Hello friends! I’m back with a picspam for the second part of Community’s season 5 premiere, 5.02 “Introduction to Teaching.” This episode overall felt a lot better than “Repilot” because we got to watch the Study Group jump back into Greendale in their new roles. A lot of stuff played just as authentically as Seasons 1-3 felt (and sort of made the various failings of Season 4 more glaring) but it wasn’t without its issues, either. Mostly, I’m glad that the lighting/coloring is back to normal in this episode, because whew, that last one was a doozy!
If you missed my picspam for 5.01 “Repilot,” here it is. If you’re home sick with the flu, bored at work, hungry for more Community stuff, or just generally insane, here are my picspams from the first three seasons, still hosted over on my mostly-defunct LiveJournal page.
We begin the episode in a blessedly neutral-painted lecture room. The worst part about picspamming season 2 was that godawful orange Anthropology classroom that cast an unflattering hue on almost everyone. The Dean probably chose this classroom specifically for Jeff’s coloring and lighting purposes. Anyway, Jeff strolls in and acts cool and awkward at the same time (like “Oh I’m too cool to care about this, but also, it’s really obvious that this is my first time teaching”) and tells the class that he refuses to learn their names. He calls on Red Hair, and for one heart-stopping moment, I thought My Favorite Ginger was back, but alas, it’s just this guy who looks like a relative of Toby Flenderson, who asks about a syllabus. Jeff scoffs at the very idea of silly buses, then calls on Ski Cap, who plays Pi on Castle, whom I hate, therefore I also hate Ski Cap. He asks about grading and Jeff says, “No spoilers, Ski Cap,” and then this awesome guy named Dave raises his hand and Jeff decides he should probably learn names after all.
Jeff: “Come on, guys, percentages, grades, that syllabus thing… Are we human beings, or are we question-and-answer machines?”
Red Hair: “We’re students. And you’re a teacher.”
Jeff: “Yeah. I’m a teacher.”
It’s said with horror, not pride. I wish they’d worked a tad harder to make it clear that Jeff is disgusted with being a teacher at Greendale and not just with being a teacher in general.
He strolls down the hall and checks out a girl like he always does, but she somehow knows he’s a teacher now and expresses dismay that he leered at her. Leonard chooses that moment to taunt Jeff, who replies, “Shut up, Leonard, nice earring. You look like the road manager for the California Raisins.” I heard it through the grapevine that THAT’S NOT A VERY GOOD INSULT, JEFF, YOU WISH YOU WERE THE ROAD MANAGER FOR THE CALIFORNIA RAISINS.
A random kid-slash-California Raisins fan can’t believe a teacher is talking to a student that way, and I’m wondering if Jeff was constantly mistaken for a teacher in the hallways, but it never bothered him until now because he wasn’t one?
His office is D-502, which is the episode number, and his office mate is Buzz Hickey, Criminology professor. Hickey wheezes with laughter at Jeff’s belief that this job is only temporary, saying he’s been here “fifteen years and counting. Temporary! I like you.” Oh Jeffrey.
Back in Study Room F, everyone is admiring the new table, which apparently Abed varnished. He also took the opportunity to carve “Table Mk II” into it. “I added that, a few custom upgrades. It’s voice-activated. Table, resume Table Mode.” And magically, IT DOES. That Abed is amazing.
Then he tells the table to power down, which freaks out Troy because his drink was on it. WITHOUT A COASTER.
“Mr. Teacher Man!” himself comes strolling in, and everyone’s happy to see him even as he gripes about being a teacher. Annie says teaching is super noble, y’all (Annie gets it) but Jeff says, “Tell it to the guy who shares my office. He fixes cuckoo clocks for fun.” Annie thinks that sounds like her Criminology professor, Mr. Hickey (small world!) and she says she hopes Jeff will be a better teacher than him.
Jeff: “Annie, I don’t know law. I wasn’t a real lawyer, remember? I can’t just pretend I’m teaching. I’m not Mythbusters.”
Abed gasps, and for a moment, we think he’s about to argue in defense of Mythbusters, but no — he found a two-day course called “Nicolas Cage: Good or Bad?” and he’s signing up because “I’ve always wanted to know.” Bad, Abed. Nicolas Cage is bad.
Shirley: “There’s a course on Nicolas Cage, but if you mention Jesus to your science teacher, you get a written warning.”
Two things: 1. Written warnings? Really, Greendale? 2. By “mention,” I’m guessing Shirley does that *cough*JESUS!*cough* thing, or she not-so-slyly brings up Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ even when her science teacher is making them dissect owl pellets.
Abed: “Well Jesus wasn’t in 70 movies.”
Well, Jesus himself wasn’t, but I bet he’s been represented at least 70 times. Shirley’s epic glare is everything. Jeff cheerfully joins the “Cage Class” because it sounds fun and easy, until Annie brings him back down by pointing out that he has a class to prepare. “Thanks, Annie. For one glorious second, I forgot I was in rehab.” On cue, in comes the Dean humming “Pomp and Circumstance” as he decorates Jeff in academic garb. Kudos to Joel for keeping a straight face.
The Dean is excited that Jeff is going to help him save the school (yay! They’re actually going to stick with it! Hopefully!) but not alone! “I am learning Excel!” It’s crazy to me that the Dean of a school didn’t know how to use Excel… it explains so much…
Dramatic Professor Sean Garrity, formerly Professor Wooley, formerly formerly Professor Professorson, is teaching the Nicolas Cage class! I was so glad to see him back, he ranks just below Duncan on my list of Favorite Greendale Professors (and just above Professor Kane. Professor Slimcalves is not on this list) and he’s fantastic once more in this episode. Abed immediately asks Garrity if he knows whether Cage is good or bad, but Garrity already knows about Abed thanks to his exploits in the “Who’s the Boss?” class.
Garrity: “I promise you: this question has no answer.”
He assigns them to watch five Cage movies, no marathoning, and Abed is a little disappointed that this is their only assignment. Professor Garrity warns Abed to be careful.
Jeff is complaining about making a curriculum to Hickey, who pretty much ignores him as he shows Jeff the perks of being a teacher. How did Jeff not think of the perks?! For starters, he can cut in line in the cafeteria, “I can actually experience this food warm and disgusting.” Leonard taunts Jeff again, and Jeff knows now that he can’t deliver a good comeback because he’s an authority figure. Fortunately, Hickey beckons Leonard over to put him in his place.
Hickey: “This man’s name is Mr. Winger. And Mr. Winger is a teacher. Do you know what that means? It means he gets your meatballs.”
My instinct is to say that Leonard had it coming, except Jeff has done nothing to deescalate the antagonism between himself and Leonard either; their mutual disrespect across the teacher-student line was something that needed to be corrected, but unfortunately, it was Leonard who took the first bullet. Or… fork. He begs Hickey to leave him something, and Hickey takes a bite of meatball before putting it back on Leonard’s plate and telling him to scram.
Hickey: “This place is a zoo. The trick is, you gotta show the other baboons you’ve got a bigger redder ass.”
They “hit the lounge,” which is stocked with a drink cart and a reassuring haze of cigar smoke, and everyone laughs at Jeff’s fruitless struggle to create a syllabus. Chang, toting two martinis, says, “Here’s all you need to know: break into groups, grade each other’s papers, and please enjoy this seven-disc edition of Planet Earth.” Greeeeat idea to take teaching advice from the dude who got fired two years ago for being a horrible and unqualified Spanish teacher. You know, the same guy who washed his underwear in your dishwasher, threw a ham at you, took over your school, tried to burn it down, then faked a disease in another attempt to take you down?
But none of that is important right now. I couldn’t get a clear shot of him, but there’s a science teacher standing behind Jeff, wearing a lab coat with no less than FIFTEEN PENS in his pocket. He’s my new hero.
The Dean comes back to flirt with Jeff and brag about how he’s learning Excel, but Hickey shuts the door in his face and tells Jeff that it’s union rules that the Dean isn’t allowed in the faculty lounge. Jeff just found himself a little slice of paradise.
Troy: “Nicolas Cage is so weird. I mean he seems scared to smell that flower, but happy to get shot?”
Abed explains that Cage is complex (no, he’s just bad) and that he has some kind of allure that keeps people watching. Shirley’s speaking my Changuage:
Shirley: “Maybe he’s just good in good movies and acts crazy in crap to make drug money.”
Abed: “But is he good or is he bad? Every actor is something. Robert Downey Jr: Good. Jim Belushi: Bad. Van Damme: The good kind of bad. Johnny Depp: The bad kind of good. There’s a spectrum, and Cage is on it. I just have to find him.”
Annie, alarmed, excuses herself to check on Jeff. He’s living it up in the teacher’s lounge and tells Annie, “Consider our nation’s youth pre-inspired.” She recognizes Hickey’s voice as Jeff tells her they’re working on “syllabuses.” (Google docs does not recognize that as a misspelled word, I’m about to go Annie all over them…)
You can see the science teacher at the table behind Jeff, look at the pocket of his lab coat. Seriously: hero. It’s like that time Troy just had a pillow in his backpack.
Chang starts a teacher’s riot (“Let’s turn some lockers!”) as Jeff hangs up on Annie, who Disney-faces as she says, “It’s syllabi.”
The next day, Jeff greets “Guterman” in the hallway and I’m so excited because the science teacher has a name and he’s even named after Story Editor Dan Guterman (presumably). I’m hoping this means he’ll make scattered appearances and become my new favorite side character.
Jeff tells “Elaine” to “take it easy on the Oxford commas!” which, no, people need to know about Oxford commas, then he snaps at a passing student, “Hey, walk, don’t run, mister, this isn’t a racetrack!” He’s good at this.
Jeff: “Okay, Dangerous Minds, let’s break into groups, discuss chapter one, and if you are lucky, we might sneak in a little Planet Earth. Any questions?”
Lo and behold, Annie is in Jeff’s class! He only has time for a look of sheer horror and dread before Chang crows from the hallway, “Ohhhhh, she in your class, yo!”
Jeff tells the class to read chapter one (again?) and Annie adds, “And memorize the rules of federal procedure!” (I think Ski Cap is begrudgingly attracted to her, STAY AWAY FROM HER, PI.) Jeff dismisses the class, but Annie doesn’t dismiss Jeff. Suddenly, their student-teacher roles are reversed.
Annie: “I assume you know why I’m keeping you after class?”
Jeff: “Not really. Ski Cap and White Dave got lots of stuff wrong too.”
Annie: “You’re the teacher, Jeff.”
Jeff: “You don’t have to rub it in!”
Annie: “What I saw today was embarrassing. You were late, you clearly had no idea — hey!”
Jeff was distracted by Chang and Guterman, who were goofing off in the hallway. He’s like a small child.
Annie: “You had no idea what ‘tort reform’ meant, and when I asked you to explain the Sixth Amendment, you pled the Fifth!”
Jeff: “I know my rights!”
Annie: “No! You don’t! That’s the problem!”
She gives him a stack of books and tells him that she needs to know that he knows all of this stuff by tomorrow. He’s incredulous. “You’re gonna quiz me?! You’re the worst, I wish Troy was in my class instead of you!” But he takes the books nonetheless, either because he knows she’s right, or because he knows it’s not worth this battle if he wants to win the war.
Jeff: “IhateherIhateherIhateherIhateherIhateher –”
Hickey tells Jeff that he warned him about separating his worlds, “She’s lead, we’re chalk.” He tells Jeff she needs to be “taken out,” and he’s so scary that for a second, Jeff thinks he means in the mob sense, but Hickey adds, “of your class! I say minus her.” That’s right, folks: At Greendale, professors just “minus” you when you’re overly annoying. Hickey says it’ll drive her nuts, but Jeff knows Annie: “She’ll call me on it. She’ll report me.” Hickey keeps insisting, so Jeff reluctantly admits, “She’s my friend.”
Hickey asks if Jeff likes the “Leonard meatballs” and that’s when Jeff notices Leonard’s earring. Good thing he didn’t eat that on accident!
Hickey laughs and says he was just messing with Jeff, and Leonard comes over and asks, “You done with your bit? I’d like my earring back.” Hickey throws the earring across the cafeteria and says, “Go get your earring, you piece of human garbage.” Jeff, thankfully, is properly disturbed now.
Abed’s having a Cage-related breakdown when Annie and Troy get home.
Annie: “Maybe Nicolas Cage is just… crazy!”
Abed: “All actors are crazy, Annie. Some crazy actors are good, some are bad, but none of them are neither, there’s no such thing as neither, so which one is Nicolas Cage, huh? Huh? Huh?”
They both realize he’s too far gone already, so they don’t know how to react.
In class the next day, Jeff tells everyone to break into groups and quiz each other, but Annie asks if that’s really the best use of their time, and they end up having a pretty epic Jeff-and-Annie argument.
Annie: “It seems like the value of having you here –”
Jeff: “I think my value as a teacher is to teach you how to learn.”
Annie: “I think you’re telling us we should teach ourselves.”
Jeff: “I don’t think you’re gonna learn if I tell you how to think.”
Annie: “I think if you tell us what you think, then we’ll learn that.”
Jeff: “I thought you should break into groups, but you failed to learn that, so your theory is invalid.”
Annie is offended and upset, and runs from the class. It seems childish in the moment, but if you consider that maybe Annie did all of this on purpose in order to get Jeff to start teaching, it’s just genius.
Jeff knows he’s crossed the line, but he lets her go anyway as the tells the class to break into groups. Garrett is flummoxed. “Mr. Winger! How did you do that? You won an argument against Annie Edison!” Annie’s apparently got a reputation around campus as being kind of a hardass, and that’s amazing.
Jeff: “You don’t argue with Annie, Garrett. You let her argue with herself until she loses.”
Someone knows Annie really well. Ski Cap asks, “You can win by not arguing?” and then suddenly, Jeff is teaching from the Harvey Specter handbook. Everyone’s taking notes as he talks, and he even goes to the chalkboard to start illustrating some points.
The funny thing is, teaching is probably what is going to make Jeff a better lawyer. It’s apparent that Jeff’s business failed because he doesn’t have a basic understanding of law and government; he was a good underling at someone else’s law firm because he was willing to do anything to win a case, but having his own law firm exposed his flaws. Now, he’ll have to learn everything that he’s teaching, which will inevitably make him a better lawyer.
Jeff: “Annie! Don’t cry, you were right. I actually might enjoy teaching.”
But Annie’s not crying because of you, Jeff, God, self-centered much? That’s SO season 1 Annie! She’s crying over a real travesty: an A- on her Witness Intimidation project for Professor Hickey’s Crim class. Yes, you read that right: Witness Intimidation… in a Criminology class. Amazing.
Annie: “I guess I overextended my schedule. I’m sorry, Jeff. I have to drop your class.”
He doesn’t look as happy about that as he probably would’ve been an hour ago.
Professor Garrity is asking the class for their thoughts on Nicolas Cage, and Troy says he thinks the man is a genius. “He keeps getting hired for some reason, and it’s not because of his hair.” Shirley, once more, is speaking my Changuage: “I don’t know. If I was in 70 films over 30 years and I spent each one talking at random volumes, I might accidentally win an Oscar.”
Britta chimes in, and this is when we remember that she took Garrity’s acting class in season 2. “I think our opinions on pop culture are fed to us by machines designed to criminalize human autonomy.” Garrity, clearly annoyed, cuts her off at the end with “Good one.” I won’t lie: I want to see them interact a lot more. Britta gives him a sarcastic look as Shirley mean-mugs her from the side, that’s my favorite cap from the whole episode.
Abed walks in, clearly crazy already, holding a huge binder of Cage notes. Garrity asks how much Nicolas Cage he consumed, but Abed snaps “Enough!” and Garrity is forced to fall back. (I love the prevailing concept that Cage is some kind of dark vortex that you can get sucked into if you’re not careful.)
Abed explains that he watched enough to figure it out, because “This is my reality, this is how I learned to be, and by being, it doesn’t allow for NICOLAS FREAKING CAGE!” He throws the binder and goes on a bit of a Cage bender, impersonating him much to everyone’s horror. “I’m a cat! I’m a sexy cat!” Then he comes to and realizes what he just did, and he runs from the class. Troy, panicked, follows him yelling, “Think of something safe, like Holly Hunter or Don Cheadle!”
Shirley looks upset as Garrity says, “That was brilliant.”
Jeff: “You gave Annie an A-? How could you? What were you thinking? Are you drawing a peanut?”
No, Jeff, it’s a duck, duh. Jeff allows himself to get sidetracked by Hickey’s cartooning for only a second before he continues, “I want to know what kind of monster minuses the best student in his class.” Whoa now, okay. Best student in the class, I buy. But “monster” is kind of extreme, isn’t it? Maybe “scumbag” or “jerkface” or “butthead.” Jeff is really outraged!
Hickey: “I’m the monster?! I was in the storm drain lair of the Black River Ripper, I have seen human heads used for things other than heads! So you best not be calling me a monster!”
Jeff: “Okay! You’re a bad teacher!”
Much better, Jeff.
Hickey: “We do not work for them!”
Jeff: “Maybe we do!”
Hickey: “That does not count as an argument!”
Jeff: “Yeah, well drawing ducks does not count as cartooning!”
Hickey: “It’s one duck, his name is Jim, and publishers are interested!”
Jeff proudly goes to tell “Miss Edison,” who is sitting on the couch studying with Troy and Britta, that she got an A on her project after all, but Annie suspects he used his connections to bump up her grade. “No, an A- means you actually earned an A, but the teacher doesn’t like you. It’s a secret faculty thing.”
The three of them react with outrage, even Troy. “Et tu, Brute? Am I using that right?”
Annie rages about “old losers petty insecurities!” after she’s busted her behind for five years. Britta yells “Oligarchy!” as Troy yells “Et tu, Brute!” again, then Annie shoves Jeff aside, announcing that the whole school needs to know.
She yells “Minuses are made up!” just outside the library, and Real Neil tips over a garbage can and shouts, “It’s riot time!” Magnitude, not to be outdone, throws a brick through the study room window as he yells, “Pop pop!”
Meanwhile, back at Casa Troannibed, Shirley finds Abed cleaning up his Cage mess and throwing away his movies. Let’s take a moment and admire how fabulous Yvette looks in this scene!
Shirley: “If you’re looking for something to believe in, I know a skinny little Hebrew handyman you can meet.”
Abed: “I’m not gonna become Christian, Shirley. Or a better Muslim.”
He explains that movies were his religion, because he thought the meaning of people were in movies, but Cage taught him that people are random and indecipherable.
Shirley is fantastic though. Instead of pushing the whole conversion idea, she uses her Christianity as a comparison to Abed’s beliefs, which effectively gets them on the same plane.
Shirley: “Well, in my religion, the whole point is that you can’t understand every little thing, and there’s a word for people who remind you that you’re not God and invite you to try a little harder.”
Abed: “Prophets. Messiahs. Kung-Fu Pandas. So Nicolas Cage is Jesus?”
Shirley: “Uh, no. But he clearly works in mysterious ways, and maybe that’s just his job.”
Abed: “And that’s why critics can call him a genius or an idiot and be right no matter what.”
Shirley: “Mmhmm. A demon to some and an angel to others. Like a Cenobite.”
Abed: “Excuse me, did you just say Cenobite?”
Shirley: “Yeah, you know, Cenobite, like from Hellraiser?”
Abed: “You like Hellraiser. You know the word Hellraiser?”
Shirley: “I thought Pinhead in Space was a bit of a letdown, but I’m in it for the ride.”
Abed looks like the happiest human in the world.
Back at the school, the Study Group has drummed up an impressive riot. A bulletin board falls off the wall in the cafeteria, which was a brilliant bit of set design, since we see how grimy the walls really are and what they used to look like.
They chant “Slightly higher grades!” as Britta yells, “The whole world is watching this! Oh wait, I’m out of data minutes. The whole world will be watching this on the first of next month!”
Dean Pelton begs Jeff to distract them by taking off his shirt, but Jeff hilariously pushes the Dean aside and climbs up on a table to give a truly terrible Winger speech.
Jeff: “Do you think the students and teachers at Harvard are at each other’s throats? No! Because they are all rich! We all have something in common too. We all suck. We’re all broke. We just went through an entire week of meatball lunches without even blinking!”
Dean: “Oh, that’s on me. I converted the lunch menu to a spreadsheet.”
Jeff: “The teachers here are teachers here because they did something wrong, same as the students. So get on the same team! Because take it from me, those of us that get to leave aren’t going anywhere.”
Geez Jeff, are you even trying anymore?
The mob is dissatisfied, and they all start throwing meatballs and spaghetti at Jeff.
Later, Jeff’s morosely eating his lunch in the Dean’s office as the Dean explains about Excel. “I know it’s unrealistic to think that we can eliminate riots completely, but I have been crunching the numbers and I believe we can reduce them by 40%.” Hahaha. The Dean’s plan is for Jeff’s Save Greendale Committee (Working Title) to be a real thing: A student-teacher alliance with Jeff in charge.
Jeff: “I vote myself out.”
Dean: “You don’t have a quorum.”
Using it. The Dean also vaguely threatens to fire Jeff if he doesn’t do it.
Hickey comes in, telling Jeff that he’s bad at apologies and at drawing duck bills. He admits that he’s lost perspective, and that students aren’t his enemies. Jeff’s only got one concern: “Apologize to Annie.” Maybe… apologize to Leonard, too? Nah, that’s crazy talk. Hickey says he gave Annie her A, he doesn’t know how else to make it right, and when Jeff doesn’t let him off the hook, Hickey quits. But Jeff says he has a better idea.
Wearing his most flattering grey henley, Jeff conducts his first Student-Teacher Save Greendale Committee, which includes Professor Hickey in the honorary Pierce Hawthorne chair. Jeff’s first order of business: “We hereby ban the Dean from attending future meetings.” Everyone is happy to hear this. Second order of business: “Lunch.”
They all watch as Hickey squeezes some kind of “food” from a tube. “I’m taste-testing rations for the shelter I’m digging.” Troy asks what we’re all thinking: “Are you the coolest person in the world?” Hickey doubts it.
Britta points out that Asian-Americans are not represented in their group. (A LOT of minorities are not represented in their group…) Annie suggests bringing in Chang, but Britta doesn’t want to be hasty. “I just wanted to address it.”
Shirley asks if anyone wants some Lets potato chips. And yes… For lunch, Jeff is eating… an entire boiled egg.
The Dean stands in the doorway, barred from the committee, crying and thinking in French music thoughts about how heartbroken he is that Jeff isn’t learning Excel.
The tag is… a little weird. Troy and Abed are planning to ambush or scare Jeff, but Hickey ends up walking into the office unexpectedly. They’re forced to sit there and listen as Hickey tries to fix his Lipitor prescription, then calls his mother to tell her that they can’t afford to bury his father with the rest of the family. It was a huge downer of a tag after a pretty funny and solid episode.
Tune in tonight for the new episode, NBC at 8.