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Recap / Community S 3 E 13 Digital Exploration Of Interior Design

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He's going through some stuff right now.
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Still angry over Dean Pelton giving the sandwich shop contract to Subway, Shirley and Pierce send Britta to seduce and get dirt on the company's representative at the school, also named "Subway." The plan gets complicated when Britta and Subway develop feelings for each other.

Abed and Troy plan to build another fort, but differ over whether to build a pillow fort or a blanket fort, and Vice-Dean Laybourne stokes resentment between the two.

Jeff finds that he offended a student named "Kim." Annie tries to help him atone when they find out that Kim is dead.


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Tropes appearing in this episode of Community include:

  • Absentee Actor: Ken Jeong as Chang.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Arguably spoofed. Jeff makes a big speech about how it was wrong for him to have been so oblivious to Kim. About two minutes later in the episode, he's already forgotten about him.
  • Ass Shove It's all but directly stated that anal fingering is the "deviant sex act" that Britta and Subway engaged in.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: As Subway is being hauled away by his corporate masters, Britta yells "Subway, I love you!"
  • Artistic License – Biology: Played for Laughs, with Pierce getting Sidetracked by the Analogy and musing over whether or not snakes count as herd animals.
  • Beard of Evil: Since last we saw him, Vice-Dean Laybourne has grown a rather sinister-looking goatee.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Garrett, telling Britta, Jeff and Annie that there's a situation developing in the study room.
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  • Blanket Fort: Abed and Troy's plotline has them building a pillow fort before they split over whether it should be constructed with pillows or blankets. It then escalates into Serious Business.
  • Blind Seer: The trope is invoked by Subway when talking to Harry.
  • Call-Back:
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • After Subway shows his driver's license to the Study Group:
      Troy: I don't believe this! Come on, Subway, there is no way you're 5'10''!
    • When Britta's talking to Subway in the cafeteria:
      Britta: You should try reading Orwell's 1984!
      Subway: I have! It's a great book. Really awakened me in high school. I think kids should be forced to read it!
      Britta: Me too!
    • Pierce congratulating Britta on her starting to seduce Subway:
      Pierce: Excellent whoresmanship!
      Shirley: Pierce!
      Pierce: Sorry, whoreswomanship. I forgot it was The '90s.
  • invoked Doing It for the Art: Troy wants to make a blanket fort because it's faster to build and he means to aim for a world record. Abed simply wants to build the perfect fort, with pillows.
  • Double Standard: Subverted. Annie initially believed Jeff shouldn't apologize to Kim simply because he turned out to be a guy. But later on she acknowledges that she has issues with gender roles and that it was unfair of her to take it out on Kim. Not that Jeff realizes who or what Annie is talking about.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends with an ugly war between Troy's blanket fort and Abed's pillow fort breaking out, putting their friendship at severe risk. Also, Britta has Subway (the Hunk) taken away from her and it doesn't look like Subway (the corporation) will be leaving Greendale any time soon (leaving Pierce and Shirley's attempts to kick them out in this episode ultimately pointless).
  • Epic Fail: The first scene with the "saved" Garret in this episode has him squirting himself in the eye with the water fountain when he goes to get a drink.
  • Fake Memories: Pierce goes slightly loopy and claims Britta has these.
    Pierce: You never lived anywhere! You're a weapon designed for sex! You only think you lived in New York because I implanted your memories!
  • Foreshadowing:
    Pierce: Corporate espionage, I like it! Microphones hidden in lipstick, lipstick hidden in microphones!
  • Funny Background Event: When Annie is talking about how she has to sleep in the psych lab, her scream startles several students behind her.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Kim McFadden.note 
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Annie, who gets around a one-stuffed-animal limit while sleeping in the Greendale sleep-study centre by taking Ruthie, a stuffed kangaroo with a pouch that enables her to sneak in Nathan, a tiny stuffed frog.
  • Go Seduce My Archnemesis: Pierce and Shirley try to convince Britta to do this. She says no, but winds up falling for Subway anyway.
  • Groin Attack: According to Pierce, the deadliest weapon to use when committing corporate espionage is the "penis flytrap."
  • Guinness Episode
  • Hates Being Nicknamed: This ultimately sparks the pillow fight at the end of the episode.
    Dean: Watch it, Star-Burns!
    Star-Burns: My name... is... Alex!!
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: Whatever Britta and Subway did that gave the Subway exec pause.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Vice-Dean Laybourne plays trumpet in a band and is surprisingly familiar with Inspector Spacetime.
    • It's hinted that the Subway executive also has some passing familiarity at least with the kind of 'explorations' Britta and Subway were getting up to:
      Subway Executive: You know, I was raised in the Bay Area, but I'm a father now!
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: In between growing a goatee (and an ill-advised ponytail) and joining a band, it would appear that Vice-Dean Laybourne is currently going through one of these. If so, then he at least seems aware of it:
    Laybourne: I'm going through some stuff right now ... I'm a bit insecure.
  • Honey Trap: Pierce and Shirley want Britta to be one in their plot against Subway.
  • Hypocritical Humor/I Resemble That Remark!:
    • Britta, after Pierce and Shirley ask her to seduce Subway
      Britta: I am not a whore! And ... not that I've done the math, but if I were, I'd be the super-classy kind!
    • Upon discovering Kim's hate-letter to Jeff calling him 'inconsiderate':
      Jeff: Clearly she doesn't know me.
      [Annie sneezes]
      Girl offscreen: Gesundheit!
      Jeff: [oblivious] I didn't sneeze.
    • Britta and Subway:
      Britta: You should try reading Orwell's 1984!
      Subway: I have! It's a great book. Really awakened me in high school. I think kids should be forced to read it!
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • Played for Laughs where by the end, Jeff has once again completely forgotten who Kim was.
    • Played for Drama with both Troy and Abed's realization of their mutual resentment having gotten completely out of hand (what with it resulting in a campus-wide pillow fight) being dismissed and them each preparing to continue their war at the end of the episode.
  • Incompetent Mayor Pain:
    Pierce: Dean! I assume you're familiar with the Greendale by-laws?
    Dean Pelton: [confidently] I am not.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Vice-Dean Laybourne with Troy and Abed.
  • My God, What Have We Done?: Troy and Abed share a look with each other right as the first skirmish ends of hurt, betrayal and sadness. Then they both return to their forts, glare resentfully, and Abed declares forcefully "To Be Continued."
  • Meaningful Background Event: Inverted. When the pillow fight breaks out, both Troy and Abed are clearly panicking and trying to draw their troops back, showing that they still care about their friendship and that this war wasn't their idea.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Subway's a Hunk, making it pretty understandable why Britta falls for him. The second Subway, however, is decidedly more nebbish and awkward looking.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The pillow fight at the end is accompanied by epic battle music.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • What the hell were Britta and Subway doing?
    • Don't worry about Garrett; we saved him.
      • Did we?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Dean's innocent suggestion that Troy and Abed go for a world record with their pillow fort ends up causing a lot of trouble.
  • The Nth Doctor: In-universe. At the episode's end, Subway has been replaced by a new Subway.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The conflict between Abed's pillow fort and Troy's blanket fort escalates when Star-Burns throws a pillow that destroys part of Troy's fort.
  • Product Placement: Taken to some kind of absurdist extreme. In addition, the Subway restaurant location is and will be visible in every scene in the cafeteria from this episode on until Season 4 anyway, where Shirley finally gets her sandwich shop approved for the cafeteria.
  • Pun-Based Title: Britta's high school newspaper column was named "Britta Unfiltered," although she apparently doesn't realize it's a pun.
  • Raging Stiffie: The presumable reason why the Subway exec can't get up and grab his coat.
  • Read the Fine Print:
    Dean Pelton: [reading by-laws] Did you know that Greendale students are technically in the Army Reserves?
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Subway executive is trying to be reasonable when he hears the tape of Britta and Subway having sex. He is not a prude and is not going to punish two people for falling in love. Then he hears the rest of the tape and it's too much even for him.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Kim McFadden apparently hung out with Jeff "like, ten times" during his first year at Greendale, but this is the first time both we the audience and Annie & Jeff seem to meet him. Justified since Jeff's egotism has resulted in him continually forgetting that Kim even exists.
  • Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: The Dean tries to cut a ribbon at the opening of the new Subway stand in the cafeteria but the giant scissors break. The Dean then tries to bite through the ribbon.
  • Running Gag: Once again, Britta having lived in New York is brought up.
    Pierce: You know what I think? I think you're falling for [Subway]!
    Britta: I am not. Who do you think I am?! I lived in New York!
  • Sanity Slippage: Pierce appears to be suffering from this during this episode for no adequately explained reason.
    Pierce: Shirley, you do the honors. My brain starts getting weird this time of night.
    Jeff: It's 10 AM!
    Pierce: (casually) You're welcome!
    Jeff: (worried) Uh-oh.

    Pierce: Look at these idiots! Cattle! Sheep! Other animals that travel in herds! (thoughtfully) I want to say snakes?

    Pierce: Top-notch whoresmanship, Britta!
    Shirley: Pierce!
    Pierce: Sorry, whoreswomanship. Forgot it was The '90s.
    Shirley: (looking at Pierce, concerned) Uh-oh.

    Pierce: You know what I think? I think you're falling for him!
    Britta: I am not. Who do you think I am?! I lived in New York!
    Pierce: You never lived anywhere! You're a weapon designed for sex! You only think you lived in New York because I implanted your memories!

    Pierce: This pen is a microphone. But it's also a mini-flask. [drinks ink from the pen]
    Britta: ...Did you just drink ink?
  • Serious Business: The war between the blanket and pillow forts.
  • Ship Tease: It is a minor bit, but when Jeff first approaches Kim's locker, Annie asks if he made out with her and forgot about her. Jeff responds that he doesn't make out with forgettable women.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Vice-Dean Laybourne's combination of beard, black suit, and long ponytail copy Robert De Niro's Louis Cyphre look from Angel Heart. Without the ponytail, it also shares some similarity to the look of The Master from classic Doctor Who (particularly as played by Roger Delgado) — fitting, given how Laybourne uses Troy and Abed's shared love of Inspector Spacetime to drive a wedge between them.
    • Laybourne essentially gives a thumbnail version of the John Galt speech to Abed.
      • Abed is also willing to destroy his own building rather than compromise to mediocrity like the hero of Ayn Rand's other novel The Fountainhead.
    • Britta and Subway's romance is similar to that between Winston and Julia from 1984.
    • Doubling as a Call-Back since she's a fan of Pride and Prejudice, an angry Annie calls Kim "Jane Austen."
    • Pierce telling Britta she's a weapon designed for sex and that he implanted her memories. Is Pierce secretly working for the Rossum Corporation?
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Jeff's subplot.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Britta and Subway.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Britta claims to have never done the math on how much money she could make as a prostitute, but nevertheless seems to think it could be quite a lot.
  • Take That!: The Subway plotline is an extended one to both Product Placement and corporations attempting to (literally, in this case) humanize themselves to consumers. It's also a pretty clear case of Biting-the-Hand Humor since Subway was one of the show's sponsors at this point in time.
  • This Means War!: The cliffhanger.
  • To Be Continued: As Abed lampshades at the end.
  • Traitor Shot: After Britta smiles and tells Shirley and Pierce "That's me! The girl who's going to destroy the big sandwich company with the dreamy eyes!" the camera closes in on her as her expression suggests she's fallen for Subway and is starting to have second thoughts.
  • Underwater Basket Weaving:
    Britta: [condescendingly] I don't recall seeing Subway in my Pre-Menopausal Post-Feminist Experiential Marketing class...
    Subway corpohumanoid: Actually, I'm on the wait list for PreMenPostFemExMark!
  • The Unfair Sex: Annie is immensely sympathetic to Kim initially, only to immediately lose sympathy upon discovering that Kim is a guy and not a girl as they'd initially believed. It's subverted, however, as Annie ends up realizing that this is just her own issues around gender expressing themselves and she had no right to take them out on Kim.
  • Villain Has a Point: While he has ulterior motives, the Vice-Dean isn't exactly wrong when he subtly points out to Troy how exasperating it must certainly be for Troy to act as the "sidekick" to Abed.
  • Whole Plot Reference:
    • The Subway B-plot can be seen as one long reference to 1984, specifically Britta and Subway's affair reflecting Winston and Julia's romance.
    • The Abed and Troy A-plot is equally drawn from “The Fountainhead”.
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