The school decides to hold a memorial wake for the deceased Star-Burns, and the study group are called upon to deliver the eulogies by the Dean — which, seeing as the study group are nursing a certain amount of bitterness over the fact that, as a result of Star-Burns' death, they will have to repeat Biology over summer school, turns out to be a mistake. One riot later, a scapegoat is needed, and the study group and the Dean elect to nominate Chang who, with his pre-teen army of security interns and new security powers, is rapidly becoming Drunk with Power. Only Chang has other ideas. ...
Tropes appearing in this episode of Community include:
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Chang's list of demands. "No soft serve?!"
- Ascended Meme: Britta's "ask me anything" (a reference to the Q&A Gillian Jacobs did on Reddit).
- Ashes to Crashes: Pierce digs in Star-Burns's ashes to look for his comb.
- Audience Participation Song:Abed: When I say "Greendale," you say "sucks"! GREENDALE!
Student Body: SUCKS!
Troy & Abed: GREENDALE!
Student Body: SUCKS!
- Barehanded Blade Block: One of the many ridiculous things Star-Burns does in Abed's memorial film.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Part of the reason the study group vents at Starburns' memorial is that they don't want to give up their summer to retake the classes; at least, Jeff and Annie do. They get exactly what they want: no one will have to go to Greendale during the summer because they've been expelled.
- Big Bad: Chang, after quite a bit of buildup, finally takes his place.
- Big "NO!": Jeff, when he learns that he must attend summer school.
- Bittersweet Ending: The group gets expelled, but they also grow closer as a group.
- Body Double: Chang's plan to guarantee the outcome of the discipline hearing involves one.
- Brick Joke: Star-Burns's memorial video isn't mentioned again until it is played in The Tag.
- To "Remedial Chaos Theory": Britta's felt star-burns (to Evil Abed's felt goatees) and the entire last scene.
- Again, to "Remedial Chaos Theory", Star-Burn's lawyer is an unseen one armed man with a scar. One of the scenarios from that episode involved Jeff becoming a one armed lawyer with a scar. It's even the same arm that's missing, according to Abed.
- Faux-by from "Contemporary Impressionists" returns as the Dean's replacement.
- "Rusty Bucket? Rusty Bucket? Rusty Bucket?"
- A subtle one to "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" — the Greendale College Board are quite chummy with Chang and willing to unquestioningly accept his word over the study group. In viewing the Dean's commercial in the earlier episode, at least one of them was particularly taken with "the Chinese guy — he pops!"
- The last time Britta tried using role play to help work through an emotional trauma, it didn't work out too well for her then either.
- Annie criticizes Greendale for having an anus flag, but the Dean points out it was the study group that drew it. More subtle, is that Annie is still displeased with the flag & the Dean not realizing she had nothing to do with it.
- Cassandra Truth: Jeff tries to convince the school board that Chang is psychotic by mentioning that he used to live in the school's airway vents with a monkey. The school board and Chang simply laugh at this.
- Characterization Marches On: Britta, lampshaded by Jeff.
- Chroma Key: Star-Burns ends his video will by acting out fantasy scenarios in front of a green sheet, for Abed's use.
- The Coup: Chang gives himself the authority to do this as a result of the riot.
- Cuteness Proximity
- Day of the Jackboot: Chang's attempted takeover of the school.
- Darkest Hour: With the Call-Back to Remedial Chaos Theory, the stage is set for the darkest timeline to reassert itself with Shirley going Off the Wagon, Annie dipping back into insanity and Britta about to throw herself into an ill-advised fling with the creepy pizza guy as a result of her battered self-esteem issues, before Troy puts his foot down and assures them that they can get through this together, and to step back from their problems, breaking depression's hold on the group.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jeff is being snarky even more than usual, at least until the Dean delivers the bad news.Britta: As a psychologist...
Jeff: [interrupting] Student.
Britta: ...I offer my licensed services...
Jeff: [interrupting] Unlicensed.
Britta: ...as a grief counselor...
Jeff: [interrupting] Grief causer.
Britta: ...if anyone needs to talk, the doctor...
Jeff: [interrupting] Not even close.
Britta: ...is in.
- Decoy Leader: The Pretendean is installed as one by Chang.
- Despair Event Horizon: The group are teetering on this at the end of the episode after getting expelled but manage to avoid falling in after Troy and Abed remind them that things aren't entirely hopeless.
- Disappointed in You: The board isn't even angry at the Greendale Seven. They're more disappointed that a group of adults incited a riot at a community college at a funeral.
- Drop-In Character: Lampshaded by the Dean when he laments that he has to tell the study group bad news again. Before going to pick an outfit.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Shirley and Annie are on the verge of doing this at the end, but their spirits are lifted by Troy and Abed's inspiring speech about how, while things are bad, this isn't the worst timeline. In Shirley's case, this is a narrowly averted case of Off the Wagon as well, since she passes her drink to Jeff.
- Drunk with Power: Chang's megalomaniacal tendencies over being a security guard, having an army of Child Soldiers to command and increased martial responsibilities to throw his weight around with continue to intensify.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Pierce suggesting making Chang into the scapegoat. Especially since he really did exacerbate the riot.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Chang in response actually gets the study group expelled. Considering they were planning to throw him under the bus, it was karmic. Not to mention that they were responsible for inciting the riot in the first place (albeit inadvertently). And say what you will about his methods, but he did manage to stop the riot.
- Britta's attempt to get the study group to confront their grief over Star-Burns' death by role-playing as him would have been a sound method of grief counselling if she hadn't critically underestimated precisely how little the group cared about Star-Burns' death in the first place.
- Egocentric Team Naming: Upon realizing that their group has been named "The Greendale Seven", Pierce's immediate suggestion is to rename it to "Pierce Hawthorne and the Greendale Six".
- Evil Laugh: Chang gives one.
- Failed a Spot Check: No one notices the guards in the medical room left to tell Chang of the plan to scapegoat him, despite several being in a position to do so.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Jeff (and the group) have a much more emotional reaction to hearing they have to take summer school over the death of their classmate.
- Also, the item on Chang's list of demands that the Dean is most shocked by is "no soft-serve." This was after martial law and involuntary cavity searches.
- Five Stages of Grief:
- They are overtly discussed by Britta. She attempts to bring up the imagery of dying puppies to move the group on from denial to anger — that is, if she's actually aware of any of the ones between 'denial' and 'acceptance':Britta: What Jeff is doing now is called 'denial', and it is the first of five stages of grief that ends with 'acceptance'.
Jeff: Name any other stage.
Britta: [Suddenly touchy and defensive] What are you, my final?!
- There is also a more covert usage that leads to Fridge Brilliance. The entire structure of the episode is based around the Five Stages of Grief. The episode starts out in denial, refusing to talk about the death. Next comes anger with a wake riot. Followed by bargaining with the school administration. Which results in the group flirting with depression. And the last minutes have Abed and Troy helping the group come to acceptance.
- They are overtly discussed by Britta. She attempts to bring up the imagery of dying puppies to move the group on from denial to anger — that is, if she's actually aware of any of the ones between 'denial' and 'acceptance':
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": The study group uses their eulogies to rant about the school. It then turns into a riot.
- Fun Size: Annie and Shirley think that Chang's soldiers and their riot gear are cute for the few seconds before they deploy the pepper spray.
- Group Hug: The Dean tries and fails to initiate one with the group with him closest to Jeff and Troy.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Garret, to the point this rendition of "Ave Maria" is almost unrecognizable.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Annie criticizes Greendale for having an anus flag, but the Dean points out it was the study group that drew it.
- Jeff belittles Britta's attempts to get everyone to cope with the aftermath of Star-Burns' death, pointing out that "one minute something's here, the next minute it isn't." Then, the Dean comes in to tell everyone that they'll need to do summer school to make up their biology credit. Upon learning that he no longer has his summer, Jeff breaks down.
- Also, this:Annie: Jeff, have some respect! He may have been a scuzzy weirdo who shaved his sideburns into star shapes...
- Identical Stranger: The Pretendean is close enough to fool the board and the study group, with the possible exception of Abed, at the hearing.
- Innocent Innuendo:Dean: Okay this is my school, and I'll enter whatever I want!
- Instant Sedation: When Chang shoots the Dean with a Tranquilizer Dart.
- This may be one of the more justified uses since Chang appears to hit the carotid artery and is using a tranquilizer meant for zoo animals.
- It's All About Me: Somehow Star-Burns' wake becomes a platform for the study group to vent about their own problems (however minor they may be).
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Whilst Jeff's complaints were very petty, and Troy, Abed & Pierce merely wound up inciting the student body to riot, Annie & Shirley have valid points when they criticize the way Dean Pelton has been running the school.
- Likewise, the school board may be corrupt and not care about the school, but they have a right to be disappointed in the Greendale Seven. As they put it, the students inciting a riot and caused a lot of property damage.
- Killed Off for Real: Star-Burns. Any thought from the last episode that his death was a hoax was negated by his ashes (and those of his lizard) being given to Abed.
- As revealed in season finale, this is actually averted. Turns out he simply faked his death... for whatever reason.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The study group did incite a riot (albeit inadvertently) and attempt to blame Chang for it (albeit again not entirely without cause, since Chang's over-the-top measures did exacerbate things). So Chang discovering their plan, thwarting it and getting them expelled is to some degree karmic justice.
- Last Request: Abed feels oddly compelled to fulfill Star-Burns' request for a video tribute.
- Late to the Punchline: The Dean finally understands why everyone called Alex "Star-Burns".
- There are a couple of little "Oh!"s in the background after he says this, implying that some of the students are just now getting it as well.
- Little "No": Both Jeff and the Dean give one at different parts.
- Manipulative Bastard: He gets the Dean replaced with an impersonator whom he can control. And then he gets on the school board's good side, thwarting the study group's plan to blame the riot on Chang.
- Metaphorgotten: See Toilet Humor.
- Mic Drop:Annie: Edison Out!
- Mood Whiplash: Britta asking the group to think about puppies... which are on fire.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Jeff's speech to the Dean about how the study group are 'bad students' after the riot.
- The members of the study group (except for Pierce) also look horrified when the riot starts and they realize that things have gone too far.
- Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Discussed early when not everyone talks respectful about Star-Burns.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Dean only gives Chang the authority he needs to take power as a result of the Greendale Seven starting a riot.
- Noodle Incident:
- Apparently the Dean once gave a back rub to Chang while he was asleep.
- Star-Burns and Pierce's hairbrush.
- Star-Burns once made out with Britta at a party.
- Out of Focus: Abed doesn't talk much in this episode, and his involvement in a few scenes is limited to a quick shot of his face to make the point that he's here. According to the DVD commentary, Danny Pudi wasn't available for most of the shooting because his wife was about to give birth.
- Fake Shemp: During the scene at the health center, Abed (played by a stand-in, and not Danny Pudi) is sitting down with a towel over his head, completely silent.
- Oh, Crap!: The study group's faces when they realize that venting over their biology grades being withheld until they complete summer school has ended up triggering a riot.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: "The single worst wake riot this district has ever seen."
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Subverted. Unlike in the timeline in which she gets the pizza in "Remedial Chaos Theory", Britta does not end up getting engaged to the pizza guy, and just takes the pizza inside.
- Police Brutality: Chang's plans for the school involve plenty of this.
- Product Placement: Subway, subverted when Vicki breaks the glass and the students ransack the stand. Leonard declares that he will steal the veggies.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: While Chang is undeniably power hungry, it was the study group who actually initiated the riot (albeit inadvertantly), and then they tried to pass all the blame onto Chang so they wouldn't be held responsible. Played with, in that this actually ends up backfiring on the group and leads to them getting expelled.
- It should be noted that they were willing to admit their mistake to the school board. It was just that they were trying to spin it in a way to make them look better and to also point out they weren't the only ones at fault.
- Putting on the Reich: When out of riot gear, Chang's soldiers now wear alarmingly fascistic black uniforms.
- Reality Ensues: The study group accidentally starts a riot by badmouthing the school, with Pierce expressly saying "Let's burn the mother down" in front of a group of witnesses. Even if the school board is bribed by Chang, and a Dean impersonator throws them under the bus, the board members have a point that inciting violence in a college is grounds for expulsion.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Star-Burns' funeral, before it erupts into a riot, is one of these toward the Dean and the school.
- Riddle for the Ages: In this episode at least, it's unclear why the Dean impersonator would go along with a plan for a hostile takeover especially since Chang doesn't even have the money to pay him.
- Sand In My Eyes: After the riot, Troy tries to invoke this as an excuse for why he's crying, but it doesn't work.Nurse: Strange, I'm not finding any pepper spray on you.Troy: [whimpering] Well, check harder! It's not like I'm crying because I was chased by the gang of scary 12-year-olds!
- The Scapegoat: The study group and the Dean decide to blame Chang for the riot. Chang has other ideas.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The fact that biology has been canceled makes many of the events of the season irrelevant, like proving that their yam was murdered.
- Shaped Like Itself: Garrett screams that the pepper spray is "so peppery!"
- Ship Tease: At the end, Troy says, "Britta, you're not the worst — you're the best," and both they and Jeff and Annie smile at each other later.
- Star-Burns liked Styx.
- Aladdin: "If we rub that, will he come out and do celebrity impressions?"
- Abed is wearing a Runnin' Rhino t-shirt at Star-Burns's wake.
- A member of the school board makes one to Transformers.
- The song the Dean is singing as he sanitizes his hands and staples is sung to the tune of "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners.
- A DVD of Kanye West's film Runaway can be seen on Troy & Abed's shelf in the first scene
- The post-expulsion depression scene is very reminiscent of the one in Animal House, including Pierce lamenting "13 years of Community College down the drain."
- Similar Squad: Faux-by/Pretendean is back.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The wake for Star-Burns somehow turns into a platform for the study group to vent their own problems.
- The Starscream: Chang replaces the Dean with a lookalike.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Troy isn't crying because of the scary Child Soldiers.
- Sweet Tooth: One of the board really likes his cookies.
- Take That!: Chang's restriction of liquids comes from Transportation Security Administration guidelines.
- Tempting Fate:
- After the Dean refuses (at first) to sign Chang's request for new security measures, Chang tells him "You'll regret it" - to which the Dean replies "I doubt it."
- When he does sign it, he wonders aloud "What's the worst that could happen?"
- Toilet Humour: Chang's description of a sausage as a cross between a penis and a piece of poop.
- Tranquillizer Dart: Chang takes the Dean out with one after Faux-by enters in his Dean disguise.
- Video Wills: Delivered to Abed by Star-Burns's lawyer, a one-armed man with a scarred face.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Chang is well-liked by the school board, who are happily willing to dismiss out of hand the study group's protests that he's a psychotic lunatic because of it.
- Visual Pun: Star urns.
- Wham Episode: The Dean gets replaced by an impostor, Chang rises to power, and the episode ends with the group being expelled from Greendale.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Troy asks Abed if Starburns' jar of ashes will summon Starburns during impressions like the Genie in Aladdin. Abed tells him no.