting her skirt ripped by a protruding nail.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Abed has a security camera set up in his dorm for an autobiographical documentary. It comes in handy every once in a while.
  • Take That!:
    Jeff: Hey, who am I to stand in the way of someone trying to put their life together? What am I, daytime television?
  • Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000: Abed, Troy, and Lukka are playing what seems to be an outright genocide simulator. It's likened to Lukka's experience committing real genocide in the Balkans.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Lukka applies his real world knowledge to show how it can be done. Though honestly any game that awards points for killing unarmed villagers is just asking for this to happen.
    • It looks and sounds like a standard run & gun game, but apparently it contains sophisticated infrastructure systems to allow strategies like cutting off the enemy forces' supplies at the root by terrorizing the countryside. It seems the game is designed with cruelty potential on the genocidal level in mind...
  • Was Just Leaving: When Abed wants Britta out of his room he announces "Britta was just leaving."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Abed and Troy aren't friends with Lukka anymore...but there's still a Balkan war criminal loose in Greendale.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Andre is horrified that Shirley and Jeff are conspiring to get Chang locked away for 20 to life for human trafficking (Jeff isn't above a little perjury) rather than just 3 to 5 for kidnapping.
    • However, had they gone through with it, Chang wouldn't have been able to take over the school in season 3. Nice job, Andre!
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Britta/Tror/Abed storyline is essentially a recreation of the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".
  • You No Take Candle: Lukka talks like this at times.
    "You have DVD blu-ray disc."


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