The Dean invests in an interactive VR computer platform that is "cutting-edge"... for the '90s. Jeff and Frankie are left trying to unplug him and return the expensive hardware when he becomes addicted. Meanwhile, Britta's move-in day to Abed and Annie's apartment is marred by some secrets of the study group's past.
The Community episode Lawnmower Maintenance And Postnatal Care provides examples of:
- Anti-Escapism Aesop: Dean Pelton gets unhealthily immersed in virtual reality because his real life isn't too great.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The Dean mashes up two famous quotes when exclaiming his astonishment at the dated interface. "And Jesus wept for there were no more worlds left to conquer." He repeats the Biblical part so often that Jeff yells at him to stop saying it.
- Blatant Lies: Jeff's usual excuse to get out of helping people move? Claim he's a veteran, and that it's Veteran 's Day.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Parodied with Jeff and Elroy.
- Extreme Graphical Representation: One of the main problems with the VR terminal's holographic interface is how overdone and needlessly complicated even the simplest tasks are.[after completing several complex maneuvers]
Dean Pelton: The time is now... 2:39!
Frankie: That was the time. Twenty minutes ago, when you started.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: Parodied with the Dean's narration about "change" at the end of the episode.
- HeelFace Turn: Britta's parents were apparently very oppressive and dismissive of her individualistic tendencies when she was growing up, but have mellowed considerably and want to make amends.
- Hypocritical Humor: Britta demanding her parents stop "infantilizing" her, before stealing a child's bike & running away. She also chastises Annie and Abed for showing up at her parents' house unannounced, when she did the exact same to Jeff in Season 4.
- Informed Flaw: The only real evidence in this episode that Britta's parents were overly controlling and oppressive comes from Britta herself.
- Inside a Computer System: Elroy's VR system, which allows users to do mundane tasks in immersive yet convoluted ways.
- Internal Reveal: Britta discovers that her parents have actually been helping her for years unbeknownst to her knowledge, thanks to them being on good terms with Britta's friends.
- Jar Potty: The Dean jokes about wanting one, but it's gradually becoming less of a joke.
- Large Ham: The Dean becomes one when he uses the VR terminal.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Chang is extremely calm about his injury, an infected cat bite which was apparently severe enough to reach the bone and is gradually causing his hand so swell grotesquely.
- Older Than They Look: When Jeff finds Elroy Patashnik, he calls him a "clever young man" Jeff cheerfully replies "I'm forty!"
- Retcon: Earlier seasons of the show and tie-in material implied that Britta was molested as a child by a man in a dinosaur costume and her controlling parents never believed her. In this episode, while her parents were apparently still very controlling in the backstory the dinosaur incident never comes up, despite everyone liking Britta's parents and wondering why she has a problem with them and it being a logical thing to bring up in response. This suggests that it was either forgotten about or just quietly waved away.
- Running Gag: Chang just randomly appearing, with his right hand increasingly swollen.
- Shout-Out: The title, the extremely dated 1990s VR graphical interface and the plot of trying to extract a (not incredibly bright) person from a VR world they've become addicted to using is a reference to The Lawnmower Man.
- Plus, several obligatory references to The Matrix: Jeff refers to the Dean as 'the white Morpheus' and the Dean greets Elroy as 'the Architect'.
- Stylistic Suck:
- Elroy's VR system.
- The trailer for "Knee-High Mischief", a Portugese rip-off of Gremlins.
- The Tag: A Real Trailer, Fake Movie for the Portugese Gremlins mockbuster : "Joelho-Alto Prejuizo Moral"(Knee-High Mischief).
- Take That!: When Britta complains that her friends think her parents are adorable "because they didn't know them when they sucked", Frankie calls it "the Jimmy Fallon effect".
- Technology Marches On: As even Elroy Patashnik himself has to admit, some of the things that killed VR were convenience and simplicity winning out over immersion and graphics (even though those still exist).
- Too Kinky to Torture: The Dean, of course.Jeff: Dean, I'm coming over, and I'm pulling you out of there.
Dean Pelton: I'll bite you.
Jeff: I'll beat you up.
Dean Pelton: I'll like it, and then I'll fire you, and then I'll get right back in!
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Turns out Britta is an aversion - she doesn't want her parents approval, or even their financial support & has gone to great lengths to keep them out of her life.
- What the Hell, Hero?: A back-and-forth example. Britta lays into her friends for going behind her back and secretly accepting charity on her behalf from her parents. However, they in turn point out that she's been happy to sponge off them for years without paying them back, they're hardly wealthier than she is, and she's too proud to mend bridges with her family, so they had to find some way of covering her costs.
- And Jesus wept, for there were no more tropes left to post.