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1x1 Pilot

Director: Anthony Russo & Joe RussoWriter: Dan HarmonAired: September 17, 2009 — Season: One — Number: One
Summary: {{{summary}}}

What is community college? Well, you've heard all kinds of things. You've heard it's 'loser college' for remedial teens, twenty-something drop-outs, middle-aged divorcees, and old people keeping their minds active as they circle the drain of eternity. That's what you heard, however... I wish you luck!

Dean Pelton

Summary: A smarmy lawyer whose education is deemed void by the bar is forced to attend a local community college with an extremely eclectic staff and student body in order to get a legitimate degree.


1x1 Pelton giving speech

Dean Pelton gives an inspirational speech

It's the first day of classes for Greendale Community College's 2009 fall semester. The dean, Craig Pelton, is trying to give an inspirational speech while welcoming the new students but ends up failing miserably. In the distance, Jeff Winger watches the train wreck while trying to ignore another student named Abed Nadir. Abed is in the middle of telling Jeff his life story when he cuts him off. Jeff asks him for information on a female student he saw in the Spanish class they both take. Abed informs him that her name is Britta and immediately begins to rattle off numerous facts about her. Impressed, Jeff thanks Abed before going off to meet an old friend of his, Professor Ian Duncan. In Duncan's office, Jeff tells Ian why he's at the school: the bar association learned that he faked his law degree, and now he's at Greendale to earn a legitimate one. He asks that Duncan get him the answers to all his class exams for the entire semester. Ian is reluctant at first but agrees to look into it when he's reminded that Jeff saved him from a D.U.I. charge in 2002.

1x01-Jeff Duncan car


Jeff locates Britta in the cafeteria and tries to lay on the charm but is shot down. Switching to another tactic, he insists that his intentions are sincere. Jeff lies about being a board certified Spanish tutor and that he only approached her to invite her to a study group he is forming. She accepts his invitation and meets him later in the library's study room. He makes a little progress, but his efforts end up being hampered with the arrival of Abed whom Britta had invited. Jeff is unable to get rid of Abed who doesn't understand the hint Jeff sends in a text message. Jeff soon gets a text message himself from Duncan to meet him at the football field. Once there, Ian says it might be possible to get the test answers but questions whether Jeff knows the difference between right and wrong. Jeff smugly says that he learned a long time ago that such concepts are subjective especially when he learned he has the ability to convincingly argue for either side. After a heated exchange, Ian gives in and agrees to help despite being exasperated by Jeff's arrogance.



Jeff returns to the library only to find that Britta is missing, and four more students are seated at the study table, having been invited by Abed. Attempting to sneak away, he leaves the library only to run into Britta who was outside taking a cigarette break. She suggests that they go back and start studying, hinting that they can sneak out and have dinner if the new arrivals prove to be unteachable. When they return, the oldest of the new arrivals, Pierce, attempts to introduce everyone but manages to get most of their names wrong. After Troy, Annie, and Shirley correct him, Jeff decides to exploit the obvious tension between them. He continues to stir the pot until the group members are arguing amongst themselves. Jeff's manipulation of the group is interrupted by another call from Duncan, who tells him to meet in the parking lot. He finds Ian waiting in his tiny smart car with the answers to the exams. Ian demands Jeff's Lexus as payment, and a desperate Jeff reluctantly agrees. Returning to the study room, he finds Britta waiting for him. She demands that he calm down the still-arguing study group. He says he'll do so only if she agrees to go out with him to which she finally concedes.

1x01-Study Group Steps
With a passionate speech, Jeff manages to pacify the study group. He praises each of them by listing their various strengths, and explains that by coming together and putting aside their differences, they are no longer a mere study group but a Community. He then announces he is going to leave to have dinner with Britta, who subsequently reveals that she lied and never intended to go out with him once she realized he was a phony tutor. Angry at having been tricked, he takes back everything he just said. He tells everyone that he doesn't need them as he now has the answers to all the exams and invites anyone who wants to pass to join him outside. Leaving the library, he opens the packet holding the exam answers and sees that Ian has tricked him. Furious at this deception, he marches back to Duncan's office and gets his car keys back. Afterwards, he returns to the library and sits on the steps, contemplating his current situation. The study group comes outside and tells him that studying is boring without him, and they silently convince Britta to invite him back in to study.

Recurring Themes


  • First appearance: As this is the first episode, Jeff as well as all the other main characters are introduced.
  • This must be the place: A number of eventually recurring set pieces are introduced in this episode including the cafeteria, the library, the study room, and Ian's office.
  • Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: The basic outline of the show is laid out with Jeff learning to be a better person through his interaction with the study group. The first major story arc is also introduced in the form of the possible budding romance between Jeff and Britta.
  • History lesson: We get a brief synopsis of all the main characters' pasts before they came to Greendale and why they are there now.
  • A sweet ride: Jeff's Lexus is mentioned in this pilot but not physically seen until the next episode.
  • Mad skillz: Jeff's ability to talk his way into and out of situations is demonstrated.
  • Winger speech: Jeff gives the first of his many Winger speeches to the group.

Running Gags

  • Attention Students!: The series begins with Dean Pelton welcoming all to Greendale over a portable PA system.
  • Catchphrase:
Cool, cool...etc.Abed
That's nice.Shirley
You just wrinkled my brain.Troy
  • Disney Face: Annie uses her sad eyes to help convince Britta to let Jeff study with them.
  • Board certified tutor: Pierce butchers the group introductions despite claiming to be a Toastmaster.

Pop culture references

  • TV Guide:
    • The Cafeteria lady calls Jeff "SeinFIELD." Jeff tells her it is "SeinFELD."
    • Jeff mentions that people can empathize with sharks during Shark Week.


  • The Cafeteria lady calls Jeff Seinfield.
  • Troy calls Jeff Seacrest.
  • Troy calls Abed Slumdog Millionaire.
  • Troy calls Annie Little 'Annie Adderall'.

Guest Cast

1x1 Ian and Jeff

John Oliver as Ian Duncan


I still cannot figure out how you got a jury to connect September the 11th with my DUI.Ian
The state bar has suspended my license. They found out my college degree was less than legitimate.Jeff
I thought you had a bachelor's from Columbia?Ian
And now I have to get one from America.Jeff
Jeff, are you familiar with the adage 'cheaters never prosper'?Ian
No, and if I had wanted to learn something, I wouldn't have come to community college.Jeff
You already know Brittles.Pierce
Abed. Abed the Arab. Is that inappropriate?Pierce
Roy. Roy the wonder boy.Pierce
Little princess Elizabeth.Pierce
And finally, this beautiful creature is named Shirley.
Is that even close?Jeff
[Shirley nods]
You have been sexually harassing me since the very first day of class.Shirley
'Sexually harassing'? What? That makes no sense to me. Why would I harass someone who turns me on?Pierce
Saying she turns you on is the harassment, dude.Troy
You know what I got for Christmas? It was a banner year at the Bender family. I got a carton of cigarettes. The old man grabbed me and he said, "Heeeey, smoke up Johnny!" No dad, what about you!Abed
Well, that actually was from the Breakfast Club.Jeff
Nobody puts Baby in the corner.Abed
Dirty Dancing.Jeff
You know what makes humans different from other animals?Jeff
No, no, come on. Bears have feet.Pierce
We can sympathize with a pencil. We can forgive a shark, and we can give Ben Affleck an Academy Award for screenwriting.Jeff
Big mistake.Pierce
You've just stopped being a study group. You've become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a community.Jeff
I like you, Jeffrey. You remind me of myself at your age.Pierce
I deserve that.Jeff
Well, the funny thing about being smart is that you can get through most of life without ever having to do any work.Jeff


  • Troy calls Jeff "Seacrest". It is a running gag of Joel McHale's on The Soup to make fun of Ryan Seacrest.
  • This episode was in memoriam of director John Hughes.


Season One Episodes

1. "Pilot"
2. "Spanish 101"
3. "Introduction to Film"
4. "Social Psychology"
5. "Advanced Criminal Law"
6. "Football, Feminism and You"
7. "Introduction to Statistics"
8. "Home Economics"
9. "Debate 109"
10. "Environmental Science"
11. "The Politics of Human Sexuality"
12. "Comparative Religion"
13. "Investigative Journalism"

14. "Interpretive Dance"
15. "Romantic Expressionism"
16. "Communication Studies"
17. "Physical Education"
18. "Basic Genealogy"
19. "Beginner Pottery"
20. "The Science of Illusion"
21. "Contemporary American Poultry"
22. "The Art of Discourse"
23. "Modern Warfare"
24. "English as a Second Language"
25. "Pascal's Triangle Revisited"


Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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