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Recap / Community S 5 E 07 Bondage And Beta Male Sexuality

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Britta for the win
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Professor Duncan decides it’s time to seduce Britta, and Jeff counsels him on how to close the deal. Meanwhile, Britta runs into some old friends and realizes that they have moved on from their shared anarchist views of the past. Abed runs afoul of Professor Hickey when he accidentally damages some drawings Hickey has been laboring over. When Hickey restrains Abed as punishment, the two wind up spending some meaningful time together. Meanwhile, Chang finds himself performing an impromptu one-man show for a ghostly audience.


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The Community episode "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" provides examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Duncan, of all people, ultimately decides not to take advantage of Britta's emotional vulnerability to sleep with her, when he had spent the whole episode planning on doing so.
  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Hickey mispronounces Abed's name as "aBED".
  • Actor Allusion: This episode wasn't the first time we've seen Jonathan Banks restrain someone in an office.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Parodied. After leaving the fundraiser for Starving Children With Cleft Palates, which featured a play that harshly criticised the destructive effects of mega-corporations on society, Shirley and Annie cheerfully go to McDonald's.
  • All Part of the Show: The audience in the theater Chang accidentally walks into think his angry rant on the phone is part of a one-man show.
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  • Awesome Mc Coolname: The hero in Abed's script is named Police Justice.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Jeff and Duncan bond over drinks, and Duncan calls Jeff a good friend, after Britta points out that they don't usually act like friends despite knowing each other longer than anyone else at Greendale.
  • Berserk Button: Hickey seems to have one when others don't recognize his cartooning as a duck. He growls at Abed for asking if he's drawing chickens and previously did the same when Jeff mistook his sketches for a peanut.
  • Blatant Lies: Duncan claiming to be interested in helping Starving Children With Cleft Palates in order to impress Britta.
  • Call-Back: Mixed with Fridge Brilliance and Brick Joke, Chang's subplot is about a theater he stumbles into after using a convenient door to try to get some privacy for a phone conversation. The theater is supposedly full of ghosts that died in a fire, which failed to pass through the door into the rest of the building. That is, unless the janitor is the ghost, but he seems to be unable to pass through the door into the theater.
  • Candlelit Bath: Britta recommends one to Chang to get over his traumatic experience at the theater. It's implied that it's how she spent her own evening after Duncan dropped her off.
  • Chained Heat: After Abed ruins his drawings Hickey handcuffs Abed to a file cabinet to make him miss his movie.
  • Character Development:
    • Hickey and Abed realise they're Not So Different, and bond over their limitations as writers.
    • Duncan realizes he doesn't really have that many friends, and that despite having known Jeff for longer than any of the Study Group, they don't really act like friends — they subsequently wind up bonding over some scotch.
      Duncan: You're a good friend, and I don't say that often enough.
    • Britta comes to terms with the different paths she and her former cohorts from her anarchist days have gone down.
  • Completely Missing the Point: Abed mentions that Troy thought his script was a comedy when he read it.
  • Continuity Nod: The protagonist of Abed's screenplay about police justice is actually named Police Justice. He's admitted before that he's not good at coming up with names.
  • Creator Cameo: Dan Harmon as a member of the Old Timey Photograph Club.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Abed tells Professor Hickey this about his cartoons. He has great emotions, range, and experience, and he chooses to draw cartoons about ducks. If anything, Hickey should be putting genuine feelings into his art. When Abed asks for Hickey to become his creative partner, Hickey agrees.
  • Dead All Along: Chang can't figure out which are ghosts, the audience for his impromptu one man show or the janitor at the theater. This leads to him having a minor meltdown and questioning if he's the one who's a ghost, and the episode ends ominously on a shot of a faded black and white photograph of a group including Chang, only to reveal it was taken by the Old Timey Photograph Club earlier in the year.
  • Double Entendre: This episode isn't nearly as sexy as the title implies.
  • Every Episode Ending: In-Universe example. Every Jim the Duck strip ends with the titular duck looking at the reader, saying "What the hell?!"
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Britta's old friend Michael's name is pronounced "Mike-hale".
  • Hypocrite: Britta's tendencies towards hypocrisy regarding her activism is brought up once again — when she derides her friends for being sell-outs, they point out that not only do they have more to lose than she does now, but they are also still doing more tangible good for the causes they believe in than she is.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Duncan's exchange with Jeff after he returns to the theater after dropping off Britta:
    Duncan: Hey, handsome, this stool taken?
    Jeff: Struck out, huh?
    Duncan: If that makes you feel better. Or maybe, I just realised I was spending the whole night getting to third base with the wrong person. [Beat. Jeff looks confused] You're a good friend, and I don't say that often enough.
    Jeff: That's really nice... but you can’t have sex with me.
    Duncan: How about we have these drinks and then not have sex, with anyone, together.
    Jeff: Sounds good.
    • In the next scene, Jeff and Duncan walk into the study room and Jeff tells Duncan that he left his handkerchief at his place the night before. Annie responds with a surprised gasp, while Shirley gives them a disapproving look. Jeff has to clarify that it was just a 'boys' night'.
  • Jerkass: Britta's old friends from her anarchist days, after praising Britta over her strong beliefs, make snide comments about Britta's life after she points out they're unwilling to take a stand now that they have money.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Britta calls her friends out on selling out, their retorts are rather snide but they do nevertheless raise valid points. They own the theatre that is hosting the benefit, and are thus doing some tangible good to help the causes they believe in, whereas for all her fine talk and self-righteousness Britta's "activism" never really benefits anyone but herself. Furthermore, her proposed "real activist" activities basically amount to petty vandalism, which won't really help anyone in the long run. They also point out that Britta can engage in more confrontational and risky actions because, unlike them, she has no responsibilities and hasn't accomplished anything meaningful that she would suffer from losing, so would probably be a lot less eager to act out if she had done more with her life like they have.
    • Hickey, while brutally blunt about it, makes a point that Abed has thoughtlessly caused damage without realizing it or intending to (previously running up huge debts that his friends have to help him out of), which no one calls him out on because they are afraid of hurting his feelings.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In the previous episode, Britta ruined Abed's relationship with the Deaf Girl over something they both loved. Here, her friends tell her that her activism is just petty vandalism to make herself feel better, ruining their relationships.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
  • Loners Are Freaks/The Power of Friendship: When Abed wanders the halls of Greendale in his Kickpuncher costume, much like he would have done with Troy, he stops acting like the character as he realizes it's not fun without Troy.
  • Never My Fault: Abed points out he didn't mean to ruin Hickey's drawings, only for Hickey to point out that Abed intentionally fired his foam gun without any regard to what was in front of him.
  • Noodle Incident: "We've finally got all the bones out of the football field."
  • Not So Different: Abed and Hickey realize this is true of themselves when it comes to their writing - Abed understands tropes and cliches but isn't able to find the human element in his characters, while the opposite is true of Hickey.
  • Out of Focus: Annie and Shirley. Lampshaded at the end of the episode.
    Shirley: I almost feel left out.
    Annie: Well, we've had our share of focus lately.
    Shirley: (under her breath) Speak for yourself.
    • Humorously, the very next episode put a lot of focus on Shirley.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Abed delivers an unexpectedly insightful and devastating one to Hickey.
    Abed: You're a bad person and a bad cartoonist.
    Hickey: You go ahead, hurt my feelings.
    Abed: Oh! You have feelings, huh? Have you considered putting them into your work? Your cartoons are monuments to joylessness, nervously assembled jokes based on nothing from your life or anyone's life! You're furious at me for being creative because you want to be able to create. You have all this rage and shame and loneliness, which I don't even know how to feel much less understand, and you decide to put what on paper? A duck. Jim the Duck. You think I'm crazy. You think there's something wrong with me. Jim the Duck?
  • Replacement Goldfish: Abed tries to hang out with Buzz Hickey before the movie, wanting a substitute for Troy. It doesn't go well, but Abed asks for Professor Hickey to become his writing partner because he realizes the man has the experience, emotions and depth.
  • Sell-Out: Britta accuses her old anarchist friends of this, after feeling like one by attending their benefit. Interestingly, however, the accusation is also inverted; Britta is accused of only adhering to her old principals because, unlike her friends, she hasn't matured or accomplished anything worthwhile that would be put at risk should the system she constantly rails against actually end up being demolished.
  • Separated by a Common Language: When Duncan is driving Britta home, he decides to put on a British comedy radio show. As he's trying to explain the cultural background of the jokes, Britta simply responds with: "Are they speaking English?"
  • Ship Sinking: Jeff admits to Duncan that he's only attracted to Britta when everyone likes her.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Jeff is suddenly attracted to Britta after her old friends have made a big deal about Britta's anarchist days and led the room in applauding her. That being said, he seems happy when Duncan takes her home instead.
    • Duncan spends the entire episode trying to get Britta into bed. Towards the end of the episode, he decides to give her some advice when she's in the middle of an existential crisis about the different paths her former friends have taken to her, and they wind up bonding.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Tag: An amusingly awkward interaction between Duncan and Dean Pelton.
  • Take That!:
    • At Dane Cook.
    • Abed's complaints about the changes made to the Kickpuncher costume in the remake mirror similar complaints about the Robocop remake.
    • Duncan describes Britta as "everything I love about America: Bold. Opinionated. Just past her peak. Starting to realize she has to settle for less."
    • Hickey's comic strip that centers on a curmudgeonly duck airing various petty grievances about the modern world is suspiciously reminiscent of Bruce Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore.
  • Trauma Button: Played for Laughs in the tag. A miscommunication between Duncan and Dean Pelton leads to an increasingly awkward exchange between them. When the Dean tries to explain himself by saying that he 'just doesn't like being left behind', Duncan bursts into tears because it reminds him of his Disappeared Dad. The Dean freaks out, claims he experienced the same thing and they hug it out.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Everyone to Jeff when he tries to get out of going to the fundraiser, since he knows full well that it's just a ploy for Duncan to hit on Britta.
    • Duncan to Jeff when he decides to go hit on Britta, since the entire reason they're at the fundraiser is because Jeff suggested it to Duncan as something that could help him in his attempts to hit on Britta.
    • Hickey to Abed after he sprays foam over his desk, ruining his drawings in the first place.
    • Abed to Hickey because he won't let him have his own way, when Hickey has essentially grounded Abed for ruining his drawings.
    • Britta to her old friends after finding out they're unwilling to take a stand because they have money now.
    • Britta's friends to her when they point out that, unlike Britta, they actually have some responsibility and thus something to lose and her "activism" really doesn't help anyone other than herself.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Duncan is all prepared to comfort Britta by seducing her when the fundraising evening goes wrong. Then he realizes that she's actually upset and experiencing an existential crisis. Duncan drives her home, tells her it's okay, and he's happy to be a friend to her.
  • With Friends Like These...: Duncan ends up feeling guilty that his relationship with Jeff amounts to this, when Britta points out that they don't really act like friends. And she's right, since most of their onscreen interactions involve them sniping at or trying to manipulate each other.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Britta goes to her friends' fundraiser, and at first feels like a sellout because she hasn't done anything. Instead, they all make her the guest of honor as thanks for inspiring them. Then they give her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech during an argument about Britta wanting to vandalize a billboard that she doesn't have anything to lose and she doesn't want to actually accomplish anything. Unsurprisingly, Britta leaves in tears.

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