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Recap / Community S 5 E 06 Analysis Of Cork Based Networking

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As Annie prepares the cafeteria for the midterm dance, she and Professor Hickey must deal with the head custodian, the head of I.T. and the head of parking.

Meanwhile, Britta and Abed get into a war of spoilers for a medieval fantasy series based off a series of books.

The Community episode "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" provides examples of:

  • Adorkable:
    • Rachel admits that there isn't actually a coat check, but made one anyway.
    • Abed and Rachel's date consists of watching Rick and Morty and eating popcorn in his apartment.
    • Abed and the Deaf Girl discussing Star Wars in sign language, comparing what the Ewoks sound like to how the subtitles describe it.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Once again, Annie's ambitions (this time to lead the drive to improve Greendale and actually accomplish something) begin to lead her down a dark path; she gets a little too comfortable in the system of venal back-scratching that constitutes Greendale inter-departmental negotiations, becomes increasingly ruthless, and eventually sells out control of all the school's bulletin boards to the parking bureau just to get one board replaced, with the end result that her accomplishment is eventually rendered hollow. Hickey calls her out on it.
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  • An Aesop: Britta tries to frame paying the deaf girl to spoiler Bloodlines of Conquest for Abed as this when she realises he's incredibly upset by it:
    Britta: You learned a lesson and I gave a differently-abled person a job!
  • Badass Boast: Subverted; in her "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Hickey, Annie arrogantly claims that unlike him, "Annie Edison doesn't get nothing done!" Unfortunately for her, immediately afterwards Hickey points out that by selling out control of the bulletin boards to the parking bureau, she actually has achieved practically nothing; the bulletin board might be put up but because the students can't freely use them all the bulletin boards are now practically worthless, and all Annie's actually done is make the system just a bit more corrupt.
  • Bears Are Bad News: After Chang guilts Shirley, Duncan and Jeff into going with "Bear Down For Midterms" as the theme for the dance, it turns out that bear got loose at a birthday party in Wisconsin and mauled a bunch of people.
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  • Berserk Button: Janitors are not the same as Custodial Staff, and don't you forget it.
  • Blatant Lies: That "Fat Dog" is a totally real expression and not made up in the slightest.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The deaf girl Abed develops a friendship with over the course of the episode spoils the end of the most recent Bloodlines of Conquest book before Abed has seen it adapted to the HBO series after being paid to by Britta.
  • Brick Joke:
    • After spending season 2 trying to get into the Study Group, Chang is finally accepted into the group... Over two full seasons after it was last mentioned.
    • Hickey refers to Labyrinth as being full of puppets and bisexual rock stars. Later, the Dean refers to the movie as being full of puppets and macho rock stars.
  • Call-Back:
    • The bulletin board that Annie & Hickey spend the episode trying to put up can be seen falling from the wall as the rioting students enter the cafeteria in "Introduction To Teaching".
    • Abed makes a reference to the "gas leak" again.
    • Rachel, the coat check girl from "Herstory of Dance" reappears.
    • Chang makes reference to his Sanity Slippage over seasons 3 and 4, and having paid for his crimes as of "Repilot".
    • The Janitorial Staff's hatred towards the Greendale Custodial Department, insisting there's a difference between the two (there's not), is a nod towards their similar sentiments towards the Brotherhood of Air Conditioner Repairmen.
  • The Cameo: The various heads of Greendale's administrative departments, to the point where it's practically a Running Gag:
    • Nathan Fillion is the head custodian Bob Waite.
    • Kumail Nanjiani plays Lapari, one of Waite's colleagues.
    • Paget Brewster is Deborah Chambers, the head of the I.T. Department.
    • Robert Patrick is Waldron, the head of the parking bureau.
  • Captain Ersatz: Bloodlines of Conquest is, much like Game of Thrones, a medieval fantasy airing on HBO based on a series of books that nobody reads that are about "incest, betrayal, boobs, espionage, and dragons." Whilst it first appears to be new version of the Inspector Spacetime gag, when Britta starts trying spoil events in the series by reading ahead in the books, it becomes clear that the show's using a Captain Ersatz to avoid spoiling the actual Game of Thrones series.
  • Chain of Deals: Annie and Hickey's plotline. Subverted, in that they eventually give up on it and Take a Third Option.
  • Crocodile Tears: When Annie is skeptical about the "Fat Dog for Midterms" theme of the dance, Jeff and the others invoke these to guilt her into accepting it, repeating Chang's same tearful plea from earlier in the episode.
  • Dance Sensation: The "Fat Dog", which Chang totally did not just made up.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Britta's rather insane attempts to spoil the entire ending of Bloodlines of Conquest for Abed including paying off Deaf Girl.
  • Dramatic Drop: Neil drops the box of sodas when seeing the banner "Bear down for midterm".
  • Drunk with Power: Annie falls victim to this; she initially just wants to get the bulletin board installed so that the students can freely and easily communicate with each other, but finds herself enjoying the thrill of negotiating the Greendale corridors of power and the dealing authority that being on the "Save Greendale" committee gives her a bit too much, to the point where she blithely agrees to a deal that will see the bulletin board be put up, but under such censorious conditions that it becomes all but useless for its intended purpose. Hickey calls her out on this in their confrontation.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Chang gives such a spiel in order to push his Bear theme for the dance.
  • Everything Is Racist: Chang, and later Shirley, employ a version of this in response to others' bafflement at the decoration themes for the dance.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Apparently Bloodlines of Conquest has one and Britta tries to spoil it for Abed but he cannot hear her.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Greendale's stationery ordering service operates through one of these... and as Professor Duncan inadvertently discovers in the tag, it also appears to be linked to some kind of top secret military weapons project called "Marigold".
  • Forced Meme: To cover up the "Bear Down on Midterms" dance, the group replaces "Bear Down" with "Fat Dog", claiming that it's a real expression. Eventually, people start using it for real.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The news channel Hickey was watching had a message of "BREAKING NEWS: Levar Burton and non-celebrity companion captured by pirates in the Gulf of Mexico" for a brief second.
    • Abed and Rachel are watching Rick and Morty, also produced by Dan Harmon.
    • Hickey's notice-board contains hints towards his backstory — a rejection slip for his duck cartoons, a newspaper article about him being fired over a fist-fight with another officer he got into over the Black River Ripper Killings, a restraining order from his wife and late notices for child-support payments.
    • Tripled with Call-Back and Lampshade Hanging: One of the unfinished tasks on "task wall" reads "Check security footage from that night".
  • Girl of the Week: Abed's tendency to have these is lampshaded by Britta after he first meets the Deaf Girl. It's probably why she felt justified in sabotaging Abed's relationship with her, believing that Abed didn't care about her that much (like the previous girls)... It didn't quite work out that way. This is ultimately subverted in the end when he reunites with Rachel and apologizes for never calling her, before asking her to dinner.
    "Are you going to have another intense burst of compatibility with a girl we never see again?"
  • Hipster: Britta has only just started watching Bloodlines of Conquest from the beginning after the third season has aired.
    "I don't watch shows until they're so popular that watching them is no longer a statement."
  • Hypocrite:
    • Abed spoils the first season of Bloodlines of Conquest for Britta, immediately after she said she'd only just started watching. He then proceeds to wear sound blocking earphones so Britta can't spoil it for him in turn.
    • Despite having the Save Greendale Committee formed in the first place, the Dean immediately tries to undo the first thing they actually manage to accomplish by having the bulletin board taken down for bypassing the idiotic amount of red tape surrounding it.
    • Annie makes an impassioned speech to Hickey about the importance of bulletin boards to the school community and why it's more than just a piece of cork to them, citing "people who need rides" as one of the people who benefit from them. Later, she proves willing to throw carpoolers under the bus (metaphorically speaking) by making a deal with the head of the parking bureau to agree to the terms they need to get the bulletin board put up, in exchange for allowing him to decide what gets to be posted on them — which, in turn, will enable him to prevent people from using them to organise carpooling.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: And the Custodial Staff wants in.
  • Jaded Washout: Hickey regards the system of power surrounding Greendale with nothing but scornful contempt, and is clearly disappointed with Annie when she sells out to it. In return, Annie accuses him of becoming this trope, arguing that his cynicism towards the powers-that-be just lead him to do nothing but snark from the sidelines, to the school's ultimate detriment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hickey.
  • Lame Comeback: At their confrontation in the Dean's office, Annie's parting shot towards Hickey is a lot less devastating to him than his parting shot is to her.
    Hickey: You whored yourself out, kid. You wanted that board so bad, you made every board on campus worthless, and in doing so made the school just a shade dirtier. I thought better of you, young lady. [Gets up and leaves]
    Annie: Yeah, well... I didn't think anything in particular of you and now I see why.
  • Large Ham:
    • "IT'S A BEAR DANCE!!!"
    • Also Annie, upon being questioned precisely what she means when she says the custodians should have access to 'everything' on the Internet, bellows "EVERYTHING!!!" al la Gary Oldman in The Professional.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Abed states that he met Rachel during "the gas leak year," but won't hold that against her. This is referencing the fact that show runner Dan Harmon wasn't involved in creating Rachel's character in season 4, but is still willing to work her into future seasons.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-universe, people eventually start using "fat dog" as if it was a saying that had been around forever.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Apparently, that's Chang's idea for "blowing off steam".
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Britta realizes too late that she went too far in spoiling Bloodlines of Conquest by ruining Abed's relationship with the deaf girl.
    • Annie, after Hickey's "The Reason You Suck" Speech (below).
  • My Hover Craft Is Full Of Eels: Abed's first attempts at sign language. Britta gets in on the action at the end.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Ultimately, Britta wouldn't have sabotaged Abed's relationship with the Deaf Girl if he hadn't spoilt Bloodlines of Conquest immediately after Britta stated she'd only just started watching the series.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Annie makes initial progress with the janitors simply by being pleasant to them, calling them by name and demonstrating knowledge about their personal lives. It's just a shame that she doesn't know the difference between the janitors and the custodial staff.
    Janitor: [coldly] We were just beginning to like you.
  • No Ending: The episode cuts to black when Garrett reveals the deception after knocking one of the decorations.
  • No Name Given: The Deaf Girl befriended by Abed. IMDb lists her as Carol.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever Duncan accidentally activates in the tag.
    • Chang apparently suggested prior to the episode that the Committee murder someone, but we don't find out who or why.
  • Out of Focus: A rare episode where Jeff has little screentime for himself.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: During their confrontation in the Dean's office, Annie delivers one to Hickey accusing him of being a Jaded Washout who is determined to sink into apathy over being fired from the police department. Hickey fires one right back calling her a sell-out over making a dodgy deal with the parking bureau where they would control the bulletin boards and ban people from using them to organise car-pools.
  • Retconning the Wiki: Duncan and Shirley made a Wikipedia article on "Fat Dog" as part of the "Bear Down" cover-up. This was actually made, but later removed.
  • Serious Business:
    • Getting a replacement bulletin board put up in the cafeteria becomes a political jostling match between different school departments akin to something out of The West Wing. And Hickey just deciding to cut through the bullshit and put one up himself is treated with hushed, terrified awe from the onlookers as if it were a grand act of public rebellion (which it kind of is in context, but still).
    • Everybody treats the "Bear Down For Midterms" thing as invokedToo Soon. Turned Up to Eleven when Garrett lets out a petrified scream of:
  • Shout-Out:
    • Annie's over-the-top delivery of the word "Everything!" is a (very accurate) reference to Gary Oldman's memetically over-the-top delivery of a similar line in The Professional.
    • Both Prof. Hickey and Dean Pelton make a reference to Labyrinth.
    • The Dean remarks that things between Annie and Hickey are getting rather "Sorkin-y". Given how they deal with political wheeler-dealing between different departments, an ethical choice between idealism or a cynical compromise, and at one point end up Character Filibustering each other, their sub-plot could easily have come from an episode of The West Wing.
    • Bloodlines of Conquest is one to HBO's Game of Thrones, together with the infamous problem of book readers spoiling those who only watch the show.
  • Show Within a Show: Bloodlines of Conquest, which is referenced but never seen. It's an obvious stand-in for Game of Thrones, complete with being based off a series of books.
  • A Simple Plan: Annie gives Hickey the job of getting a replacement bulletin board put up in the cafeteria because it seems like the easiest job on her to-do list. It ends up being the most complicated task they have to do.
  • Skewed Priorities: Annie gets so fixated on getting one bulletin board put up that she's eventually willing to sell out the student's freedom to use all the bulletin boards to the parking bureau.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Annie and the head of the I.T. department pretty much need it spelt out for them that the custodial staff want pornography unblocked on their computers.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Fat Dog song/dance that Chang led at the end of the episode.
    "There's a brand new dance based on an old phrase
    It's called the Fat Dog and it will amaze
    You've heard this expression your entire life
    It's not made up, it's not made up"
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: When Annie wonders how Hickey knew the janitors' website was a porn site, she assumes it must have to do with his former police work which he runs with to avoid an awkward situation.
  • Take a Third Option: After spending an entire episode going through red tape, making shady deals and arguing with each other, Hickey decided to just take his own billboard and place it on the wall himself.
  • invokedToo Soon: Everyone's reaction to a bear themed dance after a bear mauling at a birthday party in Wisconsin has been all over the news.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Annie starts off as this.
    Hickey: [The custodial staff] want their porn unblocked; then they'll give you your board.
    Annie: That's what that was about?! How did you know? Did you investigate pornography when you were a cop?
    Hickey: ... Something like that.
    • Compared to the other, more cynical department heads, the head of the I.T department is also more innocent and apparently completely unaware of the system of backscratching that dominates Greendale interdepartmental relations ("I didn't realise it could work like that!")
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Everyone (bar Hickey, who has no interest) to Abed after he spoils the first season of Bloodlines of Conquest for Britta.
    • Neil to Jeff, Shirley, Duncan and Chang after he sees they've gone with "Bear Down for Mid-Terms" as the theme for the dance, when there was bear attack at a birthday party in Wisconsin and it's all over the news.
    • Jeff, Shirley and Duncan to Chang after Neil's What the Hell, Hero? to them over theme of the dance. Chang admits that he must've got the idea from the news story.
    • Hickey delivers this to Annie for getting sucked into the interlocking political feuds in Greendale and eventually selling out the student body just to get a notice board put up.
    • Abed and Britta get into a petty feud over spoiling an in-universe Game of Thrones expy. Abed avoids Britta's attempts to spoil it by blocking out all sounds, and in the process befriends a deaf girl, even learning sign language. However she spoils the series in sign language because she was paid by Britta to do so, and Britta rubs it in his face. Abed takes this hard because he actually liked her, and Britta realizes she's gone too far too late.
    • Rachel called Abed out on never calling her and he admitted that he could be inconsiderate. But she also admitted that she could have put more effort in as well.