Director: Joe Russo — Writer: Emily Cutler — Aired: April 13, 2011 —Season: Two — Number: Twenty Summary: Jeff is convinced Pierce's fiancée has ulterior motives. Meanwhile, Troy invents a painful childhood memory in order to attract Britta, and Abed feuds with his professor over "Who's the Boss?
I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations. It's hard enough to find people you can stand in this life, let alone someone willing to stomach your imminent dementia and present incontinence.
— Jeff congratulates Pierce on his engagement.
In the study room, the group discusses their new spring classes. On the advice of their dance teacher, Troy and Britta enrolled in an acting class called "The Actor Inside". Abed is excited about a class he was on the waiting list for since last semester. It's a media studies course based on a book called Who Indeed: A Critical Analysis of Television's "Who's The Boss?" taught by the author Professor Peter Sheffield. Jeff and Pierce learn that they are both taking the same wine class called "Intro To Italian Wines". At the wine tasting class, Jeff bumps into Chang who is also taking the course. When Pierce finally arrives, an attractive asian female student draws their attention. Jeff goes over to flirt with her and learns her name is Wu Mei.
Abed is excited about his new class.
However, she immediately and shoots him down much to his embarrassment.. At Troy and Britta's acting class, Professor Garrity arrives and begins his lecture. He explains that to be an actor, they have to release their inner pain in order to become visible to the audience. He asks that each student reveal a profound and painful memory. When it's Troy's turn, he finds that he doesn't have one. In order to win his classmates approval, Troy makes up a story about being molested by his uncle. He succeeds in earning his classmates sympathy as well as getting the attention of Britta. At Abed's media studies class, Professor Peter Sheffield introduces himself and asks the class the rhetorical question "Who was the boss?". Abed tells him it was Angela amusiing Sheffield who replies it isn't that simple.
Later during a study group meeting, Abed is trying to finish reading Sheffield's book. After Troy mentions that Pierce is late, an overly sympathetic Britta consoles him. Pierce then arrives with Wu Mei and announces his engagement to her. Jeff is shocked and immediately assumes that she is after Pierce's money. Afterwards, Abed asks Troy what's going on with him and Britta having noticed their exchange earlier. When Troy admits to having lied about a childhood trauma, Abed warns him about Britta's attraction to men in pain. He advises that Troy defuse the situation before it ends badly. Ignoring Abed's advice, Troy continues to exploit his fake painful memory in class. After class is dismissed, he hams it up for Britta's sake and she kisses him.
It's time for wife number 8.
Back in the study room, Jeff meets with Wu Mei in order to investigate her true intentions regarding Pierce. He finds out that her family is wealthy and that she holds dual citizenship, eliminating the obvious reasons for her wanting to marry Pierce. Elsewhere, Abed talks to Professor Sheffield after finishing his book. Sheffield asserts that his academic approach to the show is accurate but Abed disagrees with his analysis. Sheffield then offers that Abed teach the next class to present his arguments. Later at a fancy restaurant, Pierce is having an engagement party. At the bar, Jeff learns from Chang that Wu Mei's surname translates to "Red Dragon" in English. When Wu Mei hands Jeff a moist towelette packet with the logo of a red dragon he does some quick googling on his phone.
Meanwhile, Pierce makes a toast to the group and incidentally uses the word "cornhole." Britta objects, revealing that Troy was molested by his uncle. This prompts Troy to finally admit that he made the story up. Jeff then interrupts to announce that Wu Mei works for Red Dragon Wipes, a rival moist towelette to Hawthorne Wipes. He revels in the idea that the only reason she was dating Pierce was for corporate espionage. After everybody else has left, Jeff tries to comfort Pierce only to find him furious for sabotaging his relationship. Jeff points out that she was just using him but Pierce replies that people use each other, and he liked her. Pierce felt that they had a real connection and charges that Jeff just wanted to prove that no women could be attracted to him.
Jeff reveals what he found out about Wu Mei.
The next day, Troy confesses to his acting classmates that he made up his painful memory. Garrity applauds him, explaining that having no pain can be painful all by itself. In Professor Sheffield's classroom, Abed wraps up a lecture by conclusively proving that Angela was really the boss. His life's study suddenly rendered meaningless, Sheffield angrily dismisses the class and turns to his book analyzing What's Happening!! for comfort. Later in the study room, Troy tells Britta that he plans on auditioning for Garrity's upcoming musical. Pierce leaves only to be met by Jeff and Wu Mei. Jeff encourages them to go on one real date since they have so much in common. They reluctantly agree and compromise on where to eat with Wu Mei suggesting Thai food instead of Mexican as she considers Thai to be "Chinese Mexicans".
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
In the Season One episode "Communication Studies," Abed referenced the show "Who's the Boss?" by stating he could never get past the opening credits. Now he seems to have succeeded.
In the Season One episode "Interpretive Dance," Troy and Britta took separate dancing classes from a Madame LeClair. In this episode they took an acting class on the recommendation of their mutual dance professor.
That just happened: Pierce and Wu Mei's engagement party is held at the same restaurant that Abed chose for his dinner with Jeff in "Critical Film Studies". When they sit down to eat, Troy reminisces, "Seems like just yesterday me and Abed dined and ditched here."
Googly eyes: This can be seen as the first major step in the development of the Troy-Britta relationship that is explored further in Season Three and Four.
Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: Troy mentions Pierce's house has a special gym with swings and saddles. In the Season Four episode "Paranormal Parentage," Troy and Shirley discover the room in Hawthorne Manor. Troy mentions he doesn't know what it is actually for because he was not allowed in.
Theoretical Phys-Ed: The course Abed takes is based entirely on the sitcom "Who's The Boss." Other mentioned classes are a class on jokes Annie once tried and Dean Pelton's PA Announcements class.
Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
Attention students!: Dean Pelton talks about the spring electives offered at the school; interesting classes like horseback riding, water skiing and fencing will be available but only if enough people sign up to learn hopscotch. He also promotes his own P.A. announcement class.
Butt stuff: Troy makes up a story about his uncle touching his butt because he didn't have a painful past experience to share in acting class.
Fan service: Britta wears a tight fitting leotard to her acting class.
Gasp: Annie gasps when Britta reveals that Troy was molested.
Up against the wall: Professor Garrity looks directly into the camera at the end of his dramatic delivery of a rather un-profound line regarding what being an actor is all about. His apostrophe is also a jab at actors and drama professors who sometimes take themselves a bit too seriously.