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Ass Crack Bandit

Basic Intergluteal Numismatics
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Director: Tristram ShapeeroWriter: Erik Sommers — Aired: January 9, 2014 —Season: Five — Number: Three
Summary: A campus investigation into a serial bandit leads to a surprising confession Jeff finds suspicious.

PlotEdit

Quote
A camera in the bathroom is better than a quarter in your butt.
EndQuote
— Troy
At Greendale, a ribbon cutting ceremony is held in the cafeteria for the "Shirley's Sandwiches" reopening. While Shirley's children sing for the occasion, Garrett is at his hallway locker. While he's distracted someone drops a quarter down the crack of Garret's exposed derrière. Garret runs to the cafeteria and proclaims the "Ass Crack Bandit" is back. Publicly at a press conference, Dean Pelton denies this is the case. In private he confides receiving a not from the Bandit to the Save Greendale Committee. Pelton tasks them and the recently returned Professor Ian Duncan to investigate the culprit. Later, Annie goes to Jeff's office with a theory the bandit is a teacher but he refuses to get involved.



5X3 The bandit returns
And so it begins...
Back in the study room, Troy picks a teddy bear off the floor only for the Ass Crack Bandit to strike again. Afterwards, Buzz Hickey's criminology class inspects the study room for clues. Annie finds a taunting note in the teddy bear from the Bandit. Pelton removes her from the investigation when she suggests a faculty member is the culprit. Later Jeff finds Annie in the student lounge and agrees to help her. Meanwhile, in response to the assaults Pelton bans coins at school which Leonard and Shirley exploit for profit. He also has Chang wear a backwards costume to catch the perpetrator as Jeff and Annie analyze the bandits note. Jeff notices several references to Dave Matthews Band songs and after some research Annie compiles a list of faculty members who are fans.



5X3 Duncan returns
Ian Duncan returns to help find the Ass Crack Bandit.
In the cafeteria, Troy speaks at an assembly advocating Pelton's plan to put cameras in the bathroom when the Bandit stealthily assaults Vicki. Later, Annie and Jeff meet up after eliminating every suspect except one. They approach the next candidate Professor Bublitz who runs when they attempt to question him. They chase after him knocking over several shelves in pursuit. They corner him only to discover he was escaping because he was growing sativa . Pelton bursts in with news of the latest cracking but stops when he sees the ruined lab. In his office, Pelton reprimands Jeff and Annie and suggests they are investigating just to spend time together. As punishment Pelton suspends Annie and forces Jeff to join him in coaching a water polo class.



5X3 ACB fan
An Ass Crack Bandit fan.
They are then interrupted by a phone call from someone claiming to be the Bandit. The Dean, Jeff and Annie track the call to the campus stables and find a disheveled Star-Burns living there. Another press conference is held where Star-Burns confesses to the crimes. Jeff storms out and tells Annie Star-Burns can't be the bandit since he's not a teacher. Annie is tris to accept the outcome and suggests the Dean may have been right about her and Jeff's true motivations. Later, Annie sees Professor Duncan in his office and is wary when it's revealed he's a Dave Matthews Band fan. At the party, Jeff confronts Star-Burns and who admits he made a deal with Pelton to confess in exchange for not bringing him up on meth charges.



5X3 Vicki gets cracked
"I've been cracked!"
In Duncan's office, Annie notices a roll of quarters on his filing cabinet and awkwardly leaves to find Jeff. At the same time, Jeff discovers a laptop connected to the school's automated switchboard that has a recording of the bandit's phone call to the Dean. Annie then arrives and tells Jeff her suspicions about Duncan but when they are unable to locate him due to the smoky and crowded hallways. They then hear that Duncan himself got "cracked" and spot the bandit fleeing around a corner. Shirley unexpectedly stops the pursuit with the news that Pierce has just died. They join the rest of the study group to mourn as the entire school observes Pierce's passing.



Star-Buns tries to make his get away
Star-Burns tries to make his get away.
The next morning, Jeff and Annie muse on life's unpredictability. Annie suddenly considers the possibility the Bandit could be female. At the same time other suspects act suspiciously: Britta identifies herself as the culprit on a paper she's writing; Abed is rolling a quarter on his fingers; Shirley counts money she made from the incident; Professor Hickey studies a newspaper clipping of a serial killer who got away; a cafeteria worker looks wary; and Pelton plays quarters with his assistant. It's then revealed that no more crackings have taken place since the last incident, Star-Burns recanted his confession, Pelton still officially claims Osborne was responsible and that the investigation remains open.



5X3 Goodbye Pierce
The investigation is derailed by something more important.

End tagEdit

Star-Burns promotes his cat car idea as an environmentally friendly form of transportation in a crowdfunding promo video.

Recurring themesEdit

ContinuityEdit

Continuity lists
Narrative
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
  • Previously:
  • Googly eyes:
    • Dean Pelton and even the Ass Crack Bandit comment on the nature of Jeff and Annie's relationship.
    • Professor Duncan makes several advances on Britta.
    • Jeff talks about how holding Annie's shoulders is normal, and does it to Leonard to prove his point, in which case Leonard tries to kiss him. Later, Annie confronts Jeff about the Ass Crack Bandit being Duncan, while grabbing Jeff's shoulders. Jeff smiles at this contact. They later hug for a lengthy time, away from the others after finding out about Pierce's death.
  • School song: The song "Ass Crack Bandit" is heard early on in the episode and then later at the end. It was written for the episode by Ben Folds, who has a brief part in the episode as Professor Bublitz.
People
Recurring or debuting characters in this episode:
Places
Recurring or debuting places in this episode:
Things
Recurring or debuting items in this episode:
  • School supplies: The Radio flyer red wagon that Star-Burns uses for his cat chariot is the same one used in the Puppy Parade from the Season Two episode end tag of "Cooperative Calligraphy".
  • Sweet spread: All three flavors of Let's potato chips are seen behind Annie when she asks for Jeff's help in the student lounge.

Running gagsEdit

  • A dollop of whipped irony:
    • Pelton calls Jeff and Annie unprofessional and creepy due to them teaming up only to sublimate romantic urges they have in acceptable ways. He then does something creepy and unprofessional by forcing Jeff to become the new water polo coach with Pelton stating he will be his assistant coach.
    • Despite Troy's repeated statements about liking "butt stuff", he is traumatized by actual (and rather innocuous) butt stuff happening to him in this episode.
  • Butt stuff: Troy is victimized by the "Ass Crack Bandit".
  • It's a mixer, it's a mixer: Dean Pelton suggests, “Abed, you're special. Can't you just stand at the scene of the crime and see what happened?”
  • Man crush: Dean Pelton makes Jeff coach of the water polo team with plans to be Jeff's assistant coach.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • Name that tune:
  • Shout out: Not being a “real fan” Star-Burns mistakes the epithet "Dave" for David Lee Roth.
  • TV Guide: Abed's DVR shows that he recorded popular shows such as The Bridge and Hannibal.
  • Use your allusion: "Numismatics" is the study or collection of currency including paper money and coins. "Intergluteal" means something in between the muscles which make up the buttocks. The episode title , "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics", refers directly to the Ass Crack Bandit's M.O. which is to drop quarters into the space separating the two major muscles of his victims gluteal region.

Meta referencesEdit

  • Homage: This episode pays homage to numerous genres of film as well as specific movies and TV shows.
    • Much of the episode strongly parallels the 2007 film Zodiac, which follows a political cartoonist who becomes obsessed with identifying a serial killer in the San Francisco area.
    • The opening credits is a homage to the 2002 adaptation of Red Dragon.
    • Several scenes, most notably Troy's cracking, evoke moments from slasher films such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
    • When Annie and Jeff analyze the letters left by the ACB, the radio on Jeff's desk begins playing J. S. Bach's "Air" from Suite No. 3 in D Major.  This is a reference to the 1995 film Se7en when Morgan Freeman's character, Det. Somerset, does lengthy research on the seven deadly sins in a library to catch a serial killer, during which the same music is played. Jeff and Annie, however, only play it for a few seconds before finishing their research and turning off the radio.
    • Troy's confrontation with Star-Burns at the press conference is similar to a scene in Jaws where the mother of a shark victim slaps Police Chief Brody after learning he didn't close the beaches after an earlier attack.
  • Parody:
    • Abed repeatedly drapes a blanket around Troy's shoulders and hands him a styrofoam cup before saying, "This is how they comfort victims in movies."
    • Professor Duncan's and Britta's analysis of the bandit poke fun at the sometimes scattershot nature of criminal profiling.
    • Abed's speech at the scene of the crime mimics many fictitious criminal profilers, such as Will Graham, and is also a critique of formulaic procedural/crime drama TV shows.
  • Up against the wall: Ian Duncan explains his long absence from the school by saying he had to care for his sick mother.

ReceptionEdit

Critical reactionEdit


Reviews:
Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” is a stirring paean to the everlasting humor of the word “butts.” (B+)Todd van der Werff
As a parody of serial killer thrillers like "Zodiac," I thought it worked very well. The best "Community" parody episodes, though, function both as loving tribute to a particular genre and as a character study of one or more members of the study group; it was less successful on that front.Alan Sepinwall
"Dark," by the way, is a literal thing in this "Community" episode. With a blue filter on the camera and a whole bunch of mood lighting, the show takes on a new identity. This makes sense though. When a criminal is sticking coins where the sun don't shine, there can be no true sunshine for anyone.Laurel Brown
Season 5’s first focused “parody” episode was a standout installment of Community. The Seven/Fincher homages were terrific and hysterical and this will likely be one of the most quoted Community episodes ever among fans, with one awesome line after another...(9.5/10)Eric Goldman
The Community writers are NEARLY there, but they’re still hesitant when it comes to completely committing to or developing the show’s romantic element. And whether you ship Jeff/Annie or Duncan/Britta or Troy/Abed for all I know, this unsatisfaction, this not-quite-there element WILL leave a tiny, gerbil-sized void in the series as a whole.Jennifer Marie
Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" was a VERY funny episode of Community, and what more can you ask for?Tim Surette
Though parody episodes have been a TV staple for longer than anyone reading this has probably been alive, no one executes them with the fervor and all-around excellence of Community. Those same qualities that sometimes work against the show - that obsession with detail, that willingness to reach conceptually far beyond where any sane TV writer would go - pay off wildly during these kinds of installments. (4.9/5)Gabrielle Moss
It’s lucky I’m easily amused by jokes about the buttocks because quite a lot of this episode rides on them. For people unlike me, I could see this episode being a completely alienating experience—Community finally managing to too heavily indulge in its immature side. But to you I say: have you no heart? Or at least no place in your heart for butts?
Not to say “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics” isn’t a funny or enjoyable episode of Community, but there’s so many homages and stories crammed into the final ten minutes, there isn’t enough time for anything to breathe – and ultimately, buries two-thirds of the cast in the background for the entire episode, with nothing to hang its hat on besides its butt jokes and tired Jeff/Annie material.Randy Dankievitch
Despite the dark and serious nature of "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics" it is still very funny.Jerome Wetzel
What continues to please me about Community after so many years, after all the acknowledged and well worn ups and downs, is that when the show just goes right down the pop culture rabbit hole, and I mean really burrows deep and just owns it and has fun, it goes to a place of such joy, a special place for us die hard fans, the ones who held on.Ben Umstead
Although it’s odd to get something this stylized this early in the season, concept episodes are what Community does well. (8/10)Sarah Shachat
Still, while “Numismatics” ended up being a big old mess, at least it was Community, with strange jokes and references and more ideas than it could keep track of, rather than the undead beast that called itself by the same name last season...(6.7/10)Sean Gandert
It’s thrilling (to see Annie and Jeff together again), scandalous (the underuse of the rest of the cast) and at times downright scary (DON’T TOUCH THE BEAR TROY) but most importantly it’s Community done right and that’s something everyone can enjoy...(B+)Jon Bowling
It’s the juxtaposition that sells it—the decision to partner what might be the single silliest plotline in Community history with a parody of one of the most decidedly not silly filmmakers in Hollywood, the dour David Fincher...(7.7/10)Matthew Guerruckey
The best concept episodes tie flawlessly into either a character arc or character dissection (see "Critical Film Studies" or "Pillows and Blankets"). This one doesn't quite achieve that level of perfection, but it certainly honors the genre with highly detailed and highly entertaining confidenceDerek B. Gayle
An amazing return to form by Community with a concept noir episode that is sure to be a classic. The only stain on an otherwise fantastic episode was a narrative shift in gear at the climax...(9.5/10)Jared Russo
Otherwise, a solid episode that makes good use of Greendale's expansive supporting cast and earns lots of laughs from their more random character attributes. And ultimately it might inspire someone to see Fincher's Zodiac (which is his best film but also the lowest grossing), so it's a winner in my book.Brian Collins
“Basic Intergluteal Numismastics” is the perfect blend of everything we love about the show: it’s got humor and loads of heart adorned with loving and clever metatextual references to television and film.Britt Hayes

RatingsEdit

According to Zap2it.com, the episode was watched by 3.58 million viewers placing second in its timeslot behind The Big Bang Theory and seventh overall for the night. In the 18-49 age range it garnered a rating/share of 1.4/4.; this is an increase from the Season premiere which received an 18-49 rating/share of 1.3/4. viewers and ratings from the season premiere. The ratings were also an improvement up from the 3.49 million who tuned in the previous week.

TriviaEdit

Andy LoboEdit

Throughout the series an actor named Andy Lobo is used as a frequent background extra. He is used as a stand in for Dino Stamatopoulos in some scenes when the character of Alex "Star-Burns" Osbourne is inside a cage. Previously he was used as a stand for Stamatopoulos in the Season Three episode "Pillows and Blankets". He is also seen during the assembly sitting near Vicki when she is assaulted by the Ass Crack Bandit. He is "cracked" right after her.



Andy Lobo as Star-Burns 2
Andy Lobo plays Star-Burns again.

ProductionEdit

Production for this episode used the title "What's in the Hat?" on its clapperboard. This follows the theme of hat-based puns throughout Season Five's production titles.

Community Between the Takes Episode 3 - Community01:08

Community Between the Takes Episode 3 - Community

QuotesEdit

Ass Crack bandit quotesEdit

I am the Ass Crack Bandit. Humans make better banks than piggies. Whenever I get more change at the store I can't wait to drop it down your butts. I think I will go to the bank and get so much change and take all my dollars and make them into change and drop it all down there.ACB letter
I hope you enjoyed my work again. You can't stop me because what are you going to do, not have butts?ACB Note#1
I am the mad hatter, if hats were butts. I am neither left nor right. I am the space between. To me you are all like ants marching to class, freaks on parade.ACB Note#2
This is the Ass Crack Bandit. I find it funny that you ever thought you could catch me.ACB phonecall/recording
I've enjoyed our game of cat and mouse. It's funny how close your two little helpers get to catching me. I liked watching them run in circles. Although sometimes I wonder, are they chasing me as an excuse to get near to each other? I mean, get a room already.ACB phonecall/recording
I am the bringer of change. I am the filler of cracks.ACB phonecall/recording


Episode quotesEdit

This is the biggest PR crisis to hit the school since we held that rally protesting the wrong Korea.Dean Pelton
I am hereby banning change from this campus.Dean Pelton
You really think that's an effective...Professor Hickey
Well guess what. Your two cents is change, and it's banned.Dean Pelton
The nature of the Ass Crack Bandit's crimes would suggest that he's angry or just fell in love.Professor Duncan
We know that he hates money or loves it or doesn't care about money and hates butts or loves them.Britta
Let me be like the fiftieth person at this school to ask, what is this, huh? What is this creepy business?Dean Pelton, referring to Jeff and Annie's relationship
I think that this is spending too much money on a crime that nets you 25 cents a pop.Professor Hickey 
No, no. This was free.Dean Pelton 
Then I think you just admitted you already owned a fake butt.Professor Hickey
Season Five Episodes

1. "Repilot"
2. "Introduction to Teaching"
3. "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
4. "Cooperative Polygraphy"
5. "Geothermal Escapism"
6. "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"
7. "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"

8. "App Development and Condiments"
9. "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
10. "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
11. "G.I. Jeff"
12. "Basic Story"
13. "Basic Sandwich"

Community The Complete Fifth Season

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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