|"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"|
|◄ Season Four, Episode Five ►|
|Air date||March 7, 2013 on|
|Written by||Steve Basilone and Annie MeBane|
|“||You said he wasn't going to replace me. He's the Schwarzenegger, I'm a De Vito I get it!||”|
Summary:Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) hosts an awkward gathering at her place with the study group, while Jeff winds up at the house of his father, whom he hasn’t seen since he was a kid, and a different kind of discomfort ensues.
PlotEditAfter another study session is over, the study group a discuss their plans for Thanksgiving. Shirley invites everyone to her house for dinner with her in laws and Annie, Pierce, Troy and Abed are eager to attend. Jeff says he already has plans just as Dean Pelton arrives with his own invitation for the group to a "Thanks Living Day potluck dinner" at school. Pelton then lets slip some information he obtained after having read Jeff's e-mails. He reveals to the study group that Jeff plans on having Thanksgiving dinner with his father, William Winger and his half-brother Willy junior. Everyone is shocked while Britta is ecstatic believing their conversation on Halloween was responsible for this. When she offers her services as a therapist to assist him in the reunion, Jeff adamantly refuses.
On Thanksgiving Day, Jeff arrives at his fathers place but cannot bring himself to knock on the door and instead jumps back into his Lexus and drives away. Over at Shirley's house, Troy, Annie Abed and Pierce show up for the dinner. They briefly meet Shirley's father-in-law and Abed gives her a seven layer bean dip he got two years ago from Señor Kevin's. Meanwhile, Jeff calls Britta while driving and lies about having gotten closure with his father. He then fesses up about running away only to discover that she is there at William's place. Back at Shirley's house, the rest of the study group is having a hard time dealing with all of Shirley's in-laws. They gather in the garage to discuss their options and Abed suggests they need to do a prison break.
At William Winger's home, Britta and Willy Jr. are setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner while the William and Jeff talk. Willy becomes upset by their bonding and storms off. At the same time, the other study group members are holed up in the garage taking turns to go interact with Shirley's relatives. Although they manage to entertain themselves the captivity starts to get to them and Pierce attempts to fake an injury so he can go. Instead, he ends up entertaining everyone and elects to stay. In desperation, Troy proposes to Annie and Abed that they eat the Señor Kevin's bean dip to get legitimately sick so they can leave. Meanwhile, William suggests to Jeff that abandoning him was actually a good thing considering how well-adjusted he turned out. Jeff is angered by his comment and leaves.
Elsewhere, Troy, Annie and Abed are about to eat the bean dip when they are stopped by Shirley. She earns their sympathy after revealing that she invited them as a buffer since she is a target of her in-laws ridicule. Meanwhile, Jeff is driving away in his Lexus and is shocked when Willy Jr. Pops out from the backseat. He begs Jeff to teach him how to be more uncaring like he is. Jeff tells him he shouldn't pretend not to not care because it just lets their father off the hook for being a terrible parent. He then realizes that's what he is doing himself and resolves to confront his father again. Meanwhile, Troy, Annie and Abed come up with a plan to help Shirley sneak out of the house. She appreciates the thought but tells them that despite how they treat her they are still her family. She gives them an out to leave but hey all decide to stay and support her.
At the Winger residence, Jeff returns with Wllly Jr. and confronts William. He finally unloads all his anger and bitterness he has towards his father explaining how his absence negatively affected him all these years. Having finally gotten closure, he and Briita leave and once outside in his Lexus he sincerely thanks her for the help. Willy Jr then shows up and thanks Jeff too, entering through the car window and embracing him in a hug. Sometime later at school, the study group returns to the study room and find that Jeff has a surprise for them. Having heard their holiday sucked too, he set up a special Thanksgiving dinner for them inside. Dean Pelton is invited as well and everyone digs in ejoying the dinner and celebrating the family they've all chosen to be a part of.
Shirley is doing laundry in her garage and humming the song "Daybreak" when she notices a slight breeze coming from behind the "Shirley's sandwiches" poster. She looks behind it and discovers a hole in the wall that Abed made to escape from her Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of being angry she states she'll have to remember that the escape route is there when Thanksgiving rolls around next year.
- In Season Three Jeff is in therapy dealing with daddy issues and searches for his father in "Advanced Introduction to Finality".
- Dean Pelton had previously read Jeff's e-mails in the Season Three episode "Studies in Modern Movement"
- Andre Bennett's stereo business was first mentioned in the Season Three episode "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"
- Jeff reveals a scar right below his abs demonstarting to his father how he hurt himself just to get people to care about him. The scar seems to be located in the same area Jeff suffered a wound in the Season One epsiode "Modern Warfare'.
- Climax: This episode is the end of Jeff's story arc with his father that has been hinted at since Season One.
- That just happened: **In "Paranormal Parentage" it's revealed Jeff located his dad and Britta tries to convince him to get closure with his father.
- First appearance: Jeff's often mentioned father William Winger is finally introduced in this episode as is his half-brother Willy Jr.
- History lesson: Jeff fills in his father about his past as a fake lawyer while William tries to regale him with a tale about how he impersonated Ralph Lauren before he is interrupted by Willy. He then tells Jeff how his half-brothers mom died twenty years ago and that despite his best efforts Willy Jr. hasn't matured.
- Double take:
- Shirley's response to Pierce agreeing to go to her Thanksgiving dinner echoes Annie's response to Shirley when she volunteered to do Senior pranks with her in "History 101". Both had actually intended for Jeff to join them and were disappointed when someone else volunteered. Dean Pelton then repeats the same response when inviting everyone to the "Thanks Living" pot luck.
- William Winger decides to fake a heart attack just like Pierce had done before in "A Fistful of Paintballs" and "Advanced Gay"
- A sweet ride: Jeff's Lexus returns in this episode.
- School song:
- School supplies:
- School uniform: Shirley's apron that she used in the Season Three episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" is seen again in this episode.
- This must be the place: Shirley's house, William Wingers house, and Group Study Room F are all prominently featured in this episode. The bar Skeepers is mentioned again by Pierce.
- Winger speech:
- “I'm sorry, you should take some credit for who I've become.”— Jeff
- “Okay...”— William Winger
- “So...let me tell you how I turned out, just so you're crystal clear on your impact. I am not well adjusted. More often than not I am barely keeping it together. I'm constantly texting...and there's no one at the other end. I'm just a grown man who can't look his own friends in the eye for too long because I'm afraid that they'll see that I am broken. So you get credit for that.”— Jeff
- “Oh, come on...”— William
- “One time, when I was in seventh grade, I told everybody at school that I had appendicitis. I wanted someone to worry about me but when Beth Brennan asked to see the scar I didn't want to get found out so I took mom's scissors and I made one...it hurt like hell. But it was worth it because I got seventeen cards and I still keep them in a box underneath my bed twenty two years later because it proved that at one point someone, somewhere cared about me. You want to see the scar? So I give you credit for that too. This is me.”— Jeff
- Annie's Boobs: Apparently Annie's aunt's boyfriend asks her if her breasts are real.
- Nice outfit: The dean's "John Wayne" costume looks exactly like Jeff's cowboy outfit from "Introduction to Statistics", "A Fistful of Paintballs", and "For A Few Paintballs More".
- Deanotation: The dean greets the study group in his cowboy outfit by saying"How-Dean!".
- Gay, he's so gay!: Pierce suggests that Jeff is looking to come out of the closet to his father.
- Turning it into a snake: Britta celebrates her part in getting Jeff to resolve his daddy issues by playing a loud boom box and trying to rap.
- WWBJD?: Shirley asks that her friends browse the available literature she has about taking Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
- Awww!: Annie and Shirley coo when they see that Jeff has set up a special Thanksgiving dinner for the study group in the study room.
- You're the worst!:
- Annie calls Shirley's Thanksgiving dinner the Jonestown of dinners.
- Jeff calls Britta the worst after realizing she was right about confronting his father
- Britta'd it: Jeff greets Britta after learning she had forced herself into his reunion with his father by saying she really "you'd" this one.
- Mancrush: Dean Pelton touches Jeff inappropriately again on the shoulder and on the stomach in this episode. Jeff also invited Dean along to the special Thanksgiving dinner.
- Shout out:
- IMDb: Abed mentions "The Shawshank Redemtion", "Borat" and "Die Hard"
- TV Guide:
Product placement: Abed mentions the restaurant Bennigans in his narration.
- Use your allusion:
- Willy Jr. compares Jeff and himself to Schwarzenegger and De Vito. This is a reference to the 1988 movie "Twins" where Arnold Schwarzenegger was the genetically superior brother and Danny De Vito played his inferior twin.
- When Jeff is surprised by the appearance of his half brother in his Lexus he proclaims "What in the cats cradle is going on?" a reference to the 1974 song "Cat's in the Cradle" which was about a father who was too busy to spend time with his son.
Community's ratings rose 25% from the previous week's episode,and it recieved a 1.5/5 according to tvbythenumbers . This placed it third in its timeslot (but fourth in total viewers) and making it by a pretty wide margin the most watched show on NBC that night. On the Twitter, #HappyThanksgiving trended in the US for at least ten minutes after the episode ended in the Central and Eastern time zones.
ProductionEditCommunity writer Steve Basilone tweeted a picture of the front of the script. On September 18, 2012, online entertainment news sites Entertainment Weekly and TV Line both reported that this episode was to introduce Jeff's father to be portrayed by actor James Brolin. Joel McHale would later tweet a photo of himself and Brolin on set during filiming of the episode. At the same time, Brolin had also been cast as the father of Richard Castle on the ABC crime drama "Castle".
|Season Four Episodes|
1. "History 101"
|Season One • Season Two • Season Three • Season Four • Season Five|