|Abed is in his apartment worrying over the study group's final year at school. He is there with Britta who, in her capacity as Abed's therapist, advises he imagine himself in his "Happy Place" when he gets stressed out. Afterwards, Troy, Annie, Abed, and Britta arrive at Greendale and are greeted by Shirley and Pierce. Annie announces she is going to do "Senioritis" this year and pull some pranks which Shirley is eager to do with her. Troy and Abed mention their yearly tradition at the start of the school year: making a wish at the school fountain. As they head to their latest class, "History of Ice Cream", they all wonder where Jeff is. When they arrive at the class, they find a crowd of students waiting outside including Neil. He explains the class is overbooked and filled to capacity.
|Jeff then appears from inside the classroom. He instructs the group to join him as he got there earlier and saved them all seats. They are all surprised by his thoughtfulness as well as his eagerness to begin the new school year. Jeff notices that Troy and Britta are holding hands and teases her about it. Dean Pelton shows up with some bad news and announces that counterfeit registration cards had been circulated for the class. In order to resolve the conflict, he asks all the students to follow him to the cafeteria. Once inside, the students see that elaborate obstacle courses have been set up. After the Dean disappears behind a curtain, he makes a splashy entrance and declares the start of the "Hunger Deans" competition. The students will have to battle it out for a spot in the history class by winning a red ball.
|The group is uninterested in participating, but Jeff is adamant that they all take this class together. He explains that he took online courses during the summer and is only one history credit away from graduating. The group is shocked that he is graduating early, particularly Annie, who is disappointed by Jeff's selfishness. Jeff declares that he will win seven red balls, so they can all take the history class. An angry Annie leaves with Shirley to pull some senior pranks while Abed and Pierce decide to stay behind and watch. Abed tells Troy to go ahead to the fountain with Britta and do the traditional wishes without him. He then retreats into another "Happy Place" sitcom fantasy. The competition starts, and Jeff manages to bully his way through Leonard and Annie Kim to climb up a pyramid and claim his first red ball.
|Meanwhile, Annie and Shirley execute their prank by sneaking into Dean Pelton's office. Shirley is unimpressed and suggests something bolder like filling the Dean's car with popcorn. After finding his keys, they are interrupted by Jeff who proudly shows off one more red ball he won for them. He races back to the cafeteria and leaves the balls with Abed and Pierce. Elsewhere, Troy and Britta arrive at the school fountain and begin the wish making ritual. Britta is unaware of all the rules Troy and Abed had created for the tradition and starts to get annoyed when Troy corrects her. She tries to take back a wish by removing the coin she flipped into the fountain. Troy attempts to stop her, leading to them fighting inside the fountain. Over in the school's faculty parking lot, Shirley and Annie are carrying out their prank on Dean Pelton's car.
|While Annie continues to complain about Jeff graduating early, she mentions how bored she is with her hospital administration major. Back at the Hunger Deans, Jeff beats Neil in a one-on-one contest to secure his third ball. A few more contests gets him two additional balls. The tango is then announced as the next competition by the Dean who states that all the contestants need to be paired up, and he will personally be the judge of the winner. Annie Kim asks to partner up with Jeff, but he chooses Pelton instead. Abed grows more agitated and further retreats into his "Happy Place" sitcom fantasy. As Jeff continues his dance with the Dean, he confronts him about his suspicions. He theorizes that Pelton learned about how close he was to graduating and canceled a legitimate history class to prevent him from obtaining his last credit. He accuses him of fabricating the crisis with the fake certificates for the only other history credit class.
|The Dean admits what he did but states that he's not ready to let Jeff go. Despite this, he deems Jeff the winner and reluctantly hands him another red ball. Jeff takes it back to Abed and Pierce but notices how frozen and unresponsive Abed is. The rest of the group arrives, and Britta explains that she told Abed to retreat into his mind whenever he feels anxiety. Jeff leaves when the next contest is announced, but after seeing the group struggle to rouse Abed from his catatonic state, he changes his mind. Inside Abed's "Happy Place", he imagines Jeff delivering a "Winger speech" about accepting change. He snaps out of his self-induced coma and startles the study group. He tells them that he was afraid of the future and the unknown. He now realizes he shouldn't be: when they began their time at Greendale, it was also uncertain but ended up turning out well for all of them.
|As they are talking, Leonard snatches all the red balls Jeff earned and makes off with them. With history class no longer an option, Annie resignedly mentions that she needs to sign up for a hospital administration class, but Abed suggests she take forensics instead. After school, Jeff is about to enter his apartment when Dean Pelton shows up. He apologizes for what happened and lets Jeff know that the school will be offering another history class. Much to Jeff's shock, he also informs him that they are now neighbors as he has moved into a condo next door. Elsewhere, a postman is emptying a mailbox when he is approached by a naked man who hands him a piece of paper. The paper explains that the man's name is "Kevin" and that he has "Changnesia". The man is revealed to be Ben Chang.
Another one of Abed's sitcom fantasies is shown. In this segment, he and Troy are cross dressing, so they can attend an "Antics 101" class that is only for women. They are stopped by Dean Pelton who admires their dresses and lets them inside. Britta tries to enter the class but is stopped by the Dean who insists she is male. Shirley opens the door to the class and says a catchphrase while looking straight into the camera.
- And we're back: The show's fourth season finally returns after an aborted October 19 premiere, debuting on February 7, 2013. The story picks up sometime not long after the Season Three finale "Introduction to Finality", considering that was set in the summertime and the returning episode begins at the start of the fall semester.
- Previously: Abed is continuing his therapy with Britta.
- Replay: Several sequences from Abed's sitcom fantasy feature versions of previous Community moments. These include:
- Jeff and Britta in the Season One episode "Modern Warfare".
- Troy again wearing his Riverside high varsity jacket
- Dean Pelton wearing the "Duali-Dean" outfit from the Season Three episode "Virtual Systems Analysis".
- Annie is missing her favorite purple pen which is handed to her by Troy's monkey. This and her outfit is a reference to the incident that took place in the Season Two episode "Cooperative Calligraphy".
- Abed donning a felt goatee, equipped with a bone saw and wearing the exact same outfit he wore in the Season Three episode "Introduction to Finality"
- Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: A few ongoing story arcs are set up for the new season are hinted at in the premiere.
- Jeff is graduating early once he gets a History class credit.
- Troy and Britta's relationship is slowly progressing.
- Annie is reconsidering her major.
- Dean Pelton is now Jeff's neighbor.
- Ben Chang has returned and apparently has amnesia.
- Shirley and Pierce's sandwich shop is still open.
- School supplies:
- In Abed's "Happy Place", he imagines the study group wearing hipster glasses. Both Jeff and Britta are seen wearing such glasses in the real world.
- Troy's letterman jacket is seen in Abed's sitcom fantasy.
- School uniform: Dean Pelton is again seen wearing the Duali-Dean of Man outfit from "Virtual Systems Analysis" in Abed's TV sitcom fantasy.
- Returning students: Neil, Vicki, Annie Kim, and Leonard return for this episode. In Abed's sitcom fantasy, Evil Abed returns.
- Familiar faces:
- A sweet ride: Dean Pelton's Prius, previously seen in the Season Two episode "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples's, is featured. Shirley and Annie have made it a target of their senior prank by filling it with popcorn.
- Googly eyes: The relationship between Troy and Britta is featured.
- This must be the place: The cafeteria becomes the site of the "Hunger Deans". Jeff's apartment is shown briefly.
- Winger speech:
- Subverted twice. First, when Jeff tells the group about a speech he had planned and later when the Jeff in Abed's Happy Place delivers a Winger Speech while in real life, Jeff had just walked up to the group.
- Rhyme time: Britta starts reassuring Abed about the senior year by saying, "Here's the deal, Jessica Biel".
- Awww!: Shirley and Annie coo when they hear about Troy and Abed's tradition of making a wish at the school fountain.
- Attention students!: The dean announces to the students that a competition will take place to determine who gets to take the class called, "The History of Ice Cream".
- Annie gasps when Jeff declares he wants the History class to be the last one the group takes together.
- The study group reacts to Jeff's news that he will graduate early.
- Pansexual imp: Basically everything Dean Pelton says and does with the red balls.
- Gay, he's so gay!: Subverted when Pierce notices that "Jeff's really going after that ball," and tries to make a gay joke but fails to see the obvious double entendre. This continues throughout the episode as Jeff collects six balls.
- Turning it into a snake: Britta tries to convince Troy she can adequately fill in for Abed through dance.
- Biggest laugh of the night!: Britta and Troy struggle while splashing around in the fountain.
- Annie's boobs: The monkey makes an appearance in a flashback.
- Britta'd it: Britta messes up Troy and Abed's wish making ritual.
- The Dean tells the students to "Simmer Dean" when they start to get agitated. He introduces them to a competition called "The Hunger Deans".
- In Abed's "Happy Place" sitcom, he imagines the Dean dressed as an aviator and saying, "Coming in for a lan-Dean". When Jeff asks him if he is serious about the group having to take another three years at Greendale, he says "In-Dean I am".
- Made a bad impression: Annie does her impression of Dean Pelton while in his office.
- Man-crush: The Dean tries to stop Jeff from graduating because he's not ready to see him leave Greendale. It's revealed that he moves into a condo just beside the one where Jeff lives.
- Nice outfit: Dean Pelton dresses up in two different dresses. Two of the Dean's "assistants" are dressed as unicorns.
- Troy and Abed in the Mor-ning!: Troy and Abed sing, "Troy and Abed back from summer!" at the start of the episode.
- Changuage: Ben Chang makes an appearance at the end of the episode with a note that says he has "Changnesia".
- Shout out: President Obama and Osama Bin Laden are both mentioned by Abed when mentioning how his wishes last year in the fountain regarding them came true.
- TV Guide: Troy points out that Storage Wars would be unacceptable collateral damage of Britta's wish.
- IMDB: Star Wars would be another casualty of wishing to end all wars.
- Use your allusion:
- The Hunger Deans is a riff on the young-adult novel and movie franchise The Hunger Games about a ruthless contest of survival between a group of teenagers in a dystopian society.
- Abed's Happy Community College Show is a parody of the multi-camera sitcom format that has long been the standard for television comedies. The use of a laugh track/live studio audience, mugging for the camera, actor replacement, crossdressing, and sudden oversimplified resolution are all tropes of this format.
- The theme song of Abed's fantasy sitcom is based on the "Community"'s own theme song with new lyrics. This is the second time Abed has rewritten the words to "At Least It Was Here", the first time being in the Season Two episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas".
- Up against the wall:
- Abed's anxiousness about the fourth and possibly final year at Greendale and all the changes that are happening to the study group is meant to be a nod at the tumultuous behind the scenes firing of the original showrunner and creator Dan Harmon, the loss of several staff writers and producers, and the anxiety of fans and critics worried about the quality of the show under the new showrunners, Moses Port and David Guarascio.
- Jeff tells the group that he took classes over the summer and now only needs one History credit to graduate. This is a reference to the shortened 13 episode order for Season Four, as previous seasons had twenty plus episodes divided into two distinct sememsters. Additionally he tells them about a speech he wrote to break the news to the group and goes on to describe what a Winger Speech is all about.
- “I [feel] we shouldn't have done that much stuff. When I look at it, the critiques that I'm anticipating are "This is a sign of new showrunners trying desperately to assure die-hard fans that we're still gonna be the same.”
- “If we did it over again, I wouldn't have done a Troy/Britta story or a Shirley/Annie story. I would have lumped everyone into The Hunger Games, and just done those two stories. Some version of people competing to get into a class, paired with Abed seeing the world differently in multi-camera. It would have just made it two stories instead of five [LAUGHS].”
"History 101" had 4 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49, up 6 percent from its previous debut with "Biology 101" back in September 2011 and and up 38 percent from a 1.3 for the previous season finale "Introduction to Finality" on May 17("[Entertainment Weekly]")("[zap2it.com]]"). That was good enough to land them third in their time slot, trailing only "The Big Bang Theory" and "American Idol", which likely would have beaten almost any show on almost any night. On the Twitter, "Community" racked up a whopping 20 trending topics during the initial broadcast. Critic Brian Collins from Badass Digest noted the seeming disparity between the show's popularity and its ratings last year:
- “So a joke at the end of the episode trended worldwide as it aired, yet the show had series low-ish ratings per Nielsen? Good system.”
ProductionEditJoel Mchale released a photo via his twitter account of the cover of the script for the first episode of Community Season Four which revealed the what subject the study group is taking in their final year at Greendale. On September 7, 2012, Entertainment Weekly revealed more details about the Season Four premiere hinting at the multiple outfits Dean Pelton would wear along with the tango he would do with Jeff. Various promotional material including a clip Joel McHale brought to his appearance on the Ellen show was released in anticipation of the October 19 premiere.
Premiere date delayEdit
On October 8 NBC released an official statement that "Community" premiere would be changed to a date to be determined later. On October 30, NBC made the decision to have Season Four pushed back to next year and "History 101" was rescheduled to air on February 7, 2013.
Various clips from "History 101" were released online and shown in interviews to promote the episode:
- TV Line Casting for new Community teacher
- TV Line Matt Bloom cast in Community
- Joel's photo he tweeted of the script
- Entertainment Weekly spoilers
- zap2it.com "History 101" ratings
- Slate article on History 101 by Aisha Harris
|Season Four Episodes|
1. "History 101"
|Season One • Season Two • Season Three • Season Four • Season Five|