Against all odds, school is back in session at Greendale Community College as Dan Harmon’s Community premiered its Season 5 double-episode opener last Thursday. Against slightly smaller odds, I am here presenting you with a picspam of episode 5.01, “Repilot.”
For readers who don’t know, I used to do these picspams for as many episodes as I could when Community was first airing. I initially did them as a means to get my friends to watch the show, which only had a small following in those pre-Tumblr days of yore. But I got an unexpected following and ended up getting perfect strangers interested in the show… and one of those strangers happened to be Moff, our very own WWFTP creator.
Picspams are meant to showcase the scenery or pretty people of a show, but mine had a fair bit (okay, they were mostly comprised of) ramblings and recaps as well. A lot of my opinions, both of the show and of life in general, have changed since I wrote those early ones. Here, I will attempt to rein myself in. I promise!
Before I start, I wanted to note that most of this episode had a ghastly blue filter going on. It was meant to depict the bleakness of Greendale and of the Study Group itself, but on top of most of the shots being rather dark (even in the Dean’s office) it made coloring the screencaps pretty difficult. Still, the actors look as wonderful as ever, with the exception of Joel McHale, who has actually filled out (in a muscly way, not a body fat way) since we last saw him.
**This post contains spoilers!**
We open with a truly ridiculous commercial for Jeff’s law firm, complete with a terrible costume and a corny superhero song. (Moff, who was livetweeting from our official Twitter account last night, correctly called that Abed must’ve helped Jeff make this commercial.) But oh no! Repo men are taking away Jeff’s furniture as he sits there scruffily sipping scotch and glowering.
Rob Corrdry appears, reprising his role as the Worst Human in the World Alan Connor, to tease Jeff about his practice failing and being a general loser who has his bachelor’s degree from a community college on his wall. But he gives Jeff something that could be his ticket out of this mess. A man named Humphries designed a bridge which has collapsed, and he is now seeking to sue “the only school reckless enough to give him a degree in engineering.” Alan asks Jeff to get him Humphries’ records, insisting that if he subpoenas them, Greendale will shred the evidence. Jeff believes in Greendale, but Alan accuses him of losing his “Winger moves.”
“Look, I might be broke, desperate and nearly homeless, but I’ve still got one thing deep down inside that gives me power–that was it. That was all I had.”
Oh scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch.
We get pretty location shots of Greendale as the Dean voices over, “Dean Pelton here, wishing you another magic year at Greendale, ranked America’s #2 Community college by GreendaleCommunityCollege.com.” Jeff discovers the trophy case boasts exactly one trophy: The Most Valued Customer one that’s been in there the whole time. But now there’s an added article clipping of the debate that he and Annie won in 2009. He smiles to himself at the memory of the good times, possibly thinking of the hours they spent preparing, the fact that their friends all turned up to support them, and maybe he remembered that kiss a tiny bit.
He hurls an insult at Leonard without missing a beat (“I’m just a figment of your creeping dementia!”) before heading to the main office to try to charm those files out of an unfriendly Rhonda. The ol’ Winger moves are a little rusty.
“Rhonda, why are you wearing Jeff Wingers–*gasp* Jeffrey! Are you looking for your friends? They don’t go here anymore. Maybe you’re looking for something that was in front of you the whole time, just a pitch.”
Rhonda rats Jeff out, but the Dean believes Jeff is there to save him, so he sends him to the records room, which happens to be their old study room. “After you and your friends left, it was closed for sentimental reasons. And asbestos reasons.”
Jeff sifts through the H boxes, encountering such alarming files as “Harrassment Reports,” “Hazardous Waste Citations,” and “Herpes, Water Fountains.” It’s all so very Greendale that he doesn’t even flinch, he’s more distracted by the lack of the Humphries files in these boxes.
Then Abed appears, which scares the crap out of Jeff. “I see your value now. It’s a callback to when we met first season. And me calling years ‘seasons’ is a callback to my first season dialogue.” Jeff cuts him off and asks what he’s doing there, and Abed says the Dean told him about the Save Greendale Committee (Working Title) and asks to join. Jeff knows what this means: “Who else did he call?” “Just me. I called everyone else.”
They all come in screaming and giggling and hugging Jeff, like they haven’t seen him in ages. Have they? It’s never addressed in this episode, but besides the commercial that Abed and Jeff shot together at some point, there’s no indication that Jeff’s been hanging out with the group. In fact, it’s pretty clear he hasn’t seen them in a while, given that he doesn’t know what they’re all doing for work right now. Anyway, Abed asks if it’s cool that he called them.
“It’s the… coolest…” This is actually a callback to the original pilot, remember? Abed invited a bunch of people to join the study group and Jeff gave him a thumbs-up and gritted out the same line in the same way. Elegant, Mr. Harmon. I approve.
Annie asks why Jeff didn’t call them and he lies, saying he thought they were all starting their careers, but their lukewarm and awkward responses pique his interest.
“What have they done to our home? The table is buried!” They all work together to uncover the table, and Annie remarks that this is where they all became a family. Shirley corrects, “Where Jeff made us a family.” Aww!
Abed: “We can repilot. This could be like Scrubs, Season Nine. A revamp. A do-over. Jeff can come back to Greendale as a teacher.”
Jeff: “I’m not gonna be a teacher, Abed, that’s lame.”
Britta entreats Jeff to sit down and let them help him save Greendale, but suddenly Jeff looks a lot like how I imagined he looked that time Professor Slimcalves asked him to pick up some Chubby Hubby ice cream. He excuses himself to the bathroom, and the group looks stricken, but Abed tells them to give him some time.
Abed: “Repiloting can be intense. New people show up, regulars shift roles or even fall away. Season Nine of Scrubs, Zach Braff was only in the first six episodes.”
Troy: “That son of a bitch! After everything Scrubs did for him?… Sorry.”
The exchange hurts if you know about Donald Glover’s impending departure. It also makes you wonder how he felt about delivering that line.
Jeff’s gone to the Dean, who is “Vision boarding!” which, I’m not even going to get into that, but Jeff barges in anyway, and the Dean clearly doesn’t mind.
Turns out the Dean DID shred all of the Humphries records, and the only thing that’s left is his thesis: A bridge made out of Legos, which collapses as soon as Jeff sets it down. It’s even more hilarious in action, I was still laughing at it half an hour later.
Dean: “So sue me! This ain’t Harvard, Jeffrey! Okay, my job is to give a certain number of degrees per year, or we could get shut down!”
Jeff: “And that would be bad because…?”
Dean: “Uh, because I wouldn’t have a job? And, you know… Greendale is a good place for good people, that whole spiel.”
Jeff: “Yeah. That whole spiel.”
I think Moff tweeted it best:
I think so too. Look at his face!
Jeff calls Alan, who is talking on a landline from what appears to be his swanky office, see it in the top left screencap? But in the very next shot, Alan is talking on his cell phone. This is a truly puzzling error. It can’t simply be an editing issue or a problem with continuity–they knew he’d have to be on a mobile because that entire set was built as a joke included in the scene, so why have him on the land line at all?
Anyway, right as Alan is raging at Jeff about losing those documents, a bellhop appears and says, “Sir, I have to ask you to leave the concierge desk.” It earned the second wheezing body-shaking laugh from me (the Lego bridge was the first one) in an episode that actually wasn’t as funny as they normally are. It’s something only Community could–and would–do.
Alan freaks out, saying he’s screwed. “My wife left, my girlfriend dumped me, and they’re sisters, so now the whole family is pissed.” Jeff tells him to shut up and bring class action forms to the school, saying he can create five new clients as he looks at his friends through the study room window. Oh Jeffrey. Different pilot, same delusions.
Annie asks for fundraising ideas (because even if we have no plan in place, we know we’ll need money) but shoots down Shirley prematurely (“That aren’t bake sales!” and please, please take a moment to appreciate Yvette’s epic glare in the bottom left screencap) and then Troy’s as well (“Or opening a zoo where the humans are in cages and the animals come to visit.”) Jeff returns and Britta asks if he’s okay, because he left kinda weird. Jeff starts his manipulation, saying he can’t stop thinking about how the school is in trouble because of that bridge collapse guy.
Britta: “He’s the one making bad bridges. That’s like me blaming owls for how much I suck at analogies.”
Never change, Britta. I mean, maybe change a little, back into who you were in season 1, but at the same time, never change.
Jeff says they need to make Greendale “litigation-proof,” and asks Annie, “How did Greendale hurt you?” She says it hasn’t, she loves hospital administration, but Abed points out that she’s not even in that field; she’s in pharmaceuticals. She uses her I-love-butterflies voice to say that the company she works for “invented fibromyalgia, and the cure for fibromyalgia!” There’s a cure for fibromyalgia? How come my great-aunt doesn’t know about this?
Of course, it’s not a Harmon episode if the girls aren’t bickering while the guys sit idly by (it’s the one thing I was dreading about Harmon’s return, because a hallmark of the second season was the constant bickering between Annie and Britta; we were supposed to believe they were friends even though the only thing we saw onscreen was hostility) so of course it’s Britta who says a little too harshly, “You push drugs now? That’s ironic.” It needed to be said, obviously, since Annie is a recovering drug addict, but why couldn’t someone else say it?
Annie of course volleys back to Britta, saying a little too shrilly, “Speaking of irony, how’s the therapy market? Depressed?” Sigh. Britta says she’s on sabbatical, which Troy misinterprets as Britta being Jewish now, and Britta spins some BS about the psychology of alcoholism, to which Shirley says, “You’re a bartender, aren’t you?”
“Which is basically like a modern day therapist! If somebody tells me about a murder, I can’t tell anyone!”
Troy’s not doing anything right now either; Abed’s writing software, and when he makes it big, Troy is going to sue him. Jeff is shocked that Abed is now in programming and asks if his film degree didn’t get him a good job in the film industry. That’s when we find out that Abed directed Jeff’s commercial, but that he quit over “creative differences.”
Jeff: “I asked you to put the phone number on the screen.”
Abed: “I didn’t like it the number. 555? It’s derivative.”
Jeff: “It’s the number of my business!”
Abed: “It sounds fake. How can every number start with 555? Are there only 10,000 numbers?”
Annie is upset because Abed told her he got fired, and he hasn’t been paying his rent on their apartment for the past two months. Britta, coming to Abed’s defense (I’m choosing to see it as noble instead of more girl-fighting) asks Annie why she didn’t just “sell him a pill that will help him give up on his dreams.”
They get into a fight (Annie says at least her drugs aren’t slurped out of her belly button, and Britta says “That’s only on Tummy Tuesdays!”) and then Shirley interrupts with “Andre left again.” Womp-womp.
“It’s not like last time, he’s staying with family. He took the boys, he took the dog, he took the DVR… 166 episodes of Bones, just gone. It was my fault this time. I cheated on him, with Shirley’s Sandwiches. I threw the money into expanding, I just didn’t think I could fail.”
Poor Shirley. No one knows how to respond, and after a moment, Jeff says, “Just so you know, this is the sort of stuff that someone could use to make a claim against a school.” His phone buzzes, and he hilariously announces, “I have to go to the bathroom again.”
Troy: “Do you guys feel weird about doing this without… Magnitude?”
Don’t we all?
Jeff explains his flipping plot to Alan, adding, “I forgot what it was like to be good at being bad.” Alan makes some kind of “come to daddy” comment and Jeff says, “Sorry, change of daddies,” which got a huge reaction on Twitter.
“Jeff… you’re scaring me.”
“Good. Guys like you should be more scared. You trust-funded, body-sprayed, Eli Roth DVD owner. You’re an amateur monster, Alan, and you stomped on the grave of a real monster who was willing to stay buried, because real monsters have shame. Because they wish that — you’re not worth the monologue. Give me your tie.”
Best Winger speech ever: The one that was never finished.
Alan, terrified, gives Jeff his tie (hilariously, a clip-on) and Jeff proceeds to whip him with it. “That’s for making me go to this school, that’s for making the last four years happen, and now I get to make them un-happen for me and the only people I care about.”
That’s the real difference between the Pilot and the Repilot. PilotJeff was willing to do anything to get through college without doing any work or forging any connections. He treated it like bitter medicine he had to take, and if he got to sleep with the hot blonde from his Spanish class, well that was a nice bonus. But RepilotJeff, while finding himself in a parallel morally gray area, is actually now choosing between his friends and his school. For four years, Jeff saw the Study Group and Greendale as one and the same, but right now, all he sees are the five people he cares about and the disappointments they’re facing in the wake of their graduation. Maybe it’s the school’s fault just a little bit, but having just heard from the Dean that not even he cares about the school’s well-being, Jeff’s basest instinct of self-preservation kicks in… and amazingly, it includes five other people this time.
Shirley: “I failed my husband, I failed my kids… I failed Bones!”
Annie: “I’m helping to hook a whole new batch of little Annies on Adderal!”
Abed: “I’ve been spending so much time with computers, your tears are just 1’s and 0’s to me.”
Shirley: “Yeah, you were a real Hallmark card before.”
Troy: “I’m much sadder than the rest of you! I will figure out why later!”
Jeff reappears, and the group admits that their lives aren’t all that great right now. But their solution surprises him… they’re going to re-enroll!
Chang takes that opportunity to reappear, out of an actual box fort. He says he faked the Changnesia, did some time, and is now out on house arrest, which is tethered to the school. Oh, and he’s a math professor now! On the one hand, that’s so Greendale to hire him back, but on the other hand, Chang was at his funniest when he was an authority figure.
Troy: “They seriously rehired a teacher they fired for trying to burn down the school?”
Shirley: “After being re-hired as a security guard, after being fired for impersonating a teacher!”
Abed: “That’s insane. And I’m Abed.”
This sends them all into Jeff’s waiting (metaphorical) arms… or so it would seem.
Alan does the slow clap (Abed joins in) before revealing Jeff’s not-so-nefarious intentions! He’s lucky he doesn’t get punched in the face, but maybe Alan’s used to taking a beating.
Jeff: “I never lied to you. I showed you the right truth. Britta, when we met, you were an eclectic anarchist. When did you become the group’s airhead?”
Britta: “Thank you?”
Jeff: “Shirley, you’ve gone from an independent divorcee striking out on her own to a bankrupt fry cook hoping for a call from her husband. Troy, your entire identity has been consumed by your relationship with another man.”
Troy: “You found my Clive Owen Tumblr.”
Jeff: “And what happened to Annie the unstoppable go-getter?”
Annie: “Well, there was that gas leak last year.”
Jeff: “Oh don’t blame it all on a gas leak year. This was a four year process. We went in one end as real people and came out the other end as mixed up cartoons!”
Jeff: “Sure. This coming from the guy who’s had how many psychotic breaks on campus?”
Abed: “Are we counting the gas leak year?”
In case you haven’t figured it out: Season 4 = Gas Leak Year. The elegance is in the simplicity.
Jeff tells them to get something back from this school that has seemingly ruined their lives, and to sign the form for the class action lawsuit. Troy brings up the commercial, saying that Jeff is their hero, but Jeff says it was a lie: “In real life, the robot wins.” This breaks Troy, who is the first to sign the form. This is progress, though, because Jeff isn’t screwing them over, he’s screwing the school over in what he believes is their best interest. Shirley signs next, telling Jeff she’s doing it because it’s what he wants, but Jeff says, “The choice to make is yours.”
Annie: “No, it’s yours. We’re putting Greendale in your hands.”
Britta goes to sign, then asks, “Do we all have to say something…?” which is why she’s amazing. Abed, as he signs, tells Jeff, “You brought us together.” Jeff says he did it with lies, but Abed corrects him: “What you do is above lying, remember? You show us the right truth.”
Jeff tells them they won’t regret this.
Abed wants to take the table out back and burn it, for “the same reason I never returned Time Bandits to Blockbuster… nobody else deserves it.” They separate the tables, because symbolism.
Outside the library, a hologram of Pierce pops up and scares Jeff. It’s pretty freaky! It’s part of the Pierce Hawthorne Museum of Gender Sensitivity and Sexual Potency, which was constructed as part of a court order because “some women can’t take a compliment.” He goes on to talk about the great parts of Greendale, and how “it gives crappy people a chance to sort themselves out.” Fittingly, his last line is, “Did I sound gay at the end? Want to do another take?” Props to Chevy Chase for coming back and doing a cameo, it was a nice surprise and a very well-kept secret.
That’s when Jeff realizes that no matter how far he’s come since that first day of study group, he’s still making the same mistakes. He’s still finding the easiest and quickest ways out of tough situations, and the only difference now is that he’s taking other people with him. Sure, it’s good growth to care about people and put their needs at least on par with yours, but ultimately, what he’s doing is still wrong. They probably could’ve won the suit, this IS Greendale, but then what? Their home would be gone.
Jeff barges into the Dean’s office once more (“Jeffrey! I’m not decent!” “I know!”) and shows him the paper with his friends’ signatures.
Jeff: “These are the signatures of the five people that are crazy enough to care about this toilet! And tonight, I almost got them to sue it! Heed the warning!”
Dean: “It’s not easy being dean, Jeffrey!”
Jeff: “Then stop being the dean!”
Dean: “It’s my whole ideantity! I mean, see what I did there? That’s proof!”
Jeff: “Get your crap together! Your job is not to hand out degrees, your job is to make this a toilet that people don’t have to be crazy to care about!”
The Dean asks him to stay and help him save the school, but he can’t give him money. “I could offer you a job!” “You just described slavery.” But no, the dean is offering Jeff a paying job as a professor.
Outside, Abed and Troy are dousing the tables in lighter fluid as Annie casually talks about having taken some samples from work, because that’s totally something a recovering drug addict would do without a second thought. (Elementary is sort of ruining the curve on writing recovering drug addicts on network TV; after watching Sherlock’s struggles, I expect more for Annie, writing-wise.)
Troy asks if he can be a surprise witness in their trial, and then says, “Wait. Don’t tell me.”
Jeff appears on the steps and tells them they shouldn’t sue the school, and that makes them all groan as Britta asks, “Are you trying to give us emotional whiplash?” Jeff says this is a place where they can figure themselves out, and Abed asks if he got a teaching job. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Annie decides to go back to forensic science, admitting that it was her fault she gave up on it. Abed says he needs to learn how to work with other people, and Troy says he needs to figure out who he is (Abed says he’ll help, which I think… is gonna be why Troy ends up leaving). Shirley wants to learn how to run a business by her own standards, and Britta decides she wants to work toward a masters in psychology.
Annie: “Or… you could find another major.”
Britta: “A real psychologist!”
Shirley: “How about English?”
Jeff: “All right, what’s important is, no matter what, we’ll be trying to talk Britta into doing something different… together.”
Awwww! Then Britta lights the paper on fire, and the Jeff drops it and accidentally sets the table on fire. Repilot!
Zach Braff does a voiceover as the gang works in woodshop to build a table (which earns them an F on the birdhouse they were supposed to be building, which earned the third huge laugh from me). “Little victories count for a lot around here. Even if you never asked to win in the first place. And you have to enjoy those nice moments while you can.” That’s when we see that Abed is showing the group an episode of Scrubs, but they’re all less than enthused about the end-of-episode voiceovers to wrap things up.
We cut to Jeff writing his name on the chalkboard as Braff concludes, “Because around here, they never last very long.”
Dean: “Once more, more teachery.”
Jeff: “I want to kill myself.”
Dean: “Use that.”
The tag consists of a funny cut Abed did of Jeff’s commercial, where he manipulated it to show him shrinking, eating, and then farting out Superhero Jeff. Further proof that boys never grow up.
I will be back soon with a picspam for 5.02, but in the meantime, leave your thoughts on this episode in the comments! Are you happy to be back at Greendale?