Pierce, initially annoyed to find that Hawthorne Wipes have become iconic in the gay community, embraces said community when he learns how much value they've brought to the business. He then reverses himself under pressure from his even more bigoted father.
Meanwhile, Troy finds himself being wooed by Vice Dean Laybourne and the secretive Brotherhood of Air Conditioner Repairmen.
The Community episode "Advanced Gay" provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion:
- Aggressive Categorism: Pierce's father is impressively specific and vitriolic in his racism, apparently having established mental pigeonholes for the Swedes and Welsh for example (and he's somehow able to accurately identify various white ethnicities on sight). He also wears an ivory toupee because normal toupees use that abhorrent Oriental hair.Shirley: Oh my god, he's like the Abed of racism.
- Almighty Janitor: Subverted. The janitor who wants to mentor Troy is far less powerful than the air-conditioning repairmen.
- Ancient Conspiracy: According to Dean Laybourne, the Air Conditioner Repairmen's roots go all the way back to Ancient Egypt.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Pierce proves to be a better businessman than his father.
- Butt-Monkey: Even the priest at Pierce's Dad's funeral thinks Britta is the worst.
- To Physical Education. Britta's mispronunciation of a word (see Bagel), resulting in being told 'you're the worst'.
- Troy's plot revolves around his plumbing talents, previously seen in English As A Second Language and For A Few Paintballs More.
- Jeff assumes Pierce's father is faking his heart attack. Turns out it was a real one.
- Pierce's father resembles the Colonel in Basic Rocket Science. This explains his irrational fear of the KFC mascot.
- In Introduction to Statistics, Pierce accidentally calls his mother through voice command on his cell phone. Among the things she tells him is "I saw your father's ghost again; he's very angry." When Annie reveals her assumption that he was dead, Pierce responds "Mom liked to pretend that was the case." Doubles as a Retcon.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Jeff does this symbolically with Cornelius Hawthorne. Pierce himself calls out his father's corpse at the funeral.
- Camp Gay: All over the place.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Invoked by the janitor trying to convince Troy to use his "gift" of repair talents "for good."
- Continuity Drift: In an earlier episode Pierce accidentally calls his mother and she tells him that she's seen the ghost of his father again... but in this episode we find out that Pierce's dad is not dead. And that his mother likes to pretend he is.
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe example. Britta admits that she didn't finish reading the chapter on the "Oedible" complex. And it shows.
- Crying Wolf: Jeff dismisses Pierce's dad's heart attack as a fake one since the Hawthornes are notorious for them. Turns out it was real.
- Cute But Psycho: Possibly Shirley, due to her "murder, suicide" comment.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Just about every word Pierce says in the moments after he sees the Hawthorne Wipes drag techno video.
- Dramatic Wind: Happens twice in the same situation. Troy feels the air conditioning kick in moments before meeting Vice Dean Layborne.
- Edible Complex: Britta diagnoses Jeff and Pierce as suffering from this.
- Fanservice Extra: The attendees at Pierce's party, many of whom are shirtless and buff.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: Piercenald Anastasia Hawthorne.
- Forgiveness: This is the episode where Jeff forgives Pierce fully for the prank from last season. He gets righteously furious on seeing Pierce's father emotionally abusing Pierce and refusing to let him grow as a person, seeing exactly how Pierce became the man he is. So he uncancels the party, tells Pierce he deserves better than to live under an abusive father's shadow, and lays into Cornelius for hurting his only son.
- Gender Reveal:
- Chang is in for a surprise when they get home.
- Although Pierce doesn't get anywhere near the stage of proceedings that Chang reached, he still makes the same fundamental error with the same person.
- Gun Stripping: As part of his initiation Troy must assemble an AC unit blindfolded.
- Hidden Depths: Jeff implies that he would like to have a son of his own.
- Hypocritical Humor: After Pierce's father's funeral, Chang calls Jeff gay for going home alone, while leaving arm-in-arm with Urbanna Champagne, a Camp Gay transvestite.
- Kubrick Stare: Laybourne at the end.
- Little Known Facts:Pierce: You know that the Canadian mallard is the only waterfowl that bites its father's head off on its way out of the womb?Jeff: That is definitely not true.Pierce: I don't know, I looked it up on the Wi-ka-pee-dia.
- Lost in Transmission: Type 2.Troy: I'm gonna eat spaceman paninis with Black Hitler and there's nothing you can do about it!!
- Malaproper: Britta's misdiagnosis of Pierce's father issues amounts to what she calls an 'Edible Complex'.
- Milkman Conspiracy: "The brotherhood of guys who fix air conditioners."
- Mundane Made Awesome: In contrast to plumbing, air-conditioning repair is treated as a world-shaking talent at Greendale. The actual lack of awesomeness is Lampshaded by Abed, who points out that "they're virtually the same thing."Laybourne: Have you heard the expression "room temperature"?
Troy: Of course.
Laybourne: This is the room.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Pierce mispronounces Wikipedia, despite Abed pronouncing it correctly in front of him the day before.
- Noodle Implements: It's never revealed what exactly Hawthorne wipes have to do with the gay community. Abed whispers why into Shirley's ear and the only clue is that it's practiced by Bruce Vilanch.Jeff: Especially Bruce Vilanch.
- Only Sane Man: Abed, who points out that for all the rivalry, secrecy and power-games between the plumbers and the air-conditioning repairmen, the two jobs are all but exactly the same.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Played for laughs in the climactic confrontation between Troy and Vice Dean Laybourne. It transpires that Troy is not very good at it.Laybourne: You're making a huge mistake, son.
Troy: That may be, sir. But at least it's my mistake.
Laybourne: That doesn't change the fact that it's a mistake.
Troy: Doesn't it?
Laybourne: [Bemused] ...No, it doesn't.
- Phrase Catcher: Even the priest at Cornelius' funeral thinks Britta is the worst.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Pierce abandons a lifetime of homophobia very quickly once he realises that there's profit (and popularity) to be had in being a gay rights advocate. This sets him apart from his father, for whom spiting the numerous groups he is bigoted against is clearly the most important thing.
- Refuge in Audacity: Vice Dean Laybourne cites this as the reason he kidnaps the recruits and chooses to have a black Hitler and a panini-making astronaut present at the recruitment ceremony. If anyone does talk about it, no one will believe them.
- Secret Handshake: It's Troy and Abed's usual handshake, except they whisper "Secret" after.
- Abed is wearing a de Blob t-shirt in the first meeting room scene.
- The drag queen Urbana Champaign is named for the city where the University of Illinois is located.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: Conversed. This is how the janitor describes the rivalry between plumbers and air-conditioning repairmen.
- Sophisticated as Hell: The elite brotherhood of guys who fix air conditioners.
- Take a Third Option: Forced to choose between being a plumber and being an air conditioner repairman, Troy decides to instead sit on the couch and watch TV with Abed. Laybourne realizes this means that he can still recruit Troy.
- Talking the Monster to Death: Jeff gives Pearce's dad such a harsh "The Reason You Suck" Speech that the old man has a heart attack and dies.
- That Came Out Wrong:
- "Quit putting gay things in my mouth!"
- "I can excuse racism but I draw the line at animal cruelty".
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Both the janitor and Dean Laybourne try this trope out on Troy.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Both Jeff and Pierce give one to Pierce's dad. The former kills the old man, the latter happens at the funeral.
- This Explains So Much: The study group has this response collectively when they meet Pierce's father.
- Trans Equals Gay: Urbanna Champagne, a transvestite recording artist who initiates the plot by recording a song about Hawthorne Wipes, making them popular among gay men and turning Pierce into a gay icon.
- We Will Meet Again: Even though Troy refused his offer, Vice Dean Laybourne swears to himself "this isn't over."
- What Year Is This?:Abed as Inspector Spacetime: The question isnt what they want from us... but when.
Jeff: How old are you?
Troy: It's not 'How old are we', its 'When old are we...'
- Why Don't You Marry It?: Pierce's retort for Jeff's support of gays.
- You Kill It, You Bought It: Pierce's dad has it written in his will that whoever kills him gets his Dodgy Toupee, an "honor" that Jeff reluctantly accepts at the funeral.
- Your Mom:Jeff: Britta, you are going to make a terrible therapist. And if you need to talk to someone about that, I don't recommend you.
Britta: Hm. Is that how your dad talked to your mom?
Jeff: No, that's how I talk to your mom.
Britta: How does that make you feel?
Jeff: Shut up.
- Subverted; it's later revealed that the members of the study group do talk to Britta's parents.