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     Modern Espionage  
Director: Rob SchrabWriter: Mark Stegemann — Aired: 5/19/2015 — Season: Six — Number: 11 (1x08)
Summary: A secret paintball assassin game is played on the Greendale campus.


Late at night on the Greendale campus, Star-Burns is in the parking garage having just left Vicki's one woman stage show. He is approached by Todd and an unexpected paintball battle erupts between them. Star-Burns gains the upper hand when a third party shoots him and Todd with silver paint. The next morning, Frankie has security escort Star-Burns off campus since paintballing is now prohibited. She dismisses Dean Pelton's advice on handling the matter and instead turns to Jeff for help. Deputy Chief Custodian Lapari is being honored at a "Clean Up Greendale" gala and she needs Jeff to introduce him. As the de facto leader of the campus she asks that at the event he use his influence to persuade everyone not to play paintball.

The study group has joined the outlawed paintball
Jeff reluctantly agrees and goes to the Save Greendale Committee meeting to explain Frankie's concerns. However, he discovers they are all playing the illegal contest when the committee members shoot Chang with paintball guns. Jeff himself is also drawn back into the game when several competitors rush the study room. He seizes Chang's abandoned weapon and quickly eliminates them. Frankie arrives a few minutes later and asks about a paintball player who claimed Jeff shot him. Despite her suspicions, Jeff assures her no one on the committee are playing. After she leaves the committee members point their paintball weapons at each other. Abed ends the standoff by mentioning his suspicions of who is sponsoring the game.

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Welcome to club club!
The committee joins him in a storage room he converted to conduct his investigation. He shows a connection between a player named "Silver Ballz" who uses silver paint and Greendales rival school City College. His presentation is interrupted by Dean Pelton who tries in vain to assert his authority. The committee ignores him and agrees to work together to thwart whatever City College's plans. Abed infiltrates the school's Club Club to find a paintball munitions supplier named "Fun Dad" who turns out to be Preston Koogler. When Abed asks him about obtaining silver paintballs Koogler flees but is stopped by Annie. Before she can get answers about "Silverballz" an unknown player shoots Koogler and fires at her.

City College is at it again
During the commotion Koogler slips away but Abed manages to obtain a thumb drive he left behind at the club. Elroy identifies it as an encryption key which unlocks a message chain between Koogler and Silverballz. It reveals that a large amount of silver paint was ordered with a message implying Silverballz plans to use at the "Clean up Greendale" Gala. That night at the event the committee members are in attendance spread out to scan for any potential threats. Jeff is coordinating their efforts via headset and checks on Pelton whom he sent to the schools custodial wing. It's there that the Dean is ambushed in an elevator by several custodians and surprisingly eliminates them all before heading back to the gala.

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Committee in position
At the same time Elroy and Britta engage in a messy paintball battle with chefs in the cafeteria's kitchen. Jeff overhears the conflict on his headset just as he is on stage introducing the gala's honoree Lapari. He becomes disoriented when Frankie has the crowd pop balloons in celebration. Jeff shocks Frankie when he shoots what he believes to be a assassin who turns out to be an innocent bystander. Dean Pelton arrives and declares that Lapari and the custodians are behind the underground paintball contest. A huge paintball battle erupts when Lapari calls in his men and during the struggle Annie, Abed, Elroy and Britta are eliminated.

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The underground paintball comes to light
Amidst the chaos Lapari manages to escape with Jeff and Dean Pelton hot on his trail. They follow him inside the school's Custodian hall wing and manage to catch him off guard. As Jeff pleads with Lapari to reconsider his plans Frankie unexpectedly appears. She reassures everyone she won't fire them and asks that they resolve this quickly so things can go back to normal. Once she leaves Jeff proposes that they all eliminate themselves by shooting thier own foot. The others agree but when Jeff counts down from three they all shoot each other instead at the same time. Sometime later, Frankie punishes Jeff and the rest of the Save Greendale Committee by having them pretend to be babies.

The final standoff

End tagEdit

Garrett is on stage in front of a live audience performing stand-up based on surviving Vicki's one woman musical. In particular he mocks a section of her act devoted to her dead mother which the crowd laughs at. However, everyone goes silent when Vicki makes her presence known and confronts Garrett on stage. The audience watches on in dismay only to learn the entire thing was staged to promote a new show starring Vicki and Garrett. The revelation, along with Garrett acknowledging Vicki's very much alive mother in the room, causes the audience to boo. Garrett defends their act by comparing it to Andy Kaufman's subversive comedy and demands recognition for the amount of work they put into it.

Recurring themesEdit


[Responding to the Dean:] No, we are not tobacco! We are Robert Downey Jr. He was so high he was crawling into people's windows. Now he's Iron Man. We self-destruct like this because we'd rather be heroes and villains than just kind of sucky people that need to work a lot at getting less sucky. She [Frankie] will forgive us. I know her, I like her, and if she fires either of you, I'll quit. She's not the enemy. She can help us. We just have to cool it.
  • Mad Skillz: Vicki's singing talents are once again displayed. It is revealed that she majors in music.

Running gagsEdit

  • NOOOOOO!: Annie and Abed both scream this after being eliminated.
  • Nice outfit: The Save Greendale Committee is forced wear baby bonnets and pacifiers for a week because they played paintball.
  • Deanotation:
    • Dean Pelton replaces the word "times" and "desperate" with "Dean" and "Dean-sperate" respectively when using the old phrase "Desperate times call for desperate measures".
    • Pelton tries out a few different names for the committee using his title as part of it. This includes: "The Secret Dean Force", "The Dean Boys", "Task Force Dean", "Dean Sport".
  • You're the worst: Britta is given the Batman themed codename of "Clooney" after the actor George Clooney who starred in the 1997 movie "Batman & Robin ". The film is generally considered to be the worst in the Batman franchise.
  • Bon Appetit!: Britta asks Jeff if Frankie broke up with someone, and if so, of which gender.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • Shout out:
  • IMDb:
    • Jeff mentions the movie "Iron Man ".
    • Koogler says the first rule of the Club Club is that they're not a "Fight Club ", referring to dialogue from the 1999 film of the same name.
  • Use your allusion:
    • Frankie uses a popular quote from Joseph Campbell : "Follow your bliss". Dan Harmon has often spoken of Campbell's influence on his writing.
    • During the Gala scene, each of the committee members and Pelton's codenames refers to an actor who once played Batman. Abed is Bale (Christian Bale ), Jeff is Keaton (Michael Keaton ), Annie is West (Adam West ), Elroy is Kilmer (Val Kilmer ), Britta is Clooney (George Clooney ), and the Dean is the Voice of Diedrich Bader (who provided the voice for Batman in the animated series "Batman: The Brave and the Bold "). The group's codename is Belfry which refers to the saying 'bats in the belfry', meaning insanity.

Meta referencesEdit

  • Homage:
    • The episode's plot, opening sequence and some of its action setpieces are derived from spy movies. According to Dan Harmon it was meant to be based more on current spy films like "The Bourne Identity " and "Mission Impossible " franchises and not the old style "James Bond " type thrillers.
    • On commentary for this episode, "Community" creator Dan Harmon confirmed the paintball gun fight with Starburns and Todd in the parking garage was inspired by the opening scene of "Highlander ".
    • The elevator scene with Dean Pelton is an homage to a scene in the 2014 film "Captain America: The Winter Soldier " which itself was paying tribute to an action sequence from the 1995 Bruce Willis movie "Die Hard With A Vengeance ". Dan Harmon confirmed in an episode commentary this was a nod to former Community executive producers the Russo brothers who directed that particular Marvel Entertainment film.
    • When shooting breaks out during the gala, Annie and Abed are shooting people with their backs to each other, but they then turn to face each other and continue shooting. This is a reference to the final action scene in the 2005 film "Mr & Mrs. Smith ".
    • The scene where Lapari, Dean and Jeff shoot each other is a possible reference to the final scene in the Quentin Tarantino film "Reservoir Dogs ".
    • Vicki and Garrett stage an elaborate show piece designed to promote their next show, but when the audience reacts negatively to their manipulative staging they claim their work is "performance art" similar to Andy Kaufman's work. Kaufman was notorious for occasionally doing bits that were deliberately designed to provoke a negative reaction from his audience.
  • Everyone's a critic: Abed acknowledges certain fans' tendency to call episodes like Modern Espionage parodies, indirectly telling viewers that "homage" is the more appropriate term.
  • Résumé:
    • Dean Pelton guesses that Lapari has done stand-up which refers to actor Kumail Nanjiani 's stand-up career.
    • Erik Charles Nielsen's stand-up career is also acknowledged with Garrett's stand-up in the end tag.
  • Up against the wall: Frankie's parting words to Starburns are "Bye forever, Starburns". This is in fact his last appearance on the series.


Season Six Episodes

1. "Ladders"
2. "Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care"
3. "Basic Crisis Room Decorum"
4. "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"
5. "Laws of Robotics & Party Rights"
6. "Basic Email Security"
7. "Advanced Safety Features"

8. "Intro to Recycled Cinema"
9. "Grifting 101"
10. "Basic RV Repair and Palmistry"
11. "Modern Espionage"
12. "Wedding Videography"
13. "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"

Community Season Six DVD front cover

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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