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YMMV / Community S3 E04: Remedial Chaos Theory

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • It's fair to assume that each roll of the die is Abed playing out each scenario in his head. Each moment is exactly what would happen when every person's number came up as Abed is a great student of the group's character. Abed knows Annie would get herself a gun because he knows she lives in a bad neighborhood. He knew Pierce would be jealous of Troy moving in with him and would try to get back at him, and, presumably, Troy told Abed about the Norwegian troll watching Troy sleep. Crosses into Fridge Brilliance.
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    • Many theorize that different timelines are meant to be the main one. Word of God says no, he's not that evil.
    • The effects of whoever leaves to get the pizza are implied to represent what would happen if that person left the group for good. Or is it meant to represent what would happen if that person became The Leader? (Pierce's timeline has the most Ship Tease, Abed's timeline has everyone getting over-emotional and arguing with each other, Troy's timeline ends in disaster, etc.) Why else, Jeff's timeline is the one with the Happy Ending.
    • Pierce not telling the "Eartha Kitt airplane bathroom story" in the prime timeline. On the one hand, it's very likely that it's just a result of him being cut off before he can reveal the story (even when he's actually given an organic opening in the conversation here to bring it up, unlike literally every other timeline shown) and doesn't get another chance. Alternatively, with Pierce musing "airplane bathroom..." to himself instead of loudly jumping in to tell his story, Pierce decided against pushing his own story that no one wanted to hear. There was even a point made to show Pierce smiling in contentment as he delivers the line. In the end, it would mean a lot more to Pierce's arc in the episode if he finally got a chance to have his story come up organically, only to realize that there's no need to tell it at all - not him just being too slow and getting cut off. In the same timeline, after all, he throws away the "present" he got for Troy, showing two instances of maturing and being able to let go of things.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Abed's decision in the "darkest timeline" that since this is obviously the worst of all possible timelines, they should go full Mirror Universe and become evil, complete with goatees he made out of felt. His friends (aside from Troy) aren't amused.
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    • The events of Timeline 5 in general.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The Police's "Roxanne," which plays throughout most of the episode. While Chris McKenna mentioned that it cost enough money that they weren't able to afford almost any other music on the show for the remainder of the third season, it's generally seen as Worth It by both the fans and cast & crew.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: It's possible to interpret every single timeline as how each member influences the group or what their personality is like. When Abed leaves the room, the group gets overwhelmed by their emotions. When Jeff and Pierce leave the room, the group became more cheerful and united.
    • Soooo, Troy keeps the chaos away?
    • Troy's the only one (possibly because he's just too dimwitted) of the group that is genuinely nice to everyone. He gets angry/frustrated like any person, and his choices aren't always entirely selfless or for the best because he's not perfect, but he has no prejudice. Think about it: In the first episode: Pierce hates young people (or all people, or life, or something...), Shirley's ultra-religious, Abed can only see people as tropes which inevitably leads to prejudice, Annie is a little pretentious/thinks she's smarter than all the others, Jeff definitely thinks he's too good for community college and Britta has her high-and-mighty 'look I'm an activist and I care about issues' thing going on.
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  • Funny Moments: From a Black Comedy perspective, pretty much all of Timeline 5.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Troy's absence leading to the darkest timeline seems harsher after Donald Glover left the show in the fifth season, which became the last season after NBC cancelled the show. You could say Troy leaving the group really did lead to the darkest timeline. This was later subverted when it was announced that Yahoo! Screen would produce at least one more season with virtually the same budget as the NBC seasons.
    • Relatedly, a consequence of the darkest timeline being Pierce's death becomes a lot more uncomfortable given not only Chevy Chase's already "eclectic" relationship with the show deteriorating to the point that he would outright quit in Season 4, but that his own character (Pierce) would be killed off less than a season after that in Season 5.
  • Heartwarming Moments: The real timeline's ending to the party, where everyone (excluding Jeff and Pierce) ends up dancing to the Police's "Roxanne", Abed invites Annie to move in with him and Troy, and Pierce throws his troll doll "gift" out the window (avoiding an ugly confrontation with Troy). Additionally, Jeff (despite being the reason the song never got started in all of the other timelines) looks on at his friends dancing with an amused smile.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This wouldn't be the last Dan Harmon-related show that would deal heavily in alternative timelines populated by potentially "evil" variants of the main protagonists.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Jeff, for using a six-sided die in a group of seven people to determine who has to go get pizza, meaning he'll never have to go to get pizza. Abed even calls him out on it in the real timeline.
    • Abed as well, seeing as how he sent a fake club invitation to Jeff a month ahead, just so he would keep his calendar open for the party.
  • Memetic Mutation: The moment where an oblivious, smiling Troy comes back to find the apartment has become a flaming warzone in under two minutes. The clip of him cheerily entering the apartment and stopping dead in his tracks as he surveys the pandemonium is frequently used as a GIF in reaction to both fictional and real-world events, usually when a situation has suddenly become very dramatic. It's particularly common on social media like Tumblr and Twitter, where someone can leave their feed for a given period of time (say, to go to sleep) only to return to find that everyone they're following has suddenly gone crazy over something.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Let's be honest - That troll doll Pierce brought over for Troy was really damn creepy.
    • Abed's attempt at a smile when greeting Annie and Britta, which looks more like barely restrained murderous rage.
    • Even though it's Played for Laughs, the events of Timeline 5 are still pretty horrifying in how brutally realistic both the events on display and their consequences are.
  • Signature Scene: Present on two levels:
    • From the episode itself, Troy returning to the apartment in Timeline 5 (as previously noted under Memetic Mutation).
    • From the series as a whole, both this episode and Season 1's "Modern Warfare" are often considered to be the signature episodes of Community, and are both generally seen as the best episodes of the entire series.
  • Squick: Jeff is very turned off in Timeline 6 when Annie tells him that his protective instinct concerning her reminds her of her father, which he quickly lampshades.
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