|Greendale: A documentary is being filmed by Abed to chronicle the amnesia being suffered by Ben Chang who now wants to be known as "Kevin". Dr. Kedan, a psychiatrist from the Greater Greendale Health Services has dubbed his condition "Changnesia", a complex version of amnesia that needs further research. Dean Pelton is also interviewed and relates Chang's checkered history at school. Chang/Kevin's rehabilitation has put a financial burden on the school, one which he hopes to alleviate by getting financial assistance form the MacGuffin Neurological Institute who is offering a $40,000 grant. Abed then makes an appearance onscreen claiming that although Pelton wants this to be a propaganda film he intends to explore all aspects of this case including Jeff's belief that Chang has been faking his condition.
|Jeff is shocked after finding out the rest of the study group are supportive of Chang's recovery and looking to help the school get the funding from the MacGuffin institute. He tries to find an ally in Shirley but discovers she actually employed "Kevin" at her sandwich shop. She explains that regardless if he is faking everyone deserves a second chance. Jeff then strengthens his resolves to prove he is right about Chang. Under the guise he wants to help in the presentation, he delegates jobs to specific study group members to aid in his investigation. Pierce is given the task of hosting the presentation, Shirley and Britta are assigned to document Chang's job at the sandwich shop, and Troy and Annie team up to look into Chang's whereabouts the last few months. Jeff suspicions are raised when Chang shows up and thanks him for his efforts.
|At Shirley's shop, Britta takes over the filming and screws up the recording process. Back in the study room, Jeff checks up on Pierce and, as Jeff expected, came up with an offensive bit for his hosting duties at the presentation. Over at Sullivan's Trout Farm, Troy and Annie follow up a lead about Chang's recent whereabouts. Garrett films their confrontation with the trout farm owner Sully Sullivan, where they learn that he had been using Chang as unpaid manual labor for the past three months. He also inadvertently reveals where Chang got his new name; "Kevin" is the name of Sullivan's dog. Jeff is annoyed by the footage as it just makes Chang more sympathetic and asks Abed if he can take a close look at what Shirley and Britta filmed. He discovers that Chang had tried to call a specific number on the pay phone several times. Jeff believes that to be the "smoking gun" he was looking for.
|Later, the MacGuffin Group arrives on campus to hear Greendale's proposal at a gathering conducted inside the study room. Among the representatives of the school in attendance are the study group, Dean Pelton and Chang himself. Pelton introduces Jeff who has a special presentation in store. He brings out Chang's ex-wife Alessandra Chang who asks "Kevin" if he remembers her. When he responds that he doesn't, Jeff shows film footage of him dialing her phone number and declares that if he truly had "Changnesia" he wouldn't remember her phone number. "Kevin" claims that he found the number in the air vents but wasn't sure she would want to talk to him. He said she seemed nice and that he wished he could remember their time together. Touched by this Alessandra goes to him but is intercepted by Jeff who kisses her trying to prove Chang is faking by making him jealous.
|The audience is incensed by Jeff's callousness and the study group and Dean Pelton chastise him for his presentation. A representative for the MacGuffin group declares that anyone faced with such hardships and criticisms deserve their support. Greendale is given a grant by the foundation and Chang becomes something of a celebrity on campus while Jeff becomes a pariah. In the cafeteria, Chang later approaches Jeff at his table and offers to bury the hatchet. He proposes a fresh start and offers his hand introducing himself as Kevin. Although he is still skeptical, Jeff accepts his gesture and shakes his hand. Abed filmed the entire exchange for his documentary and presented it to the study group, Chang and Dean Pelton.
Immediately after viewing Abed's documentary, Chang/Kevin exits the study room. He makes sure he is alone, pulls out a cellphone and calls someone. He tells the person on the other end that everyone has believed him and he is waiting further instructions, revealing that Jeff was correct and Chang/Kevin had been faking the entire time.
- That just happened: This episode picks up after Chang returned to Greendale a few episodes back in "Alternative History of the German Invasion."
- Replay: This episode is done in the style of a documentary. This is the fourth episode after "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking," "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux," and "Pillows and Blankets" to be done in this manner.
- History lesson:
- Chang's time at school before becoming "Kevin" is gone over by Dean Pelton in the documentary.
- Shirley reveals that she was dead for three minutes one time.
- After it's learned that Chang was named "Kevin" after Sullivan's dog, Troy realizes he was named after his family's pets as well.
- Abed alludes to the fact that he practices smiling and frowning.
- It is revealed that Abed's middle name starts with a G.
- Previously: Chang's "relationship" with a mannequin leg from the Season Three episode "Competitive Ecology" is mentioned by Jeff.
- Familiar face:
- Returning students: Garrett is shown to be helping Abed again in filming another documentary.
- All by myself: Jeff finds himself the only one in the group who believes Chang is faking his "Changnesia."
- Identity crisis: Chang is facing one of these seemingly having lost all of his memories and insisting others call him Kevin. Jeff also questions himself for not believing in Changnesia, although it's a fake realization.
- A nice gesture:
- When Jeff asks what the MacGuffin Institute is, the rest of the study group puts a finger on the side of their nose indicating they are not going to be the one to tell him.
- Troy and Annie do high fives as "Partner and Houlihan."
- After Britta asks Abed to teach her how to use a camera, Abed points at Britta and says "Pew!"
- School song: Abed gets Jeff to pay for use of the song "You Get What You Give" in his documentary.
- School supplies: The Foosball table is seen as Abed films Jeff for his documentary.
- School uniform: Shirley and Chang are wearing uniforms for Shirley's Sandwiches.
- This must be the place: Group Study Room F, Dean Pelton's office, the cafeteria, Shirley's Sandwiches, the lounge and the Campus courtyard are all seen in this episode.
- Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: Annie finished the "Welcome Archie" banner for "Economics of Marine Biology."
- Biggest laugh of the night: Garrett collapses after using a makeshift Steadicam.
- Britta'd it: Britta's attempts to film Shirley at her shop fail when she records when trying to stop and stops when trying to record.
- Changuage: The pun "Changnesia" is used often in this episode. While working at Shirley's Sandwiches, "Kevin" welcomes Jeff and tells him that the food there is "Kevinly."
- Man crush: Dean tried to hug Jeff and touch his stomach when Jeff went up to give his speech.
- WWBJD: Shirley believes the Lord made Chang the way he is and that being Kevin is a choice.
- IMDb: Abed mentions having sat through "The Tree of Life."
- Use your allusion:
- The foundation looking to finance further research into "Changnesia" is called the MacGuffin Group. "MacGuffin" is a storytelling plot device for a goal or motivation for characters in a story.
- Abed letting the audience watch him watch the video of an argument is similar to Director Werner Herzog in the documentary "Grizzly Man" in which he listens to the audio from a video of the subject being eaten by a grizzly bear. He also lets the audience watch him similar to the way Abed did.
- Chang/Kevin's checking of notes written on his body to remind him of recent memories is similar to that of Guy Pearce's character in Christopher Nolan's movie 'Memento.' In this case, however, the character has good long-term memory but no short-term, while Chang claims to have the opposite.
- This connection is directly alluded to when we see "rent Memento" written on his arm.
- IRL: When Chang looks at his body-written notes, he says with a surprise "I'm Chinese?!" In real life, Ken Jeong is of Korean descent.
The episode earned a 1.1 rating/4 share in the 18-49 demo, a series low. In the Live+7 DVR Ratings released earlier this week, "Conventions of Space and Time" rose 0.6 percentage points, from a 1.1 Live plus Same Day to a 1.7, a 55% increase. On the Twitter, #AbedsDocumentary trended as the episode aired in the Central and Eastern time zones and continued to do so for a couple of hours after the episode aired.
- “Compared with your garden-variety amnesia, Changnesia is immeasurably more complex. Its varied and seemingly random symptoms, its resistance to both traditional and new age medicine. Why Changnesia affects the memory but not the ability to make forced puns.”— Dr. Ken Kedan
|Season Four Episodes|
1. "History 101"
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