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5X9 Main photo

     VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing  
Director: Tristram ShapeeroWriter: Donald Diego — Aired: March 13, 2014 — Season: Five — Number: Nine
Summary: A hidden stash of textbooks is uncovered; Abed and Annie play a game to determine their new roommate.


Okay, alright but if we're going to do this, we're going to do this clean and safe. We're going to move these to my restaurant and we're going to sit on these until they're cold. Then we're going to price them through a third party and unload them in one big score. None of that nickel and dime crap, I don't want to leave a trail.
— Shirley
In the study room, Annie is presiding over another meeting of the Save Greendale Committee. She skillfully manages to trick Jeff, Shirley and Hickey to sign up for the cleaning duty in the East Hall storage room. Abed then arrives with his new girlfriend Rachel. He proudly shows off a one month anniversary gift he received from her, an interactive old west themed VCR game from the 90's called "Pile of Bullets". After Rachel leaves, Abed asks Annie if she can come to their apartment to play the game. When Annie tells him that she has dinner plans with her brother Anthony, Abed invites himself and Rachel. Dean Pelton then enters the room wearing a peanut bar costume. Pelton apologizes to Jeff and Hickey about payroll being late through a freestyle rap. He runs out of the room after he gets carried away by his performance.

Payday apology
Droppin' a beat, spittin' rhymes
and preachin' truth
At Abed and Annie's apartment, Anthony is helping his sister prepare dinner. After Abed asks for assistance opening the broken refrigerator door, Anthony quickly fixes it for them. Annie pulls Abed aside and suggests that Anthony move in since they are having trouble making rent with just the two of them. When Abed proposes that Rachel be their new roommate instead, Annie rejects the idea and tables the discussion for later. In the storage room, Jeff, Shirley and Hickey are struggling with their task. Noticing that one of the air conditioning vents is blocked, Jeff opens it up and discovers several stacks of brand new Chemistry textbooks. Hickey estimates that the books are worth $200 each and are probably stolen. Jeff suggests they find a way to sell them and keep the money. Shirley initially objects but is won over after considering how the money could help her family and business.

Jeff discovers the textbooks
Jeff finds a hidden treasure in the air vents
Back at the apartment, the dinner becomes awkward as Anne and Abed both campaign to each other for their respective candidate. The hosts excuse themselves to try and resolve their disagreement privately. They then decide the victor of a game of "Pile of Bullets" will decide who becomes their new roommate. When Rachel and Anthony decline to play, Abed and Annie make it clear that not an option. Meanwhile, Jeff, Shirley and Hickey meet with Britta, who knows a buyer for the stolen textbooks. They begin to argue about Britta's share of the profit when Chang walks in on the discussion. Sensing something shady is going down, he tries to leave but Jeff ties him up. They force him to record a video confessing that he stole the textbooks. Jeff has second thoughts believing they've gone too far and tries to walk away. Hickey then tackles him and ties him up as well.

Anthony and Rachel
Annie and Abed ask Anthony and Rachel
to join them in a game of "Pile of Bullets"
Meanwhile, Anthony, Annie, Abed and Rachel play Pile of Bullets but find it incredibly confusing. After some trail and error, Annie and Abed eventually figure out the gameplay. They play with an intensity matched only by Rachel and Anthony's indifference. After no winner is reached, the hosts restart the game much to the dismay of their guests. Abed then reveals to Rachel and Anthony the real reason he and Annie are determined to win. Both are angered no one actually bothered to ask them if they wanted to move in and Rachel storms out. Back at school, Britta tells the others that her contact wants to meet with her to set a price and prepare for the exchange. Trying to divide the group, Jeff and Chang question whether or not Britta can be trusted to make the deal alone. The ruse works to well when Shirley also ties up Britta and Hickey leaving her to make the deal by herself.

5X9 After dinner game
Trying to make sense out of "Pile of Bullets"
The next day, Annie finds Anthony packing his things up to leave earlier than expected. He explains that there are too many unresolved issues for him to stay. Annie confesses that she wanted him to move in partly because it would validate her decisions amid the family chaos following her pill addiction. Anthony responds that he was talking about the void left in the apartment by the black guy he sees in the photographs all over the walls. Back at Greendale, Abed approaches Rachel to apologize. He tells her that he had been trying to accelerate their relationship because he was worried that he was going to mess it up and Annie would help him avoid making mistakes. Rachel replies that if he doesn't manipulate or lie then she'll keep trying to make their relationship work.

5X9 Third act apology gone wrong
A third act apology casualty
Shirley meets with Britta's buyer but he tells her that the books are worthless because they are misprints: none of the pages are numbered. She returns to the storage room to untie the others. In the study room, Annie and Abed acknowledge that Troy helped keep things peaceful around their apartment and they need to find a way to deal with that. They wonder if they could find some kind of live-in therapist just as Britta enters. They decide to try Craigslist instead. When Hickey, Shirley and Jeff arrive Annie notices that they haven't changed clothes since yesterday. Hickey just says that they've “been through some stuff” and don't want to discuss it. Outside in the library, Pelton tries to write some rap lyrics but is unable to recapture his rhythmic flow.

Pelton rap master
Pelton attempts to compose another rap masterpiece.

End tagEdit

In a flashback to 1993, the actor from "Pile of Bullets" receives a call in his apartment offering him the part in the old west game. He is less than enthused about it but his wife convinces him to give up his job at Apple Computer to take the part because she believes VCR games are the next big thing.

5X9 Devon's story
Devon's story

Recurring themesEdit


  • Previously:
    • Abed tells Jeff that Rachel knows Jeff's Netflix password. Troy and Abed admitted to using Jeff's account in "Cooperative Polygraphy".
    • Numerous photographs are seen in the apartment referencing Troy and Abed's past adventures.
    • Abed doesn't want to flip a coin to choose a roommate because "coins create parallel timelines," a reference to the Season Three episode "Remedial Chaos Theory".
  • Replay: Britta tries to deliver her "Everybody!" line like Annie said "Everything" in "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking" but she Brittas it.
  • Familiar faces:
    • "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan makes his onscreen debut as an actor in this episode as "Devon", the cowboy host of "Pile of Bullets".
    • Singer/song writer and actor Paul Williams makes a cameo as the buyer interested in the textbooks.
    • Actress Gina Gershon cameos on the episode end tag as the wife of Devon.
    • Dan Harmon's personal assistant Spencer Crittenden, who is well known to fans of Harmon's podcast "Harmontown", appears in this episode as Annie's brother Anthony Edison.
  • History lesson: Annie mentions that she is still hurt by her mother turning her back on her when she decided to go to rehab. She also mentions how she somewhat held a grudge against her brother Anthony for taking their mother's side in the disagreement (even though he was only 13).
  • Returning students:
  • Googly eyes: Abed is currently in a relationship with Rachel.
  • School supplies:
    • A pair of "Chimpan-Zzz's" canisters can clearly be seen in the background of the storage room the Committee is cleaning. The gas containers were last seen in the Season Three episode "Biology 101"
    • Abed and Annie cook buttered noodles for Rachel and Anthony (See article "Buttered noodles")
  • A nice gesture: Annie and Abed's secret handshake reappears in this episode; it was last seen in the Season One episode "Pascal's Triangle Revisited".
  • Mad skillz: Dean Pelton demonstrates some untapped rapping skills (See article "Payday Apology Rap").
  • This must be the place: Group Study Room F, Annie and Abed's apartment, and the East Hall storage room appear in this episode.
  • Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: When Annie and Abed talk about finding a new roommate, Britta walks in. They briefly consider her, before agreeing on finding someone else on Craigslist. Britta will end up moving in with them next year in "Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care".

Running gagsEdit

  • NOOOOOO!: Britta yells out "Everything."
  • Awww!: Annie and Shirley coo repeatedly about Rachel and Abed, whom Jeff refers to as the Awww Couple.
  • Nice outfit: Dean Pelton dresses up like a Payday candy bar to deliver a rap apology.
  • Changuage: When the committee argues about how to divide the profits, Chang enters the room singing a song with lyrics that includes his last name.
  • Like an evil genie: Just as Annie and Abed ponder that they need to live with a therapist or at least someone crazier than them, Britta walks in and sits down, prompting them to reconsider what they just said.

Pop culture referencesEdit

  • Shout out: President Barack Obama is mentioned in a rap by Dean Pelton.
  • Nerd Alert!: Luke Skywalker is mentioned by Devon's wife in the episode end tag.
  • Product placement: Online classified advertisement website Craigslist is mentioned by Annie and Abed.

Meta referencesEdit

  • IRL: According to DVD commentaries for this episode, Jonathan Banks ( "Buzz Hickey" ) son Claudio portrayed Craig Pelton's assistant who played the keyboard backing track for the Dean's rap.
  • Use your allusion:
    • Jeff calls Rachel and Abed "the Aww couple", a reference to the 1965 Neil Simon Broadway play The Odd Couple. It was later turned into a 1970's film and adapted over the years into three different television series. The current 2015 incarnation co-stars Community's Yvette Nicole Brown.
    • The Dean composing a rap on his hand can be seen as an allusion to the 2002 Eminem film "8 Mile"
  • Résumé: Vince Gilligan, who plays the wild west character in Pile of Bullets, is the creator of Breaking_Bad Breaking Bad . Three other Breaking Bad actors have appeared on Community including Matt Jones (as Stoner Friend/ Coffee Delivery Guy) who played Badger, Jonathan Banks (as Professor Buzz Hickey) who played ex-cop turned hitman "Mike Ehrmantraut" and Giancarlo Esposito (as Gilbert Lawson) who played "Gustavo Fring ".
  • Background check: On the dry eraser board behind Annie and Shirley in the study room a riddle is written.

If 7/a + 14/l + 21/e + 28/d = Sumtotal 34/S
What word am I?
If You Guessed "Fourteen"
You'r Wrong. Play again -
Ask Your friends with Words to Help
Clue: No fractions were used
Clue 2: pop pop


Behind the scenes videoEdit

Community - Between the Takes Episode 9 (Web Exclusive)05:26

Community - Between the Takes Episode 9 (Web Exclusive)

Behind the scenes photosEdit


Episode clipEdit

Community - Textbook Outlaws (Preview)00:56

Community - Textbook Outlaws (Preview)

Promotional photosEdit

Season Five Episodes

1. "Repilot"
2. "Introduction to Teaching"
3. "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
4. "Cooperative Polygraphy"
5. "Geothermal Escapism"
6. "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"
7. "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"

8. "App Development and Condiments"
9. "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
10. "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
11. "G.I. Jeff"
12. "Basic Story"
13. "Basic Sandwich"

Community The Complete Fifth Season

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six

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