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Recap / Community S 3 E 12 Contemporary Impressionists

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The group as both versions of Michael Jackson, Judy Garland, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
After reuniting following the midterm break, Jeff reveals that he has been seeing a psychiatrist and has been prescribed powerful anti-anxiety medication — so powerful, in fact, that it has caused his narcissism and ego to swell completely out of control. As he very quickly becomes insufferable, Britta applies her psychological know-how to try and find a way to bring him back down to earth. Meanwhile, Abed has gotten in debt to a celebrity impersonator, forcing the study group to take on various celebrity roles in order to help him get out of it. And a rift threatens to form between Troy and Abed.

The Community episode "Contemporary Impressionists" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • J.P. Manoux played Not Moby in an early episode of How I Met Your Mother. When Chang comments that he looks like someone he knows and Dean Pelton shows up in his Rebus Bubble, it doubles as a Call-Back to "Football, Feminism and You".
    • Joel McHale's rivalry with—and resemblance to—Ryan Seacrest, as mentioned frequently on The Soup, is finally canonized.
    • French Stewart plays a former French Stewart impersonator.
  • All Part of the Show: Jeff's hulking out.
  • Analogy Backfire: Britta's attempt to explain the dangers of Jeff's situation are hampered by her poor choice of illustrating example:
    Britta: This apple is your ego. Imagine it expanding to the point of critical mass, taking over your whole personality, making you an uncontrollable monster.
    Jeff: Britta, how did an apple make that clear? 'Imagine it expanding'? Use a balloon.
    Britta: ...I was on my way to lunch.
  • Advertisement:
  • Beard of Evil: Evil Abed has grown a real one.
  • Big "NO!": Jeff does this when "The Most Handsome Young Man" award goes to Howie Schwartz instead of him, even though it's Howie's bar mitzvah and all the awards had been given to him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: While they reach an agreement, the rift in Troy and Abed's friendship remains unhealed at the end of the episode, leading into the following two-parter.
  • Blithe Spirit: Troy argues that there's nothing wrong with Abed's quirks, since they brighten up the study group's otherwise drab and gray reality. Played with, however, in that enabling them comes to take a toll on Troy over the course of the episode, and by extension Troy and Abed's friendship.
  • Break the Haughty: Having spend most of the episode getting increasingly smug, cocky and insufferable, Jeff ends it walking alone, shirtless, cold and getting abuse shouted at him by passing cars after nearly ruining someone's Bar Mitzvah by letting his ego go completely out of control. He is appropriately chastened and humbled by the experience.
  • Call-Back
    • The return of Ryan Seacrest jokes.
    • Chang's brother being a rabbi.
    • Abed as Jamie Lee Curtis.
    • The return of Evil Abed.
    • Britta's "Intervention? Intervention? Intervention?" is one to Annie's "Intervention? Intervention? Intervention?" in Early 21st Century Romanticism.
    • Chang realising that Fake Moby looks like Dean Pelton recalls Troy saying of Pelton, "That dude looks like Moby" in Football, Feminism and You.
  • Catchphrase: Evil Abed's is apparently "Hot. HotHotHot."
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
    • The episode's central theme, and parodied by having a French Stewart impersonator played by French Stewart himself.
    • Also indirectly extends to the Dean, as his and Faux-By's common resemblance to Moby in this episode leads to the events of the second half of the season, and to Chang who, according to the Dean, looks like Renée Zellwegger when he pouts.
  • Child Soldiers: What Chang dreams of using to create his army.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Troy reveals that he's been avoiding having to play this role for Abed because Reality Is Unrealistic and he doesn't want to ruin Abed's fun. Troy changes his mind at the end after realizing just how irresponsible Abed is.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Played with, in that Jeff actually isn't trying to give it up for most of the episode, but Britta warns that he needs to keep away from flattering situations or else his ego will go completely out of control. So, of course, the entire episode is all about placing Jeff in increasingly flattering and ego-stroking situations.
  • Cool Shades: Jeff's medication induced ego boost gives him the confidence to try things he wouldn't have before like wearing aviator sunglasses. The Dean collapses into a seizure/orgasm upon seeing him:
    "Oh my god, even his shadow! LOOK AT HIS SHADOW!!"
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: After the Dean approves Chang's request to recruit student security for college credit.
    Chang: Thank you, sir. You won't regret this unless I rise up against you. (laughing) I don't know why I said that.
  • Drunk with Power: Upon learning that he can get some students to intern as security guards, it takes Chang all of five seconds to suggest he's going to overthrow the Dean. He then starts getting progressively Hitlerian and Mussolini-esque until he's holding mini-Nuremburg rallies in the cafeteria in front of a bunch of kids he's roped in to service. Yeah, this is gonna end well...
  • Gasshole: Jimmy, the (offscreen) Walter Matthau impersonator who we only ever hear belching.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Discussed; Britta says that Jeff's emotional detachment during sex means he's not as good at it as he thinks.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Troy: You people need to stop intervening, you seriously have a problem!
  • Instant Sedation: Averted, when Jeff is hit by the tranquillizer dart it doesn't faze him. Later he is found unconscious by the side of a road.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: After Britta suggests an intervention for Abed who's spending a lot on celebrity impersonators to re-enact movies:
    Troy: No! You guys need to stop intervening! You seriously have a problem!
  • Loan Shark: The owner of the celebrity impersonator business acts as one. He lets Abed hire impersonators on credit and when Abed cannot pay he threatens to have his legs broken.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Boy: Troy describes Abed as "a magical, elf-like man who makes us all more magical by being near us". Deconstructed by the end of episode, however, as Abed's antics can be exhausting as well as irresponsible and Troy realizes that being the Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder really puts strains on their friendship.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Dean Pelton is sent into orgasmic fits by the sight of Jeff in aviator sunglasses. And his shadow.
  • Nepotism: Implied to be the case when Shirley explains how baby Ben got to appear in a church play while Andre was Joseph, Jordan was one of the wise men, and she was in charge of casting.
  • Phrase Catcher: Jeff gets the phrase, "You're more handsome than the guy who's famous for being handsome!" thrown at him more than once.
  • Pun:
    • Dopple Gang
    • Howie Schwartz' "Star Mitzvah".
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • Chang salutes with German gibberish and goose-stepping once the Dean gives him permission to pick up some proteges.
    • The way Chang extends his arm with palm up during his speech and crosses his arms afterward are tropes associated with Benito Mussolini.
  • Rebus Bubble: Chang gets two. First, when he realizes he can get kids to be his deputy security guards and a second one when he thinks he can use an army of them to overthrow Dean Pelton and install Fake Moby as a puppet leader.
  • Self-Deprecation: French Stewart plays a French Stewart imitator who had to get into management, because who would want to hire a French Stewart imitator anymore?
  • Ship Tease: When Jeff swaggers into the study room with extra swagger, Annie blushes and fans her face. She also reacts when Jeff rips his shirt open at the bar mitzvah.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To The Incredible Hulk (1977) where Jeff busts out of his shirt and goes on a rampage and later walks by the road to the sad "Lonely Man" piano theme.
    • To the opening scene of Patton with Chang addressing his new recruits in front of a giant Greendale flag in the end tag.
  • Significant Reference Date: October 15, 2009, the day Troy and Abed made the "Friends don't lie to each other" deal, was the original air date of Advanced Criminal Law, the episode in which the deal was made.
  • Smug Smiler: Jeff's encroaching breakdowns are signaled by an incredibly smug yet slightly twitchy and manic smile.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: For a given value of reality. Troy and Abed's friendship suffers a real setback in this episode, which cannot be resolved by simple platitudes - however, what does resolve it, in the next pair of episodes, is actually pretty insane.
  • Take That!:
    • To Renée Zellwegger after Chang pouts at the Dean to get him to recruit deputies:
      Dean: "Okay I don't know who told you pouting was an option for you but all you're making me feel is hatred of Renée Zellweger!" (cut to Chang scrunching up his face like he just sucked on a lemon).
    • Also to Anne Hathaway, whom Vinnie says Annie would resemble if she gained a few teeth.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: Chang shoots one at Abed and the Tommy Lee Jones impersonator reenacting The Fugitive but hits the glass wall of the study room. Later Chang shoots one at Jeff in the butt as he's going wild at the bar mitzvah.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Troy gives two of these in this episode:
    • Early in the episode, he calls out the rest of the group for being perfectly fine with Abed's unorthodox way of looking at the world as long as it's to their benefit but immediately turning around the moment it becomes an inconvenience.
    • Later, he gives one to Abed for continuing to hire celebrity impersonators after the bar mitzvah.