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Community

Episode 2.19 : Critical Film Studies

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TV Info


Episode Premiere

March 24, 2011

Distributor

NBC

Genre

Comedy, Drama

Show Period

2009 - 2014

Production Company

Krasnoff Foster, Sony Pictures Television

Cast and Crew


Director

Richard Ayoade

Screenwriter

Sona Panos

Main Cast

Synopsis


We open with Jeff narrating the scene as he walks into an upscale restaurant in a suit and tie. It's Abed's birthday, and Jeff has agreed to meet Abed at a restaurant downtown. While an out-of-character choice for Abed, Jeff didn't ask questions and agreed to meet, with plans to convince Abed to ditch the restaurant for a surprise party that he has planned with the study group. When Abed arrives, Jeff immediately notices that something isn't quite right. He's dressed in a formal sweater and is acting normal, which for Abed is anything but normal. Jeff suggests that they check out a burger joint instead; this place really isn't Abed's style. But continuing with his puzzling behavior, Abed insists that they stay.

Meanwhile, the study group is at the diner where Brita works. Britta pulled some strings to close down the place so they could have a "Pulp Fiction"-themed surprise party for Abed, in honor of one of his favorite films. Jeff fields a call from Britta; he tells her that he's hit a speed bump in their plans, but will drag Abed away from the restaurant soon enough. The group grows impatient, and Troy expresses jealousy over the fact that Jeff got the right to plan Abed's party. Troy gets even more jealous when he discovers that Jeff's gift for Abed is a very cool-looking briefcase. Britta says that Jeff gave strict instructions: no one but Abed is allowed to open it. Of course, this just fuels the fire, and Troy can barely resist opening it.

Back at the restaurant, Jeff finally confronts Abed about his strange behavior: Why is he dressed like Mr. Rogers and talking like Frasier? Abed launches in to an extensive monologue, explaining his recent visit to the set of one of his favorite programs, "Cougar Town," which apparently completely changed his outlook on life. When Abed played an extra on the show, he claims that he took on the persona of his new character, whom he named Chad. In the moments that he lived as Chad, Abed was able to see Chad's entire life play out in his head, and when the scene was over, the horror or reality hit him so hard that he collapsed to the ground and soiled himself. He realized, at that moment, that he was more invested in the life of Chad that in his own life, which lacked any real depth or meaning. He admits that he had been a fool all this time, caring so much about so many things that didn't really matter, like pop culture, for example. Jeff is stunned by Abed's revealing confession, while Abed calmly goes back to enjoying his dinner.

At the nagging of Chang, Troy caves in to pressure and opens the briefcase to discover a certificate of authenticity; the briefcase is apparently the actual briefcase from "Pulp Fiction." Troy is heartbroken; he has truly been outdone. When he closes the briefcase, the light inside catches fire and burns the certificate and ruins the briefcase. Seeing this, Chang tells Troy that he really is a terrible friend, and a fight breaks out between the two as they trash the diner.

Abed tells Jeff that all he really wants for his birthday is to have his first real conversation. Jeff brushes him off, claiming that there is no such thing as a "real" conversation; the harder people try to act real and have real discussions, the faker they become. And then, without even realizing it, Jeff begins to talk his way into what seems to be a very real conversation, confessing that last week he called a sex hotline and pretended to be 400 pounds, admitting that he's afraid people won't like him if he's overweight. Then Jeff makes another confession: as a child he wore a girl's Indian costume trick-or-treating on Halloween, and by the third house, he stopped correcting people who mistook him for a girl because he was just glad that they thought he was pretty.

Frustrated with waiting, Pierce arrives at the restaurant dressed as the Gimp from "Pulp Fiction." Abed loves the concept and asks the waiter for the check. The waiter asks why he's leaving early; after all, in "My Dinner With Andre" that's not what happens. That's when Jeff realizes this is all a setup. Apparently, Abed's quest to have a real conversation in a restaurant was just another movie re-enactment. In fact, Abed's story was a complete fabrication; he never pooped his pants on the set of "Cougar Town." The rest of the gang arrives at the restaurant at the height of the commotion. Jeff storms off to return Abed's really cool gift; Troy remarks that it might need some detailing.

Back at the diner, Jeff is paying for the damages from the fight. Abed, back to his old, robotic self, confronts Jeff, noting that he's angry. Jeff explains that he's enraged at Abed's selfishness; he spent a week planning this party, and Abed managed to ruin everything with his absurd fantasy. Abed then surprises Jeff, saying that he chose "My Dinner With Andre" because it's about a guy who has an unexpectedly enjoyable evening with a friend he's been avoiding lately. He feel that Jeff has been avoiding him because while everyone else has been growing and changing, he stays the same. Jeff tells him that he doesn't need him to grow or change, just that he needs him to keep a "tight, heavy lid" on the Indian girl story.

Glad that they're friends again, Abed whips out the check from the restaurant; no one paid for dinner, and he doesn't have that kind of money. When Jeff returns to the closed restaurant to front the bill, he finds that the gang has saved his surprise party and moved it to the restaurant. A corny montage of the study group hanging out and having a great time ensues, narrated by Jeff. He closes by saying that he doubts he'll ever forget his "Dinner with Andre Dinner with Abed."

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