Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Community S 5 E 08 App Development And Condiments

Go To
Five MeowMeow Beenz

Dean Pelton invites two designers to Greendale to beta test their new social networking application, "MeowMeow Beenz". What starts as a fun social interaction of ranking classmates turns into an all-out class war as Greendale students compete for the highest score. Jeff and Shirley battle for supremacy, while Britta rails against the very concept.

The Community episode App Development And Condiments provides examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: The tunics worn by male Fours.
  • Actor IS The Title Character: The narrator in the tag notes that Mitch Hurwitz IS "Koogler".
  • Aerith and Bob: The bros with whom Jeff briefly curries favor:
    Bros: (laughter)
    Jeff: Alright... (high-fiving them each in turn) Track, Mulch, Dave, Herpee, Clutch, Dirtmouth, Rope, Tinkles, Catwoman, Steve... Keep it floppy. Haul it, ball it, never call it. Girls are objects!
    Bros: YEAH!!
    • "MeowMeow Beenz" was created by 2 guys named David and Bixil.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of futuristic Science Fiction movies like Things to Come and those set in a Dystopia made in the 1970s like Logan's Run, The Apple and Zardoz.
    • There's also some spoofing of The Hunger Games going on, especially with the Fives' fashions, and the talent contest the Fives stage to give the Twos and Threes hope and help them "believe in the system."
    • Advertisement:
    • The trailer for "Koogler" in The Tag is a spoof of raunchy 80s college comedies.
  • Anything but That!: Jordan Blum, the Three who juggled devil sticks at the talent show fails to impress Shirley and is voted down to a 1 which means banishment:
    Jordan: "No! not the Outlands! Please!"
    • Before being taken away one of the guards tries to make a speech about how "The Fives have spoken" but fumbles the words which causes him to also be downvoted to a 1 and banished as well:
    "What?! No please! I'm just not good at public speaking!"
  • Bald of Evil: The Fives' security guards (which include Leonard) are all bald.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shirley, who gets rated a Five by acting nice to people but then uses the status it brings her to manipulate, bully and punish people who displease her. Noted by Jeff:
    Annie: Shirley's a five.
    Jeff: [Suspicious] How?
    Annie: She's nice to people, Jeff. You know Shirley.
    [After Shirley manipulates everyone into reducing Vicki to a 'One']
    Jeff: Yeah. I do know Shirley.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Shirley claiming that she loves her Four rating from Vicki. In a very loud voice. Twice.
    • Advertisement:
    • Hicks claiming it was his birthday, eight days straight.
  • Bread and Circuses: The Fives hold a talent show for the Twos and Threes to "help them believe in the system".
  • The Cameo: Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz as "Koogler".
  • Camp Gay: The Four who thought that Jeff and Britta were in love.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: The Dean's announcements over the intercom gradually become creepy fascistic propaganda slogans.
    The Dean: Tranquility is Advancement. A Happy Three is a Future Four.
  • The Cast Showoff: Joel McHale (Jeff) is a successful stand-up comedian outside of his acting career.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Jeff and Annie note early in the episode that they inexplicably take Britta more seriously when she's got mustard on her lip. Later, Britta takes advantage of this to get people to do whatever she says by having mustard on her lip at all times.
  • Comically Missing the Point
    Abed: I don't want to be a 5. I was happy as a 3. I'm miserable.
    Shirley: Ahhh, Abed. You're so humble.
    (Everyone gives him 5 Meow Meow Beenz)
    Abed: ....You people are monsters.
    • Also when Shirley tries to manipulate Chang into thinking Jeff's promotion was a mistake and fails.
    Shirley: I'm glad you don't think making Jeff a Five was a mistake like everybody else. I believe in taking risks.
    Chang: Yeah, Jeff's really cool.
  • Commie Land: Britta's short-lived regime at the end. She's even made up to resemble Che Guevara.
  • Control Freak: Shirley and Jeff's conflict is essentially driven by the fact that they're both this.
    • Britta briefly becomes one when she seizes power as the "Mother of Ones".
  • Crapsaccharine World: Attempted, by the Fives, who want to give the lower numbers some entertainment and belief in the system, to prevent potential rebellions. It ultimately fails, however, when Britta inspires a "Review-lution" among them, replacing the Oligarchy of the Fives with a dictatorial autocratic regime, led by her.
  • Crapsack World: Greendale becomes this after just eight days of the "MeowMeow Beenz" app beta test.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The "Fives" all wear white robes and decorated the study room with crystals.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Shirley manipulates everyone to reduce Vicki to a One just because she gave Shirley a Four.
  • Drunk with Power: Shirley starts to become this only a few days into the app beta test, using her five rating to get others to low rate people she's displeased with like Vicki. Becomes full blown by day 8 with her and the Fives running the campus. Britta becomes this after she leads the revolution against the Fives.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Mostly everybody realizes that Britta actually has a point about the Meow Meow Beenz system and follow her lead. But only when she has mustard on her face.
  • The Exile: People rated with just one "MeowMeow Been" are banished to the "Outlands": outside the buildings on campus which has been strewn with trash and barb wire. Jeff and Shirley wind up there too.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Simultaneously inverted and played straight. It takes only eight days for the "MeowMeow Beenz" App to completely devolve Greendale into a pseudo-futuristic, dystopian wasteland, but students and faculty have a habit of taking trivial things and blowing them up to Serious Business proportions. A couple of games of Paintball Assassin and one game of "The Floor Is Lava" have transformed Greendale into chaotic landscapes before, but within just a few hours.
    • Played straight at the end, where Britta somehow manages to completely transform the school from the previous 1970s futuristic dystopia into a communist dictatorship with herself at the head in a matter of minutes:
      Jeff: Oh, Great Mother of Ones, Mustard-Faced Savior, there is still a Five hiding among us that has not been cleansed.
      Britta: [Scoffing] Impossible. All Fives were reduced to Ones in the Great Purge of About Two Minutes Ago.
  • Fan Disservice: Let's face it, nobody needed to see Star-Burns dressed as Sean Connery in Zardoz.
  • Feedback Rule: When Jeff grabs the mic to do his stand-up routine, there's a noticeable feedback .
  • Foreshadowing: Day 1 demonstrated that the Fives had more power since their vote meant more. Day 2 showed that the Threes wore specific colors and that the Fives had control over the AC.
    • Britta warned Jeff early on that he should know the real reason why he wanted to take down the system or he would fail before he started. Sure enough, his main goal wasn't to showcase the sham of the system but to take Shirley down and put himself at the top. This ended up with him and Shirley being demoted to 1's, but the system was left intact.
  • Frat Bro:
    • Koogler, played by Mitch Hurwitz.
    • The students Jeff hangs out with to get a higher rating.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Once she's led the "reviewlution", Britta turns out to be just as dictatorial as Shirley was, only where Shirley enforced a strict caste system that placed her and a select elite at the top, Britta enforces a supposedly egalitarian communist-style system which still works to make her more equal than the others. She becomes quite distraught when she loses her seat of power.
  • Funny Background Event: The Britta posters show her with mustard on her face.
  • Future Music: By day 8 of the "Meow Meow Beenz" beta test there are Logan's Run type futuristic sounds heard on the soundtrack. After Jeff becomes one of the Fives, they do a "future dance" to Source Music played by a band playing futuristic music on futuristic instruments.
  • Future Slang: Jeff is referred to as "New Beenz" since he was recently upgraded to a Four.
  • Future Spandex: Male "Fours" wear spandex pants.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A society in which one's Social Media rating determines everything, from social standing, to access to goods and services. Ridiculous, right?
  • Hitler Ate Sugar: Britta tries a Hitler analogy on Annie but fails.
    Britta: You know who else it made sense to?
    Annie: Say Hitler one more time and I am giving you a 2.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Shirley's ploy of using her influence as Five to pick & choose who gets to join her clique of Fives backfires when another Five (Koogler, to be exact) raises Jeff's rating to a Five before she could make her dramatised, Roman Emperor-esque decision, leading to everyone else following his lead.
    • Shirley's attempt to turn the other Fives against Jeff backfires when he points out that he can hear exactly what she's doing, which leads to an argument between the two that leads the other Fives using Shirley's own methodology to remove her status as a Five.
    • Britta, after finally getting into a position of power & influence by leading a revolt against the MeowMeow Beenz app & the Fives by reducing everyone's rating to One, swiftly loses her influence when Jeff points out that there's still one Five left — the app itself. Everyone promptly deletes the app, and Britta loses her influence since her rebellion no longer has a reason to exist, having reached its natural conclusion.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Implied of Koogler, given his Suspiciously Specific Denial that he's "not that old!"
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Abed is thrilled by the app and about being a 3 since he can now make small talk. When he joins the elite 5, he's actually miserable. When he's downgraded to a 1, he's ecstatic over being "like everyone else."
  • Incredibly Lame Pun
    Britta: Long live the review-lution!
  • Inter-Class Romance: Jeff (dressed as a "Four") and Britta (dressed as a "Two") are mistaken for this when caught alone in a room by a "Four". He laments:
    "Y'know, I once loved a Two. Matthew. He was my everything, but numbers change. I'll keep your secret, new Beenz."
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Both Jeff and Shirley, in their argument over whether Jeff should have invited Shirley to dinner; Jeff makes the point that he already knew Shirley wouldn't be able to attend anyway because of a regular commitment she had at that time so there was no point in asking her, and Shirley makes the point that it's still nice to be asked.
  • Just Ignore It: Jeff points out that the MeowMeow Beenz app was controlling all the students, and that the only way to defeat was to delete it and never use it again.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The other Fives downvote Jeff and Shlrley to Ones after their fight, seeing them banished to the Outlands. Moments later, Britta leads the "reviewlution" against them, which results in them being downgraded as well.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: The Monday after the whole rating system debacle is over Dean announces on the P.A. system:
    "Attention Greendale. I'd like to propose we forget everything that happened over the last few days, and I don't anticipate a lot of pushback on that. I think we're all pretty embarrassed."
  • Losing Horns: A meowing form of this is heard when someone is given a rating of 1.
  • Manchild: Koogler's clearly at least in his fifth decade (Mitchell Hurwitz was 50 when the episode was filmed), but acts like he's a hard-partying Frat Bro in his teens/early twenties.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Jeff calls Shirley out on her tendency to guilt and manipulate people for her own ends twice — first at the beginning, when she guilts everyone over not being invited to dinner by Jeff (who didn't invite her because he knew she was otherwise engaged), and second in their argument after Jeff is made a Five.
    Jeff: When Shirley is available for dinner, we will have another dinner. Because it's just dinner. And there's no need to manipulate each other. And you know that's what you do. And you know that's what you're doing right now with that face.
    Shirley: You don't like my face?
    [Everyone turns on Jeff]
  • The Mole: Star-Burns serves the Fives, but also passes information about them to Britta to aid in the revolution.
  • Not So Different: After spending most of the episode competing against each other, Jeff and Shirley end up acknowledging that they're both insecure Control Freaks who manipulate the people around them in order to feel liked.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Chang starts limping because his foot's fallen asleep, but he keeps it up because he gets more MeowMeowBeenz that way. In the Five Hive he walks on crutches.
  • Only Sane Man: Ultimately subverted, as whilst Jeff & Britta fulfill this role, they ultimately wind up no better than anyone else.
    • Jeff is the last one in the school to register for the app, recognizing it as an easily manipulated system based on popularity. However, he winds up manipulating the system himself just so he could be popular again, and falls back into this role after Britta's reviewlution makes everyone equals.
    • Britta, whilst the rest of the school simply begins taking the logic of the app's ranking as a system of social tiers, notices everyone else losing their self-identity and leads a rebellion against the new order. However, she winds up being no better than Shirley as she assumes a position of leadership in the school because of her popularity.
    • Hickey, who realizes immediately the implications the app would have on the school, and decides to play the system quietly to his advantage for the rest of the episode instead of try to fight it.
  • Passive Aggressive Combat: Shirley's method for becoming the queen of MeowMeowBeenz
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: The Tag features a trailer for "Koogler" an '80s comedy set in Greendale about the antics of party animal Koogler.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Even though it's his first appearance, everybody seems to have already known Koogler.
    Koogler: I know what you guys think of me, OK? Hey, it's Koogler! He's cool! He likes to get laid! He's not that old!
  • Running Gag: In-universe example. Every instance we see of Jeff's comedy routine is of him joking about how much 2's love apples.
  • Serious Business: Someone decided it would be a good idea to trial a social app that allowed people to rank and rate other people around them there. Of course Greendale was going to turn into 1970s science fiction dystopia as a result. What else would you expect?
  • Shouldn't We Be in School Right Now?: Inverted. After Jeff deletes the app, he points out that it's Saturday and there was no reason for anyone to be in school.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The outfits worn by the "Fours" and the security guards are from Logan's Run.
    • Star-Burns is wearing the same Stripperific outfit Sean Connery wore in Zardoz
    • The "fancy future dance" the 5s are doing is from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as are the glowing balls they're wearing on top of their hands.
    • The caste system that MeowMeow Beenz turns the school into is pretty much straight out of Brave New World.
    • The room number of Jeff's office (D-503) is most likely a reference to the protagonist of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We.
  • Sigil Spam: The "MeowMeow Beenz" logo appears everywhere on campus by the eighth day of the test, painted on the walls, floors and lockers.
  • Slobs Vs Snobs: The ones and twos are the slobs, the fives the snobs. Unusually, this episode also features a middle group who are (mostly) content to remain so.
  • Status Quo Is God: At the end, Jeff points out both that the app's beta-period ended several days ago and it's now live on the App Store and that they're all in school on a Saturday for no reason, thus rendering Britta's "reviewlution" completely pointless.
  • Stealth Insult:
    Garrett: Can I get a picture? I want my future kids to know this happened!
    Jeff: I admire your optimism Garrett.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The middle-aged party animal Koogler states that everyone thinks he's cool and "not that old."
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: The reason people with a rating of two or three wear only neutral grey. As Abed explains: "Looking like you want to move up can get you moved down."
  • Third-Person Person: Koogler mentions his own name in every other sentence he says.
    "Oh the Koog approves, that's a 5!"
  • Time Skip: The episode moves from "Day 2" of the beta test, when everybody was still using "Meow Meow Beanz" as just a social networking app to "Day 8" when it's turned Greendale into a caste-system Dystopia.
  • This Means War Paint: After being annoyed that the only way anyone would be open to her opinion was if she had a little mustard on her face, Britta decides to smear a lot of mustard on her cheek and makes a Rousing Speech to get the Twos and Threes to revolt against the Fives.
  • Urban Segregation: Greendale becomes this within days of the "MeowMeow Beenz" app beta test with the people with a "five" rating living in privilege behind a gate, with twos and threes confined to their own areas.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Britta gets pretty upset when the Meow Meow Beenz app is uninstalled and her regime becomes obsolete. She tries to get everyone to stay and puts more mustard on her face, but everyone ignores her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Shirley and the other members of the Save Greendale committee use this on Jeff when they learn he didn't invite Shirley to dinner and refuses to change it to another time.
    • Jeff, in turn, uses this on Shirley over her tendency to guilt and manipulate people to get what she wants.
  • White Dude, Black Dude: Jeff's stand-up routine is mostly comparing the way Twos, Threes, and Fours act.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Abed says MeowMeow Beenz helps him see relationships in a clear new way and is elated to have social interactions with the 3s. However, he is roped into being a 5, and he's miserable. When he expresses displeasure at being a 5, the rest of the 5s just continue to upvote him for his honesty.
  • Yes Woman: Annie becomes Shirley's by Day 2 of the beta test, even imitating her "Mm-hmm!" to Jeff.
  • You Monster!: Abed calls the "Fives" monsters after he complains that he was happier as a "Three" and they continue to give him high ratings.