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Recap / Community S 3 E 09 Foosball And Nocturnal Vigilantism

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Jeff enlists Shirley to help him beat three obnoxious German students at foosball. While the experience initially helps bring them closer together, it ends up stirring up a history between them neither anticipated. Annie accidentally breaks Abed's autographed DVD of The Dark Knight with exclusive special features, and her efforts to conceal what she's done quickly result in chaos.

The Community episode "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" contains examples of:

  • Absentee Actor: Ken Jeong and Jim Rash as Chang and the Dean, respectively.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Germans use nonsensical words that nonetheless sound German like "foosenschaften", "freudenk(r)atzen" and "schpankin'".
  • The Atoner: Shirley both gave up foosball and began a complete shift in her personality out of guilt when she realized what a cruel bully she was turning into.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Annie pretending to be distraught at their apartment getting robbed.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: Abed correctly deducts that the break-in was an Inside Job. With a stern look at Annie he announces that he thinks he knows what happened. Annie is sure her game is up and starts confessing only to be interrupted by Abed who concludes that it must have been the landlord.
  • Brick Joke: Leonard reviewing frozen pizzas is mentioned early on. The Tag shows a clip of him doing it.
  • Broken Treasure: Both Discussed and played with in the Annie/Abed plot.
    Troy: Annie, do you know how many sitcoms have done the 'secretly replace a broken priceless item' thing? 'Cause Abed does. Abed knows everything.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • Troy tells Annie she won't be able to think her way out of this mess, with her "thinkiness".
    • After Abed decides that the landlord must have "robbed" the apartment and declares that "something has to be done" in a tone that suggests hijinks are afoot:
      Troy: Let's not leap to thing-doing, right Annie?
  • Call-Back:
    • The foosball table is noted by Dean Pelton as one of the main selling points of Greendale in "Basic Rocket Science".
    • Abed is, once again, Batman. With Christian Bale's approval.
    • How many times has Shirley objected that she's not much older than Jeff? This is the episode that finally proves her right — she's not more than a year or two Jeff's senior.
    • In the episode tag, the song that plays at the end of Leonard's YouTube video is the same song that Dean Pelton can't shut off in the pilot episode just before giving his less-than empowering speech.
    • Troy hums the same tune that played on the radio in Abed's Halloween story.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Abed to Troy, briefly.
    Britta: I'm volunteering at the animal hospital.
    Troy: (excited) Animal hospital?
    Abed: The animals are the patients.
    Troy: (sad) Oh, that makes sense.
    • Troy also mentions that he and Abed had hoped Annie would be this for both of them.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Most of what happens at the foosball table. The German foosball jock pretends to be unfamiliar with the redirect term "Schadenfreude."
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cooking Duel: Foosball style.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Discussed. When Annie is uncomfortable that they have to live in the same building with a guy who is into footwear. The police officer tells her she should be happy he's not into heads.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Shirley is afraid that teaching Jeff proper foosball may corrupt him.
  • Dark Reprise: Troy hums "Daybreak" when he finds Annie and the broken DVD. He hums it again, while sobbing, as he walks away.
  • The Dark Side: Foosball corrupts those who play it, according to Shirley. And oh how right she is.
  • Death Glare: Annie shoots Troy one of these to make him go along after telling Abed the apartment was robbed.
  • Disappeared Dad: Young!Shirley incorporates this into her trash talk. It seems like a lucky guess.
  • Eagleland: Shirley invokes Flavor 2 when she tries to convince Jeff to ignore the German foosballers.
  • El Spanish "-o": Jeff says they're gonna "kick das Butt" when he tries to threaten the German students.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Jeff's childhood nickname "Tinkle Town," which Young!Jeff is credited as.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Abed deduces that the landlord must have been stealing valuables from the tenants since he had both means and opportunity. He is only incorrect about his motive because of the lie fed by Annie who was unknowingly Framing the Guilty Party. He had in fact been stealing women's shoes in the exact manner suggested by Abed.
  • Exploding Closet: The landlord's closet full of women's shoes.
  • Faking and Entering: Annie's over-the-top solution to the Broken Treasure dilemma. It takes Batman!Abed about three seconds to work out it was an Inside Job, which he blames on the landlord.
  • Fast-Roping / Stairs Are Faster: Batman!Abed attaching his grappling hook to the fire escape.
  • Felony Misdemeanor:
    • Officer Cackowski and Abed appear to have different views on exactly how heinous The Case Of The Missing Dark Knight DVD is.
      Officer Cackowski: Sorry we couldn't get a car over here until now; our captain was killed on duty last night.
      Annie: My God, I'm so sorry!
      Officer Cackowski: Yeah, good man. Leaves behind two kids and a pregnant wife. So, you're missing a Batman DVD?
      Abed: [Very seriously] My Dark Knight extended-extended cut. It wasn't insured.
    • Thanks to her experiences with it in the past, Shirley is convinced that foosball is an inherently evil game which brings out the worst in people.
  • Fetish: Abed, Annie and Troy's landlord seems to have one for women's shoes and has been stealing them from his tenants and keeping them in his closet.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Big Cheddar and Tinkletown.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Annie frames Rick the landlord for robbing the apartment after finding out he steals women's shoes.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The Wall of Text at the end of Leonard's frozen pizza YouTube review in The Tag. This is widely thought to be a Shout Out to the wordy vanity cards of Chuck Lorre, who produces both Two and a Half Men and Community's time slot rival.
    First off, would somebody please explain to me why in the age of digital streaming, I have to pay late fees for the movies I rent. I'm a responsible person. I pay my taxes. Seriously, I'm not trying to be a dick about this. I really want to know. It seems to me the only competitive advantage over the internet is face-to-face customer service. So why are you working so hard to make me not want to talk to you. Just because I kept Dan in Real Life a couple extra days. There were a lot of special features, and I didn't ask my daughter for a blu-ray player not to see them all. Oh and by the way? What happened to the days when these rental jockeys would actually WATCH the movies they have, so they could give you recommendations instead of standing there like "Duh doy, I guess there's some nudity in Dan in Real Life." Well guess what Chelsea, THERE ISN'T. That Juliette Binoche though, Va-va-Va-va-VOOM. That's one frozen pizza that gets MY oven going at 350 degrees. Anyway hit me up on the comment side, unless you're a hater. Or catch me at @leonard_GCC and remember: see something, say something. Watch the throne!
  • Funny Foreigners: The German foosballers.
  • Guttural Growler: Annie delivers a surprisingly good imitation of Bale's Batman voice, though she concludes it's not convincing enough for faking the DVD Commentary.
  • Heel Realization: After she humiliated Jeff when they were children, Shirley realized that she turned into a bully when playing foosball.
  • Hidden Depths: Shirley's previously unrevealed skills at foosball.
    Shirley: You don't know me.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Nearly every insult that Jeff and the Germans trade back and forth is some sort of pun on a German word or phrase.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Annie protests that she doesn't feel safe living in the same building as her shoe-fetishist landlord despite having just encouraged Abed to break into his apartment and menace him under false pretenses. The officer also points out that she seems willing to overlook some imbalanced behavior closer to home.
    Officer Cackowski: This guy sleeps outside your room, though, and that's okay?
  • Hypocrite: Jeff angrily brings this up about Shirley; she's always about being Holier Than Thou but she was perfectly fine with bullying those smaller than her. Her only defense was that she was a kid who didn't know any better.
  • Ignored Confession: When Annie finally comes out confessing about her plot, Abed doesn't believe her thinking she is just trying to protect him.
  • In-Universe Catharsis: Shirley as an apology invites Jeff for a foosball game where she can make it up to him by letting him win. He refuses to accept that and tells her that she never grew up from being Big Cheddar. They end up playing for real and screaming at each other about how hard their lives were. Only then does Shirley apologize.
  • Kick the Dog: Shirley as a child taunted Jeff about his missing father and called him Tinkletown when she made him pee his pants.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Shirley verbally and physically abused Jeff at foosball when they were children.
  • Medium Blending: Jeff and Shirley's angry foosball game suddenly turns into an Animesque style segment.
  • Metaphorgotten: Something of a trademark of Batman!Abed.
    Batman!Abed: Men like Rick operate above the law. But there's something else above the law... bats. And me.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Of Jeff and Shirley in the Animesque sequence.
  • Monochrome Past: The flashbacks to when Shirley and Jeff were kids is shown in black & white.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A rather angry game of Foosball between two people is represented as an anime-style shouting match.
  • National Stereotypes: Jeff mockingly asks the Germans why they aren't busy making weird art films and well-engineered cars.
    Bully: You take that back!
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Jeff reminds Shirley of the something disturbing she once did to Pierce's hoagie, which apparently impressed him so much that he almost proposed to her on the spot.
    • Annie and Abed also reference an unseen disagreement they appear to have had following Annie's disposal of some buttered noodles Abed apparently wasn't quite finished with. So, an actual noodle incident.
  • Not So Above It All: Troy, of all people, acts as the Only Sane Man in this episode, but still can't help but get excited when he seen Abed use the grappling hook Troy got him for Christmas. And when Annie and Troy see him menacing their landlord:
    Annie: Stop it!
    Troy: GET HIM! I mean, stop it.
  • Oh, Crap!: After Shirley tells him why she stopped playing foosball, Jeff's expression is one of absolute horror.
  • One Degree of Separation: Not only did Shirley and Jeff go to the same YMCA as kids, it's implied Abed was there too.
  • Only Sane Man: Troy takes this role for once, complete with increasingly panicked and exasperated Lampshade Hanging that this is supposed to be Annie's job. Being Troy, he sprinkles this with appreciation of his grappling hook gift being used and encouragement of Abed interrogating the landlord.
    Troy: (exasperated) Your moving in was supposed to tone us down!
  • Out of Focus: Britta and Pierce only appear at the beginning and end of the episode.
  • Overly Preprepared Gag: The German's soccerball. Lampshaded by Jeff.
    Jeff: Were you guys walking around with a soccer ball just so you could do that?! [The Germans strut out; to Shirley] They left the ball and everything! I think they were literally walking around with it like a prop to use. It's like a twenty-five dollar bit, it's not even that good!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    Troy: Abed! Where have you been?
    Annie: Troy, really?
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Shirley and Jeff have a fall-out half-way through but make up in the third act.
  • Police Are Useless: To the point that larceny is shrugged off as "you're a renter." Of course, this is only natural for a plot about the Dark Knight.
  • The Power of Hate: Apparently anger is the secret to Shirley's foosball skills which she then teaches to Jeff.
  • Priceless Ming Vase: As soon as Abed and Troy gush about their extremely valuable and unique DVD, viewers might suspect is's going to be destroyed. Annie steps on it when she accidentally shoves it off a shelf while she's dusting their TV set.
  • Pun: Deutschbags; Power-Krauts; Das Butt.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The explanation that at the end tag, the viewer has been treated to "Leonard's! FOOD! REVIEW!!"
  • Purple Prose: Annie once again shows her penchant for detail, by creating an unnecessary back story for her nonexistent stolen jewelry.
    "It was a gift from my nana. She was a Rockette. She married a Count. He was blind. He loved her for her mind."
  • Sarcasm Failure: In her panic over the broken DVD, Annie fails to realize that Troy's suggestion of recording a fake exclusive commentary track by Christian Bale over a replacement disk is neither a serious suggestion nor, in fact, an option in this case.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Annie/Abed. Although technically, once again it's more Annie/A Character Abed's Playing (in this case Batman).
    • And for once, Jeff and Shirley.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: Britta's phone is a genuine Totorola. It comes in packs of six!note 
  • Shout Out:
  • Single-Issue Landlord: Apparently all he cares for is woman shoes.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The landlord, Rick.
  • Split-Screen Reaction: Happens during the foosball match with Jeff, Shirley, and (for no explainable reason) a cat.
  • Superhero Episode
  • Take a Third Option: Instead of accepting the Germans' foosball challenge and lowering themselves to their obnoxious level or having to put up with their taunts over losing/forfeiting, Shirley and Jeff show off their foosball skills by expertly managing to position the ball right in the centre of the table where the Germans can't reach it, thus conclusively showing themselves to be the more skillful players win or lose.
  • Vague Age: One of the younger kids in Jeff's flashback resembles a young Abed.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Annie hides the shard of broken DVD before planting it in the landlord's closet.
  • Volleying Insults: Jeff spends more time trading these back and forth with the Germans than actually playing foosball.
  • Women Are Wiser: Hilariously averted. Troy was hoping that Annie would be this and rein his and Abed's antics in. It turns out that she made things worse.


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