“Always Be Cageing”

Warning: this post contains spoilers from episode 5.02  of NBC’s Community, “Introduction to Teaching”

My favorite thing about TV is probably the relationships people have with each other, and Community has never left me wanting for relationships. The chemistry these actors have with each other is a sight to behold, and I have fallen in love with each and every one of them.

Professor Garrity is the best.

The second episode of this season, entitled “Introduction to Teaching,” showed Jeff’s first couple of days as a teacher at Greendale. The problem is, he’s teaching “Fundamentals of Law,” which he knows nothing about. He made a good lawyer because he was a good talker. The show had already proven this with the ninth episode of season one, “Debate 109” when he didn’t know how to debate. Jeff has generally always won because he has a silver tongue, so he is lost at being a law teacher.

Fortunately, Jeff is able to learn both the wrong and right ways of being a teacher in this episode. He learns the wrong way by his new friend, Professor Buzz Hickey, played by Jonathan Banks. Hickey shows him they are the alphas of the school, and also introduces him to the Dean-free teachers’ lounge, where Jeff meets a whole bunch of teachers partying and living carefree lives with Chang amongst them. Chang and Hickey tell Jeff the easiest way to go about teaching is have the students teach themselves, and grade each other during group work. I think I may know why they guy who built the bridge in the first episode was able to get a degree from this school.

Luckily, Jeff also has Annie. Annie is the driven one, and when she calls him to see how his syllabus is coming along, she hears the teachers partying in the back. It was no surprise to the viewers when she showed up in his class the next day, forcing him to act like a real teacher. I love the scene where she gives him the lecture at the end of the class. One of the best things about Jeff’s and Annie’s relationship is how Annie helps make Jeff a better person. In this case, she is trying to make Jeff take on his responsibilities and become a better teacher. Jeff doesn’t argue with her when she hands him all of the law books to study; instead, he takes them and walks out.

The next scene begins with Jeff continuously saying, “I hate her” to Hickey. Hickey simply tells him to get rid of her, and for a second, Jeff thinks that may mean “kill her.” Hickey seems like the kind of person who would kill someone. Maybe that is why he is the criminology professor. However, Hickey tells Jeff to “A minus” her because it would get rid of her. I seriously think Annie Edison is a frequent topic in the teachers lounge. She is the kind of person other teachers warn each other about. Jeff can’t minus her because Annie is his friend, and he knows she doesn’t deserve that. Annie even leads him to accidentally teaching his students. He is able to win an argument with her in class, and after she leaves, the students wonder how he was able to beat Annie. He actually enjoys teaching them what he knows about law, and afterward, he goes to tell Annie about it. Unfortunately, she has received an A- from Hickey for her “Witness Intimidation” project.

This leads Jeff to confront Hickey, because Annie deserves better. Jeff is still protective of Annie, and knows she is not an A- student, especially after Hickey told him minuses were made up. After Jeff gets her grade fixed, he tells Annie that she has her A back. I love Annie. She doesn’t want a grade she didn’t deserve, so Jeff is forced to tell her that minuses are made up. This leads Annie, aided by Troy and Britta, to start a riot. I personally think Neil was ready for a riot, the way he pushed over the trash can and yelled, “It’s riot time!” Actually, most of the students looked ready to go into riot mode.

One of the shocking things about the riot is that Jeff isn’t able to stop it with a Winger speech. In fact, he wasn’t even able to convince his friends. The only person he is able to really convince is Hickey, who later admits he is bad at apologies, and has already apologized to Annie by giving her an “A.” Jeff is also able to get Hickey to join the new Save Greendale Committee. The end of the episode shows Hickey in Pierce’s old spot, but he will never be able to replace him. I’m glad they decided not to get someone exactly like Pierce.

The final relationship in this episode was the one between Shirley and Abed. It only lasted one scene, but it spoke volumes. I love the fact that it was Shirley, and not Troy, who found Abed at his apartment throwing away his movies. Shirley and Abed seem like polar opposites compared to the rest of the group, but it is a relationship that is beautiful. Abed isn’t able to decide whether Nicolas Cage is a good or bad actor (even if he may be able to do some great impersonations), and tells Shirley he lost faith in his love for movies. Shirley is able to keep Abed from giving up on his movies by relating with him through her religion. She tells him Nicolas Cage might work in mysterious ways, which I’m willing to believe. The thing that really seals the scene for Abed is when she starts referencing Hellraiser. By using a reference he is able to understand, Shirley is able to stop Abed from giving up his love for movies.

Other highlights:

Professor Garrity was back. He is one of my favorite professors, and I always wish to see more of him.

I loved Chang eating popcorn outside of Jeff’s class and doing an ‘oh snap’ about Annie being in his class. Chang has got his groove back this season.

It feels like the driven Annie Edison I fell in love with is back.

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