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The school decides to hold a memorial wake for the deceased Star-Burns, and the study group are called upon to deliver the eulogies by the Dean -- which, seeing as the study group are nursing a certain amount of bitterness over the fact that, as a result of Star-Burns' death, they will have to repeat Biology over summer school, turns out to be a mistake. One riot later, a scapegoat is needed, and the study group and the Dean elect to nominate Chang who, with his pre-teen army of security interns and new security powers, is rapidly becoming Drunk with Power. Only Chang has other ideas...
Tropes appearing in this episode of Community include:
Dean: Okay this is my school, and I'll enter whatever I want!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Chang's list of demands. "No soft serve?!"
- Ascended Meme: Britta's "ask me anything" (a reference to the Q&A Gillian Jacobs did on Reddit).
- Ashes to Crashes: Pierce digs in Star-Burns's ashes to look for his comb.
- Barehanded Blade Block: One of the many ridiculous things Starburns does in Abed's memorial film.
- Big Bad: Chang.
- Big No: Jeff, when he learns that he must attend summer school.
- Bittersweet Ending: The group gets expelled, but they also develop closer into True Companions.
- Body Double: Chang's plan to guarentee the out come of the discipline hearing involves one.
- Brick Joke: Star-Burns's memorial video isn't mentioned until it is played in The Tag.
- Call Back:
- To "Remedial Chaos Theory": Britta's felt star-burns (to Evil Abed's felt goatees) and the entire last scene.
- Again, to "Remedial Chaos Theory", Star-Burn's lawyer is an unseen one armed man with a scar. One of the scenarios from that episode involved Jeff becoming a one armed lawyer with a scar.
- Faux-by from "Contemporary Impressionists" returns as the Dean's replacement.
- "Rusty Bucket? Rusty Bucket? Rusty Bucket?"
- A subtle one to "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" -- the Greendale College Board are quite chummy with Chang and willing to unquestioningly accept his word over the study group. In viewing the Dean's commercial in the earlier episode, at least one of them was particularly taken with "the Chinese guy -- he pops!"
- Cassandra Truth: Jeff tries to convince the school board that Chang is psychotic by mentioning that he used to live in the school's airway vents with a monkey. The school board and Chang simply laugh at this.
- Characterization Marches On: Britta, lampshaded by Jeff.
"You seemed smarter than me when I met you."
- Chroma Key: Star-Burns ends his video will by acting out fantasy scenarios in front of a green sheet, for Abed's use.
- Day of the Jackboot: Chang's attempted takeover of the school.
- Darkest Hour: With the Call Back to Remedial Chaos Theory, the stage is set for the darkest timeline to reassert itself with Shirley going Off the Wagon, Annie dipping back into insanity and Britta about to throw herself into an ill-advised fling with the creepy pizza guy as a result of her battered self-esteem issues, before Troy puts his foot down and assures them that they can get through this together, and to step back from their problems, breaking depression's hold on the group.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jeff is being snarky even more than usual, at least until the Dean delivers the bad news.
Britta: As a psychologist...
Jeff: [interrupting] Student.
Britta: ...I offer my licensed services...
Jeff: [interrupting] Unlicensed.
Britta: ...as a grief counselor...
Jeff: [interrupting] Grief causer.
Britta: ...if anyone needs to talk, the doctor...
Jeff: [interrupting] Not even close.
Britta: ...is in.
- Decoy Leader: The Pretendean is installed as one by Chang.
- Despair Event Horizon: The group are teetering on this at the end of the episode after getting expelled but manage to avoid falling in after Troy and Abed remind them that things aren't entirely hopeless.
- Drop in Character: Lampshaded by the Dean when he laments that he has to tell the study group bad news again. Before going to pick an outfit.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Shirley and Annie are on the verge of doing this at the end, but their spirits are lifted by Troy and Abed's inspiring speech about how, while things are bad, this isn't the worst timeline. In Shirley's case, this is a narrowly averted case of Off the Wagon as well, since she passes her drink to Jeff.
- Drunk with Power: Chang's megalomaniacal tendencies over being a security guard, having an army of Child Soldiers to command and increased martial responsibilities to throw his weight around with continue to intensify.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Pierce suggesting making Chang into the scapegoat. Especially since he really did exacerbate the riot.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Chang in response actually gets the study group expelled. Considering they were planning to throw him under the bus, it was karmic. Not to mention that they were responsible for inciting the riot in the first place (albeit inadvertently).
- Britta's attempt to get the study group to confront their grief over Star-Burns' death by role-playing as him would have been a sound method of grief counselling if she hadn't critically underestimated precisely how little the group cared about Star-Burns' death in the first place.
- Evil Laugh: Chang gives one.
- Failed a Spot Check: No one notices the guards in the medical room leave to tell Chang of the plan to scapegoat him, despite several being in a position to do so.
- Five Stages of Grief:
- They are overtly discussed by Britta. She attempts to bring up the imagery of dying puppies to move the group on from denial to anger -- that is, if she's actually aware of any of the ones between 'denial' and 'acceptance':
Britta: What Jeff is doing now is called 'denial', and it is the first of five stages of grief that ends with 'acceptance'.
Jeff: Name any other stage.
Britta: [Suddenly touchy and defensive] What are you, my final?!
- There is also a more covert usage that leads to Fridge Brilliance. The entire structure of the episode is based around the Five Stages of Grief. The episodes starts out in denial, refusing to talk about the death. Next comes anger with a wake riot. Followed by bargaining with the school administration. Which results in the group flirting with depression. And the last minutes have Abed and Troy helping the group come to acceptance.
- The Fun in Funeral: The study group uses their eulogies to rant about the school. It then turns into a riot.
- Fun Size: Annie and Shirley think that Chang's soldiers and their riot gear are cute for the few seconds before they deploy the pepper spray.
- Group Hug: The Dean tries and fails to initiate one with the group with him closest to Jeff and Troy.
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Garret, to the point this rendition of "Ave Maria" is almost unrecognizable.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Annie criticizes Greendale for having an anus flag, but the Dean points out it was the study group that drew it.
- Jeff belittles Britta's attempts to get everyone to cope with the aftermath of Star-Burns' death, pointing out that "one minute something's here, the next minute it isn't." Then, the Dean comes in to tell everyone that they'll need to do summer school to make up their biology credit. Upon learning that he no longer has his summer, Jeff breaks down.
- Also, this:
Annie: Jeff, have some respect! He may have been a scuzzy weirdo who shaved his sideburns into star shapes...
- I Need a Freaking Drink: At the end of the episode, Annie gets out a bottle of liquor and the last scene is of the group drinking and eating pizza.
- Identical Stranger: The Pretendean is close enough to fool the board and the study group, with the possible exception of Abed, at the hearing.
- Instant Sedation: When Chang shoots the Dean with a Tranquilizer Dart.
- This may be one of the more justified uses since Change appears to hit the carotid artery and is using a tranquilizer meant for zoo animals.
- Killed Off for Real: Starburns. Any thought from the last episode that his death was a hoax was negated by his ashes (and those of his lizard) being given to Abed.
- As revealed in season finale, this is actually subverted. Turns out he simply faked his death...for whatever reason.
- Lampshade Hanging: Remember when Britta was smart at the very beginning of the first series? So does Jeff.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The study group did incite a riot (albeit inadvertently) and attempt to blame Chang for it (albeit again not entirely without cause, since Chang's over-the-top measures did exacerbate things). So Chang discovering their plan, thwarting it and getting them expelled is to some degree karmic justice.
- Last Request: Abed feels oddly compelled to fulfill Star-burns request for a video tribute.
- Late to The Punchline: The Dean finally understands why everyone called Alex "Star-Burns".
- There are a couple of little "Oh!"s in the background after he says this, implying that some of the students are just now getting it as well.
- Little No: Both Jeff and the Dean give one at different parts.
- Magnificent Bastard: Chang. He gets the Dean replaced with an impersonator whom he can control. And then he gets on the school board's good side, thwarting the study group's plan to blame the riot on Chang.
- Metaphorgotten: See Toilet Humor.
- Mood Whiplash: Britta asking the group to think about puppies ... which are on fire.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Jeff's speech to the Dean about how the study group are 'bad students' after the riot.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently the Dean once gave a back rub to Chang while he was asleep.
- Also, Star-Burns and Pierce's hairbrush.
- Oh Crap: The study group's faces when they realize that venting over their biology grades being withheld until they complete summer school has ended up triggering a riot.
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Subverted. Unlike in her bad timeline in "Remedial Chaos Theory", Britta does not end up getting engaged to the pizza guy, and just takes the pizza inside.
- Police Brutality: Chang's plans for the school involve plenty of this.
- Product Placement: Subway, subverted when Vicki breaks the glass and the students ransack the stand. Leonard declares that he will steal the veggies.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: While Chang is undeniably power hungry, it was the study group who actually initiated the riot (albeit inadvertantly), and then they tried to pass all the blame onto Change so they wouldn't be held responsible. Played with, in that this actually ends up backfiring on the group and leads to them getting expelled.
- It should be noted that they were willing to admit their mistake to the school board. It was just that they were trying to spin it in a way to make them look better and to also point out they weren't the only ones at fault.
- Putting on the Reich: When out of riot gear, Chang's soldiers now wear alarmingly fascistic black uniforms.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Starburns' funeral, before it erupts into a riot, is one of these toward the Dean and the school.
- The Scapegoat: The study group and the Dean decide to blame Chang for the riot. Chang has other ideas.
- Shaped Like Itself: Garrett screams that the pepper spray is "so peppery!"
- Ship Tease: At the end, Troy says, "Britta, you're not the worst -- you're the best," and both they and Jeff and Annie smile at each other later.
- Star-Burns liked Styx.
- Aladdin: "If we rub that, will he come out and do celebrity impressions?"
- Abed is wearing a Runnin' Rhino t-shirt at Star-Burns's wake.
- A member of the school board makes one to Transformers.
- The song the Dean is singing as he sanitizes his hands and staples is sung to the tune of "Come On Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners.
- A DVD of Kanye West's film Runaway can be seen on Troy & Abed's shelf in the first scene
- Similar Squad: Faux-by/Pretendean is back
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The wake for Star-Burns somehow turns into a platform for the study group to vent their own problems.
- The Starscream: Chang replaces the Dean with a lookalike.
- Stealth Pun: Star urns.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Troy isn't crying because of the scary Child Soldiers.
- Sweet Tooth: One of the board really likes his cookies.
- Take That: Chang's restriction of liquids comes from Transportation Security Administration guidelines.
- Tempting Fate: After the Dean refuses ( at first) to sign Chang's request for new security measures, Chang tells him "You'll regret it" - to which the Dean replies "I doubt it." Yeah, that did not end well.
- Toilet Humour: Chang's description of a sausage as a cross between a penis and a piece of poop.
- Tranquilizer Dart: Chang takes the Dean out with one after Faux-by enters in his Dean disguise.
- Video Wills: Delivered to Abed by Star-Burns's lawyer, a one-armed man with a scarred face.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Chang is well-liked by the school board, who are happily willing to dismiss out of hand the study group's protests that he's a psychotic lunatic because of it.
- Wham! Episode: The Dean gets replaced by an impostor, Chang rises to power, and the episode ends with the group being expelled from Greendale.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Jeff (and the group) have a much more emotional reaction to hearing they have to take summer school over the death of their classmate.
- Also, the item on Chang's list of demands that the Dean is most shocked by is "no soft-serve." This was after martial law and involuntary cavity searches.