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Recap / Community S2 E20: Competitive Wine Tasting

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The gang picks their spring quarter electives. Jeff and Pierce sign up for Italian Wine Tasting, where they meet the lovely Wu Mei Hong Long. Troy and Britta take an acting class and are instructed to share painful emotions from their past, which proves difficult for Troy. Meanwhile, Abed takes "A Critical Analysis of Who's the Boss?" taught by the person who wrote the book of the same name; however, Abed's theories about who the 'boss' was turn out to be surprisingly controversial..


The Community episode "Competitive Wine Tasting" provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In addition to Pierce's usual mispronunciation of Abed's name ("AY-bed"), the Who's the Boss? professor keeps calling him "a-BED". He also seems to think it's Abed's last name ("Ah, Mr. Abed, what do you want?")
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Abed being meta: Abed is excited about a class taught by Professor Sheffield, holding up his picture on the back of his book... which means he's holding up a headshot of prolific "Hey, I know him!" character actor Stephen Tobolowsky, which is exactly the kind of thing actors/writers/TV nerds get excited about while everyone else has no idea what they're talking about.
      Abed: The professor of this class is the author of this book!
      Jeff: Wow, we got him?
      Abed: I know!
    • At the bar, Jeff's exchange with Pierce ("I just hope she can satisfy me. I'm like an insatiable baboon in the bedroom." "Don't sell yourself short, you're a baboon everywhere.") echoes a similar Stealth Insult that Chevy Chase had used on Ted Knight in Caddyshack. ("He's been club champion three years running and I'm no slouch myself." "Don't sell yourself short, you're a tremendous slouch.")
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  • Air Quotes: Troy tries to downplay his "making up" of the molestation story by using air quotes.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • Troy considers one of these for his stage name — Trevor St. McGoodbody. Or David.
    • Mei's middle name, "Hong Long", means "Red Dragon".
  • Affectionate Parody: At the end of the episode, Troy is cast in an all-black Fiddler on the Roof show. It's as funny as it sounds, and couples as a Shout-Out to Patrick Stewart's all black show of Othello.
    • Potentially also referencing the re-imagining of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into The Wiz; the original Broadway musical has been condensed into a black box theatre show called Fiddler, Please where Troy and the others perform some dances while he sings "It's hard to be Jewish in Russia / YO / It's hard to be Jewish in Russia / YO."
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Italian on the bottle of wine Pierce gives to Jeff translates as "You become more attractive with each bottle."
  • Bondage Is Bad: Pierce is revealed to have a "special gym with swings and saddles", and if this is the "Pierce is evil" season...
  • Break the Haughty: Abed teaches the teacher and class who was really the boss on Who's the Boss? and leaves Professor Sheffield a broken man. "CLASS DISMISSED!"
  • Brick Joke: Troy mentions an all-black play which we get to see in The Tag.
  • Call-Back:
  • Continuity Nod: As seen in the Kickpuncher movie in "Romantic Expressionism," Kickpuncher's name is David, or Troy's backup actor name.
  • Creator Career Self-Deprecation: Jeff asks Troy how he got roped into an acting class, something Joel McHale would probably have to take to get into the career he's in now.
  • Dramatic Pause: Drama professor Professor Garrity takes every opportunity to ham it up, naturally, including oddly placed... beats and pauses.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Abed proves Angela was the boss, they tease this as the professor opens a drawer to reveal a gun... and opens it further to reveal What Was Happening?: An Analysis of What's Happening!!. See What Could Have Been.
  • Elective Broken Language: Pierce's fiancee Mei actually speaks perfect unaccented English after being exposed by Jeff.
  • Fauxreigner: Mei is a lot more American than she pretends. Her accent is fake, she speaks perfect English, and not only is she only marrying Pierce for his money, but she's also a spy from a rival wipes company planning a hostile takeover of Hawthorne Wipes. Oddly this does not make her the bad guy, as Pierce is only interested in sex. They're both using each other and they're both equally racist, so it turns out they might actually be a good match.
  • Faux Symbolism: Invoked: Professor Sheffield's class on Who's the Boss? is apparently based on an increasingly in-depth exploration of what is actually meant by 'boss'. Unfortunately for him, Abed manages to conclusively and empirically prove that by any definition or context, the 'boss' was Angela.
  • Formula for the Unformulable: Abed conclusively proves that Angela was in fact The Boss with equations. His formula covers an enormous board, and viewers get to see he used some organic chemistry in his calculations.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Brought up with regards to Pierce's tendency to marry his fiancees shortly after meeting them.
  • Gilligan Cut: Troy is determined to defuse the situation with Britta, brought on by lying about being molested by his uncle. Match Cut to him in class fake-crying and doubling down on his molestation story.
  • Going by the Matchbook: The tissue Mei hands Jeff provides him with clues to her true identity.
  • Gold Digger: Jeff exposes Mei as a Fauxreigner who's only marrying Pierce for his money (and to make her family's company's takeover of Hawthorne Wipes that much easier). However, oddly for this trope this actually makes Jeff the bad guy; as Pierce points out, he was using Mei just as much as she was using him, there was still the possibility of good feelings between them, and it's clear that Jeff's real motives in doing so were less out of concern for Pierce and more because his vanity was wounded by Mei turning him down for Pierce.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Jeff's motivation for exposing Mei as a Gold Digger are not because he cares about sparing Pierce's feelings, but because he's jealous and can't believe that a beautiful woman would choose Pierce over him without some underlying motive.
  • Irony: To have a traumatic experience as a source for acting, Troy lies about being molested as a child, thus giving the drama professor's next words another meaning:
    Garrity: This is where acting begins.
  • It's All About Me: Jeff is soundly called out for this in the episode, as it's clear that his reasons for exposing Mei as a Gold Digger are out of jealousy, wounded vanity, and general selfishness rather than genuine concern for Pierce.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Jeff turns out to be right that Mei is a Gold Digger trying to manipulate Pierce, but in this case the 'Jerkass' part is emphasised, as Jeff's motives for exposing her were based on jealousy and vanity to begin with, and the fact that he was ultimately trying to prove that a beautiful woman wouldn't be interested in Pierce without some underlying motive just makes him look spiteful on top of it.
  • Large Ham: The joke with drama Professor Garrity is that he dramatizes himself at every opportunity, in the most stylized and unconvincing ways. His brand of acting requires everyone to pile on the ham by talking about past trauma, because True Art Is Angsty. Garrett and eventually Troy sob out stories in front of the class, entirely fabricated in Troy's case.
  • Male Gaze: Troy appreciates Britta's stretching routine.
  • Manchild: Garrett shares a story of him in the playground demanding to get onto his Trauma Swing. Turns out this was not a childhood memory but happened that morning.
  • May–December Romance: Mei romantically pursues Pierce, who gladly reciprocates. Mei is a hot thirtysomething and she is significantly younger than sixty-odd Pierce, prompting Jeff's disgust/jealousy.
  • The Mole: Pierce's fiancee turns out to be a spy from a rival moist towelette company.
  • Rape as Drama: Troy makes up a story about being molested by his uncle so he can have a "painful" memory to share with his drama class.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Abed has an app for that.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Who was the Boss?
    Abed: Angela. Angela was the boss.
  • Rule of Funny: + Rule of Cool — why else would Abed need organic chemistry to prove Angela was the boss? To prove the 'chemistry' between Angela and Tony.
  • Serious Business: Who's the Boss? spawns a whole course, which seems to be mostly based on a metaphysical view on what a boss is. Abed deflates the entire thing in just one class.
    • Abed's excitement at the situation is also funny to the countless college students whose professors have required their students to read (i.e. BUY) their precious book, which is oddly enough the textbook of the class, and tout their own work just a little too highly. More annoying in broader topics like History and Literature, less so in narrowed fields where less research and criticism is being done. The situation is made even funnier in that while the specific focus of the class (Who's the Boss?) probably counts as the latter, the professor's attitude towards his work — and Abed's questioning of it — is quite conclusively the former.
  • Ship Tease: Between Troy admiring Britta stretching and Britta once again trying to get Troy to open up emotionally. Except it turns out he made up the whole molestation story for attention... which turns out to be her type in spite of herself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The class Abed gets into is a media studies course based on a book analyzing Who's the Boss?.
    • Mei mentions that her dad will likely do bad Borat impressions at her and Pierce's wedding.
    • Mei compares Shirley to Oprah.
    Pierce: I couldn't be more touched you threw us an engagement party.
    Shirley: You said if we didn't, you'd slash our tires.
    Mei: Ha, ha, ha. She is funny. Like Oprah.
    Shirley: Oprah's not a comedienne.
    Mei: No, you are funny, and you are like Oprah. Heh, heh, heh.
    • After Jeff exposes Mei as a corporate spy for a company trying to take over Hawthorne Wipes, Mei sarcastically compares Jeff to Veronica Mars.
    Mei: Very impressive, Veronica Mars. You learned how to use Google.
  • Stealth Pun:
    Pierce: I'm like an insatiable baboon in the bedroom.
    Jeff: Don't sell yourself short. You're a baboon everywhere.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: Done in The Tag, as part of the all-black Fiddler on the Roof that Troy is in.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The in-universe motivation behind the acting class, to the extent that it seems less like an acting class and more like a rather pretentious therapy session. This prompts Troy to make up his lie about being molested as a child. When he confesses the truth at the end, Professor Garrity interprets it as 'the pain of having no pain'.
  • Unholy Matrimony: At the end of the episode, after having publicly spilled the beans about Mei's intentions, Jeff brings her back to see Pierce and declares that they might just be well-suited towards each other anyway. His reasoning reads like this trope.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Troy has several for his no-no hole. Or his plop-plop place.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: Britta actually develops an attraction to Troy when he lies about being molested as a child. Lampshaded when Britta reveals she has a tendency to do this, as an old boyfriend once pointed out (and apparently exemplified):
    Britta: Before my ex-boyfriend Pablo was arrested for forging church relics he accused me of only being attracted to 'a certain kind of guy'. Hard to understand him, though; he was pretty huffed up on paint-thinners.
    • and earlier in the episode:
    Abed: Britta's attracted to men in pain. It helps her to pretend to be mentally healthy.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Pierce calls Jeff out on his real, selfish motives for exposing Mei's intentions regarding her relationship with Pierce.
  • The Woobie: Troy becomes this to Britta In-Universe after telling a story about being molested as a child, until it turns out he made the whole thing up.
  • Wrote the Book: Abed's professor wrote the book on Who's the Boss?. He tries to foist his opinion on Abed, but it turns out Abed knows more than he does.
  • You No Take Candle: Pierce's Chinese Gold Digger fiancee, but it's an act.


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