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Following a Spanish test, Senor Chang discovers a discarded crib sheet and threatens to fail the entire class if the cheater doesn't come forward. When Britta steps forward to take the blame, she faces a tribunal (at the campus' 'state of the art' judges table in the swimming pool facilities) which threatens her expulsion; however, Jeff steps forward to act as her counsel, and the possibility of an intriguing defense arises.
Meanwhile, Troy has taken to messing with Abed, which backfires when Abed decides to respond in kind -- however, while Abed's own understanding of sarcasm-based humor is comparatively weak, another more disturbing, alien picture of him begins to be painted.
The Dean, in yet another attempt to convince everyone that Greendale is a proper university, has commissioned a statue of alumnus Luis Guzmán to be erected on campus, and has asked Annie to arrange for the writing of a school song. Pierce convinces Annie that he is a talented songwriter, but soon finds that he might not be cut out for the role.
The Community episode "Advanced Criminal Law" provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Donald Glover's character convincing Abed that he's related to Danny Glover. Donald Glover gets this a lot in real life, apparently.
- The "B" Grade: Annie has never gotten an 'F' before and reacts very poorly to the possibility of getting a zero on the test.
- Big No: And this is how Annie reacts. Told you.
- Chewbacca Defense: Jeff's attempt to invoke 9/11 in his defense of Britta. It draws audible groans from everyone present.
- Courtroom Episode: Except the trial is held in the pool.
- Darker and Edgier: The alternate scenes included on the DVD have Annie and Pierce having much nastier disputes over his lack of composing talent.
- Dirty Old Man: Pierce takes the opportunity to openly watch Annie's rear end as she leaves the music room where he's 'composing' the school song.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Abed's inability to understand being 'messed with' drives his and Troy's subplot. Lampshaded:
Abed: Troy invented rap music, and he's related to Danny Glover, and President Obama.
Troy: Hey man, that stuff I said this morning wasn't true, I was just messing with you.
Abed: You were lying?
Troy: Yeah, as a joke. You've never had somebody mess with you before?
Abed: Yes, just kidding, no. Like that? ...This isn't a table. (Laughs) ...That's funny.
- Escalating War: Abed embarks on one of these after being messed with by Troy, acting as an alien. Subverted in that Troy isn't fooled by Abed's pranks, but is increasingly concerned by Abed's ridiculously elaborate attempts.
- How Much Did You Hear?: Abed, in an attempt to mess with Troy's head, is pretending to be an undercover alien. At one point he pretends to send transmissions while hiding behind a bush Troy is sure to walk past. When Troy comes by and overhears him, Abed asks "How long have you been standing there?" to further the illusion that he's hiding something.
- Hypocritical Humor: Two examples:
- After Senor Chang has ordered the class to 'turn on' Britta, resulting in her being pelted with paper.
Britta: Ow! Real mature. [She leaves]
Senor Chang: [Childishly] That's right, we are mature! Too mature to sit in a class with a cheating lying poop-face!
[Britta has long since left the room]
- During the hearing after Britta has admitted that she did cheat
Britta: You know I have a problem with dishonesty!
Jeff: You're on trial for cheating!
Chang: And then she said "screw you!" or "screw education!" or something like that and stormed out of the room in her high-heeled boots like it was tampon time. If you know what I mean.
Jeff: Objection. I don't know what he means.
Duncan: Please don't encourage him, Winger.
- Self-Serving Memory: Although we don't hear all of Chang's testimony at the 'trial', it's pretty clear that he's inaccurately presenting himself in the best possible light.
- Show Some Leg: Chang attempts this while giving his testimony.
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Chang and Duncan spend most of the trial sniping at each other
- Stylistic Suck: Double subverted; for the most part Abed's efforts to persuade Troy he's an alien are quite convincing and credible, and he even goes to the trouble of renting green screen to produce some reasonably convincing 'alien communicator' effects. Then this trope fully kicks in when Garrett appears in a less-than-convincing alien suit badly acting the same way Abed was, unaware that Troy already knows the score.
Troy: You're gettin' a little sloppy.
Abed: We went over-budget.
- Suspiciously Similar Song: The school song Pierce finally creates is a thinly-veiled (as in "veil, what veil?") knockoff of Bruce Hornsby and the Range's "The Way It Is." Jeff and Abed hang a lampshade all over this.