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Recap / Community S 4 E 04 Alternative History Of The German Invasion

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Guten Tag Frauen.

The study group begins their non-ice cream history class taught by Professor Cornwallis (Malcolm McDowell), but the annoying German trio—now led by Juergen's brother, Reinhold (Chris Diamantopoulos)—is also taking the class. Chang returns to Greendale.

The Community episode "Alternative History of the German Invasion" provides examples of:

  • All Germans Are Nazis: Played straight for awhile ("That's called appeasement, and everyone knows if you give the Germans something small like the study room or Austria, they end up wanting something big, like Earth."), but subverted by the end of the episode when the study group realizes they've acted more like Nazis than the actual Germans.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Dean is upset about a lack of moisturizer during his imprisonment.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Germans use phrases with terrible grammar like "der kaffee hausen" or "knaidels".
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  • The Atoner: The study group tries to make up for their past bad behaviour after their Heel Realization by renovating the other study rooms so that they are, if not as good as the study room we know and love, then are at least more pleasant (and safe) to be in.
  • Audible Sharpness: When Reinhold grabs the kitchen knife to cut the cake.
  • Call-Back:
    • The three obnoxious Germans are back, although their leader, Juergen, has been replaced by his brother, Reinhold.
    • The incompetent college board allows Chang back for money.
    • The events of "Cooperative Calligraphy", "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons", and a Noodle Incident are shown from the perspective of other students trying to use the study room.
    • Jeff once again plants himself in front of the group to give a "Winger" speech; the others exchange looks and settle into their seats, knowing that this might take a minute.
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    • In the tag, Abed plays "Daybreak" on the laptop after making a podcast with Karl and Troy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Abed to Troy, regarding The Real World.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: When the Dean shows up with his black trenchcoat at prison, we know somethings up (or underneath).
  • Continuity Nod: That table's still got axe marks in it.
  • Designated Villain: Invoked in the episode. Although they were no doubt being dickish, the Germans never actually broke the rules when it came to claiming the study room. It was actually the Study Group who refused to share it when offered.
  • Easily Forgiven: All it seems to take for the study group to be forgiven for three years of crappy behavior towards their fellow students is for them to fix up the other study rooms. Perhaps justified, in that most of the complaints against them in this episode centered around their use of the study room anyway.
  • Evil Laugh: Reinhold, as he plots his revenge.
  • Frame-Up: The group's elaborate plan to get the Germans banned is to hold an Oktoberfest, make the Germans drink beer and take photos of them doing it.
  • Funny Background Event: Lukas motorboats two of the balloons.
  • Godwin's Law: The study group are labeled as Nazis by the other students for the crime of... selfishly over-extending their use of the study room without consideration for other people who might want to use it.
  • Got Me Doing It: Lampshaded by the Dean when he starts using the term Changnesia himself.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The other students are unaware that the study group played Dungeons and Dragons in order to prevent Neil from killing himself.
    • Stranger yet, Neil is among the angry mob.
  • Hands Go Down: When the history teacher request the students to describe a battle from both sides as part of their test, a lot of hands go up. All hands go down when he announces that no dioramas are allowed.
  • Hurricane of Puns
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Dean criticizes Chang's habit of replacing words with his name ("No, he's always Dean that.") and his craziness (immediately before a new costume is delivered).
  • Insistent Terminology: Abed's four-pronged trident.
  • Insult Backfire: After the study group has been compared to the Nazis, Britta suggests that Jeff is the group's Hitler. Pierce interrupts and demands to know why he isn't considered Hitler.
  • invokedToo Soon: Jeff refers to this trope by name. He says that Hogan's Heroes was produced before people had the concept of Too Soon.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Germans act like jerks but they signed out the study room fair and square and the study group has been ignoring the signup sheet for years. While the Germans follow the rules, the study group needs underhanded tactics to win.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Troy is designated to do this, but the Germans see through the plot... but it's all part of the plan.
  • Just Following Orders: When Abed feels bad for having lied to Karl, Troy comforts him by saying he was just following orders.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Jeff's clever ruse involves the Germans seeing through their person-in-the-cake and then making it up to them, making it look like they're celebrating Oktoberfest.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: When Jeff sees the Germans.
    Jeff: "I know The History of Ice Cream would've been fun but, not only will this class be far less likely to give us type II diabetes, we might actually learn som..." [cue the Germans] "...mnnn of a bitch!"
  • Lethal Chef: As revealed during The Tag, Shirley's Sandwiches serves delicacies like a fried chicken skin wrap and a triple-fried Monte Cristo...
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: The Study Group fix up the rest of the study rooms after realising that the rest of the students hate them for hogging Study Room F for the past 3 years, when it's the only one of the study rooms that's actually in a usable state. The trope comes into play because it's been 3 years, and no-one else at the school had bothered to do anything until this point in time.
  • Market-Based Title: Apparently the German dub of Hogan's Heroes was called Hogan's Villains. For a quick clear up, the German title in reality was infacted Ein Käfig Voller Helden meaning a A Cage Full of Heroes.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Professor Cornwallis, after speaking to the study group.
    • The study group themselves, after realising that they've been hogging the study room unfairly for the past three years.
  • Noodle Incident: Jeff dressed up as an ice skater to prove a point.
  • No OSHA Compliance: All the other study rooms in the school are grossly unsafe.
  • Not So Different: The the study group spends entire episode trying to kick the Germans out unfairly for hogging their study room, only to realise they've been doing the exact same thing for the past three years and preventing other students with booked times from using it.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Chang trying to take responsibility for his past actions is what convinces the Dean that Chang is really suffering from amnesia. The regular Chang would never do so even as part of a scheme.
  • Out of Order: The episode was intended to air second, but was shuffled to fourth; in this episode, the group are only just starting their history class and Vicki, who invited them to her Halloween party in "Paranormal Parentage" (the episode moved to second), is here leading the protest movement against them.
  • Perspective Flip
  • The Students Who Don't Do Anything: Distracted by the protest, the study group miss their exam.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: You can celebrate different cultures on campus, as long as it's not your own. The study group uses this as part of their scheme. To make it even crazier, the Dean enforces this by keeping a detailed list of the racial background of every student "To make sure nothing racist happens."
  • Power Walk: The group on their way to the study room.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Deconstructed. While the study group works through their issues and experiences Character Development, they fail to realize that their actions have negative effects on others. As the feud with the Germans escalates, the audience cheers on the struggling protagonists but fails to realize that the Germans are following rules and not doing anything morally wrong. When the study group pulls of their Kansas City Shuffle it is easy to overlook that it is is an underhanded trick and the Germans have done nothing really wrong. Then the study group is called out on their bad behaviour and the Heel Realization strikes.
  • Recurring Extra: Averted in the history class, as everyone the audience knows is taking The History of Ice Cream.
  • Series Continuity Error: During the incident with Annie's Pen, the Dean continually makes announcements about a puppy parade taking place in the quad, and it's heavily implied that the study group are the only seven students too involved in their own Serious Business to attend. In this episode, the incident is mentioned as one where other students also needed the room and in the flashbacks there are several students around the library very much unconcerned with the parade.
    • In addition, the group's Dungeons and Dragons game took place at night, but is here shown taking place during the day.
  • Serious Business: The study room, for both the study group and the other students.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: The Dean is made responsible for Chang who acts like a child due to his Changnesia.
  • Soap Box Sadie: Britta eagerly asks, "What are we protesting?"
  • Take That!: When a security guard asks for sign-in papers, Jeff tells him "This is America, not Arizona."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The study group is forced to acknowledge that they were the "Nazis" all along.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Invoked by Annie who as a Jew does not like the fact that the other students call her a Nazi.
  • Unfortunate Names: It's pointed out that a business called "Shirley's Sandwiches" should not put their initials on their uniforms.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Neil's presence in the protest against the group may place him here, since one of the things that the protest brings up is the group's use of the study room to play Dungeons and Dragons — which was a well-meaning (if flawed) attempt to help Neil resolve his issues around exclusion that were leading him towards suicide, something which Neil is curiously silent about.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Vicki, Leonard and Todd call the group out for extending their time in the study room for petty reasons ("They've lost a pen" "We're playing Dungeons and Dragons"). Some of their complaints are justified but others are taken out of context probably because no one outside the group knows what really happened.
  • Written By The Victors: We are shown that all episodes are written from the study group's point of view.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Professor Cornwallis confronts them in the cafeteria, the group believes that he turned the entire school against them so that they could learn An Aesop about different perspectives of history. They're wrong, and it leads Cornwallis to wonder if he can still alter his contract.
    Prof. Cornwallis: Are you actually suggesting that a professor at Greendale would set up an elaborate ruse just to teach seven students a lesson?
    Everyone nods and agrees as if it makes sense.
    Troy: That's a Wednesday.


Example of: