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Recap / Community S 4 E 06 Advanced Documentary Filmmaking

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Is Chang really a chang'd man?

The study group works on Abed's documentary about Changnesia to earn a grant from the MacGuffin Institute.

The Community episode "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" provides examples of:

  • 555: Chang's ex-wife's phone number.
  • Adult Child: Annie notes that as Kevin doesn't have any memories, he's experiencing everything for the first time with a childish glee.
  • Ambiguous Disorder
    Abed: He practices smiling and frowning—we've all done it.
  • The Atoner: Kevin.
  • Blackface: Pierce does a "blackface Senor Wences act" for the MacGuffin group. Technically more like black knuckles.
  • Brick Joke: Midway through filming, Abed requests that Jeff fund an expensive licensed song. He uses "You Only Get What You Give" by New Radicals to close the film.
  • Call-Back:
  • Demoted to Dragon: Chang was the main villain in season 3, and now he's taking instructions from someone else.
  • Evil Laugh: Chang has one at the end.
  • Evil Plan: Whatever Chang and Dean Spreck have been planning, it is probably this (and like the best evil plans, also magnificently convoluted — Chang not only has to pretend to have Laser-Guided Amnesia, he apparently spent three months as a payless worker in a trout farm before even coming to Greendale!).
  • Forceful Kiss: Jeff plants one on Chang's ex-wife in hope that Chang still had feelings for her and would be upset by it.
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  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: "Ask not what your community can do" is written on the blackboard behind Jeff.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Annie and Troy. Except that Troy takes the 'opposites as partners' approach a little too far and simply contradicts absolutely everything Annie says out of hand — even when she's simply stating the absolute obvious.
    Annie: This is the place.
    Troy: No, it's not.
  • The Dog Bites Back/Who's Laughing Now?: Discussed; the trout farmer seems genuinely concerned about the possibility of the trout he farms gaining human-like sentience and emerging from the water to wreak vengeance upon him for farming them.
    Farmer: One mornin', I see somethin' comin' out of the trout tank, and at first I was scared because, well, I'm the last face a lot of trout ever see. I'm not sayin' that the trout are a vengeful breed, but if they were I'd be public enemy number one ... I was pretty relieved when I found out it was a naked Asian guy and not an angry trout.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In his misssion to out Kevin, Jeff becomes Changier than Chang at his Changiest.
  • Idiot Ball: Everyone except Jeff.
  • I Never Told You My Name: "I didn't say I was a lawyer." Subverted when Kevin ex-changs immediately and convincingly.
  • Laser Guided Changnesia: Kevin, it would appear.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "Changnesia affects the memory, but not the ability to make forced puns."
    Kevin: The food is Kevin-ly.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Britta accidentally hits stop instead of record on the camera while shooting Shirley, then presses record for stop and the camera records everything after that, including potentially damning footage of Chang dropping his cover.
  • MacGuffin: Lampshaded, meta'd and mentioned by name, the MacGuffin Grant.
  • Nerd Glasses/Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Britta ("basically a therapist") wears them to bolster her "controversial" theory despite a lack of scientific basis (not that the accepted theory has scientific basis).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Jeff's attempt to sabotage the entire documentary leads to the grant givers seeing the struggle they have to cope with, and gives Greendale all the money they need.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: Who else but Chang, of course.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Britta tries to film Shirley talk about her sandwich shop, but stops the camera by mistake. When the camera goes back on, Shirley is crying from some deep emotional revelation brought about by the conversation that Britta failed to put on tape.
  • Out of Order: Annie points out the name-brand glitter on the Welcome Archie! banner, which is made and put up in the next episode, "Economics of Marine Biology".
  • Overly Long Gag: Kevin recites an entire earlier scene from his surprisingly good short-term memory.
  • The Power of Love/Love Redeems: In a complicated way, Jeff calls Chang/Kevin's love for his ex-wife into question and expects it to reveal Chang's con.
  • Reaction Shot/Relax-o-Vision: Abed decides we should only be shown his reaction to the rest of Jeff's attempt to disprove Kevin/Chang because it's so shocking. Subverted when he realizes the cut scene isn't that bad, he's just going to skip it anyway to keep the plot moving.
  • Reverse Psychology: Annie uses it on Troy in his role as Bad Cop to get the trout farmer to expose his lies.
    Annie: Clearly he has nothing to hide.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Take That!:
  • Tap on the Head: According to an actual psychiatrist employed at Greendale, not only is this trope real, it also can only cure amnesia if a Tap on the Head was the original cause.
  • We Named The Dog Indiana: Both Kevin and Troy.


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