◄"English as a Second Language"► Directors: Gail Mancuso — Writer: Tim Hobert — Aired: May 13, 2010 — Season: One — Number: Twenty-Four Summary: The study group's preparation for their finals is made even more stressful when Señor Chang gets replaced by a tougher Spanish teacher. Meanwhile, Troy discovers that he has a hidden talent for plumbing.
The group arrives in the study room just as the Dean makes the usual morning announcements. Annie lays out the study plan in detail for the upcoming Spanish finals. When she mentions the group taking Spanish 3 next year, Jeff corrects her. He doesn't really have to take any more language courses once he passes Spanish 2. Annie makes an impassioned plea to the rest of the study group to continue taking the course. She admits that she likes the group and would hate for it to break up. The rest of the group agrees until they find out that the Spanish 3 class starts early in the morning at 6:00 AM. Later in Spanish class, Annie tries to find another class for the group to take together. She proposes Anthropology to the rest of the group.
Jeff mentions his strict four year plan to replace his bachelor's degree which doesn't leave a lot of time for additional classes in his schedule. Señor Chang arrives and asks to speak to Jeff alone. He makes the class leave in a hurry and asks Jeff about his fake law degree. Jeff correctly assumes that he needs a fake degree himself, and Chang admits he conned his way into his teaching position. He threatens Jeff to keep quiet by telling him that if the Dean were to find out, the class' grades would be invalid, and everyone would flunk. Unknown to both of them, Annie's digital recorder was on; she left it behind when Chang asked the class to leave.
Elsewhere, Troy is walking down the hallways and stops to get a drink from the water fountain. He sees that it's broken and uses a nearby wrench to try to fix it. Two custodians appear which causes Troy to run off. They are both shocked to see that he managed to fix the water fountain. Meanwhile in the library, Annie is listening to playbacks on her recording device, and she hears the conversation Jeff and Chang had. The next day, Dean Pelton shows up in Spanish class and announces that Chang has been fired. He says that an anonymous person alerted him to Chang's lack of qualifications before introducing the replacement Spanish teacher Doctor Escodera. As she speaks to the class in Spanish it is immediately apparent that Chang's instruction, like his qualifications, was wholly insufficient.
The class learns from Escodera that their final will cover everything in the Spanish text book. Troy, Abed, and Jeff are walking back from Spanish class, discussing the new teacher as well as how hopeless it seems that they will pass the Spanish final now. They hear a car alarm go off, and Abed tells Jeff that it's probably his Lexus. Jeff runs to the parking lot and sees Chang trashing his car with a keytar. He blames Jeff for ratting him out and getting him fired which Jeff strongly denies. They struggle on top of his Lexus over the keytar until two campus security guards show up and taze them both. Elsewhere, Troy goes to the restroom and sees that a sink is broken. Needing to wash his hands he uses a nearby wrench and he easily fixes it.
Jerry, hiding in one of the bathroom stalls, reveals himself and compliments Troy on his plumbing abilities. He admits to having setting up the situation as a test to see if Troy really did have a talent for the job. He then offers Troy a business card to a plumbing company. Jerry tells him not to waste his time on the abstract like learning and instead focus on something real like fixing toilets and sinks. Troy insists that he wants to be a student and doesn't care about plumbing before running out. Later in the study room, the group tries hard to prepare for the Spanish finals. Frustrated, Jeff is ready to give up saying it's unlikely that they'll pass, which most of the study group seems to agree with. Jeff becomes suspicious when Annie's reaction isn't as downbeat and resigned as the others. He then realizes it was Annie who ratted out Chang.
Jeff starts to cross examines her and gets her to confess as the rest of the study group looks on. When she attempts to manipulate the group by crying Jeff warns the others not to fall for it. Annie explains she was worried they would drift apart like her rehab group did. Jeff angrily berates her for her selfish actions causing her to tearfully run out of the study room. He and the rest of the study group continue to study without her late into the night and fall asleep in the study room. When they wake up in the morning, Jeff tells them all to keep their focus on the exam and forget about Annie. As they all go their separate ways, Abed talks to Troy about what happened with Jerry. He overheard their conversation in the restroom and suggests Troy accept the janitors offer. He confuses Troy by saying his greatest wish is to never see him in class again.
A few hours later, the study group is about to take the finals. Troy is upset with Abed having misunderstood his advice to him earlier. Abed then explains he was just doing an homage to the film "Good Will Hunting". Jeff finds out from Shirley that Annie has gone to apologize to Chang. Fearing the worst, he and the study group leave before taking the test and go to Chang's office to "rescue" her. It turns out she's fine and has offered to help Chang enroll in Greendale, so he can earn a legitimate teaching degree. They all go back to take the Spanish finals and find that it wasn't as hard as they thought it would be. Believing they just might pass, Jeff thinks they should all decide on a course to take next semester as a group. He puts forth Annie's suggestion of Anthropology to which the rest of the study group eagerly agrees.
Abed reads off the scores of the exam posted outside the Spanish classroom. He slowly reveals that each study group member passed the Spanish finals. They all celebrate but Annie is a bit skeptical of their good fortune believing that the test Was not that hard. After they leave, Pierce stops Doctor Escodera in the hallways and thanks her for making the test easy and it's revealed he slept with her the night before the exam.
History lesson: Annie explains to the group how she and her rehab group drifted apart and never saw each other again. We later briefly see her rehab group in the Season Four episode "Heroic Origins".
A nice gesture: Abed does his fist pump when he thinks Troy has gone off to become a plumber; he does it again when he finds out he passed the finals in the episode's end tag.
School uniform: Annie mentions to Jeff that she dressed a particular way because she was going for more of a "professor thing". This is a reference to Professor Slater and is a hint that there is some lingering feelings from the kiss she shared with Jeff in "Debate 109".
Up against the wall: Jeff's "unmovable appointment" on "May 23rd 2013" is a reference to a possible date when Community's fourth season finale could have aired. As each year of the show represents a school year, the fourth season was to be when he graduated from Greendale. This was referenced in this episode when Jeff stated he had a four-year plan to graduate. However, the predicted air date did not occur. This was due to an abbreviated Season Four which only had thirteen episodes and the premiere being moved from October 19, 2012 to February 7, 2013. The actual air date for the Season Four finale which had Jeff's graduation from Greendale was on May 9, 2013.
Parody: The episode contains a Good Will Hunting parody with Troy's plumbing storyline that also directly references the movie itself. In the DVD commentaries, Dan Harmon makes his dislike for the movie known. Shirley's comments about the film in the episode can be seen as his own opinion about the movie. The equation shown on the blackboard before Troy fixes the water fountain, is taken from the movie.
Everyone's a critic: When Jeff sees Chang destroying his car, he asks him about the safety goggles he is wearing to which Chang replies "safety first." This is an indirect reference to criticisms of the paintball episode which had the characters not wearing safety goggles; in paintball competitions, it's a requirement.
“Someone make her a dude, so I can punch her.”— Troy
“Now she is going to make the Disney face. Her lip is gonna quiver, and her eyes will flutter, but they won't ever actually close, BUT DO NOT feel sorry for her. She stole a year of our lives, and we're right to be pissed.”— Jeff
“The only thing that makes sense is this (points at his head). Learning...thoughts...so I can think and get a student loan and grind my own coffee and understand HBO.”— Troy