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Abed the alien

     Advanced Criminal Law  
Director: Joe Russo — Writer: Andrew Guest — Aired: October 15, 2009 — Season: One — Number: Five
Summary: Jeff uses his lawyer skills to defend someone in the study group who confessed to cheating on the last Spanish test. Meanwhile, Annie recruits Pierce to write a new school song.


If I'm going to cheat, I'm not going to copy information from a book onto a piece of paper. That's practically learning, for God's sake.
— Jeff
Over the P.A. system, Dean Pelton announces that Greendale is having a dedication ceremony for a new statue in honor of Luis Guzman who is an alumni of the school. Duncan runs into Jeff in the hallway and asks if he's done pursuing Britta so he can go after her himself. Later in Spanish class, Troy messes with Abed and tells him a bunch of false information about himself. Jeff asks Britta for her actual phone number after finding out she had given him a fake one. Señor Chang then silences the class and confronts his students over a crib sheet he discovered that was used to cheat on the last exam. He issues the ultimatum that if no one comes forward to claim responsibility, he will fail everyone in class.

ACL Chang presents to the class the crib sheet
Chang presents the crib sheet to the Spanish class.
Back in the study room, the group tries to figure out who is the culprit, and various finger pointing ensues. Britta stops the arguing by saying that it's Chang that everyone should really be upset with. Annie says she can't deal with the additional threat of a zero on top of having the stress of heading up the school song committee. She explains she has to come up with a new school song before the Luis Guzman statue dedication ceremony. Pierce volunteers his services as a songwriter saying he once wrote a jingle for Hawthorne Wipes. Abed suggests Troy can help as well since he's the one who invented rap music. Troy explains that all the stuff he told him in Spanish class wasn't true, and he was just messing with him which is what friends do.

ACL I may be stupid but I'm not trying to look like I'm not edited-1
"I may be stupid, but I'm not trying to look like I'm not."
The next day in the cafeteria, Annie tells Pierce that the Dean signed off on him writing the new school song. Later in Spanish class, Chang gives the perpetrator ten seconds to reveal their identity, or he'll fail the whole class. After Annie screams when time is up, Britta steps forward and claims responsibility. Chang instructs the students to turn on her, and they pelt Britta with paper balls until she runs out of the classroom. Jeff finds her later inside the student lounge and expresses his shock at her being the culprit. They are interrupted by Dean Pelton who tells Britta she is being brought before a disciplinary tribunal tomorrow in Borchert Hall. Jeff offers to act as her counsel, but Britta questions his real motivations.

ACL Britta is pelted with paper balls by her classmates
Britta is pelted with paper balls by her Spanish 101 classmates.
The following day, Abed finds Troy in the study room and tries to mess with him. Troy explains he isn't that gullible but notices Abed writing something down on a note pad in a weird language before running off and making a strange noise. At Borchert Hall, the tribunal consisting of Chang, the Dean, and Professor Duncan has convened with Jeff, who is representing Britta. Chang is asked to provide testimony and goes on at length and in too much detail about everything that happened. Meanwhile, Pierce is at a piano, struggling to write the school song in the music room. Annie shows up concerned about his progress, but Pierce chases her off, insisting that her presence is stifling his creativity.

ACL The tribunal convenes
The tribunal convenes at the swimming pool.
Back at the tribunal, Chang finishes up his long-winded testimony. Jeff calls Britta to the witness stand and asks her point blank if she was responsible for the crib sheet. When she says no, Jeff makes the claim that she only confessed to the crime because Chang had threatened everyone with a failing grade. He asks that the case be thrown out, and Pelton is about to agree before Britta changes her testimony and admits that she actually was the one who cheated. Jeff's call for a brief recess is granted only after the judges' table gets splashed by one of the divers at the pool. Elsewhere, Troy is confused by Abed's actions when he notices him talking to himself about their interactions.

ACL troy is unsure about what to make of abed's behaviour
Troy is unsure of what to make of Abed's behavior.
During the recess, Duncan and Chang continue to bicker while Jeff is trying to come up with a new defense now that Britta has confessed. She gets upset and claims he's only helping her because he wants to sleep with her. Jeff says that he genuinely likes her, and he wouldn't be going through all this trouble just for sex which he could easily get from other women. Britta is apologetic and starts to go on about how much of a screw up she is when Jeff becomes inspired. When they return to the tribunal, he presents his new defense: Britta is insane. Her self-loathing caused her to sabotage herself, and someone like that deserves to be at Greendale. The school is a haven for crazy, pointing out Pelton, Chang, and Duncan's eccentric behaviors.

ACL Gentlemen my client is insane
Gentlemen, my client is insane.
The speech moves the judges, and Duncan declares Britta exonerated as long as she agrees to see him for counseling. Troy comes across Abed in a storage closet, seemingly contacting his home planet. He rushes in and tells Abed to stop it as he saw through the elaborate prank a long time ago. Troy tells him he went too far with the gag, and that from now on, they won't mess with each other. Meanwhile, Pierce still hasn't come up with a new school song. Annie checks in on him, and he admits that he exaggerated his musical abilities. Annie tells Pierce she believes in him and manages to inspire him with a rant about her humiliating time as a cheerleader.

ACL Getting sloppy
'"It's okay, Garrett. He knows."'
Later, the study group and the rest of the student body attends the dedication ceremony for the Luis Guzman statue. Jeff joins Britta who is still annoyed about the crazy defense he used. Pierce is introduced by the dean after the statue is unveiled, and he dedicates the new school song to Annie. As he performs it, most of the audience immediately recognizes it as a reworking of the song, "That's Just the Way It Is" from Bruce Hornsby. Abed wonders if they could get sued, and once Jeff hears how similar the refrain is to the original song, he says it's a definite possibility. Pierce seems blissfully unaware, however, and continues to sing the rest of the song happily.

ACL Pierce performs the new school song
Pierce performs the new school song "Greendale's the Way It Goes."'

End tagEdit

Abed is stuffing pencils into a seemingly sleeping Troy's mouth. It's revealed however that Troy is awake and they are seeing who can hold the most pencils in their mouth. When Troy wins with 36 pencils, Abed wants to go best two out of three.

Recurring themesEdit


  • Returning faculty: Professor Duncan makes another appearance, participating in the school hearing. Dean Pelton returns as well; this is the first episode that he meets Jeff and Britta.
  • Returning students: Garrett returns to help Abed pull a prank on Troy.
  • First appearance: Luis Guzman's statue and Leonard make their first appearance in this episode. Although the Luis Guzman statue is officially unveiled in this episode, it is clearly visible in the previous episode.
  • Mad skillz: Jeff uses his lawyering skills to help defend Britta.
  • A nice gesture: Abed and Troy do their signature handshake after they agree not to mess with each other anymore.
  • Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball:
  • Winger speech: Jeff delivers his closing arguments in the form of his patented Winger speech.
  • This must be the place: The student lounge, the Spanish classroom, Borchert Hall, and the campus square are prominently featured in this episode.

Running gags:Edit

  • Annie's Boobs: Annie mentions how her mother told her to stuff her bra as a cheerleader.
  • Attention students!: Dean Pelton's announcement about the dedication ceremony for Luis Guzman's statue.
  • Board certified tutor: Pierce claims to be an accomplished pianist and songwriter.
  • NOOOOOO!: Annie screams when she thinks she's about to fail Spanish.
  • Thrown together: Britta gets paper balls thrown at her when Chang tells the class to turn on her.
  • Deanotation: Pelton tells Jeff and Britta, "Dean ya later".
  • Shut up, Leonard! : The debut of this joke is in this episode. Jeff tells Leonard (who is skinny dipping at the pool where Britta's hearing is at) to shut up and to put on a bathing suit.
  • Bon appetit!: Pierce suggests that Britta is a lesbian again.
  • Double entendre: At the tribunal, the Dean mentions he goes both ways on the side of any bias against Britta; he then has it stricken from the record and says he is impartial.

Pop culture:Edit


Promotional photos


Behind the scenes video
Community - Behind the scenes00:29

Community - Behind the scenes


Silencio. Por favor. Star-Burns. That means you.Chang
My name's Alex, dude.Star-Burns
Well maybe you should spend 5 hours sculpting that in your face.Chang
It's a tiny piece of paper. Okay? That's all it is. Tiny piece of paper...containing all the information covered on the test otherwise known as a crib sheet. Who did it? Maryanne...Grandpa...Jackee...Kumar? There's one Asian stereotype that does apply to me: whoever did this insulted my honor, and they've got 24 hours to come forward, or Mr.Miyagi here will wax off everyone's score, and THE WHOLE CLASS GETS A CERO! Except you, Toby.Chang
It sounds like there are two biases, one on each side, and I go both ways.Dean Pelton
Britta, look at me. Look at me!Jeff
I am.Britta
No, look how handsome my face is.Jeff
Gentlemen, I'm sure you've suspected that Miss Perry was pretty odd before the recess, but if you could have heard all the stuff she told me in the shower, you would realize she is all the way out of her entire damn mind. She doesn't want to succeed because she doesn't think she can. So she goes out of her way to fail. That's crazy. But do we really want to make it a crime to be crazy at Greendale? I mean, look at us. You two are arguing about status at college that correspondent schools make fun of. Dean, you want so bad for this place to be Ivy League that you are putting us at risk of electrocution because everyone at on this campus is nuts.Jeff, delivering his patented Winger speech
Is this Bruce Hornsby's?Abed
Does he know he stole it?Abed
I don't think so. Let him enjoy itJeff
Can we get sued?Abed
Not sure.Jeff
...Greendale's the way it goes.Pierce
Yeah, they got us.Jeff


In the DVD commentaries for this episode, Donald Glover discusses the evolution of his character Troy and how different he is now compared to earlier episodes like this one. He suggests that Troy as he is now would totally fall for Abed's prank.

Season One Episodes

1. "Pilot"
2. "Spanish 101"
3. "Introduction to Film"
4. "Social Psychology"
5. "Advanced Criminal Law"
6. "Football, Feminism and You"
7. "Introduction to Statistics"
8. "Home Economics"
9. "Debate 109"
10. "Environmental Science"
11. "The Politics of Human Sexuality"
12. "Comparative Religion"
13. "Investigative Journalism"

14. "Interpretive Dance"
15. "Romantic Expressionism"
16. "Communication Studies"
17. "Physical Education"
18. "Basic Genealogy"
19. "Beginner Pottery"
20. "The Science of Illusion"
21. "Contemporary American Poultry"
22. "The Art of Discourse"
23. "Modern Warfare"
24. "English as a Second Language"
25. "Pascal's Triangle Revisited"


Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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