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Recap / Community S 4 E 09 Intro To Felt Surrogacy

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(singing)"Yes! This is adventure! We're starting to fly! We can see everything here in the sky!"
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There's tension in the study group; their recent exploits have left nothing but awkwardness and hurt feelings, with the result that no one is looking at or speaking to anyone else. To break them out of their funk and get to the bottom of the problems between them, the Dean holds a puppet therapy session, and through the puppets the group recount how their collective realisation that they had collectively fallen into a rut inspired them to shake things up by going on a hot air balloon adventure. In typical fashion, this soon resulted in chaos and a lot of hidden secrets being brought to the fore...


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The Community episode "Intro to Felt Surrogacy" provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Annie's reference to letting Professor Cornwallis rub her feet in return for a good grade is a reference to a story Alison Brie told on David Letterman about a stranger who was apparently desperate to rub her feet for "strictly platonic" reasons.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
  • Bingo: To highlight how repetitive study group meetings are, Troy and Abed play a study-group-specific version of "Buzzword Bingo" in the first scene.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Troy: Those berries made us real talky but not real listen-y.
  • Call-Back:
  • Cassandra Truth
    Kevin Puppet: He's not what he seems!
  • Casting Gag: After having her song "Gravity" used in Paradigms of Human Memory, Sara Bareilles shows up in person in this episode, as the balloon guide.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Troy, twice in quick succession.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    Shirley: There you go, treating me like Judas, judging me like Judy. You know, Judge Judy...
  • False Reassurance/Exact Words: The study group's opinions of Britta's activism are unchanged by her confession.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Muppet Jeff does this near-constantly.
  • Funny Background Event: The Dean takes advantage of Jeff starting to speak to spoon Jeff's puppet with his puppet.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: In place of the usual Tag, as it aired the previous week as a preview.
  • Homage: Of The Muppet Show.
  • How We Got Here: The episode starts in the aftermath of the balloon ride, with no one looking at or speaking to anyone else. The Dean's puppet therapy works to take the viewer how they reached that point.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Played with, with the mountain man.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The group believes that Pierce went crazy in the woods, but they actually just abandoned him.
  • Jaw Drop: Troy's hand puppet, when Deanocchio appears.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Pierce was the one who tossed the safety rope off the hot-air balloon before their guide could come onboard. When they all get high on the berries, they accidentally leave him behind and he's still in the woods.
  • Medium Blending: Due to puppet therapy.
    Britta: (to Annie) Your skin is so beautiful and soft - it's like felt...
  • The Millstone: Pierce is the whole reason the group gets lost in a hot-air balloon. He tosses the safety rope before their guide can get onboard, and tries to land the balloon by digging his feet into the basket.
  • Muppet: The whole reason they made the episode in the first place.
  • Mushroom Samba/Intoxication Ensues
  • Musical Episode: To go with the puppet therapy stand-ins.
  • Not So Above It All: Abed quickly mentions he doesn't need puppets to tell whatever he wants, but as soon as he puts the puppet on his hand, he blurts out that his father is withholding, apparently surprising even himself.
  • Only Sane Man: Even under the influence of psychedelic berries, Abed was the only one who didn't reveal a terrible secret about himself. As he puts it, he reveals a lot of himself already, Warts and All.
  • Out of Focus: Pierce only appears as a puppet. Part of the agreement for Chevy Chase leaving the show was that he had to record his puppet dialogue.
  • Racist Grandpa: Troy asks the group to avoid mentioning his relationship with Britta if they see his grandpa in Heaven.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: "To be fair, there's no many things you can get stuck in."
  • Special Guest: Sarah Bareilles plays the hot-air balloon guide, and Jason Alexander is the guy they meet in the woods.
  • Stupid Evil: Chang wears a puppet that tries to warn the group about him.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • The Dean didn't have the puppets on hand, and Jeff is not holding a whip.
    Balloon Guide: Who said anything about a runaway balloon?
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    Jeff: I don't like the pressure/Of always being cool!
    Pierce: I was gonna sing that/Now I don't have a rhyme!
  • Take That!:
    • A jab at Jason Alexander's baldness.
    Jeff: I thought my hair looked fake.
    • The original tag has "out-takes" of puppet!Chevy missing his cues, much as Chase had a reputation for. He left the show this episode and it sounds like someone else voicing those clips.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: Jeff fears this because he bailed on a girlfriend when he learned she had a son.
  • Written-In Absence: Chevy Chase very publicly walked off the set and quit while the episode was still being shot. He only appears in puppet form in flashbacks this entire episode, with Troy mentioning they abandoned him in the woods when he lost his mind.

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