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The most popular -- and only edible -- food in the Greendale campus cafeteria is the fried chicken fingers. Unfortunately, this means they're also frequently sold out before our heroes can get any to eat, and it doesn't help that Starburns, the cafeteria fry-cook, always holds some back to give to his friends to try increase his popularity. Jeff has decided that this is unacceptable, and convinces his friends to help him get Starburns fired and Abed hired as his replacement in order to make sure they get some.
Abed, however, has decided to view this scheme through the lens of a mafia movie, and is soon the mastermind of an underground network of chicken finger smuggling, elevating the social status of the study group as everyone desperately tries to curry favour in order to secure the precious food. However, this means that Jeff is gradually becoming dislodged from his position as group leader, and the other members of the group become increasingly spoiled and arrogant with their newfound status it increasingly looks like the higher they rise, the longer the inevitable fall will be...
The Community episode "Contemporary American Poultry" provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of mafia movies; primarily Goodfellas, but The Godfather also gets a few nods.
- Almighty Janitor: Turns out that the cafeteria fry-cook could control the entire school by controlling the supply of chicken wings.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Don't take Godfather!Abed for granted. He'll destroy your new backpack, release your monkey, put gum in your hair, disconnect the AV system and feed the guy you like chicken fingers.
- Clothing Switch: The twist of Abed and Troy's "awesome elevator" trick in The Tag.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: Part of the movie's homage of Goodfellas includes referencing "Layla" for the 'study group getting punished' montage.
- Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Abed, has always wanted to be in a mafia movie.
- Dramatic Irony / Hilarious in Retrospect: Jeff tries to convince Abed to go along with his plan by saying that he would get the most important job of all, the fry cook. Abed voices his doubts about it being the most important. But as the rest of the episode proves, it really was.
- Drunk with Power: The study group gets increasingly spoiled and obnoxious the more powerful they get. Curiously enough, however, Abed himself seems more Drunk With Actually Getting To Connect With People For Once.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Annie's Boobs
Jeff: Why do you have a monkey?
Troy: It's an animal that looks like a dude, why don't I have ten of them?
- Green-Eyed Monster: Jeff is gradually unseated as group leader by Abed. He is not happy about this.
Jeff: You want a shot at the Jeff Winger throne? You better bring a powerful ass!
- Informed Wrongness: Apparently the group thinks that telling Shirley Sexy-Dreadlocks had an interest in her, when in reality he had no idea who she was, was the right thing to do. While Abed may have pointed out the truth a bit too bluntly, it still seems better than falsely leading Shirley on. Naturally, YMMV on this part.
- The Mafia: The study group becomes the community-college-chicken-finger-running equivalent thereof.
- Only Sane Man: It's partly fueled by jealousy over being eclipsed by Abed, but Jeff's the only one to realize that the chicken-finger mafia syndicate is going way over the top.
- Overly Long Gag: Lampshaded:
Troy: He released Annie's Boobs! Annie's Boobs could be anywhere! Annie's Boobs could be on the side of the road --
Shirley: [Fed-up] We get it! The monkey's name is 'Annie's Boobs'.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Abed states that Law and Order just started an arc about a lawyer with a fake degree--total ripoff of Jeff.
- Serious Business: Greendale runs on chicken fingers.
- Scandalgate: The school newspaper has a headline which reads "Star-Gate!" and the subhead, "Headline in reference to Watergate, not the 1994 sci-fi film."
- Shout-Out: Lots to Goodfellas and other mafia movies.
- Lampshaded at the end; when Jeff and Abed decide to make up over a plate of chicken fingers, Abed eagerly asks whether they can eat them in a similar fashion to Sixteen Candles:
Jeff: Pick one reference, Abed.
Abed: Sixteen Candles!
- The scandal involving Starburns is called "Star-Gate".
- A Simple Plan: Played with, in that Jeff's seemingly straightforward plan (get Starburns fired, get Abed hired as fry cook, get assured supply of chicken wings) actually goes off flawlessly; however, Abed's Genre Savvy application of mafia movie tropes ends up making the plan increasingly complicated and spirals out of (Jeff's) control anyway.
- Tear Jerker: Sets in once you realize that everything Abed has done in the episode is because he's desperate to try and connect with people for once.
- Totally Radical: Pierce tries to start "streets ahead." Nobody really knows what it means.
- Very Special Episode: Mentioned by Abed, but averted.
- Whole-Plot Reference: Primarily Goodfellas.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Abed's methods of teaching the study group to respect and fear him.