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Recap / Community S 5 E 12 Basic Story

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After an insurance assessor determines that the committee's efforts have actually turned Greendale into a property asset, the board decides they have more lucrative use for the land than a college. Abed, Annie, and the Dean begin a quest to save the school, while Britta and Jeff contemplate their lives after Greendale.

The Community episode Basic Story provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: The Subway executive isn't exactly a bad guy, per se — in fact he's quite friendly — but he's still turning the school into a Subway University.
  • Book-Ends: Jeff and Britta somewhat bizarrely try to invoke this; they decide that since everything started with Jeff trying to sleep with Britta, they should get married now that they're leaving Greendale. This is played less for Ship Tease and more to demonstrate how they have absolutely no idea what to do without the school.
  • Call-Back:
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    • To "Documentary Filmmaking Redux"
      • The Dean strips in the middle of a breakdown.
    • To "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"
      • Subway using Greendale to force their products on the campus.
      • Jeff and Britta decide to get married in a moment of personal crisis, despite their lack of inclination towards the idea normally.
    • To "Digital Exploration of Interior Design"
      • The Subway executive who ordered the first Subway be replaced due to violating his contract after partaking in a deviant sex act with Britta is in charge of the project.
    • To "The First Chang Dynasty"
      • The Greendale School Board once again show a complete lack of common sense when it comes to running the school.
  • Call to Adventure: Lampshaded by Abed along with Refusal of the Call.
  • The Cameo: Jared Fogel appears briefly, signing a napkin for a student.
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  • Captain Obvious: Mohammad goes through the trouble of explaining several commonplace words like "party" and "size".
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Chang's penchant to betray the group is lampshaded after he betrays them again, when it's revealed that his betraying them is part of the Save Greendale Committee's to-do list.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: Abed suggests finding buried treasure to save Greendale, but quickly dismisses it. And then it turns out there really is buried treasure.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • After hearing Abed, Annie and the Dean gleefully screaming about how there's buried treasure somewhere on campus, Chang makes down a note... that they're having a secret meeting. If you look at what he's actually written down, you can see he actually wrote "tomato" (he was hiding behind a giant cutout of one)
    • Annie makes a snide comment about Subway not waiting for the campus to be dead "before sticking it in a six-inch white bun". The Subway executive objects... because they don't call their sandwich bread 'buns' and don't use white bread.
    • The Dean notes that despite his predecessor's many qualities, most people remember him for allegedly trying to have sex with a computer, before decrying that people aren't going to remember him in such a colorful way as he wasn't eccentric. In a twofer, the Dean is oblivious to the fact that being remembered in such a manner isn't a good thing and that his numerous eccentricities mean that he will more than likely be remembered in a similar manner; to underscore the joke, at the time he's holding up a stuffed Dalmatian toy (representing his eccentric sexual preferences) and part of one of his over-elaborate costumes.
    • Mohammad mentions that 6 people die every year crushed by a vending machine, 5 of which are insurance assessors trying to determine whether they can fall over and crush someone.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Greendale's new mascot dresses like the Subway from "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts".
    • Britta is seen listening to her recently obtained iPod Nano when Jeff approaches her near the end.
  • Discontinuity Nod: The Dean's wedding ring from the Pilot is discovered behind a filing cabinet; it was actually his mother's and he just liked wearing it, but lost it on his first week at the school.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Downplayed; the Subway executive isn't exactly evil but he's definitely an antagonist, and Annie doesn't appreciate him pedantically and humourlessly correcting her snide comment about Subway any the more for it:
    Annie: What's the matter, guys? Can't wait till Greendale's corpse is cold before you put it on a six-inch white bun?
    Subway executive: Young lady, that's not fair; Subway doesn't call its bread 'buns', and we don't serve white. We serve Italian, honeyoat, nine-grain wheat —
    Annie: [Acidly] Great, thanks for making my joke accurate, now it's hilarious.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The School Board decide to sell Greendale because it doesn't make them any money and actually takes away from the education budget. Jeff immediately points out that it's because Greendale is a community college that doesn't require scholarships, something they don't seem to realize until it's pointed out.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Shirley telling Jeff that he has a lot of feelings, and that that's his greatest strength.
    • The story is in the Teachers Lounge.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • As Chang eavesdrops on the group planning a secret meeting and laughs evilly about taking them down, you can see his notepad that he just scribbled on says "Tomato".
    • The whiteboard in the study room has a message stating that this is the last chance for a caption joke and provides a space to write in a caption.
  • Fridge Logic: In-universe: upon learning that Subway doesn't refer to the units of bread used to make its sandwiches as 'buns':
    Abed: Wait. You don't call your bread 'buns', what do you call them?
    Subway executive: Bread.
    Abed: Well, bread is a substance. What do you call the units of bread you use? 'Breads'?
    [Puzzled silence from the Subway executive and Those Two Guys from the school board]
  • Gone Horribly Right: The Save Greendale Committee did such a good job that Greendale is a prime piece of property and gets sold to Subway.
  • Heroic BSoD: Abed has one when he realizes that there could be no story.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Those Two Guys from the school board do a really bad job concealing their contempt for Greendale from the Subway executive.
    Subway executive: Greendale's gonna make a great Subway Sandwich University; research shows most of your graduates end up working for our restaurants anyway.
    Richie: That's by design. We're very proud of our school.
    Carl: Proud of Subway's school. This campus is yours now. If you want to dynamite it, all we ask is that you let us light the fuse.
    Richie: Yeah, we hate this place.
    Subway executive: You just said you were proud of it.
    Richie: ...Proud of its potential.
    Carl: Love its potential.
    • The Dean believes that unlike the first Dean of Greendale (who allegedly had sex with a computer), no one will remember him except as a "bald man with glasses". As he says this, he holds up a stuffed Dalmatian toy and part of one of his over-elaborate costumes, which represent the two things he will more likely be remembered for.
  • Jerkass:
    • The response of Star-Burns and the woman standing with him to the news that Greendale is being sold and everyone's misery about that fact is to turn the Dave Matthews song back on and cheerfully start dancing. Hickey does not appreciate this:
    Hickey: If I come over there, there's gonna be two sounds: me hitting you twice.
    [Star-Burns sheepishly turns the music off]
    • Those Two Guys from the school board, who act like obnoxious dicks with their joyful gloating about selling the school.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Chang, who had apparently become friends with the group, betrays them when he realizes that they are losing.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Done pretty heavily by Abed early in the episode, who was seemingly trying to evade/misdirect the cameraman, nearly outright states that he's in a TV show, and almost looks directly into the camera, among a couple other things. May have also been Noticing the Fourth Wall and Visible Fourth Wall.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted. While talking Duncan and Hickey discover that in his youth Hickey spent a lot of time in the English town where Duncan is from. In fact Hickey lost his virginity to a woman there around the time Duncan would have been conceived. The two men start to have an uncomfortable moment until Hickey mentions that the woman only had one thumb. A relieved Duncan tells him that his mother has both her thumbs. However, he does have an aunt with one thumb and his cousin is very much like Hickey...
  • Moment Killer: Jeff and Britta are about to have sex on the study room table when Annie, Abed and the Dean barge in to announce that they can save Greendale by finding a lost treasure.
  • Musical Nod: When Abed is fleeing the 'story', the chase music that plays as he runs down the corridor is the song that plays during the chase in "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design".
  • Noodle Incident: "So according to the demonologist, the gymnasium is clean."
  • No OSHA Compliance: Averted because the Save Greendale Committee has managed to fix all the death trap problems the college had. The gas leak is fixed and the fire exits all actually lead outside now. They even secured the vending machines so one does not fall over and crush someone.
  • Odd Friendship: Duncan and Hickey discover they have a lot in common as they get drunk on scotch in the last scene.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Russell Borchert, Greendale's first Dean was supposedly a computer genius and the best Dean the school ever had, but most people remember him for allegedly trying to have sex with a computer.
    • In a very subtle (but most likely very intentional) meta joke, Borchert's "love story" with the computer is extremely close to a famous old joke that was the original Trope Namer: But You Screw One Goat!.
  • Out of Focus: Shirley doesn't appear in the remainder of the episode after the School Board decide to sell Greendale.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Britta and Jeff decide to get married, since everything started with Jeff starting the Study Group in an attempt to sleep with Britta and it therefore makes sense for everything to end with them getting married.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Abed wears a Dead Alewives shirt, which is Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab's old comedy troupe.
    • The insurance investigator quotes Dante.
  • Take That, Us: Troy and Britta as a couple is mentioned as the least interesting thing that ever happened at Greendale.
  • Treasure Map
  • Unfortunate Name: Ronald Mohammad acknowledges that he gets a lot of jokes about his name. Note that we're not actually told what any of them are, just that they occur.
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