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Basic Rocket Science

     Basic Rocket Science  
Director: Anthony Russo — Writer: Andy BobrowAired: October 14, 2010 — Season: Two — Number: Four
Summary: Everyone in the study group except for Abed is stuck in a crude 1980's space simulator as it is towed off campus. Dean Pelton gives Abed the difficult assignment of bringing them home.


PlotEdit

Quote
We earned the right to pick on Greendale by going there every day. Our school may be a toilet but it's our toilet. Nobody craps in it but us.
EndQuote
Jeff


Dean Pelton called the Greendale school board to an emergency meeting in his office. He informs them that City College is preparing to "launch" a space simulator program. If they succeed they will get prestige and probably an increase in enrollment . He suggests they counter it with a preemptive space simulator launch of their own to steal both possibilities away from City College. Pelton presents to the board an old relic from the County museum "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herbs and Space Experience". The board members are skeptical he can pull it off but Pelton assures them that he has a crew in mind who can get the job done.



2X4 You guys are walking in slow motion
"You guys are walking in slow-mo?"
Later in Greendale's parking lot, Dean Pelton meets with the study group angry at them over their anonymous submission of a design for the new school logo. After the logo was approved and made official, Pelton later learned from one of them that it was actually a representation of an anus. As punishment he has tasked them with cleaning up the simulator before the big press conference he has scheduled. He expressly forbids them from actually entering the van but after he leaves Troy and Abed ignore his warning. Over Annie's protestations, the others join them inside where they find Abed in complete awe of the van. He decides a special outfit is needed for the occasion and leaves for his dorm to put it on.



2X4 The new school logo
The new school logo the study group submitted.
Annie is still trying to get them to leave leading Britta to accuse her of having ratted them out to the Dean. Uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, Pierce accidentally hits a button which shuts the van's entry hatch. It powers up and they are greeted by the onboard computer system S.A.N.D.E.R.S. (Systematic Android Network Diode Energy Rocket Systems). The A.I. informs them that they have just been sealed inside causing the group to panic. Jeff tries to calm everyone down when the van suddenly starts to move. After the Winnebago is towed off campus, Abed shows up in an astronaut flight suit and wonders where everyone went.



2X4 Off to the final frontier
3...2...1...BLAST-OFF!!!
As the van continues to be towed, the study group is unable to get a signal on their cellphones due to the van being sealed. Troy unsuccessfully attempts to take control of the simulator's "command chair. Dean Pelton is heard trying to contact them through the radio head sets installed onboard. Back in the the study room, Pelton demands over the radio remote that they return as Abed listens in on the conversation. Jeff responds they are unable to comply because the the windows and doors are sealed shut. Abed corrects him saying once the simulation is complete the seals will be released. Dean Pelton then asks Abed to guide them through the simulation so they can open the windows and get a clue as to where they are.



2X4 Ground control to Major Tom
Ground control to Major Tom...
Abed takes control of the situation and asks Troy to adjust the settings on the displays. Troy tries to convince the others to join him in completing the simulation but they ignore him. Pierce, suffering from a head injury incurred when the van was initially towed, starts hallucinating. Reacting to what he believes is S.A.N.D.E.R.S. taunting him, attacks Troy. Over at Greendale, the study room has been converted into "Mission Control" with Abed in charge of a team of students dedicated to bringing the simulator back. Meanwhile, the study group subdued Pierce and locked him the storage area. With everyone's emotions running high, Annie accidentally confesses her part in the van being towed.



2X4 Troy is giving me life force
Pierce attacks Troy
Annie admits to the others she made a deal with Dean Spreck, in exchange for her help in getting the simulator towed he would assist her in transferring to City College. After learning who was actually behind this, Jeff decides that they need to get back to Greendale and thwart Spreck's plan. He cedes control over to Troy so he can lead them through the simulation. After it's completed, the van unseals, a window opens and Jeff is finally able to use his phone's GPS to discover where they are. After informing Abed about their location they discover they've been towed out of town. There's nothing Greendale can do for them to get them back in time for the press conference.



2X4 Go Voltron force
Form feet and legs...form arms and torso...and I'll form the head!
The group is down over their current situation and they begin to realize that for all of the gripes they have about Greendale they are genuinely happy to be there. Shirley forgives Annie for her actions as does Britta although she reprimands her for ratting out the group to the Dean. Jeff then confesses that he was the one that told Pelton about the flag. He was annoyed that the Dean couldn't see the logo was meant to be an anus. Pierce joins in the conversation and says he has regained his senses. He asks to be let out of the storage room but when they comply he rushes towards the viewscreen with S.A.N.D.E.R.S on it and rips it out of the wall. Jeff inspects the damage and sees that the hole Pierce just created in the wall of the simulator leads to the drivers seat of the Winnebago.



2X4 Pierce's space madness has it's benefits
Pierce's space madness finally comes in handy.
Back at the study room, Dean Pelton prepares to tell the bad news about the simulator to the assembled press when he gets an unexpected visitor, Dean Spreck from City College. He taunts Pelton and lets him know that he was responsible for what happened. It's then that the Jeff contacts "Mission Control" to let them know that they are now driving the simulator back with Annie at the wheel. From the Greendale mission control, Abed is able to navigate them back to school. Outside at the press conference, Deans Pelton and Spreck make their way past the throng of reporters in attendance. As Spreck continues to taunt Pelton, they both hear a ruckus and see the space simulator's dramatic return.


  • Spreck whispers sweet nothings into Pelton's ear.
  • The KFC 11H&S is on it's way!
  • Pelton and Spreck see it's arrival...
It crashes it's way through campus and finally stops when it reaches the press conference. Annie quickly exits the vehicle and opens the side hatch and a crazed Pierce rushes out. The rest of the group leaves the simulator and basks in the cheers of the crowd. Spreck confronts Annie and haughtily tells her she is not City College material which she takes as a compliment. After Jeff congratulates Troy on a job well they are joined by Abed. Jeff asks if he wants to sit in the captains chair of the simulator but Abed passes on it believing that nothing could be as cool as what he did today. A small explosion then rocks the simulator as the Dean triumphantly holds up the school's flag now adorned with Greendale's new anus logo.


  • The audience welcomes back the "Greenstranauts".
  • An explosion rocks the KFC 11H&S
  • Dean proudly displays the new anus flag as the KFC 11H&S burns

End tagEdit

Troy and Abed are playing in cardboard boxes pretending to be in spaceships.

Recurring themesEdit

Continuity:Edit

Running gags:Edit

  • Whoops!: Troy accidentally confirms to Dean Pelton that they did submit the anus logo design.
  • Catchphrase: Shirley says "That's nice!" after Britta lies about praying.
  • Pansexual imp:
    • When Jeff threatens to step on him, the Dean lets slip that he might enjoy it.
    • Abed notices that Dean Pelton has circled public restrooms and truck stops on his city map and given them ratings.

Pop culture references:Edit

  • Product placement:
    • Kentucky Fried Chicken is prominently advertised in this episode along with it's latest food item the "Doublicious."
    • Pierce repeatedly mistakes his iPod for a cell phone.
  • Shout out: Britta tells Pierce that he is not talking on his phone but listening to a Wesley Snipes narrated audio book.

Meta references:Edit

  • Homage: The episode also parodies a number of space travel films, including Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, Deep Impact, Armageddon and The Last Starfighter. The opening sequence of this episode satirizes the film The Right Stuff, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe. Later in the episode, Abed's role opens a satire of the film Apollo 13, with Abed playing the role of Gary Sinise's character. Pierce's claustrophobia mimics the "space dementia" contracted by Steve Buscemi'scharacter in Armageddon, and Troy's unexpected hug with a hitherto unknown woman is similar to another incident in the same film.
  • Use your allusion:
    • The acronym of City College's space simulator C.C.C.P. (The City College Cosmic Pioneer) is the same as the acronym of the Soviet Union C.C.C.P. (Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик).
    • The design of the brochure for the EHASE is similar to the Star Wars logo.
    • After Pelton shows off the new school logo to the study group, he tells them to keep "snicker"ing and to pack themselves with peanuts and "really be satisfied" which is a reference to the candy bar "Snickers".
    • The Greendale flag, which is introduced in this episode, also uses an asterisk (*) as a symbol for an anus, a symbol which was popularized by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s book Breakfast of Champions.
    • In the ending skit with Troy and Abed, a drawing of a flux capacitor can be seen on the back of Abed's cardboard box, referencing the device of the same name in the "Back to the Future" films.

QuotesEdit

We make Greendale, not City College, the first community college to pretend to put a man in space.Dean Pelton
Can anyone get a phone signal?Jeff
Mine's working but it's a black guy with the wrong number again.Pierce
Pierce, I keep telling you that that is an iPod and you are listening to Wesley Snipes' audiobook.Britta
This is all my fault!Annie
Very much so.Jeff
Ugh!Annie
Hey, when you go fishing sometimes you catch a boot.Jeff
There is a time and place for subtlety and that was before Scary Movie.Troy
They'll never make it back, Craig. That thing may as well be on a simulation of the moon.Dean Spreck

TriviaEdit

  • The episode was originally titled "The Fundamentals of Flight" and is still referred to by that name in the Apple iTunes store.
  • The control station in which Troy seats is the same scenery prop used in Joss Whedon's Firefly, on episode 2 "The Train Job" as a control station in an Alliance Cruiser.
    Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 2.10.12 PM
Season Two Episodes

1. "Anthropology 101"
2. "Accounting for Lawyers"
3. "The Psychology of Letting Go"
4. "Basic Rocket Science"
5. "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples"
6. "Epidemiology"
7. "Aerodynamics of Gender"
8. "Cooperative Calligraphy"
9. "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"
10. "Mixology Certification"
11. "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas"
12. "Asian Population Studies"

13. "Celebrity Pharmacology 212"
14. "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
15. "Early 21st Century Romanticism"
16. "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking"
17. "Intro to Political Science"
18. "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy"
19. "Critical Film Studies"
20. "Competitive Wine Tasting"
21. "Paradigms of Human Memory"
22. "Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts"
23. "A Fistful of Paintballs"
24. "For A Few Paintballs More"

Community Season Two DVD

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason Five

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