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"Delta Cubes!"
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Jeff distracts Pierce while the Dean, Annie, and Britta attempt to land a "whale" of a new student (Zack Pearlman). Shirley and Troy take Physical Education Education taught by Coach Chapman (Ian Roberts). Abed forms a fraternity.


The Community episode "Economics of Marine Biology" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Pierce says he never understood golf and only joined country clubs to hit on the waitresses.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Shirley apparently forgot the last time she got into a competitive spirit, she ruined Jeff's life by humiliating him as a child and he threatened to end their friendship. Even though it doesn't go this far with Troy, since he's Troy, the damage is done when she humiliated him even as he finally admitted he was wrong and begged for help. Troy drops out of the class and won't get the PE credit, he no longer believes he has athletic abilities, and he can't even look her in the eye out of shame. Not to mention thanks to the Humiliation Conga he lost his keys and needed to hitch a ride home with a stranger, much to Shirley's consternation.
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  • Baby Talk: Britta's attempt at it is off putting to say the least.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Less borrowed from Magnitude, more outright stolen.
  • Break the Cutie: While Troy was going to attend PE to get another trophy —only to find out PE doesn't have trophies — he means well and sincerely promises Shirley he won't pick her last. By the end of class, he's crying and begging for her help with the drama students acting as PE students. Shirley refuses, which means he gets stuffed into a "mocker" as the other coaches laugh at him. The next day, he's still sobbing a little as he's rummaging through the locker for his keys, which he lost.
  • Brick Joke: Troy's preference for Let's over Splingles returns in The Tag.
  • Call-Back:
  • Dean Bitterman: The Delta Cubes' antics push the Dean toward this.
    Mark my words, Delta Cubes! You'll pay for this!
  • Easily Forgiven: Troy readily forgives Shirley for humiliating him; he's more concerned with getting his keys out of the locker since the day before he had to hitch a ride in a burrito truck. Shirley notices his confidence has been shattered regardless and feels guilty.
  • Forgiveness: Pierce forgives Jeff for hanging out with him only as a favor to Annie and the others, when Jeff appears at the barbershop voluntarily, sits next to Pierce, and says he's coming regularly to talk with him. For once, Pierce has not been excluded and he knows Jeff was sincere when he said hanging out with Pierce was one of the best days of his life.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Physical Education Education
  • Hookers and Blow: Suggested by the school board to convince "The Whale" to come to Greendale. More specifically, they suggest hookers, blow, and hookers.
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: Jeff defends Pierce after the great day they had together.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: After it's made clear to Archie that he's only getting the special treatment to get him into the school, and it'll stop if he becomes a student, he admits that he's actually sick of people giving him whatever he wants because of his dad's money & just wants to try being a normal student.
  • Insistent Terminology: Do not use the term "gym teacher" within earshot of Coach Chapman.
  • Karma Houdini: Shirley humiliates a friend young enough to be her son, and she's praised for it by Coach Chapman. Unlike when Jeff threatened to end their friendship, Troy is more worried about finding his keys in the locker while being obviously despondent about his failure and doesn't hold it against Shirley. While Shirley helps him get his confidence back, she doesn't really suffer any Laser-Guided Karma for making an obvious power play when he was begging for her help. Plus, teaching "Kevin" to play sports is not that great of an accomplishment since the former is Faking Amnesia.
  • Money to Burn: Archie and Pierce.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The Dean says this when he sees Magnitude having a breakdown while brainstorming a new phrase.
    • Shirley has this reaction when she sees Troy alone in the gym the next day, rummaging through the "mocker" into which he was stuffed because he needed to get his keys. She knows Troy dropped out because of her, and this is the last place he wants to be. She then finds out he had to hitchhike home without his keys, and she's horrified on how her refusal to help Troy endangered him. Troy tells her she doesn't need to apologize, but he's definitely not making eye contact. Plus, it means he's short a class this semester, and Shirley can't exactly undo the whole everyone laughing at him when he was being stuffed into a mocker.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The Dean throws one.
  • Picked Last: Shirley used to be in school. Also, Troy.
  • Reality Ensues: Shirley goes to apologize to Troy the next day after humiliating him in class. He reveals he dropped out, understandably, and concedes he's not coach material while locating his keys in the "mocker". Even though Shirley gives him his confidence back by showing him how coaching works, he's not taking the class again after the humiliation, and him teaching "Kevin" isn't going to bring his abysmal grades up. All he gets is Coach Chapman's grudging respect that he put in the work.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Combination of Annie and the Dean. Jeff groans.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: What defines Archie as a "whale".
  • Room Full of Crazy: Well, blackboard, but Magnitude resorts to this when he tries to pick out his new Catchphrase.
  • Secret Test of Character: Archie is overly entitled when looking at the school, and even demands Magnitude's "pop pop" phrase. It turns out he was seeing if this was another school of sycophants and wanted a place where the administration would stand up to him for once. Archie gives back the phrase, visibly relieved he didn't hurt someone.
  • Script Wank:
    I think we all learned today, that all human beings deserve dignity.
  • Serious Business: Coach Chapman takes Physical Education very seriously.
  • Ship Tease: Annie uses the "Disney face" to convince Jeff to spend the day with Pierce as an effort to get Pierce out of their way.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stuffed into a Locker: Troy is "mock locked in a mock locker."
  • Toilet Humor: Pierce reminisces about his childhood dog, who would follow him to school and "[drop] a steaming fat one on the lawn."
  • Training Montage: Shirley teaches Troy to teach Kevin, complete with inspiring music.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinx: Abed's Delta Cube fraternity.
  • Wine Is Classy: Wine is served at the Italian barber shop.

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