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The gang picks their spring quarter electives. Jeff and Pierce sign up for Italian Wine Tasting, where they meet the lovely Wu Mei Hong Long. Troy and Britta take an acting class and are instructed to share painful emotions from their past, which proves difficult for Troy. Meanwhile, Abed takes "A Critical Analysis of Whos the Boss" taught by the person who wrote the book of the same name; however, Abed's theories about who the 'boss' was turn out to be controversial..
The Community episode "Competitive Wine Tasting" provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: At the bar, Jeff's exchange with Pierce ("I just hope she can satisfy me. I'm like an insatiable baboon in the bedroom." "Don't sell yourself short, you're a baboon everywhere.") echoes a similar Stealth Insult that Chevy Chase had used on Ted Knight in Caddyshack. ("He's been club champion three years running and I'm no slouch myself." "Don't sell yourself short, you're a tremendous slouch.")
- Awesome McCoolname:
- Troy considers one of these for his stage name - Trevor St. McGoodbody. Or David.
- Mei's middle name, "Hong Long", means "red dragon".
- Affectionate Parody: At the end of the episode, Troy is cast in an all-black Fiddler On the Roof show. It's as funny as it sounds, and couples as a shout out to Patrick Stewart's all black show of Othello.
- Potentially also referencing the re-imagining of the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz into The Wiz; the original Broadway musical has been condensed into a black box theatre show called Fiddler, Please where Troy and the others perform some dances while he sings "It's hard to be Jewish in Russia/ YO/ It's hard to be Jewish in Russia/ YO".
- Bilingual Bonus: The Italian on the bottle of wine Pierce gives to Jeff translates as "You become more attractive with each bottle."
- Bondage Is Bad: Pierce is revealed to have a "special gym with swings and saddles", and if this is the "Pierce is evil" season...
- Break the Haughty: "CLASS DISMISSED!"
- Call Back: Pierce holds his engagement party at the same restaurant featured in the previous episode, "Critical Film Studies".
Troy: Seems like just yesterday me and Abed dined and ditched here.
- Professor Garrity shows up in his actual role as professor of drama.
- Dramatic Pause: The drama professor, naturally.
- Driven to Suicide: After Abed proves Angela was the boss, they tease this as the professor opens a drawer to reveal a gun... and opens it further to reveal What Was Happening?: An Analysis of What's Happening. See What Could Have Been.
- Fauxreigner: Pierce's fiancee.
- Fridge Logic / Fridge Brilliance: In Communication Studies, Abed remarks how he could never get past the opening credits of Whos the Boss. This troper isn't sure whether it weakens Abed showing up the professor or makes it that much more impressive.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Annie: That's why the call me Irony-Free Annie.
Jeff: Trust me, that's not what they call you.
- Irony: To have a traumatic experience as a source for acting, Troy lies about being molested as a child, thus giving the drama professor's next words another meaning:
Garrity: This is where acting begins.
- Large Ham: The drama prof again.
- May-December Romance
- The Mole: Pierce's fiancee turns out to be a spy from a rival moist towelette company.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: In addition to Pierce's usual mispronunciation of Abed's name ("AY-bed"), the Who's the Boss? professor keeps calling him "a-BED". He also seems to think it's Abed's last name ("Ah, Mr. Abed, what do you want?")
- Rape as Drama: Troy makes up a story about being molested by his uncle so he can have a "painful" memory to share with his drama class.
- Record Needle Scratch: Abed has an app for that.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Who was the Boss?
Abed: Angela. Angela was the boss.
- Rule of Cool + Rule of Funny: Why would Abed need organic chemistry to prove Angela was the boss?
- Serious Business: Who's the Boss? spawns a whole course, which seems to be mostly based on a metaphysical view on what a boss is. Abed deflates the entire thing in just one class.
- Abed's excitement at the situation is also funny to the countless college students whose professors have required their students to read (i.e. BUY) their precious book, which is miraculously the textbook of the class, and tout their own work just a little too highly. More annoying in broader topics like History and Literature, less so in narrowed fields where less research and criticism is being done. The situation is made even funnier in that while the specific focus of the class (Whos the Boss) probably counts as the latter, the professor's attitude towards his work -- and Abed's questioning of it -- is quite conclusively the former.
- Ship Tease: Between Troy and Britta.
- Shout-Out: To Whos the Boss, Veronica Mars, and What's Happening!!.
- True Art Is Angsty: The in-universe motivation behind the acting class, to the extent that it seems less like an acting class and more like a rather pretentious therapy session. This prompts Troy to make up his lie about being molested as a child. When he confesses the truth at the end, Professor Garrity interprets it as 'the pain of having no pain'.
- Unholy Matrimony: At the end of the episode, after having publicly spilled the beans about Mei's intentions, Jeff brings her back to see Pierce and declares that they might just be well-suited towards each other anyway. His reasoning reads like this trope.
- Unusual Euphemism: Troy has several for his no-no hold. Or his plop-plop place.
- Weakness Turns Her On: Britta actually develops an attraction to Troy when he lies about being molested as a child. Lampshaded when Britta reveals she has a tendency to do this, as an old boyfriend once pointed out (and apparently exemplified):
Britta: Before my ex-boyfriend Pablo was arrested for forging church relics he accused me of only being attracted to 'a certain kind of guy'. Hard to understand him, though; he was pretty huffed up on paint-thinners.
- What Could Have Been: Harmon considered including a joke where after disproving Sheffield on who the boss was, Abed is shown walking across campus and hears gunshots, his only reaction being a momentary glance in the direction of the noise. NBC argued against it, and upon consideration, Harmon decided that such a reaction would be too detached even for Abed.
- What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic: Professor Sheffield's class on Who's the Boss? is apparently based on an increasingly in-depth exploration of what is actually meant by 'boss'. Unfortunately for him, Abed manages to conclusively and empirically prove that by any definition or context, the 'boss' was Angela.
- The Woobie: Troy becomes this to Britta In-Universe after he lies about being molested as a child.
- Wrote the Book: Abed's professor wrote the book on Whos the Boss. He tries to foist his opinion on Abed, but it turns out Abed knows more then he does.
- You No Take Candle: Pierce's fiance. It's an act.