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Recap / Community S 5 E 13 Basic Sandwich

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As Subway begins to finalise their plans to purchase the Greendale campus for their own Subway University, the study group members contemplate the end of an era. Dean Pelton & the Save Greendale Committee search for the old computer lab, which was sealed off years ago by the school's first Dean, Russell Borchert.

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The Community episode Basic Sandwich provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Area: The college's underground section hasn't been used since the 1970s.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Tag is a trailer for a number of mid-season replacements for NBC, making fun of the network's tendency to greenlight a number of shows which only last a few episodes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Abed tells Annie how the only way they won't be back next year is if an asteroid wipes out all life on Earth, before giving an Aside Glance as he notes "And that's canon."
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  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Or Wednesday. When the Greendale board member attempts a Reason You Suck Speech, Craig retorts that they call all those terrible things Wednesday, and then they celebrate.
  • Call-Back:
    • Jeff's attempt to overload Raquel's emotional circuits sees him remember something Abed, Britta, Annie & the Dean have all said to him in previous episodes.
      • The Dean's memory is his line "You're here to save me, aren't you?" from "Repilot".
      • Britta's memory is her line "Let's... Get out of here and never look back" from "Basic Story".
      • Annie's memory is the "Milady."/"Milord." exchange from "Football, Feminism and You".
  • The Cameo:
    • B.J. Novak from The Office (US) appears in The Tag, as the star of "Mr. Egypt".
    • Questlove from The Roots appears in The Tag, as the host of "Celebrity Beat-Off".
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Early on it's mentioned that Borchert disappeared some day in the 1970s and they Never Found the Body or the money. Guess who the group encounters alive and kicking in Greendale sublevel 3.
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  • Circling Birdies: Duncan apparently sees them after being electrocuted. When Jeff and Britta announce they're getting married:
    Duncan: Married? Well you're going to need way more doves than this! (pointing at the air)
  • Comically Missing the Point: Abed mistakes Annie's emotions about Jeff and Britta for distress over the ergonomics of vintage furniture.
    Abed: Anything in there?
    Annie: [holding back tears] Just spider-webs and... [choking up] beanbag chairs...
    Abed: Oh, don't cry... the importance of lumbar support hadn't been established.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Hickey.
    • Upon the discovery of the trapdoor leading to the sealed-off computer department:
      Abed: Who's got rope?
      Hickey: I'm offended by that question. [Produces a bag with rope inside it]
    • Hickey also appears to have been thinking of a completely different escape plan, involving hang gliders, just on the off-chance that Richie actually was telepathically reading his mind.
    • Star-Burns has apparently just been hanging around the Greendale cafeteria with his boom-box just in case anyone needed him to continue playing "Ants Marching" by the Dave Matthews Band.
  • Dance Party Ending: The season ends with everyone happily dancing to the Dave Matthews Band, having saved Greendale from being taken over by Subway.
  • Double Entendre: "Celebrity Beat-Off".
  • Dramatic Unmask: Chang attempts to do this to show why he betrayed the group again before realizing he's not wearing a mask and that he may be just mentally ill.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: The millions Borchert gifted to Greendale would have changed things quite a bit, but since Status Quo Is God, the money gets confiscated and wasted by Chang on diamond teeth.
  • Easily Forgiven: In the end, Chang is back in the group, despite his previous betrayal.
  • Einstein Hair: Borchert has it.
  • Freud Was Right: invoked Played for Laughs. Duncan takes one look at the Greendale blueprints and claims they look like a penis. They don't.
    Hickey: What the hell does your penis look like?
    Duncan: Apparently it looks like a bunch of buildings, so let's all just laugh at the freak.
  • Given Name Reveal: Played with; it's technically not the first time that the names of Those Two Guys from the school board have been revealed, but the fact that they're usually just referred to as Those Two Guys from the school board despite this is lampshaded:
    Carl: This is Richie and Carl from the school board. That's right; we got names.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Duncan. His food's gonna taste like burnt aluminum for a while though.
  • Held Gaze: Between Jeff and Annie during Annie's Winger Speech.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: Borchert feared that the march of technology would turn humans into emotionless machines. He's relieved to learn that these days, a major use of technology is to enable people to squee over kittens.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Duncan's insistent Britishness continues after he gets a shock.
    Hickey: He'll be fine, but his food is gonna taste like aluminum for a couple of weeks.
    Duncan: It's pronounced "aluminium".
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Annie is clearly angry at Jeff's decision to marry Britta, but is willing to support him anyway.
  • Karma Houdini: Chang gets away with betraying the study group and even takes the million dollars for himself.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Carl's "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how Greendale's still on the chopping block of anyone who has a say in the future of the school could easily be read as an NBC Executive talking about the show.
    • Abed notes that he's not really had time to wish Annie a happy birthday, or in fact celebrate any event tied to a specific date on the calendar this year, in reference to the season being filmed before NBC knew when they would be airing the show.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Abed suggests this when the group discovers the old campus wing in order to not "leave no Seventies reference unturned".
  • Loophole Abuse: While Jeff cannot find a legal reason to stop the sale, he finds a clause that requires that Borchert be given a consulting position at any educational institution operating on the Greendale campus. The Subway people decide to cancel the deal rather than having to deal with Borchert on an everyday basis.
  • Magical Native American: Richie believes this of the elderly Native American gentleman who watches everyone dance at the end.
    Richie: Would you be offended if I asked you to train me in the use of some specific powers?
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Richie may or may not possess telepathic powers.
  • No Product Safety Standards: The Dean inadvertently chokes on a fun toy from the 1970s.
  • Overly Long Gag: The "don't shhhh me" joke runs for quite a bit.
  • Perp Sweating: Hickey and Shirley are grilled by the two agents.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech/Shut Up, Hannibal!: After everyone rejoices that Greendale has been 'saved', Carl snaps:
    Annie: Did we just save Greendale?
    Carl: NO! No you did not! You moved dirt around Greendale's grave! Your school is still bankrupt, it is still unmarketable, and it is still on the permanent chopping block of anyone who has any say in its future!!!
    The Dean: [confidently] Well around here, we call that 'Wednesday'!
    [everyone starts dancing to "Ants Marching" by the Dave Matthews Band, to Carl's exasperation]
  • Running Away to Cry: Annie is upset when hearing about the marriage plans between Jeff and Britta. She turns away to hide her tears but Abed confronts her.
  • Saving the Orphanage: The study group saves Greendale from being taken over by Subway.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Subway's reaction upon finding out they'd have to work with Borchert on a daily basis.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Comes up in this exchange after Duncan accidentally electrocutes himself:
    Jeff: Is Duncan okay?
    Hickey: He'll live, but his food's gonna taste like burnt aluminum for a while.
    Duncan: [hoarsely] it's pronounced al-u-minium.
    Hickey: See, he's fine.
  • Series Fauxnale: As with the previous three seasons, the episode was written so that it could serve as a Series Finale or a Series Fauxnale depending on whether the show was picked up or not. Unfortunately, this time around NBC officially cancelled the show on May 9, 2014, however fortunately on June 30, 2014 Yahoo decided it would pick up community for a sixth season!
  • Ship Sinking: Jeff & Britta promptly call off their wedding after saving Greendale from being bought by Subway. Even before that, most of the episode points out that they don't really make a very good romantic couple — for two people who are engaged to be married, practically all their interactions with each other are snide and dismissive.
  • Ship Tease:
    • After being locked in the computer lab, with the only way to unlock the door being a sudden burst of passion to bypass Raquel's emotional circuits, Jeff recalling his "Milady"/"Milord" exchange with Annie from season 1 is what gets them out.
    • Defied with Annie and Abed. They seem like they are going to have a moment where they might lean in for a kiss, but then Abed states that he has a girlfriend, and Annie hotly denies that she was going to do anything.
  • Shout-Out: The Trap Door emergency rappelling is taken straight from The Goonies.
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Abed compares Jeff and Britta's plans to get married to a Poorly Disguised Pilot and has to be stopped by Annie when he loses himself in the analogy.
    Abed: Annie, look, I don't know people, but I know TV. When characters feel like the show they're on is ending, their instinct is to spin off into something safer, in Jeff and Britta's case, something that would last six episodes and have a lot of bickering about tweezers and gluten, starring them and an equally W.A.S.P.-y brunette couple with a title like Better With My Worse Half or Awfully Wedded or Tying the Not, but "knot" is spelled without a K, or #CouplePeopleProblems, and every episode, you get to decide who wins the fight by going-
    Annie: Abed! Abed, stop developing.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music:
    • Exaggerated and lampshaded. To open the secret door to Borchert's lair, you have to select track 127 on the jukebox: "Open the Door" by The Secret Doors. The '70s-tastic funk song complete with deep-voiced narrator promptly begins playing:
      (Open the door)
      Yeeeah, sweet mama.
      (You gotta open the door)
      The door is opening.
      (You're playing the song that opens the door
      We recorded this song for when you open the door)
      Specially timed for the duration of the opening process.
    • And it becomes a Brick Joke later in the episode when the door closes, trapping the group inside:
      (Close the door)
      Yeeeah, sweet mama.
      (You gotta close the door)
      The door is closing.
      (Faster than it opened)
      For dramatic effect.
  • Take That!:
    • When explaining Borchert's past, the Dean dismisses his idea of building a computer with gold serving as the circuitry by noting "The Bionic Woman won an Emmy."
    • "A wedding? What is this, an hourlong episode of The Office?"
    • Abed criticizes The Goonies for sloppy writing.
      "We're like the Goonies, except our story tracks logically and has a chance of holding up to objective critical scrutiny."
      • At the tail end of this line, the Dean starts talking over Abed to the point that their shouted and overlapping dialogue is unintelligible, parodying another common criticism of The Goonies.
    • The last piece of news that Abed breaks to Borchert about the world since the 70s that finally becomes too much to take is that Woody Allen has voiced a cartoon ant.
  • Telepathy: Richie takes a stab at mind-reading Hickey but fails miserably.
  • Trap Door: Abed finds the Secret Passage to Borchert's lair.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Annie decides to give up on Jeff and soon after Jeff realizes that he is in love with her.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked Played for Laughs. One of the signs that no one has been in the underground section since the 70's is that there are basketball cards with white people on them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Carl doesn't react well to Subway withdrawing from the school, screaming a "The Reason You Suck" Speech at the "Save Greendale" committee about how the school's still a cruddy mess that's first item on the chopping block for anyone who has a say in what happens to it. Richie, conversely, seems to react to defeat a bit more gracefully.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Borchert has a bag full of "Gerald Ford Dollars" that at one point were worth a million dollars but must now be worthless since so much time has passed. The study group happily takes it off his hands since they know that 30 year old US currency is still valid and a million dollars is still a lot of money. And along comes Chang and wastes it all.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Abed and Annie believe that Borchert left them clues (like serial killers do) that will lead them to a treasure. Actually, Borchert simply wanted to seal himself off away from the rest of the world and the clues were accidental. This leads them to mistake a bunch of Xs on a mural as signs of a secret passage and they end up ripping open a wall only to discover a bunch of electrical wires that almost electrocute Duncan.


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