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Recap / Community S 6 E 04 Queer Studies And Advanced Waxing

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Dean Pelton is coming out as approximately two-sevenths of what he is!
After a controversy involving the gay community, the Greendale school board invites Dean Pelton to become a member, on the condition that he promotes his "homosexuality." Meanwhile, Annie and Chang get cast in a theater production of The Karate Kid, but Chang must endure the director's abusive behaviour. Also, Elroy and Abed are tasked to fix the school's wi-fi, only to find a nest of birds in the internet router.


The Community episode Queer Studies And Advanced Waxing provides examples of:

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  • Actor Allusion: Frankie says she's having real trouble reaching the Greendale IT lady - her emails are "bounced back to her in Aramaic" and when she calls, she hears "an undulating high-pitched whistle that makes her nose bleed." This may be because Greendale's IT lady, first (and last) seen in S5 E06 "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking," was played by Paget Brewster (who's currently playing Frankie.)
  • Ambiguously Gay: Frankie makes a comment about how she doesn't want her sexuality to define her, causing Jeff and Dean Pelton to have a brief, silent "Is she or isn't she?" moment behind her back.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": By Annie and Chang during their rehearsals.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Initially it seems that the director wants Annie to be his star and only has Chang as an addition, but then it turns out that it was the opposite.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Elroy notes that he is a big fan of the performing arts but he will join Chang's play anyway.
  • The Bartender: This episode is the first time Britta is shown in her bartending job.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Regarding whether or not to move the baby birds before they mature in twelve days. The Dean and Jeff point out that, cute and vulnerable or not, they are blocking the Wi Fi from getting repaired. Abed retorts that he can't deprive children of their mother, the way that he was deprived of his own mother. The Dean ends up winning by using the "gay" card, but regrets it when he realizes he did it at the request of the two board members, and that two of the three birds die. Abed and Elroy are not happy about this.
  • Character Development: This is the only episode where Chang didn't give into his Hair-Trigger Temper, although no one would have blamed him in this case.
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  • Coming-Out Story: Both parodied and played straight. Dean Pelton comes out as gay (though this is an oversimplification of what he really is), then later in the episode, he "comes out" as a politician.
  • Death of a Child: Two of the baby birds Abed and Elroy were taking care of die.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-universe, the director abuses Chang constantly during rehearsal, believing that only by being in emotional distress can he access his character's pain.
  • Failed Dramatic Exit: After his "coming out of the politicians closet" speech the Dean exits through the wrong door and has to return which negates the dramatic moment.
    Dean: It's just faster if I get to my office this way. We don't need any pictures of this.
  • Food Slap: The director pours his drink on Chang's head.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The newspapers and magazines shown in the Spinning Newspaper montage is full of hidden stuff:
    • A report on stolen bus benches
    • A poll about whether taco or burrito is more preferable in the cafeteria.
  • Gender Flip: In-universe. Annie is cast as Daniel in the Karate Kid. Later on, she is replaced by Other Annie.
  • Glasses Pull: Elroy does this repeatedly.
  • Group Hug: The Dean, Jeff and Frankie do one.
  • Here We Go Again!: Implied at the end of the episode when the baby bird, after being set free by Abed and Elroy, lands on the school's transformer and is presumably about to make a nest there.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • The Prima Donna Director calls Annie out for being The Prima Donna.
    • Annie asks whether everyone going to see the play is condoning the abuse the Chang had to endure in order to star in it. Britta, of all people, tells her to dial it down.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Subverted. Chang, who is Chinese (himself played by a Korean actor), being cast as the Japanese character Mr. Miyagi when he was trying out for the role of Daniel, seems to be a commentary on Hollywood's tendency to cast Asian actors in stereotypical roles even when they don't fit the actor's country of origin. It turns out later that the director viewed Miyagi as a far more demanding role and saw that Chang had something specific to bring to that role.
    • It's then further zig-zagged with when Annie quits the play and is replaced in the role of Daniel by Annie Kim (an Asian character initially created as a sort of meta commentary on the original intent to cast an Asian actress as Annie before Alison Brie tried out for the part), who in-universe plays an Italian-American character who has to perform karate moves as part of the role.
  • Jerk Justifications:
    • Elroy justifies removing the bird's nest to fix the internet router by saying it's how evolution works. Abed is quick to call him evil for that and Elroy admits that Abed is right.
    • The director also justifies his abusive treatment of Chang by explaining that it gets him in touch with the inner sadness needed to play Mr. Miyagi.
    Matt: The Karate Kid is about Kesuke Miyagi, an immigrant who fought against his own people in World War II, while his wife lost a child in an internment camp. Noriyuki Morita was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Ralph Macchio? Showed up. I cast you because your measurements allow me to use the same wardrobe as last year. I cast Ben because he has the sadness and talent that could make this show great. If I have to physically drill into his chest and suck it out with a straw! So you can take a flying kick and a rolling donut! You're fired.
    Annie: But I'm talented, too, right?
    Matt: What? No. Oh my God! You're like doing a terrible Vinnie Barbarino up here. But, like, I know you're not capable of anything better, so, that's why I've been so nice to you. Take care Annie. (to Chang) Yikes, right? What a diva.
  • Lost Aesop: Lampshaded when Annie wonders if they learned anything from Chang's plot.
    Annie: I am at a total loss about what lesson to learn from any of this.
    Elroy: Maybe that's the lesson.
    Abed: I lost a button.
    Elroy: Maybe we all lost a button.
  • Misery Poker: When the Dean tries to force Elroy to remove the bird's nest, bringing security guards as backup, the two engage in the "Oppression Olympics" version of this. The Dean ends up winning.
    Elroy: This is two white security guards against an unarmed black man and two baby birds. Your move.
    Dean: (to security guards) Stand down. Stand down! (to Elroy) No security. No weapons. Just one unarmed black man versus one unarmed, openly gay Dean. Now move that nest. Please.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Played with. The Dean's problem with being seen as gay is that he's "not just gay," but he still behaves like a straight man suffering from this trope.
  • The Magazine Rule: Taken Up to Eleven by the Spinning Paper montage. There sure are a lot of oddly specific publications on the topic of gay administrators.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the middle of the episode, two of the three baby birds die in the incubator that Abed sets up to rear them. He then buries them in coffins.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Briefly, the Dean is regretful about forcibly moving the baby birds to fix the Wi Fi when he sees Abed and Elroy giving him a simultaneous Death Glare. They refuse to accept his apology and exclude him from the group going to see The Karate Kid. Later, however, he's invited to see the lone survivor released into the wild after apologizing again mid-show.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Frankie says she's having real trouble reaching the Greendale IT lady (last seen in Analysis of Cork-Based Networking) - her emails are "bounced back to her in Aramaic" and when she calls, she hears "an undulating high-pitched whistle that makes her nose bleed". Paget Brewster portrays both characters.
  • Pride Parade: A pride parade is cancelled by the school board, in favor of a School Board Parade.
    Richie: Those guys get to dress fancy all year! We have one day!
  • Prima Donna Director: Matt Lundergard, the director of the Karate Kid play, played by Jason Mantzoukas. He is a complete narcissist and an unrelenting jerk to Chang and later Annie.
  • Race Lift: In-universe.
    • Annie Kim ended up playing Daniel in the Karate Kid play. Doubles as Gender Flip.
    • Also attempted by Chang when he auditioned for the part of Daniel and kind of with Annie, who is apparently Jewish while Daniel is Italian.
  • Reality Ensues: In a giant Mood Whiplash, Abed and Elroy try to keep a nest of three baby birds alive within the Wi Fi box by putting caution tape around the area. The Dean forcibly moves them under public pressure. Abed and Elroy then put the birds in an incubator and feed them regularly; two still die from the stress of the new environment, and Abed buries them with a somber expression. He and Elroy don't accept the Dean's apology, calling him a "bird killer" because that was a shitty thing to do, even if the Dean was Right for the Wrong Reasons.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Matt repeatedly (and viciously) insults Chang.
  • Rejected Apology: Abed does not accept the Dean's apology for indirectly killing two baby birds that he and Elroy were protecting.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The Dean was well within his rights to move the baby bird nest, and using a Wounded Gazelle Gambit to do so. He realizes, however, that he should have done it to truly improve the school, not because the school board asked him to do so as a means to control publicity.
  • Ship Tease: Jeff and Annie after the play - Jeff actively makes the effort of cheering Annie up when she's bummed out after seeing Chang leave with the rest of the cast, ultimately topping off with a reprisal of their "Milady"/"Milord" bit. Just hearing "Milady" again from Jeff is enough to cheer her up - and then he invites her to go to a bar with him - alone!
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Play-Within-A-Show is an adaptation of The Karate Kid including Wax On, Wax Off.
    • Chang's storyline seems based on the 2014 movie Whiplash about a teacher who verbally abuses a student.
    • The soundtrack features a song called "Gay Dean" to the tune of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton.
  • Skewed Priorities: Zigzagged; Abed would rather keep a nest of baby birds alive than restore the university Wi Fi. Elroy even calls him out for it since they have a job to do. On the other hand, it's a real Gut Punch when two of the chicks die.
  • Spinning Paper: Gay Dean's impact on the school is depicted in a montage of headlines.
  • Take That!:
    Matt Lundergard: You are the worst actor I've ever directed, and I've directed both Wahlbergs!
    • And to Ralph Macchio.
    Matt Lundergard: Noriyuki Morita was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance! Ralph Macchio showed up!
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Annie quits the play after being fed up with the director's treatment of Chang.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Chang actually pulls off a great performance in the play and earns the respect of the group.
  • Token Minority: In-universe. The schoolboard wants Dean Pelton to be a token gay member to make them look tolerant. The only problem the Dean has with it is that he'd be lying. In his own words, "gay" doesn't even begin to describe what he is.
    Dean: I make gayness look like Mormonism.
  • You Monster!:
    [after Elroy explains why they should remove the bird's nest from the internet router]
    Abed: What are you, a demon? Did Clive Barker write you?
    Elroy: Anyone who finds that nest would come to the same decision. (Beat) And you don't have to get mean.
  • You No Take Candle: Chang's role requires him to speak this way.

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