|As Jeff leaves Spanish class, he bumps into Shirley. He pretends he forgot something and goes back where he runs into Britta. He explains he was trying to avoid having to walk with Shirley. Jeff says he can only stand Shirley's saccharine personality in small doses and can't deal with her any longer than that. They both head outside as Britta criticizes him for his actions and defends Shirley. As they pass the campus courtyard, Jeff notices a group of hippies playing hacky sack. One of them, called Vaughn, waves hello to Britta much to Jeff's surprise. Jeff then mentions how much they've grown as friends recently. He notes how there have been no awkward pauses or hints of tension between them lately although by saying that he ends up creating such a moment.
|Later in the cafeteria, Annie catches up to Professor Duncan and asks if she can join his latest psych lab based on his theory "The Duncan Principle". He agrees and asks that she bring two test subjects for the project. Elsewhere in the cafeteria, Jeff is annoyed when he sees Vaughn chatting up Britta. He joins the rest of the group at a table where Pierce is showing off his latest gadget, his hearing enhancing "Ear-Noculars". Annie arrives and asks if any of them are interested in volunteering for the lab experiment. Troy agrees, but Abed says he can't because he plans on attending an Indiana Jones movie marathon at a local theater. Annie pleads with him to reconsider in the name of friendship and he agrees to participate. Jeff then decides to interrupt Britta and Vaughn's conversation.
|Later at Duncan's lab study, he explains to his students the idea behind his theory "The Duncan Principle". When put in a situation where the subject has no control, they will eventually reach a breaking point and have an emotional eruption. Duncan plans on creating such an event by keeping the volunteers on edge and waiting for the experiment to start when it never actually will. He sends Annie to the adjoining room to tell the volunteers to wait a few more minutes. She is surprised to find Chang there, who subsequently reacts poorly to her news and throws a huge tantrum before finally leaving. Elsewhere, Shirley and Jeff are walking back from class and trying to find common ground to relate to each other. When Shirley starts making fun of Pierce and Vaughn, the two of them start to bond.
|Back at the experiment, Duncan reviews a recording of the volunteers from the last few hours. It shows many participants proving his theory correct and becoming unhinged before leaving. The only ones left now are Troy and Abed. Troy then starts to lose it as well and crawls out of the room in tears after an emotional outburst directed at Annie. Abed is left alone in the room, and Duncan theorizes he will end up having the biggest breakdown of them all. Meanwhile, Jeff and Shirley are sitting at a bench on the quad continuing to bond by making fun of Vaughn. Their fun stops, however, after Shirley notices something and points it out to Jeff: on the lawn behind them, Britta and Vaughn are making out.
|Later, Britta finds Jeff in the student lounge seemingly devastated over the situation. She explains she wanted to tell him, but thought he would make fun of Vaughn. Jeff reassures her that as her friend, he would never do that. He goes on to say that Vaughn seems cool, and Britta suggests they all hang out sometime. The next day, Jeff catches up with Shirley as she is walking to class. When she makes a remark about Vaughn, he refuses to say anything bad about him; he wants to honor what he said to Britta and resolves to become good friends with her new beau. Back at Duncan's lab study, the professor and his students are in rough shape, frustrated that Abed still hasn't had an emotional breakdown after 26 hours. A psych student named Garrett decides to leave the study which only adds to Duncan's irritation.
|He proceeds to have a nervous breakdown and throwing a tantrum in front of his students. He ends up angrily dismisses the class and blames Annie for having destroyed the Duncan Principle by bringing Abed. At the cafeteria, Britta, Vaughn, and Jeff are having lunch. When Britta goes to grab dessert, Shirley shows up and mocks Vaughn behind his back much to Jeff's amusement. Afterwards in the student lounge, Jeff and Britta are studying Spanish, but Britta is unable to concentrate. She confides to Jeff that she feels Vaughn is taking their relationship too seriously; as proof, she shows Jeff a poem Vaughn wrote for her. Jeff secretly takes a photo of the poem with his cell phone and later shows it off to Shirley. As Jeff and Shirley mocked Vaughn's poem, Pierce eavesdropped using his Ear-Noculars. In the study room, Annie reveals to Troy and Abed that waiting in the room until they got upset and left was the real experiment.
|She's angry at Abed for not leaving, but he explains he only stayed because of their friendship. When Pierce arrives, he denounces both Jeff and Shirley having misinterpreted their prior conversation as them making fun of the study group. Jeff explains that they were ridiculing Vaughn's poem, and Shirley shows off a printout of it. As everyone derides it, Britta walks in with Vaughn. He quickly realizes they are laughing at him when he notices the photo . He assumes that Britta was in on this and leaves the room in tears. Later outside the library, Shirley apologizes to Jeff for the poem incident and admits that she has a problem with gossip. It got her kicked out of her previous social circle, but she fell back onto her bad habits because she enjoyed talking to Jeff and felt they had nothing else to share. They both agree not to gossip together anymore, but Shirley shares one last bit of gossip with Jeff: it turns out that Britta had a sex dream about him.
|Later in the cafeteria, Annie asks Abed to forgive her, and Abed accepts her apology as well as a set of Indiana Jones DVDs she gives as a present. Elsewhere in the student lounge, Britta is less inclined to accept Jeff's apology after having been dumped by Vaughn. Jeff explains that hearing all about her boyfriend was too much for him to handle, and they agree that they don't have to share all the details of their lives. On the quad, Vaughn's bad experience with the group has left him less carefree than usual. Jeff finds another target for ridicule but sees that Shirley is now gossiping with Britta and assumes they are talking about him. He notices Pierce nearby and asks to borrow his Ear-Noculars, but Pierce has given them up because he claims "man was only meant to hear things within a natural hearing range". After Pierce walks away, Jeff surmises that the real reason was that Pierce overheard the rest of the group making fun of him.
Troy and Abed sit on the couch in the the study room, mocking everyone who walks by the window. They target Jeff as he appears, but he looks through the window and tells them that everyone outside can easily hear what they are saying.
- First appearance:
- Returning faculty: Professor Ian Duncan returns as Annie joins a lab clinic he is running on his theory, "The Duncan Principle".
- Googly eyes: Jeff is jealous of Britta's relationship with Vaughn.
- School supplies: The "Ear-Nocular" debuts in this episode and later makes a brief appearance in the Season Two episode "Cooperative Calligraphy".
- E-vasive: Jeff admits to Britta that he carefully times his exit from Spanish class to avoid walking with Shirley. He later stops to tie his shoe when he sees Shirley walking just behind him.
- Butt stuff: Troy's obsession with butt stuff is introduced in this episode as he makes it clear he is not opposed to lab experiments in that particular area of his anatomy.
- Awww!: Shirley coos when Abed agrees to participate in Annie's lab experiment in the name of friendship.
- Come sail away!: Troy starts to cry after spending hours as a lab rat in Duncan's experiment.
- Fan service: Vaughn appears without his shirt on a lot and is mocked by Jeff and Shirley for having tiny nipples.
- This must be the place: Group Study Room F, Spanish classroom, Student lounge, Cafeteria, Hot & Brown.
- Zzzzz: Troy's "pretend like you asleep" excuse is introduced in this episode after realizing the people he and Abed are making fun of can hear them.
- IMDB: Abed mentions wanting to marathon the "Indiana Jones" franchise with the exception of the last one when Annie asks him to be in her psych experiment.
- TV Guide: Abed mentions the show "Friends" and compares his relationship to Annie to that of Chandler and Phoebe. Shirely compares Pierce's fascination with gadgets to "Inspector Gadget". Jeff complains that his life now just like the popular Canadian teen drama "Degrassi High".
- Shoutout: When Garrett leaves the study, Proffesor Duncan tells him to go kill John Lennon again. Duncan is actually referencing John Lennon's murderer Mark David Chapman , whom Garrett looks very similar to.
- “You need to bring two human subjects and it would not hurt your chances one bit if you could lend me a fiver. I seem to have left my purse in my duffel and my duffel in the boot of my lorry.”— Professor Duncan
- “We're just running a little bit behind, so we'll probably start in about five minutes.”— Annie
- “NO!NO!NO!NONONONONO! It's unacceptable, alright! You LIED to me! When you say something starts at nine, it starts at nueve! NO!NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”— Chang
- “Houston, we have an idiot!”— Professor Duncan
- “This is the least tight thing that's ever happened to me.”— Vaughn
- “Jeff, what are we going to talk about? My kids? Your doctor career?”— Shirley
- “I was a lawyer.”— Jeff
- “See, I'm already bored.”— Shirley
The DVD release has a slightly different opening from the original broadcast version. Both episodes remain virtually the same after Jeff leaves the Spanish classroom, save for Duncan's reaction after Chang's tantrum.
Another altered scene on the DVD involved Duncan's reaction to Chang's freak out during his psych lab experiment.
- Broadcast version: "Houston, we have an idiot!"
- DVD version "And we're off..."
|Season One Episodes|
14. "Interpretive Dance"
|Season One • Season Two • Season Three • Season Four • Season Five|