Everyone is up in arms when an anonymous bandit starts dropping coins down people's pants. While Dean Pelton mobilizes the school to investigate, Jeff and Annie pursue their own theories - methodically interrogating staff members. When someone eventually confesses, the school heaves a sigh of relief, but Jeff thinks there is more to the story than meets the eye.
The Community episode "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of most serial-killer David Fincher style movies such as Se7en and Zodiac. They got the atmosphere down to a T, with a tinted color scheme, and constant rain and smoke. It also parodies 'dark' crime TV shows such as Hannibal, Criminal Minds, The Bridge (US) (which even gets name-checked in a Freeze-Frame Bonus) and The Killing which center around troubled law enforcement officials hunting serial killers.
- Alone with the Psycho: Annie being stuck with Duncan in his office is a Shout-Out to the basement scene from Zodiac. Ironically, Duncan is himself a victim immediately after this. And the last scene suggests that Annie herself could be the bandit.
- Animal Jingoism: Star-Burns designing a Cat-Powered Car that uses a dog to scare cats into pulling the vehicle.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: During the Dean's press conference addressing the Ass Crack Bandit's return, he's asked if it is indeed the Bandit's return & not a copycat if it's true the Dean's office has since received a letter from the Bandit, and how the Bandit's return will have an effect on soccer.
- Ass Shove: The bandit's M.O., which is really more of an "ass drop", but it's treated like a far more violent action in-universe.
- Big Secret: Both Star-Burns and the botany professor run from Jeff and Annie because they had something to hide.
- Brick Joke: Star-Burns' crowd-funding video wherein he asks for donations for his cat car idea.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Professor Duncan makes his first appearance since "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts" in Season 2.Jeff: Hey, buddy. Where'd you go?
Duncan: I was taking care of my sick mother. She's still alive, but I've put in my time.
- Star-Burns makes his first appearance since "Introduction to Finality" and marks the in-universe reveal that he had faked his death in "Basic Lupine Urology."
- Professor Duncan makes his first appearance since "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts" in Season 2.
- Bus Crash: Pierce.
- Calling Card: Well, in this case, leaving the calling card is the Ass Crack Bandit's crime.
- The Cameo: Ben Folds as a botany professor/pot grower. Folds also wrote the gritty-parody "Ass Crack Bandit" song that plays several times throughout the episode.
- Chariot Pulled by Cats: Star-Burns tries to develop the world's first cat-powered vehicle. He's seen trying to escape on a prototype with several harnessed kitties. In a Brick Joke, there appears a crowd-funding video in which Star-Burns asks for donations for his cat car idea.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Ass Crack Bandit was previously mentioned in "Intro to Political Science" in Season 2.
- "Troy's Law," which is really just the Dean's plan to put cameras in all the bathrooms marks a return to his previous use of cameras in the women's bathrooms in Season 1's "The Politics of Human Sexuality." That time, the justification was that toilet seats were being stolen.
- Neil's eulogy for Pierce refers to him as "a helluva D&D player".
- Creepy Children Singing: Elijah & Jordan Bennett singing "Creep" by Radiohead at the reopening of Shirley's Sandwiches crosses over into this as it's used as the score to the return of the Ass Crack Bandit.
- Death Glare: Abed gives one at the end of his "disordered detective" speech (see Take That! below), showing how contemptuous he really is toward's the Dean's suggestion that he use his Ambiguous Disorder to perform a Sherlock Scan.
- Defcon Five: The Dean seems to be unsure about the correct use of DEFCON numbers."From this moment, people, we are at DEFCON 4... if that's the highest DEFCON, and if high DEFCONs are worse than low ones."
- Downer Ending: The Ass Crack Bandit remains unidentified, and the ending implies it could be one of several characters known to the viewer, and the Study Group is left to mourn the death of Pierce.
- Dramatic Thunder: When Jeff and Annie visit the botany professor.
- Epileptic Trees:
- In-universe; Annie starts coming up with these to discuss the Ass Crack Bandit's motives. Jeff is unimpressed:Annie: You know how this school works; we do it, or it doesn't get done. The men on our coins understood that. Maybe the Ass Crack Bandit's point is that we're letting our values slide.
Jeff: Or maybe he's a frat-boy coming from the laundromat.
- In the full version of the "Ass Crack Bandit" song, the singer gets in on the act as well:Maybe we're the crooks
And he's the hero
Maybe he's the Messiah
Who's to say?
- In-universe; Annie starts coming up with these to discuss the Ass Crack Bandit's motives. Jeff is unimpressed:
- Everyone Is a Suspect: The ending of the episode, with brief shots over many of the show's characters to show how they might've had a reason to be the Ass-Crack Bandit.
- False Confession: The Dean paid Star-Burns to do this.
- Foreign Farewell: Duncan responds to Britta's high-five by attempting to kiss her, which she refused. He then blamed it on cultural differences.
- Genius Bonus: The reason why Leonard's wearing overalls in the Held Gaze scene - they won't expose his ass crack as all.
- Geographic Flexibility: Lampshaded. "We have stables?"
- Hard-Work Montage: Parodied. Jeff puts on orchestral music as Annie starts cross-referencing the Greendale faculty with people who like the Dave Matthews Band, only for her to turn it off ten seconds later declaring she was finished. Jeff admits he thought it would take longer.
- Held Gaze:
- Jeff did this with Annie, but then insisted that it was platonic. He then does the same to a passing Leonard in order to demonstrate how platonic it was. Leonard apparently thought otherwise.
- Annie does it to Jeff after she reaches the conclusion Duncan's the bandit. He seems quite pleased with it.
- Homage: The Special Edition Title is an homage to the opening credits of Red Dragon.
- Hypocritical Humor: The Dean calls Jeff and Annie's relationship unprofessional and creepy, before immediately punishing Jeff by making him the new Coach of the Water Polo team and himself the Assistant Coach so he would be able to spend time with a soaking wet Jeff. If one goes even further, the Dean's infatuation with Jeff and favoritism towards the Study Group as seen over the course of the show are themselves creepy and unprofessional.
- Insistent Terminology: Jeff and Duncan about Dave Matthews. Hardcore fans call him Dave.
- Instantly Proven Wrong: When the Dean reminds everyone that buddies is the best way to prevent an assault by the serial killer, someone in the audience gets cracked.
- Internal Reveal: The characters finally discover that Star-Burns' is just Faking the Dead.
- Irony: Troy, who has a propensity for butt stuff, is one of the students violated by the Ass Crack Bandit.
- It's a Small Net After All: Subverted when Annie acts as if a Facebook search would give an exhaustive list of faculty that like the Dave Matthews, but it turns out Duncan used a different social network site.
- Just Friends: What Jeff insists several times about his and Annie's relationship, including "platonic shoulder holding," though his and Annie's actions and expressions clearly indicate otherwise.
- The Main Characters Do Everything: Lampshaded by Annie — "you know what this school's like if we don't do it, it doesn't get done!"
- Minor Injury Overreaction: Troy had a quarter dropped down his ass crack. He spends the rest of the episode traumatized and unwilling to leave his wheelchair.
- Missing Trailer Scene: A scene with Troy pleading with Jeff to catch the Ass Crack Bandit was featured in the "Beyond the Darkest Timeline" trailer, but wasn't in the episode proper.
- Montage Out: The episode ends with a montage showing that the Ass Crack Bandit could be anyone.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The standard opening titles are replaced with a montage of newspaper clippings about the Ass Crack Bandit before the final shot reveals the clippings to be a folder put together by Annie, who has extravagantly decorated the cover with glitter and flowers.
- The Downer Ending is followed by Star-Burns' infomercial asking for donations for a cat-powered car.
- Amongst the various clips seen in the Montage Out, is a shot of Professor Hickey looking over a clipping of an article about a serial killer the police were unable to catch, leading to the police force being downsized; it's heavily implied he was one of the investigators. It's only on screen for a few seconds, but it further contrasts the Ass Crack Bandit being treated in a similar manner by the Greendale campus.
- Neil's heartfelt eulogy to Pierce is followed by the next show on the campus radio, which just happens to be "Dr. Farts" (complete with a squeaky raspberry).
- Mundane Solution: The Dean's secretary Rhonda points out that there's no need for a Phone-Trace Race as he could just check the extension.
- Mystery Episode: Involves an investigation into a local hoodlum called the Ass Crack Bandit, whose "crime" is inserting quarters into the butt cracks of Greendale students.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The pre-air date teaser clips retained the show's original score & coloring. The episode proper removes the score & adds an ominous green/blue tint to the visuals.
- Ominous Fog: Happens indoors — to a ridiculous degree — during the We Caught The Ass Crack Bandit Dance in the cafeteria.
- Overly Long Gag: The Dean spends about a minute and a half clicking his fingers at his secretary to try and get her to trace the call while he's on the phone to the Ass Crack Bandit. Having no idea what he's doing and no way of doing what he wants anyway, his secretary just stares back at him with a mixture of bewilderment and contempt.
- Phone-Trace Race: Parodied. The Dean tries to get his secretary to do this, but given that she's a community college administration worker and not a cop, she has no idea what he wants her to do and no way to do it anyway. He ends up just checking the Caller ID display against a list of extensions.The Dean: [As he runs his finger down the list] Tracing... Tracing...
- The Profiler: Duncan and Britta take this role throughout the story. True to form, they're not very good at it:Duncan: The nature of the Arse-Crack Bandit's crimes would suggest that he's angry. Or, just fell in love.
Britta: We know that he hates money or loves it or doesn't care about money and hates butts or loves them.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Garrett when he's a victim: "ASS!!! CRACK!!!!! BANDIT!!!!"
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Pierce's death is due to Chevy Chase being unable to set foot on the Community set again as part of the agreement regarding his departure in the prior season.
- Red Herring: Professor Duncan is set-up as the Ass Crack Bandit, only to be revealed as innocent when he becomes the next victim.
- Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Shirley's Sandwiches had one to celebrate its reopening.
- School Newspaper News Hound: An entire press conference full of them; Greendale apparently has a lot of school newspapers. Including a Spanish-language one.
- Serious Business: Judging by the way pretty much everyone except Jeff and Hickey react, the Ass Crack Bandit is apparently Greendale's answer to the Zodiac Killer. Subverted at the end; when news of Pierce's death arrives, Jeff lampshades just how trivial the Bandit truly is.Jeff: Life is weird. It's a container for all this little stuff, and you get caught up in it, and then... the container just... pfft.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The episode title basically means "The study of coins between butt-cheeks."
- Ship Tease:
- Jeff and Annie's relationship is thoroughly lampshaded by The Dean.
- Duncan clearly has a thing for Britta, although it's apparently one way.
- The Bennett boys singing Radiohead's "Creep" at the start of the episode. A similar version of the song was used for Fincher's The Social Network.
- Jeff's (and Duncan's, and the Ass Crack Bandit's) avowed Dave Matthews Band fandom.
- A Greendale poster next to Garrett's locker features a girl who looks a lot like Lisbeth Salander.
- Jeff and Annie's research scored to Bach's "Air on the G String" is a specific reference to Mills and Somerset in the library in Se7en.
- When the ass crack bandit is under the bleachers, we see their perspective from night vision goggles, just like the climax to Silence of the Lambs
- Something Only They Would Say: Played straight and inverted in the same scene: Star-Burns asking Jeff about a Dave Matthews Band song playing in the background is what tips Jeff off that he's not the real Bandit, as one of the few things known about the Ass Crack Bandit is that they're a hardcore Dave fan. At the same time, Professor Duncan gushing about the Dave Matthews Band is one of the contributing factors to Annie suspecting him instead.
- Special Edition Title: The opening credits run over a collection of annotated newspaper articles and research documents chronicling the Ass Crack Bandit's previous reign of terror. The grim effect is then humorously undercut when it's revealed that Annie has collected them together in a scrapbook which has a very girlishly-decorated cover complete with flowers.
- Squee!: Annie does it after Jeff agrees to help her; he promptly tells her that he won't help if she squeals, prompting Annie to start an awkward dance instead. Jeff finds this even more irritating and lets her go back to squealing instead.
- Stylistic Suck: Star-Burns' crowdfunding clip in The Tag.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Hickey's similarity to Pierce is lampshaded when Duncan, upon being re-introduced to the group and seeing Hickey sitting in Pierce's old spot at the study room table, mistakes him for Pierce... and congratulates him on bravely getting rid of his hairpiece. Hickey, naturally, is not amused.
- Take That!:
- Abed makes one to the current trend of moody serial killer shows, which now often heavily feature "mildly autistic super detectives". In the Montage Out, he's even seen deleting Hannibal and The Bridge (US) from his DVR.Abed: I see a man... using a social disorder as a procedural device. Waitwaitwait — I see another man. Mildly autistic super-detectives everywhere. Basic cable, broadcast networks... Pain. Painful writing. Hurts. [shrugs and walks out]
- Starburns' infomercial in The Tag is one to Kickstarter projects.
- Abed makes one to the current trend of moody serial killer shows, which now often heavily feature "mildly autistic super detectives". In the Montage Out, he's even seen deleting Hannibal and The Bridge (US) from his DVR.
- Throwing Off the Disability: After being wheelchair-bound due to the trauma of being cracked by the Ass Crack Bandit, Troy "miraculously" stands up to slap Star-Burns in the face.
- Unnaturally Blue Lighting: In keeping with the general parody of serial killer / forensic shows and movies.
- The Unreveal: We never do find out who the Ass Crack Bandit actually is.
- Villain Teleportation: The Ass Crack Bandit appears to possess this.
- Vomiting Cop: In a blink-and-miss scene a police officer chokes when seeing a coin left at the crime scene.
- War for Fun and Profit: Leonard and Shirley are shown to be shamelessly profiteering from the panic caused by the bandit. The ending montage suggests that the Bandit might have just been a scheme concocted so she could overcharge people for her sandwiches.
- Wham Episode: A vile prankster causes havoc on Greendale, Professor Duncan and Star-Burns make their return to the series, and Pierce dies.
- Wham Line: "Pierce is dead."
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Only Jeff and Hickey seem to realize that the Ass Crack Bandit isn't that big a deal.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: In keeping with the parody of Zodiac, the episode ends with a black title card solemnly informing the audience that:To date, no more crackings have been reported.
Alex "Starburns" Osbourne later recanted his confession.
Greendale's official position was that Osbourne was the Bandit.
No investigation is currently open.
- You Just Told Me: A humorous variation, involving the Dean's plan to use Chang as a decoy:Hickey: I think this is spending way too much money on a crime that nets us 25 cents a pop.
Dean Pelton: Oh, no, this was all free.
Hickey: Then I think you just admitted you already owned a fake butt.
- You Make Me Sic: The rambling missives left by the Ass Crack Bandit are parodies of both Jack the Ripper's idiosyncratic grammar and the unpunctuated notes left by the Zodiac killer, causing Shirley to remark:Shirley: He should be called the run-on sentence bandit.