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3X4 Troll doll on fire

     Remedial Chaos Theory  
Director: Jeff Melman — Writer: Chris McKennaAired: October 13, 2011 — Season: Three — Number: Three
Summary: The study group is invited to Troy and Abed's apartment for a housewarming party as six different scenarios unfold based on the roll of a Yahtzee die.


PlotEdit

Quote
Just so you know, Jeff, you are now creating six different timelines.
EndQuote
— Abed
Britta and Annie arrive at Troy and Abed's apartment for their housewarming party. They find that Shirley is already there baking for the guests. As Abed gives them a tour, Jeff and Pierce then show up and are greeted by Troy. Jeff lets them know he won't be staying long citing another event he was invited to. Abed reveals that invitation was faked by him in order to trick Jeff into keeping his schedule clear. The hosts then invite them to play a game of Yahtzee but not long after they gather at a table to start the buzzer goes off. The pizza Abed ordered has just arrived but they are unable to let the delivery person up. Jeff proposes a roll of the die to determine who will go downstairs to get the pizza. Abed warns Jeff that doing so will create alternate timelines. Jeff ignores him and rolls anyway as six different scenarios are created...



RCT-Not it
NOT IT!
After the die comes up "2", Jeff counts down from his left and Annie is chosen to get the pizza. Britta plays "Roxanne" on the stereo, and Jeff stops her from singing along, causing her to go to the bathroom. Troy finds a gun in Annie's purse. Pierce tries to give Troy a housewarming present but is ignored. Jeff doesn't want to deal with the situation and stands up to get a drink, hitting his head on the ceiling fan. Shirley finishes baking her pies. Abed asks Britta about the smell coming from the bathroom. When Annie shows up with the pizzas, Britta acts weird.



Vlcsnap-2012-03-08-10h50m16s111
Annie's got a gun again.
After the die comes up "4", Jeff counts down from his left and Shirley is chosen to get the pizza. Before she leaves, she asks the others to look after her pies. Jeff reminds the study group of their pact not to enable her baking. Britta tries to sing along to "Roxanne", but Jeff stops her, and she goes to the bathroom. Pierce gives his housewarming gift to Troy who freaks out when he sees it's the Norwegian troll doll. Jeff laughs at him and stands up, hitting his head on the ceiling fan. No one checks on Shirley's pies, and they get burned. Hurt and offended, Shirley chastises the group before storming out in tears.



Community - Googly Eyes00:14

Community - Googly Eyes

After the die comes up "3", Jeff counts down from his left and Pierce is chosen to get the pizza. Before leaving, he mentions sleeping with Eartha Kitt on an airplane. Britta tries to sing along to "Roxanne", but Jeff stops her, and she goes to the bathroom to smoke a joint. Jeff makes fun of Troy, which prompts him to join Britta. Back at the table, Annie chides Jeff for being hard on Troy; Jeff ignores her and stands up to get a drink, hitting his head on the ceiling fan. Britta and Troy have a talk and end up making each other feel better. Pierce comes back with the pizzas, and everyone notices a moment between Troy and Britta.



RCT You're really cool Britta
You're pretty cool, Britta.
After the die comes up "6", Jeff counts down from his left and Britta is chosen to get the pizza. When Britta leaves, Pierce tries to segue into his Eartha Kitt story. Shirley cuts him off and leaves to check on her pies. Jeff tries to leave as well but ends up hitting his head on the ceiling fan. Annie offers to take a look at his injury in the bathroom. After tending to his wound, Jeff expresses his concern over her living at Dildopolis. The two are about to kiss but are interrupted when they hear screaming. They find Pierce terrorizing Troy with a troll doll. Abed calls him out for being jealous of them living together. Britta then arrives with the pizzas and the delivery guy, Toby, to whom she announces she is engaged to.



RCT FEEL THE TERROR
FEEL THE TERROR, TROY!!!
After the die comes up "1", Jeff counts down from his left and Troy is chosen to get the pizza. After he leaves (ironically saying that he will go as fast as he can so that he doesn't miss anything), the darkest timeline unfolds. When Troy returns with the pizzas, he finds that Pierce is dying, bleeding heavily after having been accidentally shot in the leg by Annie's gun. On top of that, a fire has broken out in the apartment with Jeff desperately trying to put it out. In the middle of the fire is the Norwegian troll doll, smiling back at him. He drops the pizzas and starts to scream...



RCT NOOOO!!!
Troy reacts to the chaos in the apartment.
After the die comes up "5", Jeff counts down from his left and Abed is chosen to get the pizza and demands money from everyone to pay the bill. Britta tries to sing, but Jeff stops her, and she goes to the bathroom to get lit. Jeff hits his head on the ceiling fan, and Annie offers to look at his injury in the kitchen. Pierce feels guilty about giving Troy the troll doll after Troy thanks him for letting him stay at his mansion. Pierce tries to take back the gift, but Troy wrestles it away from him and becomes angry when he finds out what it is. Annie and Jeff have a moment and kiss. Britta upsets Shirley when she inadvertently reveals the group's pact to not enable her baking. Annie annoys Jeff when she compares him to her father. Abed returns with the pizza and digs in, unaware of the bad mood.



RCT Abed is oblivious to the mood
Abed is oblivious to the bad mood of the study group.
The "prime" timeline is then shown. In this timeline, Abed catches the die before it can land. He explains to the group what Jeff had planned. By using the six-sided die and counting down from his left, Jeff ensures that he will never be chosen to go since he is number seven. As a result of his deception, the others elect Jeff to go downstairs to get the pizza. In his absence, Britta is able to sing along with "Roxanne," causing the others to join in. Pierce decides not to give Troy his housewarming gift. When Jeff returns, he sees them all having a good time. He eats a slice of pizza and watches the festivities from the sidelines.



RCT Party time
Once Jeff leaves, it's party time.

End tagEdit

RCT Evil Abed

Evil Abed

At the end of the episode, we see what has happened after the events in Troy's timeline. Pierce has died from the gunshot wound. Annie is in psychiatric care due to guilt. Jeff has lost an arm trying to put out the fire. Troy's throat and voicebox are severely damaged after he tried to destroy the troll doll by eating it while it was on fire. Shirley has become an alcoholic. (Anti-climatically, Britta has dyed a lock of her hair blue.)

Abed suggests that this is the darkest timeline and claims responsibility for not preventing it by failing to catch the die before Jeff could use it. He promises to "make it up to them" by proposing that they become the evil study group. Together, they will somehow cross over to the "Prime" timeline and take over their duplicates' lives. He dons a felt cutout of a Van Dyke beard and declares himself Evil Abed. Most of the group leaves in disbelief, overwhelmed by their shattered lives. Troy dons a felt Van Dyke beard, however, and he and Evil Abed perform their signature handshake.

In the Prime timeline, Abed gets a weird sense that something ominous is happening.

Alternate timelines graphEdit

Die roll Timeline
AnnieEdit
ShirleyEdit
PierceEdit
BrittaEdit
TroyEdit
AbedEdit
JeffEdit
Pizza getter
2 Annie
Thinks Toby is creepyEdit
Witnesses Troy's freak outEdit
Tends to Jeff in the...Edit
The Darkest TimelineEdit
Kisses JeffEdit
The Prime timelineEdit
kitchen
bathroomEdit
4 Shirley
Offers pies, ignoredEdit
Pies burn, leavesEdit
Offers pies, rejectedEdit
Witnesses Troy's freak outEdit
Learns about the no baking pactEdit
3 Pierce
Ignored by TroyEdit
Gives Troy a giftEdit
Laments missing thingsEdit
Terrorizes Troy with the giftEdit
Tries to take back his giftEdit
6 Britta
Smokes pot in the bathroomEdit
Gives Troy a pep talkEdit
Gets engagedEdit
Confesses about the no baking pactEdit
1 Troy
Finds Annie's gunEdit
Freaks out over giftEdit
Talks with BrittaEdit
Freaks out over giftEdit
Angry over his giftEdit
5 Abed
Shows Britta the bathroomEdit
Shows Britta the bathroom, stops the boulder from rollingEdit
Witnesses Troy's freak outEdit
Oblivious to everyone's bad moodEdit
X Jeff
Refuses to get involved, gets injured after hitting his head on the ceiling fanEdit
Talks to Annie in the...Edit
Kisses AnnieEdit
kitchenEdit
bathroomEdit
After the episode aired, fans speculated and debated over which timeline was the "real" timeline. The creator and showrunner Dan Harmon cleared up the controversy by posting this message on his tumblr site:

"That center, or “prime” timeline, is the one in which Abed catches the die, exposes Jeff as a selfish hooligan, and the group sends him down for the pizza. That is the “real” timeline. And when we were not in it, I did everything I could to make it clear. As much fun as we want to have, we never want to confuse you or lie to you."



Recurring themesEdit

Continuity:Edit

  • That just happened:
  • Mad skillz: Despite Shirley being a good cook, the group believes that it shouldn't be her only identity and they make a pact to not enable her cooking.
  • This must be the place: Living arrangements, both past and present, are significant plot points in this episode: Trobed's new apartment, Troy's time living with Pierce in his mansion, and Annie's residence in an apartment above Dildopolis.
  • A nice gesture:
    • After finding out someone has to go get the pizza, each member of the study group instantly touches their nose in order to signify they are not "it". They used this gesture before in "Aerodynamics of Gender".
    • In the episode end tag, Evil Troy and Evil Abed do their signature handshake.
  • Googly eyes: Several of the timelines contain romantic developments between the Troy/Britta and Jeff/Annie pairings, although the prime timeline does not contain any of these developments.
  • Replay: Six different versions of the same situation are presented in this episode.
  • School supplies:
  • First appearance:

Running gags:Edit

  • Catch Phrase: Britta says "Duh Doy".
  • Turning it into a snake: Britta does an awkward song and dance when the pizza arrived; this dance was purportedly thought up by Gillian Jacobs herself.
  • WWBJD?: Shirley chastises the group as horny toads who make googly eyes at each other.
  • NOOOOO!: In Troy's timeline, he screams when he sees what has happened after he left to get the pizzas.
  • Troy and Abed in the morn-ing!: When Britta and Annie arrive, they declare "Troy and Abed's new apartment!". In the episode end tag, the alternate timeline Troy and Abed declare their new identities as "Evil Troy and Evil A-bed".
  • Gasp: Annie gasps loudly when Toby the pizza guy buzzes their apartment.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • Name that tune: The song "Roxanne" by "The Police" is featured prominently in this episode.
  • Alert nerd!: Abed has a diorama of "Indiana Jones" which he proudly shows off to his guests. He mentions being a huge fan of the franchise in the Season One episode "Social Psychology," although he confessed being disappointed with the last one.
  • Product placement:
    • The group play the classic board game Yahtzee.
    • Pierce gives Troy a Norwegian troll doll which is actually a real product and sold in Norway gift shops.
    • When criticizing Jeff for his selfish actions, Pierce says to "Encarta" the word friendship, a reference to the now defunct online multimedia encyclopedia that was produced by Microsoft.
  • Shout out: In each timeline, Pierce tries to tell his story about sleeping with singer/actress Eartha Kitt.

Meta references:Edit

  • Behind the scenes: This episode was originally intended to be the third episode aired, but Harmon felt they needed to have more time to edit it properly and switched the air date with "Competitive Ecology". This is referenced when Britta asks Annie about the number to Troy and Abed's apartment which is 303, the same number as the production code for the episode even though it's the fourth one aired.
  • IRL: According to Danny Pudi's official bio on NBC.com ( as seen HERE), he enjoys playing Yahtzee.
  • Use your allusion:
    • The Darkest Timeline sees Abed cutting out fake Van Dyke beards for the "evil" study group. This is a direct reference to Star Trek and its "Mirror Universe" concept where evil alternate versions of the main characters would appear. The first appearance of these doppelgangers had an evil version of Spock sporting a Van Dyke beard.
    • In the kitchen of Troy and Abed's apartment, the refrigerator is made up to look like a vending machine. One of the selections pictured is Troy referencing his being trapped inside a vending machine in the end tag of "Basic Genealogy".
  • Homage: The ending of The Darkest Timeline arc while Troy is holding the Pizzas is a play off the ending of the third segment in Four Rooms where Antonio Banderas is holding his wife and the room is in chaos.

ProductionEdit

Behind the scenesEdit

Community An Inside Look at Remedial Chaos Theory03:34

Community An Inside Look at Remedial Chaos Theory

Story CirclesEdit

"Community" creator and showrunner Dan Harmon posted on his Tumblr blog exclusive pictures showing how "Remedial Chaos Theory"'s story was broken down in the writers room. Using "Story Circle's", each character's journey in the story was meticulously plotted out on dry eraser boards.

GalleryEdit

Episode clipEdit

COMMUNITY REMEDIAL CHAOS THEORY00:37

COMMUNITY REMEDIAL CHAOS THEORY


Promotional photosEdit

QuotesEdit

There's no such thing as "Single Malt Platinum Boobs and Billiards Club"? Aw, I guess I never said it out loud.Jeff
Feel the terror, Troy. Feel the terror of the Norwegian troll!Pierce
Chaos already dominates enough of our lives. The universe is an endless, raging sea of randomness. Our job isn't to fight it but to weather it together on the raft of life. A raft held together by those few, rare, beautiful things that we know to be predictable.Abed
Ropes? Vines. Vines? Let him finish!Britta
Us. It won't matter what happens to us as long as we stay honest and accepting of each others' flaws and virtues. Annie will always be driven, Shirley will always be giving, Pierce will never apologize, Britta's sort of a wild card from my perspective, and Jeff will forever remain a conniving son of a bitch.Abed


Season Three Episodes

1. "Biology 101"
2. "Geography of Global Conflict"
3. "Remedial Chaos Theory"
4. "Competitive Ecology"
5. "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps"
6. "Advanced Gay"
7. "Studies in Modern Movement"
8. "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux"
9. "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism"
10. "Regional Holiday Music"
11. "Contemporary Impressionists"

12. "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts"
13. "Digital Exploration of Interior Design
14. "Pillows and Blankets"
15. "Origins of Vampire Mythology"
16. "Virtual Systems Analysis"
17. "Basic Lupine Urology"
18. "Course Listing Unavailable"
19. "Curriculum Unavailable"
20. "Digital Estate Planning"
21. "The First Chang Dynasty"
22. "Introduction to Finality"

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