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Recap / Community S 5 E 02 Introduction To Teaching

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Yay, teaching!
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Jeff settles into a new job at Greendale and adjusts to the expectations of being on staff – however Jeff's lax attitude to his new position puts him at odds at Annie, whilst Professor Hickey shows him the ropes and shares some pointers on how to manage unruly and demanding students, revealing the truth about minus grades. Upon learning of the Greendale faculty's manipulative grading system, Annie incites a school-wide riot.

Meanwhile, Abed convinces the rest of the Study Group to take a new class, "Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad," with Professor Garrity. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage's acting skill is a mystery that even Abed cannot unravel, and he descends into madness searching for the answer.

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The Community episode "Introduction to Teaching" provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: Annie's attempt to get Jeff to stop being an Apathetic Teacher plays out this way - she argues with him in class, trying to get him to stop blowing off teaching his students by telling them to split into groups and quiz one another, pointing out they won't learn anything that way. The ensuing argument, which sees Jeff lead Annie in a circle until she's actively contradicted her original argument, leaves his class astonished that he won an argument with Annie Edison and his subsequent explaining of how he did it leads to Jeff realising he likes teaching (although he's actually teaching them how to debate, not law).
  • Alternate Catchphrase Inflection: Magnitude's catchphrase is "Pop pop!" said cheerfully while doing a "raise the roof" gesture. When a riot breaks out, he says it in a battle cry sort of way and throws his fists in the air.
  • Apathetic Teacher:
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    • Professor Hickey, who's been "temporarily" working at Greendale for 15 years.
    • Jeff started out as one, but he got into it later on.
  • The B Grade: Annie starts crying because she got an A- on her project. Jeff reveals the closely-guarded secret that minus grades are just used to punish students the teacher doesn't like.
  • Becoming the Mask: When, without thinking about it, Jeff starts actually sharing his expertise with his class.
  • Brutal Honesty: Jeff gave a speech about how both the students and teachers were at Greendale because they all sucked. The crowd reacts as well as you might expect.
  • The Bully: Hickey acts like a schoolyard bully. Especially to Leonard.
  • Butt-Monkey: Leonard is constantly a victim to Hickey's bullying.
  • Call-Back: Professor Garrity brings up Abed conclusively proving that Angela was, in fact, the boss.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Abed has a breakdown trying to determine whether Nicolas Cage is a good or bad actor... and becomes a dead-ringer for Cage at his hammiest.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: Annie's Witness Intimidation project has one.
  • Dead Animal Warning: Played for Laughs. Jeff finds Annie crying and she shows him what Professor Hickey gave her: a dead rat pinned to a card with Cut-and-Paste Note reading "You're next". Jeff is shocked, but it turns out this is Annie's Witness Intimidation project and what she is upset about is the grade: an A-.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Annie scolding Jeff for the way he taught comes off very much like a school teacher giving a lecture to a belligerent child.
  • Do Wrong, Right: Buzz Hickey advises Jeff that Annie is a PITA for any teacher unlucky. So to get rid of her, give her an A-. Before it gets that far, Jeff wins an argument against Annie, causing her to leave in a huff.
  • End of an Age: A rather low-key example, but still: Troy and Abed's shenanigans have been the main focus of the show's tags throughout the first four seasons. This episode features the last Troy and Abed tag.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Troy tries to drop this quote twice, but doesn't actually understand when it's appropriate.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Hickey.
  • Heroic BSoD: Abed has one of these after his Nick Cage breakdown, realizing he can't define whether he's bad or good.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Shirley, much to Abed's surprise, is a fan of the Hellraiser movies.
    • Professor Hickey is working on a cartoon series about a duck called Jim.
  • Ironic Echo: To "Competitive Wine Tasting". There, as Professor Garrity notes, Abed was able to clearly and definitively answer the question "Who's the Boss?", driving Professor Sheffield to a breakdown. Here, Abed's attempt to do the same with the question "Nicholas Cage: Good or Bad?" drives Abed himself to the brink of madness.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Shirley suggests that this is why Abed can't figure out Nicolas Cage... with an obvious double-meaning in the idea that he "moves in mysterious ways".
  • It's Personal: Minus grades are actually personal. The Greendale student body reacts as you'd expect and promptly riots.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He puts it in a very insulting and condescending fashion, but Jeff's quite right that the staff and student body need to work together to improve Greendale rather than constantly finding excuses to be at each other's throats and just throwing destructive tantrums about things they don't like all the time.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Professor Hickey is entitled and gruff, but he also shows Jeff the ropes, gives him advice on how to deal with Annie and says he respects the guy for facing an angry mob knowing they'd tear him apart.
  • Karma Houdini: Annie is really bratty in this episode, culminating in her starting a riot over Jeff doing something nice for her and telling her confidential teacher information. The last time the study group started a riot, they got expelled. Yet she doesn't suffer consequences for leading an angry mob against her friend. Jeff goes Easily Forgiven because he's relieved Professor Hickey gave her an A.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Leonard starts the episode making snide comments over the fact that Jeff is now a teacher — one of which directly provokes Professor Hickey to start picking on him in order to make an example of him.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: It's hard to feel too sorry when Hickey starts picking on Leonard, given that Leonard is usually a bit of a jerk and brought it on himself by snidely making fun of Jeff for being a teacher.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The bulletin board in the cafeteria falls down during the riot. Replacing it will be the focal point of a later episode Analysis of Cork-Based Networking.
  • Messianic Archetype: Shirley suggests that, while Nicolas Cage is not Jesus, he works in similar ways.
  • Mysterious Teacher's Lounge: Jeff is invited to the Greendale teacher's lounge, which is run like an exclusive club. So exclusive, in fact, that Dean Pelton isn't allowed to enter, which pleases Jeff.
  • Not So Different: Jeff makes the point that the Greendale students and faculty are in the same position since they're stuck at Greendale because they've taken wrong turns in life, and that it's not exactly any better for them if they leave.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Annie enters Jeff's class, Chang is by the door with a bowl of popcorn saying "Ooh, she in your class, yo!"
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The Greendale students, once they discovered that minuses are made up. Annie then coalesces them into Torches and Pitchforks for a march to the cafeteria.
    • The Dean lampshades the Greendale student body's propensity for rioting; noting that whilst he doesn't think they'll ever truly eliminate the riots, he's hoping that they can reduce them by 40%.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Annie thinks that she can motivate Jeff to shape up by talking back to him in class. Thing is that, as Professor Hickey points out, that she's being full of herself and undermining a teacher's authority. Jeff never gets Annie to admit that she overstepped her boundaries as a student and instead thinks that she was right to start a riot that got him pelted with tomato sauce.
  • Room Full of Crazy/String Theory: Abed's room while he tries to figure out Nick Cage.
  • Rousing Speech: Subverted with Jeff. His speech that the students are not so different from the teachers hits closer to a "The Reason You Suck" Speech and everyone turns their anger onto him.
  • Running Gag: Yet ANOTHER Take That! to Jim Belushi.
  • Sanity Slippage: Abed goes crazy trying to figure out Nicolas Cage until he starts acting like Cage himself.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Hickey shows Jeff a meatball with Leonard's earring, implying that he killed him and had him made into lunch. He's just kidding, though; Leonard is alive, and wants his earring back.
  • Serious Business:
    • Minus grades provide Greendale students with yet another provocation to launch into a riot. Granted, minuses can potentially have an impact on a student's grade point average (depending on how the grading system works; it's not uncommon for minus grades to simply be recorded as the complete grade and be left to the teacher's discretion), but you still don't normally see universities burst into rioting over them.
    • Predictably (and indeed, with precedent) Abed isn't going to take the question "Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?" lightly.
  • Ship Tease: The Jeff and Annie interactions in this episode have the flavour of the earlier S1 interactions (notably "Basic Genealogy") but with the added bonus that both are more evolved in their growth by this point. Also, the fact that Jeff becomes a professor and that Annie becomes the one teaching him instead is a notable subversion of the student/teacher trope and implies that there's many ways that they could do more with this dynamic.
  • Shout-Out: Combined with Take That!:
    Abed: Every actor is something. Robert Downey Jr., good. Jim Belushi, bad. Van Damme, the good kind of bad. Johnny Depp, the bad kind of good.
  • Stylistic Suck: Professor Hickey's comic, "Jim The Duck". Publishers are interested, though.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Hickey is a Grumpy Old Man who has been at Greendale for a much longer time than the rest of the group, is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, a bit of an outsider and Not So Different from Jeff. Sound familiar?
    • Also cemented by the fact he takes Pierce's seat in the "Save Greendale Committee" group.
    • One notable difference, however, is that where Pierce couldn't resist preening and showing off with little justification, Hickey doesn't seem to suffer the same illusions:
    Troy: [Awestruck] Are you the coolest guy in the whole world?
    Hickey: [Dismissive] I doubt it.
  • Take That!:
  • Technician vs. Performer: Annie vs. Jeff's style of teaching plays out this way. Her idea of teaching involves going straight from the textbook and learning all of the facts. In contrast, Jeff realizes he can teach about his experience in the courts, and how the real world works as opposed to a bunch of dusty laws.
  • Trickster Mentor: Shirley's assessment of Nicolas Cage, which allows Abed to finally resolve the dilemma. Essentially he's crazy, on purpose, in order to make the rest of us reassess what it means to be human. Or something.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The plot centers around the conflict between students and teachers, and in his climactic speech Jeff makes the point that they should be working together to improve the school more rather than finding excuses to be constantly at each other's throats. This leads to the formation of the real "Save Greendale" committee at the end, comprised of both teachers (Jeff and Hickey) and students (the rest of the study group).
  • Verbal Judo: Jeff tried to calm the mob by telling everyone they suck. Cue collective boos and food throwing.
    • This is also how he "wins" an argument with Annie, much to his class' amazement. As Jeff puts it:
    Jeff: Anyone that tries to argue has already lost, because they pick an argument to lose.

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