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August 30, 2015

Community: Social Psychology

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 9th 2009 4:40AM
Community: Social Psychology(S01E04) All hail Ken Jeong, returning to the cast this week. Now we see how he can be a part of storylines even when the students aren't in his class. Despite being in very few scenes so far, I can already tell that his Senor Chang is going to be one of the funniest characters on the show.

Couple him with last week's Professor Whitman (John Michael Higgins), and it becomes clear that the teachers at this community college are going to be the ones who are completely off-the-wall insane.

Our motley crew is more eccentric. We got an opportunity to get a little further into Shirley's unique personality, as she and Jeff discovered something they could bond over and talk about. In fact, it turns out this thing is about the only thing they can talk about, and it's something we can all relate to.

Oh the heady days of higher education. Oh, the gossip! Lord knows when I was in college we spent as much time gossiping and spreading rumors about everyone on campus as we did studying. And that weird hacky-sackin' dude did have tiny little nipples. Speaking of which, we had hacky-sackin' dudes on my campus. In fact, it may have been some of those same guys. Nice to know some things stay the same.

I think I've had people in my life that I realized I had absolutely nothing in common with except for a desire to rip on other people around us who were just begging to be ripped on. You find yourself stumbling around when there's no handy target. Still, I think there's hope for a true friendship to form between Shirley and Jeff. I'm glad to see she's rooting for him and Britta to work it out. She really is sweeter than sugar.

As for Britta, seeing her make out with -- and obviously sleep with -- the shirtless wonder, I realized that we really don't know her all that well yet. We know she's intelligent and not at all impressed with Jeff's charm. We know she gets easily annoyed with Pierce and ... that's about it. What kind of a girl finds that kind of a guy appealing?

What a great social experiment conducted in this episode. It was so perfect that it was Troy, who's clearly smitten with Annie, and Abed that outlasted everyone in the waiting game. When Abed hit 26 hours of calm waiting and accepting a "five more minutes" explanation, that was hilarious stuff. The students and teacher conducting the experiment started having the waiting symptoms themselves.

Abed's explanation that he was, in fact, livid during that was priceless. Yes, it was a little precocious that he did it because Annie asked him to and he thought they were friends (insert audience "aww" if this had a laugh track), but it still worked.


  • Senor Chang freaking out at the first "five more minutes" in the experiment.
  • Shirley getting Britta's boy toy to take off his shirt just by asking where it was from.
  • Pierce's earnoculars; he didn't have much to do this episode, but they made it work.
  • The weekly closings with Troy and Abed on the couch, this time making up voices for people walking by ... and discovering via Jeff that they can be heard.

[Watch clips and episodes of Community at SlashControl.]

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This show is amazingly relatable. Like the author pointed out, this is exactly what life was like for most of us who went to college or university. And the relationship between Shirley and Jeff is totally accurate about many of my relationships. We have nothing good in common and common hatred is all that keeps us together.
And unfortunately I have to disagree with the author about Britta. I totally understand the character. I know many a shallow woman who would act like that. She's not so rare, unfortunately.

October 13 2009 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess I'm the only one that thinks that Senor Chang is a pretty unfunny character.

October 09 2009 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LRM's comment

I think he's well-written and the acting is pretty good, just the two elements are somewhat out of sync right now. As the character was added after the pilot, it's possible these first few scripts were written without any specific actor in mind, but, once things get going, the role and the actor will (hopefully) mesh more and deliver on the potential already evident.

October 09 2009 at 11:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Britta and Jeff story was pretty stupid, but the rest of the cast and stories made up for that. The show needs to have more Ken Jeong and John Oliver. I can just imagine a faculty meeting and all the insanity that would happen. Full review of the episode.


October 09 2009 at 6:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here I thought Annie was clearly smitten with Troy.

I also realized, this episode, that Britta is pretty much the only character that doesn't do at least one funny thing each episode.

October 09 2009 at 4:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite line was when Shirley said, "That guy would play Shirts and Skins in a Checkers game."
Great episode. Even though the research was completely unrealistic.

Oh and I loved Troy asking if the experiment had anything to do with butts.

October 09 2009 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I get that they based the show around the idea of a community college because they tend to have a student body made up of a lot more diverse bunch of people (e.g. not just 18-25 year-olds.) But it really seems like they're trying to have their cake and eat it too by implying that this mythical community college is also a research institution. I kinda doubt that there are many community colleges that can charge $70 for a film class and yet still manage to have a budget for research grants. And no IRB in sight for psych experiments? You'd never see that in real life. Yeah, it's a comedy, it doesn't have to be realistic.

October 09 2009 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rhomboid's comment
Ritch Hall

you totally just outed yourself as a Psych researcher.
I actually thought that too but let it go because the experiment was so funny and eventually the mice (Troy & Abed) were having an unintended effect on the researchers.

Ethical concerns aside "Damn you you outlying piece of Data!" is now my new non-sequitur expletive.
only researchers and statisticians know how frustrating that can truly be.

October 09 2009 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marc Morrison

Uh...I thought Annie was the one who asked Abed to join in the experiment, not Britta?

Senior Chang had the best line of the show, "What? Community college Spanish teacher can't use 80 bucks?"

So great.

October 09 2009 at 5:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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