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  • Acceptable Professional Targets: In the pilot, as soon as everyone learns Jeff's a lawyer, they groan in disgust.
  • Acceptable Religious Targets: Shirley's habit of being The Fundamentalist. In Real Life, Shirley's actress, Yvette Nicole Brown, is a Christian, and was willing to go along with Dan Harmons Author Tract.
  • Acceptable Targets: Racism is naturally brought up as a character flaw several times, and in at least one case, as the tail-end of Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick.
  • Adorkable:
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    • Gillian Jacobs describes Britta (and herself) with this exact word in one of the Season 3 commentaries.
    • Annie: A neurotic, compulsive over-achiever whose innocence, cuteness and naivete nevertheless make her adorable.
    • As Troy becomes less of a jock, he turns into this, with his endearing child-like behavior and his appreciation of the geek culture like the in-universe series Inspector Spacetime slowly being developed thanks to his close friendship with Abed.
    • Chang is somewhat endearing in his Kevin persona and his less psychotic moments in Seasons 5 and 6. Any other time? Not really.
    • Frankie is comically awkward when flustered and has a remarkable tendency to put her foot in her mouth for somebody so composed. There's also her attempts at playing the steel drums in "Advanced Safety Features", which have to be seen to be believed.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • The characters themselves go back-and-forth over whether Pierce is an inherent, fundamental and completely irredeemable Jerkass or whether he's just a lonely but socially inept old man who just wants to make friends but has no clue how, and merely ends up lashing out whenever his overtures are rejected.
    • Abed; Lovable Nerd Woobie with numerous psychological and emotional problems who uses pop culture as a way of trying to connect to people, or manipulative sociopath who enjoys pulling strings to get people into trouble that resembles his favorite movies and TV shows?
    • In Season 3, is Evil Abed really trying to crossover into the Prime Timeline, or is he just a figment of Abed's imagination?
    • Do Troy and Abed merely have a cute, Ho Yay filled Heterosexual Life-Partners friendship that they get a bit too fixated on at times, or are they in fact alarmingly co-dependent on each other?
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    • Do the students and faculty of Greendale treat things like paintball and pillow fights as Serious Business, or do they all (like Jeff most of the time) just want an excuse to get away from class/work?
    • Britta's parents. The episode in which we meet them suggests that they spent Britta's childhood dominating and stifling her, only to eventually do a Heel–Face Turn and want to rebuild bridges with her after she grew up and ran away. However, because in the episode they're so laid-back, friendly and easy-going, an alternative interpretation has arisen that suggests that they've always been like that and were happy to let Britta believe they were overly-oppressive bad guys when she began to lash out rather than confront her about it.
    • Andre, Shirley's ex-husband, whom she divorced because he cheated on her; is he a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing for a well-meaning but flawed man that dealt with the stress of his stereo business failing in an unhealthy fashion? And no, the backstory isn't Unreliable Expositor: Andre confirms that he did cheat on Shirley in season two and why he doesn't blame her for sleeping with Chang during the Halloween Episode. Not helping matters is he promises to be a better husband through the next two seasons, but divorces her (again) and takes the kids when her sandwich shop visit fails.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: The show ended up dealing with this from an unusual angle. The basic premise seems simplistic enough, but the implementation defied almost all expectations of the genre. The large main and supporting cast, thickly plotted stories, high levels of continuity and loads of in-joke meta humor made it difficult to jump in to any given episode. The Affectionate Parody episodes that came to define the series only exacerbated the issue, as that meant they were constantly switching style and tone. Very few episodes even bothered with topics such as class projects, tests and grades, despite the fact the main cast is supposed to be a study group. Even the fandom came to admit that the community college setting was mostly a backdrop to everything else. By the time Jeff became a teacher, the writers still did very little with it.
  • Award Snub: In spite of achieving a rabid following and a lot of praise from critics, the show only snagged a handful of Emmy nominations during its entire run. The sole writing nomination was for Chris McKenna for "Remedial Chaos Theory".
  • Awesome Music: Has a sub-page.
  • Badass Decay: In the first paintball episode, Chang is The Dragon and brings his own weapons. In the second, he's an incompetent moron who continually betrays the groups he latches on to. Of course, the entire second season was largely dedicated to giving Chang a near-constant Humiliation Conga, so this is perhaps understandable. And also, it's worth pointing out that he didn't actually do anything in the first Paintball episode, except take out Britta while getting taken out by her.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Bizarro Episode: Whilst Community has a number of episodes which would fall under this for any other show, it still has those that qualify as a Bizarro Episode even by Community's standards.
  • Broken Base:
    • The biggest split is on the Harmon-less Season 4 (which was either pretty good or the worst thing on television, depending on who you ask), but many smaller ones exist among the fandom, ranging from whether or not Season 3's second half was too bizarre, if Season 1 was the best or worst of the Harmon years, if Harmon's return in Season 5 revitalized the show back to its glory days or if it was simply too little too late, and whether Troy was utilized well in his final season or not.
    • Britta's devolution into a Dumb Blonde. Some people think it's Flanderization gone too far or even insulting and mean-spirited; others say it suits Gillian Jacobs' flair for physical comedy and wacky humor better than Britta's original characterization.
    • Inspector Spacetime is either a cute Affectionate Parody or an Overly Long Gag that was run into the ground almost immediately after it was introduced.
  • Catharsis Factor: While it's a Break the Cutie moment for Britta, to the point that Dr. Duncan refuses to take advantage of her vulnerable state to sleep with her, there is something satisfying about how her anarchist friends in Season 5 point out that yes they may have sold out by buying a movie theater and going into real estate, but it means they have responsibilities and obligations and can actually do good with what they have. Britta just wants to do destructive vandalism in the name of self-righteousness. This forces her to finally confront her Soapbox Sadie tendencies, as well as perhaps why people were calling her "the worst" a few years earlier.
  • Continuity Lockout: More of a meta-version; in later seasons particularly, Dan Harmon tended to use the show as an airing board for his grievances with the network which, coupled with his fondness for obscure meta-humour, tended to result in a lot of jokes about Community's behind-the-scenes issues that would completely fly over the heads over anyone unaware of or uninterested in the details of how the suits at NBC had pissed Harmon off this week. While many of the devoted fans — being media-savvy types who tended to follow along with news about their favourite shows in the first place — responded well to these kinds of jokes, it arguably didn't really help with the show's persistent troubles in attracting a broader audience — which, in addition to consistently leaving the show in danger of cancellation, ironically also left the show stuck in a position where it was in constant risk of the kind of Executive Meddling that annoyed Harmon in the first place.
  • Crazy Awesome: "Digital Estate Planning" has Abed deciding to stay with Hilda and finding out he can have children with her, who he can command to do anything. Hilarity Ensues. And then there's the final battle with Pierce's father, which involves shooting Abed's children at a giant rock monster's legs so they can pickaxe it to death, Troy and Abed shooting lava at it out of golden mechs, Shirley piloting a helicopter against it, and Pierce riding an atomic bomb.
  • Critical Dissonance: While critical reviews for Seasons 5 were extremely positive, fandom reaction was slightly more mixed, ranging from Season 5 being the best since the the first two seasons to feeling that by this point the show had run out of steam, even with Dan Harmon back as showrunner.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • An excerpt from "Environmental Science" that was used standalone to promote the show. It's too long to present in its entirety here: see the Quotes page.
    • Pierce, frequently. One example is he's playing 'Pictionary' and draws a swastika to convey a windmill, saying that Rabbi Chang should know what it is. note 
  • Cult Classic: It's hardly mainstream, but the fanbase is dedicated enough and big enough to campaign for its renewal and success.
  • Dork Age: Season 4.
    • Characters underwent Flanderization by being defined solely by a single joke: Abed has an Ambiguous Disorder! The Dean is a Wholesome Crossdresser!. Meanwhile, Troy reached near-Satellite Character levels while Pierce was increasingly Demoted to Extra and barely played a major role in any given episode.
    • Troy and Britta's relationship suffered a major Shipping Bed Death as the writers couldn't find anything interesting to do with them; Chang's Faking Amnesia plot was obvious and hackneyed.
    • Earlier jokes and storylines were brought back as Fanservice, with the Inspector Spacetime joke being run into the ground. The finale, which brought back the "worst timeline" and paintball concepts that'd been lampshaded as old and forced an entire season prior, was critically panned with the only good thing about it being the reveal that it was All Just a Dream. A few shots at Season 4 were taken in-universe during Season 5, with reference to the "gas-leak year".
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Several recurring Greendale students are extremely popular among fans, most notably Magnitude ("POP POP!"), Star-Burns (his name is Alex), and Garrett, The Comically Serious Large Ham ("CRISIS ALERT!").
    • Many wish Professor Duncan would have been able to stick around as a main character as was originally intended, thanks in no small part to John Oliver's hilarious performance. Suffice to say, fans were overjoyed to see him come back for a recurring role in Season 5 and for him to gain a decent amount of character depth in the process.
    • Drama Professor Sean Garrity, due to Kevin Corrigan's incredibly over-the-top portrayal.
    • Rachel, the cute and endearing coat check girl played by Brie Larson, from "Herstory of Dance" is widely considered one of the best parts of Season 4, by Dan Harmon himself and much of the fanbase.
    • Officer Cackowski, for his great comedic chemistry with the study group, being rather kooky even by the standards of this series, and being essentially made of memorable lines.
    • Koogler, the Manchild Frat Bro played by Mitch Hurwitz in "App Development and Condiments".
    • Custodian Lapari, largely in part due to him being played by the hysterical Kumail Nanjiani and being a surprising invocation of Evil Is Cool in "Modern Espionage".
    • Both Season 6 regulars Frankie and Elroy manage to avert Replacement Scrappy by way of being adored by fans, thanks to being a great Straight Man in a cast of increasingly wacky characters for Frankie, and an excellent performance by Keith David and lots of funny and endearing lines for Elroy. It's not uncommon to see fans online wishing that they were both around for longer than just one season.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Evil Annie, from the Darkest Timeline.
  • Fan Myopia: While the show most certainly has a devoted fanbase, its ratings were ever-declining throughout its run. It doesn't help that a Vocal Minority of the show's fans have a tendency to repeatedly put down competing sitcoms as inferior in their frustration with its poor ratings, which did nothing but make fans of the competing sitcoms less likely to watch Community. Some have speculated that this toxicity in the fandom instead had a negative impact on the show, which couldn't afford to lose viewers. This is in large part due to the Law Of Fan Jackassery; the fandom is essentially right at the middle. The show is far too popular for the Vocal Minority to just be kicked out, but doesn't have nearly enough mainstream recognition for them to just be ignored.
  • Fanon: Given his nicer-than-nice attitude concealing an apparently very screwed-up mindset resulting from maternal abuse, a common fan-interpretation is that Rich is secretly some kind of Serial Killer.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Both of which are exceptionally one-sided. Generally speaking, most Community fans hate both The Big Bang Theory and Glee due to both series having been timeslot rivals for Community along with Community being seen by its fans as "doing everything better" than what those two shows were doing. In contrast, most fans of The Big Bang Theory and/or Glee seem to be surprised to learn that Community even exists, much less that there's a rivalry between the fandoms.
    • In the case of The Big Bang Theory, the animosity seems to be due to how there's the feeling among the Community fandom that the former puts nerds and nerd culture up to ridicule, whereas Community is a show "for nerds by nerds."
    • This was thought by many to be referenced in the show, and for a while got it a lot of hate online. In one episode, Jeff goes on and on about how much he hates the Barenaked Ladies, not understanding why everyone likes them so much. This was seen by many as a cheap shot at The Big Bang Theory, whom Barenaked Ladies sing the theme song for. Dan Harmon himself had to come out and clarify that no, the episode had nothing to do with The Big Bang Theory, that it was a reference to the fact that he, like Jeff, knows a lot of fans of the band who are very passionate, and he just doesn’t get it.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Season 4 (the only season without Dan Harmon and the first without most of the writers of Seasons 1-3) has been declared this by some fans, with some even hoping to erase the season from canon by having Abed walk out of the Dreamatorium shortly after the end of Season 3 & reveal it was all just him running simulations. It wasn't, but its Seasonal Rot was heavily lampshaded throughout the fifth season, poking fun at some of its more questionable plot developments. Characters even refer to it in-universe as 'the gas leak year.' Also, on the extreme side of things, there are some fans who only prefer the first season when the show was still somewhat grounded and had yet to go Denser and Wackier, refusing to acknowledge the existence of any season that came after.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Jeff and Annie. How much do some fans prefer this couple you may ask? Enough to vote them TV's Top Couples 2011 despite the fact they are not a canon couple.
    • Abed and Annie have a pretty decent fanbase as well, thanks in part to the off-screen friendship between Danny Pudi and Alison Brie. Though they end up as Platonic Life-Partners in the show proper, the ship has continued to grow in popularity as the show has gained a second life on streaming platforms.
  • Foe Yay: Between the deans of Greendale and City. Laid on pretty thick in "Basic Rocket Science" and again in "For a Few Paintballs More".
  • Friendly Fandoms: Let's just say that Inspector Spacetime was very well received by both Community fans and Doctor Who fans (at least when it was introduced, opinions are divided on how well it was handled throughout the season). Matt Smith and Karen Gillan are huge fans of Community and even expressed interest in appearing in the show.
    • The fandoms of fellow intensely-quotable Cult Classics Arrested Development and (to a lesser extent) Firefly tend to overlap with Community's.
    • While not as pronounced as other examples, there's also a not-insignificant overlap of Community fans with NBC's other main sitcoms - Namely, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock.
    • And, of course, considering they're both made (in part, at least) by the same creator, there's a clear overlap between fans of Rick and Morty and Community, with many even becoming fans of the latter through the former and Harmon's association.
    • Also with the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to the shared involvement of the Russo Brothers as well as several Community cast members having roles in the films. This is made particularly amusing in how the Series Finale to Community ended with Jeff and Annie giving several Take Thats towards the franchise.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In one episode, Pierce's cellphone puts his mother on speaker as she says she heard his father's ghost. In "Advanced Gay," Pierce reveals his father is alive and that his mother liked to pretend that Cornelius Hawthorne was dead because he's such an awful person. Then Jeff accidentally kills Cornelius with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech on Pierce's behalf.
    • The Running Gag about Greendale being a Sucky School with a generally inept faculty who repeatedly run completely idiotic classes (such as an analysis of who the titular boss was in Who's the Boss?) becomes this after "Repilot" showed the ramifications of attending such a school.
    • All the jokes about Pierce dying (especially the ones about him Dying Alone) can become this after Season 5 when we find out Pierce masturbated himself to death - presumably in a room by himself.
    • Chang punching Duncan in the face with a roll of quarters in his hand is a hilarious bit of physical comedy. Then the Ass Crack Bandit came up with a much more sinister use for quarters, which Duncan would also be subjected to.
    • "Troy and Abed" singing gags in The Stinger become this in season 4, where Evil Abed and Troy sing the last Stinger one as part of their radio show. They both reluctantly accept the status quo where Chang is a dictator in their timeline and reaffirm that no matter what happens, the two are friends. You can tell it feels like the End of an Era before the next season premiere. Season 5 has Troy and Abed singing it mid-show during the Pierce interrogation episode as "Troy and Abed are in mourning", foreshadowing that Troy is leaving for good and Abed isn't ready to say farewell.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Series creator Dan Harmon is well aware of Community's surprising popularity in the Philippines.
  • Gotta Ship 'Em All: The end of "Romantic Expressionism" played with this when they acknowledged that, essentially, nothing was truly off limits and there would always be some degree of tension between unrelated characters. It then went around the table, pairing everyone with everyone else. Sometimes to the characters' interest, sometimes to their surprised interest, sometimes to their disgust and shock.
  • Growing the Beard: "Debate 109" is generally agreed to be the episode where the show first grew some stubble. Full growth was achieved with "Contemporary American Poultry" and then solidified with "Modern Warfare", which is generally considered one of the series' signature episodes.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the episode "Aerodynamics of Gender", the world is seen as a Robo Cam through Abed's eyes. When the Robo Cam is on the screen, you can see a list of memos Abed has for himself. When Abed is playing back something Shirley said to him, one of the memos is "Confirm mom for Xmas". This is a lot worse in hindsight when you realize "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" is just a few episodes later.
    • "Intro To Documentary Filmmaking" has Jeff literally beating up Pierce for saying his father was coming to visit, because it was another of Pierce's Mind Screw pranks, and that this is why Pierce has no friends. Jeff does actually meet his father in Season 4, and the only positive Jeff gets out of it is learning he has a Big Brother Instinct for his half-brother; his Calling the Old Man Out isn't even that different from what he told Pierce.
    • In the episode "Modern Warfare", the Glee Club shown in the first game of Paintball Assassin ends up dying in a bus crash next season caused by their own crazy teacher, Mr. Rad.
    • In the episode "Paradigms of Human Memory," there is a flashback to "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas"; however, it is seen through the eyes of the other characters. Puts a much darker light on the former (with the other characters lampshading that it wasn't nearly as fun as Jeff and Britta seemed to be remembering), and really makes you think about snowman Chang's bottom button...
    • It's noted on the commentary track for "Advanced Introduction to Finality" that the final line of the cold open, Troy commenting "One for all, and all for one guy we can leave behind!" was originally just a joke about Pierce's age, but the line took a greater subtext when Chevy Chase quit the show. The joke was originally Hilarious in Hindsight, but became Harsher in Hindsight when Pierce was revealed to have died in "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics".
    • The two-season arc of Shirley reconciling with her husband becomes this when they divorce again during the Time Skip. Even worse, Andre and Shirley renewed their vows promising to accept that they both have changed and would commit to their relationship with Shirley opening a sandwich shop to support their family. The sandwich business fails and as a result, Andre takes the kids, leaving Shirley alone].
    • Professor Kane quitting due to the guilt of Starburns' death becomes this when you find out he faked it, meaning Kane had a guilt ridden breakdown over a death that never even happened.
    • The final two lines of the (surprisingly dark) theme song, which are "I can't count the reasons I should stay, one by one they all just fade away", turn out to be prophetic, as in the final two seasons, a third of the cast members left one by one, which became a point of contention for a big portion of the fans.
    • Season 3 opens with a big musical number where all the characters sing about how they're gonna "finally be fine", which is then revealed as Jeff's Imagine Spot in regards to a year without Pierce. In the series finale, when Jeff learns that both Annie and Abed are leaving while he is still stuck at Greendale, Annie tells him "you're gonna be fine, you know," to which Jeff bitterly replies, "I don't wanna be fine."
    • Some of the Hilarious Outtakes implying sexual misconduct between the cast and/or crew can come off as tasteless after the rise of the #metoo movement. Similarly, the massive series of criticisms levied against NBC for firing Harmon before Season 4 now come across as pretty uncomfortable after it would be revealed that Harmon sexually harassing another member of the series' writing staff was the actual reason he was fired.
    • Abed either has a breakdown or invites Evil Abed inadvertently into the timeline in Season 3 when it seems Troy has to leave forever to join the AC Repair school. It gets worse in Season 5 when Troy leaves for real to fulfill a requirement to earn Pierce's inheritance: sail around the world for a year. Abed has another breakdown that Britta has to fix, and spends the rest of the season trying to find a Replacement Goldfish for his best friend. To make matters worse, a Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals Troy and Levar Burton were captured by pirates. Abed may never see his best friend again.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • "The Art of Discourse" ends with a Where Are They Now style scrawl showing what happened to the characters after the episode. Britta's reads "Britta Perry, proud owner, used iPod Nano, 2014." Season 5, set in 2014, shows us that she got that iPod from Pierce, who after he died filled it with "music to take life less seriously by" because, as his will reads, her passion inspired him and he felt she hated herself far more than she should.
    • Abed for his birthday recreates My Dinner with Andre with Jeff in Season 2, saying he wishes they spent more time together. Jeff reassures him they have each other's back and won't stop being friends. In Season 6, Jeff coaxes a great B-movie out of a despairing Abed from 5 minutes of Chang footage, and Abed later comforts Jeff that his life won't be a waste if he's stuck at Greendale (even if he lacks Chris Pratt's CGI abs).
    • "Remedial Chaos Theory" shows one timeline where Troy and Britta develop sparks after commiserating about Jeff being judgmental. The Season 4 finale shows that in that timeline, Troy and Britta are Happily Married and report that they are starting a family. It's so sweet that both Evil Abed and Evil Troy legitimately congratulate them.
    • Doubles with Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Ladders", Abed is the only member of the Study Group to actually sympathize with Frankie after the rest of the group turn their backs on her for just trying to bring a semblance of normality to Greendale. She in turn becomes a Parental Substitute, accepting his weirdness wholeheartedly and sometimes going Mama Bear on his behalf. Come 2018, Danny Pudi and Paget Brewster are now voicing Huey and Della Duck in the DuckTales reboot as son and mother, respectively.
  • He Really Can Act: Joel McHale is mostly known for his work as a comedian, but in the Season 4 Thanksgiving episode, he portrays a horrifying, heartbreaking scene with impressive sincerity. Jeff tells his father that he faked appendicitis as a kid. When a girl wanted to see the scar, he cut himself with scissors to show her the evidence. Jeff still keeps the get-well cards because it's proof that someone once cared about him when even his own father didn't. He then shows his father and brother the scar, barely keeping it together. It's a real Gut Punch, sold by Joel's acting.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Pierce. Understandable, considering his fake heart attacks and pretending he was dying to toy with the study group.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • From the pilot, the jokes against Ben Affleck can come across as this, given his subsequent critical success with directing The Town and Argo, the latter of which won him a second Oscar for Best Picture. Even at the time the first episode aired, Affleck had already earned acclaim for his direction and writing of Gone Baby Gone, though that wasn't as high-profile as his later efforts.
    • In the Season 1 finale, Abed is using a banana to do impressions: (Banana on forehead- Banana Rhino. Banana over top lip- Banana Sam Elliot. Banana over eyes- Banana Levar Burton.) What makes it perfect is Troy being the only person who laughs at the last one.
    • Watching Dean Pelton completely fail at writing and directing a TV advert for Greendale now that Jim Rash is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter.
    • There's two in "Beginner Pottery":
      • From an In-Universe perspective, Pierce being clueless at sailing becomes even funnier when he later admits in "Cooperative Polygraphy" that he was supposed to sail around the world to earn his fortune, but instead cheated and stayed at the same island the whole time, meaning that he never really did much sailing to begin with.
      • From a meta perspective, the crazy pottery teacher describing people acting out the Signature Scene from Ghost as "ghosting" becomes much funnier after the term of "ghosting" would actually become online vernacular in the latter half of the 2010s (namely, for a person cutting off all communication with a friend or the person they're dating with zero warning or notice beforehand).
    • In "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" James Brolin turns up as Jeff's long-absent father. Just over a week earlier, he appeared on Castle as Castle's long-absent father.
    • From more of a Black Comedy standpoint, "We're Gonna Finally Be Fine" (the opening musical number from "Biology 101" is Jeff daydreaming a musical style Crowd Song about how much better life's going to be without Pierce in the Study Group) became this after Chevy Chase's departure at the end of Season 4 and Dan Harmon returning as showrunner for Season 5 following his own departure a year earlier.
    • "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" features a scene where Britta interacts with Troy's hero, Levar Burton. Fast forward to 2020 and Gillian Jacobs ends up voicing a character in Star Trek: Lower Decks and a La Forge doll can be seen in that same episode.
    • The jokes about Britta smoking pot as well as her hatred of the government makes the fact that in Colorado (the state the show is set in), marijuana is now legal and government regulated.
    • After defeating the Glee Club (based on the one from Glee) in "Modern Warfare", Jeff yells "Write some original songs!" as a parting shot. This was done to criticize Glee's use of licensed songs. The year after "Modern Warfare" aired, it was announced that Glee would actually be doing an episode with original songs.
    • When Jeff runs into Alan in "Accounting For Lawyers", he tries to explain his presence at Greendale by claiming to be a teacher. He then muses that's actually worse than the truth and admits he's really a student. In "Repilot", Jeff becomes a teacher at Greendale.
    • The Tag in "Basic Sandwich" basically being a huge Take That! to NBC. With NBC's subsequent cancellation of the show & Yahoo picking the show up for a sixth season, it means Community essentially left NBC whilst flipping the bird & screaming "Fuck you!"
    • Early on, Annie is established as a recovering Adderall addict who once ran through a plate glass window while yelling "Everyone's a robot!" The Tag for "Laws of Robotics and Party Rights" has the committee conduct their meeting with everybody using telepresence robots. Yes, Annie. "Everyone's a robot!"
    • Professor Kane complains about how Legos stopped being about piles of bricks and have since become sets based on specific themes and pop-culture tie-ins. A few years later, Alison Brie (Annie) voiced a character in The LEGO Movie and Joel McHale (Jeff) started to appear in commercials for LEGO Dimensions, both of which are based around Lego's specific themes and pop-culture tie-ins.
    • At one point of "Accounting For Lawyers", Alan comments that he wants to eat Jeff's brains, then pretends to do so. Three years later, Alan's actor (Rob Corddry) would play a zombie in Warm Bodies and eating brains becomes a plot point in that film. Furthermore, Annie becomes a zombie in "Epidemiology" which aired shortly before her actress, Alison Brie, started dating Dave Franco. Franco also appears in Warm Bodies and his character is killed by a zombie.
    • During the Star Wars parody in "For a Few Paintballs More" Abed assumes for himself the role of the team’s Han Solo until the end of the paintball match. Flash-forward to 2016, when Troy’s actor Donald Glover was cast as Han’s best friend Lando Calrissian in Solo.
    • "App Development and Condiments" shows Greendale becoming a futuristic dystopia where one's social status is defined by one's ratings in social media. This is even funnier to watch after Black Mirror did an episode about a Crapsaccharine World where the exact same thing happens, especially considering that in that episode, much like Jeff, the protagonist attempts to raise her rank but ends up being thrown in the deep end of the social ladder.
    • Troy's bewilderment (and mild jealousy) at Abed's side-adventures becomes this after Season 5 when he goes on an adventure of his own, traveling around the world with his idol Levar Burton.
    • Evil!Jeff's comment that naming a sandwich the "Troy-jan Horse" would just make people think horse meat was in it, from "Advanced Introduction To Finality". Between the episode being filmed in late 2012 & airing in May 2013, the story broke in Europe that horse meat had been included in foods supposedly containing beef.
    • The group end up going to a convention for Inspector Spacetime, a Doctor Who knock-off, and Britta notices that there was a female Inspector, to which Abed comments that no one liked her "not because they are sexist, she sucked." This was a number of years before Doctor Who cast Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, which came with its own fair share of controversy.
    • At the end of "Advanced Rocket Science", Jeff congratulates Troy by saying he would recommend him to NASA. Donald Glover later appeared in The Martian, as an astrodynamicist who is recruited to help NASA.
    • Jeff's angst about ending up like Pierce or being Not So Different from Pierce, now that Joel McHale has played Chevy Chase himself in A Futile and Stupid Gesture.
    • "Comparative Religion" has Troy giving the "Forest Whitaker eye". When he does, he makes a face that is very similar to the face Donald Glover makes in his This Is America music video.
    • The fact that Patrick Stewart was considered for the role of Pierce creates two examples in Season 2, both due to his portrayal of Jean-Luc Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation and that William Shatner played James T. Kirk on Star Trek: The Original Series. First, in "Anthropology 101", Troy posts Pierce's comments on Twitter as "Old White Guy Says Stuff", a parody of Shit My Dad Says. That same year, a television series based on that hit the air with Shatner playing the titular Dad. Then in "Epidemiology", Pierce attends the Halloween party as James T Kirk. If Stewart had been cast, this would have been either an Actor Allusion or hilariously ironic.
    • In "Geothermal Escapism", Britta complains that Teen Vogue sets a poor example for girls. The magazine began writing about feminist issues two years later.
    • In "Advanced Dungeons And Dragons", Troy says he'd like a tail because "people would know when [he's] happy". Almost 10 years later, he'd voice Simba in The Lion King, a character who, being a lion and all, not only has a tail but whose tail actually jumps up and down and wags whenever he's happy.
      • Not the only episode that looks weird now that Glover has voiced Simba. In "Anthropology 101", Troy says he thinks all cats are female, which now comes off as hilarious considering he's voiced a male cat (albeit a lion rather than a regular housecat but still...).
      • Plus there's the entire existence of Annie's Boobs. Weird how he goes from owning a monkey to being advised by one.
    • In "Advanced Criminal Law", Chang compares himself to Mr. Miyagi. In "Queer Studies and Advanced Waxing", he actually plays Miyagi in a stage production of The Karate Kid.
    • Britta's sub-plot in "Early 21st Century Romanticism" revolves around her befriending a girl named Page who she believes is a lesbian. In Life Partners, Gillian Jacobs plays a straight girl named Paige whose best friend actually is a lesbian.
    • In the Election episode, it ends with a Fake Shemp of Joe Biden sleepily saying he was dreaming of being President of the United States. Come 2020, Joe Biden was actually elected to office.
    • In "Biology 101", Vice Dean Laybourne refers to the dean as a "happy pansexual imp", which is a shockingly accurate description of Blitzo.
    • In the finale, Abed moves to L.A. because he got a job working on a show set in a video game studio. Danny Pudi is now a part of the main cast of Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet, which is indeed set in a video game studio.
  • Hollywood Homely:
    • There are a few jokes based around Britta not aging the best. In one episode, after telling Annie that a bar won't check Annie's fake ID because pretty girls are good for business, Britta gets her legitimate ID scoured and double-checked after Annie is waved through without incident. Professor Duncan also tells Jeff that he's attracted to Britta because she's slightly past her prime and realizes that she's going to have to settle. The show also occasionally nitpicks her appearance, such as one joke that lampoons her "vacuous mannequin eyes." Of course, Gillian Jacobs is exceptionally attractive.
    • Zig-zagged with Annie, who was originally written to be somewhat plain in spite of being played by the attractive Alison Brie. In the first couple of episodes, she's dressed very primly, and there are a few jokes revolving around the idea that she's not particularly good looking; the fourth episode, for example, has Professor Duncan giving her a Backhanded Compliment by rating her an "American 8, which is a British 10". The idea of her being unattractive is quickly abandoned, her look changes to emphasize her attractiveness, and her personality changes to be more sweet and adorable. By the end of Season 1 she's widely regarded as one of the most attractive women at Greendale.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Troy and Abed.
      Annie: Troy... the other day, after Spanish, I thought he was trying to hold my hand, but... he'd just mistaken me for Abed.
      • In that same episode Troy describes Abed as his other half; they claim in unison that the other members of the study group are "jealous" of their relationship; and at the end, after finding out Britta is unavailable to play the female part in their movie (forcing Abed to take over instead), Troy resignedly says, "Let's go film the sex scene."
      • Then there were the famous lines from Star Wars in "Epidemiology".
        Troy: I love you!
        Abed: I know.
      • Troy blames losing basketball on not being able to guard Abed because his eyes were too gentle and mysterious.
      • In "Remedial Chaos Theory", Shirley talks about being the only married woman in a group full hornytoads making googly-eyes at eachother. Then Jeff and Annie look at each other, then Jeff and Britta, then Troy and Britta, then Troy and Abed.
      • In "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations", Troy snuggles his head into Abed's shoulder for comfort after a particularly unpleasant encounter with Shirley's family.
      • In "Heroic Origins", Troy seems to believe that Abed should have been pining for him before they even met: "You were out there somewhere, and you weren't looking for me?!"
    • And then in another episode Abed seems to have seduced Shirley's dread-lock guy away from her.
    • Annie moving to kiss Britta when they've been Mistaken for Gay at the Valentine's Day dance.
    • At least one of the Human beings is female, and enjoys sniffing the underwear of cheerleaders...
    • From "The Science Of Illusion":
      Pierce: (crying) Troy, do you want a bite of my wand?
      Troy: (also crying) I do.
      • And in the background, Abed is feeding Jeff popcorn.
    • In "A Fistful Of Paintballs", Jeff's obsessive jealousy with how the Black Rider isn't more good looking than him begins to take on these tones.
    • Not to forget virtually every girl at Greendale forming a fanclub for Britta and asking for her autograph, after she confessed to Jeff at the end of the last episode and he walked out on her.
    • Pierce's friendly advances on Jeff, right after his failure to manipulate Britta into a date.
    • Jeff running in the rain, ringing into an apartment, making a confession to Rich.
    • Abed persuades Jeff to flirt with a role-play character elf maiden (impersonated by himself). Annie takes over the task. In detail.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: "Indyshipping" for Annie/Abed, based on the Indiana Jones-themed gift Annie got for Abed in "Intro to Psychology".
  • Idiot Plot: The conflict in the apartment plot of "Studies in Modern Movement" could have been avoided if Annie had properly checked the apartment before moving or had confronted the two much sooner. Troy and Abed also become more idiotic in the episode, to the point of being socially dysfunctional (well, more than Abed already was).
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • Jeff. Rightly asserting that Pierce is a bigoted manchild, whose horrible behavior makes the group exclude him, and anyone else would have kicked him out ages ago? He's wrong because Pierce's insecurities are an excuse to be a prick. Calling out Britta on once again wilfully making a fool of herself in a farcical effort to save face? Discouraging poor decisions is being a bad friend. He wants to spend the odd occasion not cleaning up the groups mistakes? He's a selfish jerk. Despite going out of his way to be a great friend to every single member of the group countless times. The show is however smart enough to occasionally use this to comedic effect.
    • The show also frequently makes the point that the problem isn't necessarily that Jeff's (supposedly) wrong as much as it is him frequently going about being right in the most obnoxious way possible. To take the first example, while he definitely has a valid point about Pierce's Jerkass nature, Jeff's righteousness over Pierce would probably carry a bit more weight if Jeff himself didn't take plenty of opportunities to pick on and humiliate Pierce, thus encouraging his resentment. In the second example, Jeff doesn't just discourage Britta's poor decisions but actively takes smug and malicious pleasure in the prospect of Britta failing once again, and Pierce makes the entirely fair point that while Britta might indeed be in a mess of her own making, the fact that Jeff frequently and snidely belittles her to the point of using her name as a synonym for screwing up and failure hardly helps matters. And as for the third example, while Jeff definitely does help clean up the messes left by the study group, he's also caused plenty of trouble and misery for the group as well.
    • Ironically enough, Jeff does this to himself. In Season 4, he angsts over graduating and leaving his friends behind, and taking up a profitable lawyer job with his former partner who triples his salary on the spot. Jeff eventually comes to the conclusion that taking up the job would undo his Character Development and decides to start a firm helping out the less-fortunate and being a Hero At Law. Mind that none of his friends are encouraging this decision and instead are throwing a party in his honor. The Season 5 premiere lampshades that this was a foolish decision, especially since Jeff goes broke and takes up a teaching job at Greendale to pay the bills and help out the Dean. Even worse, many lawyers can tell you that being a public defense lawyer with the government is a viable career move for those who want to do good so Jeff really shot himself in the foot.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Jeff and Britta can occasionally slip into this. While a lot of their problems are their own fault, it's made clear they're both incredibly insecure. Jeff has a plethora of Daddy Issues and his narcissism partly stems from being raised by his mother to believe he was the best at everything, only to have his whole world come crashing down once he realizes he's not. Britta's superiority complex and loud flaunting of political causes are revealed to be a front to mask some deep-seated esteem issues and crippling self-hatred, her attempts at becoming a therapist are routinely mocked by her friends, and her name is adopted in-universe as slang to describe making a mistake.
    • Pierce. While he is unquestionably a Jerkass, it's also made quite clear that he's desperately lonely and needy.
    • Chang, in Season 2. Yes, he was a Sadist Teacher in Season 1 and continues to be a weirdo for most of the season, but he only wants to join the study group and is also quite pathetic.
    • The elderly gang of hooligans, the Hipsters, from "Messanic Myths and Filmmaking". After the car stealing incident, no one's family was willing to bail them out of holding. Simply put, no one wants to be near them because they're assholes but they're assholes because no one wants to be around them.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Annie. It's quite telling that even discounting "Romantic Expressionism", Annie has been shipped in-show with every member of the study group except for Pierce (who has explicitly stated that Annie is his favorite) and Shirley. It's canon that Annie had a crush on Troy in high school and for the first half of the first season, Annie and Jeff kiss in "Debate 109" and "Pascal's Triangle Revisited" in addition to all their Ship Tease, Annie and Abed (as Han Solo) kiss in "For a Few Paintballs More", and Annie starts to go in for a kiss with Britta in "Early 21st Century Romanticism". And this for a girl they try not to sexualize too much.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Robert Laybourne is the Vice Dean of Greendale Community College and holds the true power of the school. Witnessing Troy Barnes effortlessly repair an air conditioner, Laybourne tries to get Troy to join his Air Conditioning Repair School, even getting Dean Craig Pelton to help him accomplish his goal. Eventually Laybourne manipulates Troy and his best friend, Abed Nadir, against each other briefly destroying their friendship and creating a war engulfing Greendale. When Troy pleads with Laybourne to help him overthrow Ben Chang, Laybourne complies on the sole condition that Troy leaves his friends and join his annex. Finally successful in recruiting Troy to his school, Laybourne is killed by his second-in-command, Murray, but Laybourne's influence inspires Troy to challenge Murray for the title of the "Truest Repairman", where Troy easily defeats Murray and gets Murray to confess to Laybourne's murder, with Laybourne's ghost appearing to show approval at what Troy has accomplished.
    • Stephen Spreck is the Dean of City College who seeks to destroy Greendale Community College. Convincing Annie to help him steal the Greendale space simulator by promising her a City College admission and when she later has a change of heart, Spreck merely states she is not City College material. He then returns in the two-part season finale, first setting up a fake ice cream company and then convincing the school to trash itself by offering up a $100,000 paintball prize. To ensure no student gets the prize he even sends in a ringer, and when that fails declares war on the school, coming very close to winning. While the study group were defined by their love for Greendale, Spreck was defined by his desire to destroy it.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page.
  • Moe:
    • Annie could give Mikuru a run for her money.
    • Abed most likely wasn't an intentional example, but his generally gentle and adorkable disposition (along with the increasing number of woobie moments he gets over the course of the series) can evoke this.
  • Nightmare Fuel: There's something deeply unsettling about "Greendale Babies", the Imagine Spot "happy place within a happy place" TV series Abed creates inside his head in Season 4. It's all cheery and bright, but it takes place in a confined room, and the premise seems to be that all our beloved characters are stuck in some sort of infinite childhood. Plus, you know, there's a stuffed Human Being plush.
    Abed: Greendale Babies will be right back. Forever!
    • Don't forget about the "Human being" costume. Brrr...
  • No Yay:
    • "Physical Education" has a scene where Jeff has a pool match with his aging, overweight new billiards instructor. It features both of them getting naked and the instructor walking up to Jeff while both are still naked and then kissing him on the lips.
    • Surprisingly, Jeff and Annie can be this for some people. As noted above, the couple was a favorite throughout the series' initial run for a large portion of the fanbase, but new fans taking an Archive Binge of the show often find the couple uncomfortable at best due to the early show's clear portrayal of Annie as that much younger.
  • One True Threesome: A few fics have Jeff, Britta and Annie getting together.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Dan Harmon had little involvement with the fourth season, which is considered the show's worst season.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In the first few episodes, Britta seemed to be the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl-slash-Women Are Wiser love interest, which came off as pretty bland and cliched compared to the rest of the cast. As the first season went on the writers and actress started playing her as being So Unfunny, It's Funny and Adorkable, with fans starting to find her a lot more likable as a result.
    Britta: Do you know sugar is like baby meth? That’s what my homeopath says.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • While Brie Larson wasn't exactly unknown when she guest-starred in Seasons 4 and 5, her profile has since risen exponentially as a result of her Academy Award-winning turn in Room. This effect was magnified further by her performance as the titular character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpole Captain Marvel, which grossed over one billion USD worldwide in 2019 and got positive reviews from critics.
    • Mel Rodriguez appears as a security guard a few years before becoming a recognizable actor on Better Call Saul and The Last Man on Earth.
    • Kumail Nanjiani stars as Custodian Lapari in Seasons 5 & 6, but it wouldn't be until his starring role in Silicon Valley that Nanjiani's popularity would explode.
    • Brit Marling appears in a Season 2 episode as Page, the straight girl who befriends Britta because they both mistake the other for a lesbian. Marling would go on to become an indie film darling, co-writing and starring in the films Sound of My Voice, Another Earth and The East as well as the series The OA.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Evil Jeff isn't real, but he makes legitimate points to Jeff when they confront each other. All Jeff wanted to do is return to his law career, and he is ready to grow up while his friends are stuck going through the motions and using Jeff as emotional support. The Season 5 premiere proved that Evil Jeff was right when Jeff goes broke trying to do good and his friends want to reenroll at Greendale after their dreams fail. If not for evil Jeff isolating Jeff from his friends, then he'd be completely right and sympathetic.
  • The Scrappy: Few fans like Britta's parents due to the lazy Good All Along retcon.
  • Seasonal Rot: The first three seasons are near-unanimously considered to be prime Community, with Season 3 as somewhat weaker than the first two but overall great, and Seasons 5 and 6 causing some division due to cast changes and a general shift in tone. Almost everyone agrees, however, that Season 4 is the low point, due to Dan Harmon's lack of involvement and failing to make use of the shortened episode count.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Community fans get along well generally, but there is some Britta vs. Annie sparring when it comes to who should end up with Jeff. If you root for Jeff/Britta as your OTP, Jeff/Annie shippers will have a field day ranting about how supposedly unlikable Britta is or how the duo lacks romantic chemistry. If you openly advocate Jeff/Annie, the BP&J shippers will declare their disgust with the age gap and claim that their massive differences could never be reconcilable in a relationship. Shippers of all other pairings seem to be much more civil.
  • Ship Mates:
    • Fans of Jeff/Annie will often ship Troy/Britta, who in Season 1 were romantically linked to Annie and Jeff respectively in canon. On the flip-side, Jeff/Britta shippers will often ship Troy/Annie (or Annie/Abed), in order to keep Annie away from Jeff.
    • Annie/Abed fans have a slight problem doing this in a way that hinders their ship. If they ship Troy/Britta it leaves the Jeff/Annie ship open. If they ship Jeff/Britta it leaves the earlier Annie/Troy ship open. With Troy/Britta being sunk and Troy's departure in the fifth season, it makes Jeff/Britta the obvious choice of ship mate pairing.
  • Shipping Bed Death: More than a few fans of Britta/Troy ended up being disappointed when they actually got together because the writers seemed unable to do anything interesting with them. Considering they'd been getting ship teases from the first season, the fact that almost no one was sad they broke up is rather telling.
  • Ship Sinking:
    • Britta/Troy is sunk without much fanfare toward the end of Season 4.
    • Annie/Abed was sunk in Season 5, with the revelation that Abed was catfishing Annie so she'd make better breakfasts, followed by Annie invoking Like Brother and Sister with Abed in "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing".
  • Signature Episode: "Modern Warfare" and "Remedial Chaos Theory" are easily the series' most highly regarded and well-remembered episodes, for encompassing everything that set the show apart from the standard sitcom and made it genuinely unique.
    • As far as individual scenes go, the Spanish rap from the second episode, the study group considering one another as sexual prospects in "Romantic Expressionism," the "Notches" gag from "Intro to Political Science," and the entirety of Timeline 5 from "Remedial Chaos Theory" are all good contenders for this trope in regards to the series proper.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Mixed with Hard Truth Aesop, "Beginner Pottery" is about learning the uncomfortable lesson that you won't necessarily be the best at whatever you put your mind at in Real Life, but it does also note that with determination and perseverance, you can actually improve going forward (as shown by Pierce's Determinator standpoint towards the sailing class) along with taking solace in what you're naturally talented at (as shown with Jeff at the end coming to terms with the fact that he's terrible at pottery).
    • The episode "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts" have Shirley and Andre each go on a Character Filibuster when Britta reveals that she fears being a wife is all she'll be good for and Jeff says people just make wedding vows for one day and then never keep them. Shirley says that people change regardless of the relationships they're in, and their partners have to accept that they aren't going to remain the same. Andre then tells Jeff that when you make wedding vows, it's not just when you're in the tuxedo and gown; you commit to them and remember them every day because a relationship requires work. As befitting Shirley, she and her husband are heavy-handed, but they are also right.
  • Squick: In and out-of-universe, the study group is horrified and grossed out that Pierce's dad has an ivory toupee because he doesn't want a wig made of human hair. Jeff for his part tries to refuse it when Pierce's dad leaves it to the one who killed him — in this case Jeff gave a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Cornelius and made him suffer a fatal heart attack— but Pierce insists to honor the terms of the will.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Buzz Hickey is meant to be in the wrong when he advises Jeff to not let Annie undermine his authority in class and use underhanded means to depower her, but he's actually right. A student should not be lecturing a teacher on how to teach, especially when they are one anxiety attack away from a nervous breakdown. While Annie accurately pinpoints that Jeff doesn't love his job and is wasting the students' time, Jeff starts teaching his way when she leaves the class in a huff, and the students are impressed because Annie never loses an argument.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • During the first Valentine's Day episode, Troy and Pierce dance with Chang to a song very similar to The Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow."
    • The end credits theme is very similar to the Fine Young Cannibals song "Good Thing".
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The general consensus regarding the Dan Harmon-less Season 4. It should be noted, this was also the cast's reaction to the season, with Joel McHale leading them in getting Harmon rehired as showrunner for Season 5.
    • The loss of both Pierce and Troy in Season 5, followed by the loss of Shirley in Season 6 elicited this response from some people.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Todd is in a handful of episodes, a Handicapped Badass and Only Sane Man who calls out the study group for being selfish, petty, and catty. He also is implied to be a Determinator. Even so, he is reduced to being someone the group hates for calling them out on their bull, who appears solely to react to them.
    • Gilbert is introduced at the end of Season 3 as Pierce's half-brother, who wants the inheritance from their father. They start bonding after Pierce forfeits the money because he says Cornelius didn't treat him as badly as he treated Gilbert, and he always wanted a brother. Given he's a lawyer —thus he and Jeff have common ground— Gilbert could have helped them catch Chang when the latter took over Greendale and help the study group with their lives. Sadly, Gilbert only appears in a handful of episodes where he admits he is Desperately Seeking A Purpose In Life because he spent it taking care of his father and he wants to take care of Pierce now. Though for what it's worth, Pierce later dies having a good relationship with him so he wasn't alone in the end.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Troy in one episode lies about being molested in drama class because he thinks he doesn't have a tragic backstory to share. But he does; he sabotaged his football scholarship after Annie broke down in high school, saw Pierce's mother's corpse without warning, and lost his uncle that same year. Any of these stories would have been sufficiently tragic, since Britta was a witness to a lot of them.
    • Pierce seems to undergo some Character Development in Season 3 when the gay community adopts Hawthorne Wipes as a product for them, and he decides to get involved until his father intervenes. Nothing more comes of this; the company fires Pierce as soon as his father is dead and the campaign is over before it can properly begin.
    • A few episodes of Season 3 seem to hint at Jeff suffering some kind of mental breakdown, but nothing ever comes of it until Season 4 when the evil Study Group reappears as part of a potential hallucination.
    • Britta and Troy's relationship in the fourth season. After being established as a couple in the first few episodes, their relationship is barely mentioned before they break-up towards the end of the season, which arguably comes out of nowhere because the writers seemingly forgot they were dating for most of the season.
    • After setting Jeff up as a Greendale teacher in "Repilot", only one episode of Season 5 actually focuses on Jeff being a teacher (and that was the episode immediately after "Repilot"), leading some viewers to complain of a missed opportunity to explore Greendale's eccentric teaching staff in the same way that the previous seasons had explored the eccentric student body.
    • The same episode implied an Odd Friendship was beginning to form between Abed and Shirley (two characters who almost never interact outside of the group). Nothing ever came of it.
    • When Pierce dies, you'd expect the lawyer in charge of the "lie detector" investigation would be Gilbert. It'd be hilarious to see his reaction to the funeral, to the secrets that everyone is forced to spill per Pierce's Last Request, and learning about the test to sail around the world, which Gilbert never had to do since Cornelius never acknowledged him as family. Instead, a new guy we've never seen before is the lawyer.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The Greendale Human Being seems to be an intentional attempt to invoke this trope.
    • Chang's "Dark Elf" costume in Advanced Dungeons And Dragons. Imagine a very, very dark-skin man with bright eyes and white hair. Yeah. Weird.
    • The stop-motion figures in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas". Britta's is especially bad. Hilariously, the normally expressionless Abed looked the most human. Possible Fridge Brilliance as we see all the events through Abed's perspective, and he's experiencing a mental breakdown throughout the episode.
    • Annie's werewolf transformation in her scary story from "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps"
    • Mr. Rad's creepy face when he lets his pleasant mask slip. Taran Killam's very, very good at making his eyes go dead.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The portrayal of the homosexual community in "Advanced Gay" was met with some criticism. To Dan Harmon's credit, he admitted that a few of the concerns were actually pretty valid and apologized, promising to be more aware of the issue in the future. These were fixed in Season 6, where the Dean decides to come out of the closet to earn a spot on the school board and several students thank him for giving them courage to be who they are.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: In Season 3, Annie explains to Jeff how to acquire and use emojis, which they both call "special icons."
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Pierce and Chang. Both are often barely tolerated by the rest of the group, but they're popular characters with the fans.
    • Britta as well. Although not exactly disliked by the study group, they frequently call her a killjoy, and she's apparently not too popular with the rest of the Greendale student body, either:
    Vicki: You're the worst!
    Britta: Okay, she is just saying that to fit in!
    • The study group in general appears to be this to some degree; they're very close-knit with each other and are, of course, very popular with the fans of the show, but there's some evidence to suggest that they're not that well liked among the student body at large in Greendale. Although given that they are very judgmental regarding who they socialize with and prone to grabbing the Jerkass Ball, it really isn't that hard to believe.
    • Dean Pelton is also a popular character with fans, but in-universe he's clearly not respected by his staff and the Study Group finds him irritating more often than not. It's made explicitly clear in "Introduction to Teaching" when the Save Greendale Committee is formed and their first order of business is to bar him from attending meetings. Frankie, despite her rule about being constructive, eventually breaks down after he spends thousands of dollars on Honda merchandise, and she lays into him with a 30 second long epic verbal smackdown for the Dean being an idiot, being "so stupid", and for not having any idea about how stupid he is.
  • The Un-Twist: Chang is lying about his "Changnesia" in Season 4.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Zig Zagged for the Australian DVD release of Seasons 3 to 5. The series was broadcast with both a PG and M rating, meaning children are able to watch the episodes with some parental guidance. When the three seasons were released on DVD and online, it was classified with the very child-unfriendly MA 15+, which is an equivalent rating to ultra-violent media like Grand Theft Auto! Essentially, younger fans would not be able to buy any physical copies of the series. The reason why is due to the very foul-mouthed special features, including the commentary tracks.
  • Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Platonic and business examples:
    • The School Board members we see are two guys, both whom are not the brightest tools in the shed nor the nicest, and one is a proclaimed alcoholic. They are also utterly useless and serve as The Millstone at best from Seasons 3 to 6. Yet, each time the Dean refuses to expose them as incompetent or press charges for not realizing he had been kidnapped and replaced, forcing him to take charge of an "amnesiac" Chang who was said kidnapper, and leaving to die in an underground bunker with his favorite students after selling the university to Subway. He even says that's what Deans do: they cover up problems. It gets to the point where the Dean tries to flee from them in Season 6 and they have to corner him to ask him to become the token gay board member. Why would you keep sticking your neck out for them, Dean?
    • The Dean himself, as noted in Seasons 5 and 6, having the former study group and Frankie bail him out on a regular basis. He has Ultimate Job Security due to his big heart, but he is ridiculously incompetent, as shown by him accidentally causing a Zombie Apocalypse by buying discount meat from a store. Even back in Season 1, Annie wanted to run a story about how the Dean texted only black students about a concert, with the latter's defense being that he had low cellphone data but had learned his lesson by getting an unlimited plan. Jeff only killed the story in the school paper because he was worried about Annie getting in trouble with the school administration and having the Dean breathing down his neck. While the study group made the right call in saving him from Chang's imprisonment, since otherwise the school would have been blown up and no one deserves to be kidnapped for months on end, it's hard to see why they keep helping him. Heck, in Season 5, Jeff finds out that the Dean is shredding papers relevant to a student designing a dangerous bridge, and gets furious about him willing to overlook the moral hazard of a school that is more of a degree mill. The Dean claims he doesn't know how to be anything but a dean, and persuades Jeff to make him better by working as a teacher at Greendale. Needless to say, it doesn't take. And as the former study group agrees, hiring Chang again after lying about his credentials, becoming a de facto dictator who would blow up the school, and Faking Amnesia is downright mind-numbingly idiotic. Even Frankie at one point hits her Rage Breaking Point and gives the Dean a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how he's so stupid that he doesn't even know he's stupid when seeing he used the school budget to impulse-buy at least a dozen Honda vehicles. Why not replace him with something more competent?
  • The Woobie:
    • According to Word of God, Britta was designed to become this over the course of the series, especially in the Season 1 finale. Her self-esteem issues are certainly often referred to.
    • Abed also becomes this, particularly in "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas". Then the second half of Season 3 hits, exploring more of Abed we never knew. Virtual Systems Analysis has major insight to his issues.
    • Todd in "Competitive Ecology". Possibly the nicest guy on the show and an Iraq War veteran to boot, he spends the entire episode as the study group's punching bag (he is even insulted by some of the nicer members like Troy and Annie), none of whom want to be lab partners with him.
    • The Dean can become like this, at times.
    • Professor Kane. He spent 25 years in prison for a crime it's implied he didn't commit, dealt with some horrible students, and quit after a nervous breakdown from the death of Starburns. It gets worse when you find out Starburns faked his death, meaning Kane quit over nothing.

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