Director: Anthony Russo — Writer: Emily Cutler — Aired: January 20, 2011 —Season: Two — Number: Twelve Summary: Annie pushes for her latest crush to join the study group. Meanwhile, Shirley announces that she is pregnant, but is unaware that it could be Chang's baby.
The study group returns from the winter break and meets up in the study room. Annie mentions she spent the break volunteering with campus cleaning up and has a crush on a new guy. She plays it coy as to who it is and Shirley takes the opportunity to tell everyone that she is back with her husband Andre. They ignore Shirley's news and instead continue to interrogate Annie about her new crush. Chang then makes his presence known from on top of a nearby bookcase. He demands an immediate answer as to whether or not he is in the study group. Jeff tells him no which causes Chang to change his mind and tells them to continue thinking it over. Later in Anthropology class, Britta questions how Shirley can date her ex-husband after what he put her through.
Chang watching them from above.
While observing their conversation, Troy lets slip to Pierce that he learned about Chang and Shirley hooking up on Halloween. Meanwhile, Annie apologizes to Jeff for the awkwardness of her crush being discussed amongst the group but he tells her he doesn't care. Professor Duncan finally shows up to class and announces his newfound sobriety and his intention to put more focus into teaching the class. As he begins the day's lesson, another latecomer arrives in the form of Rich. He explains his lateness was due to having been to a graduation for seeing eye dogs that he trained. Jeff's annoyance at seeing his former rival from pottery class increases when Rich is revealed to be Annie's latest crush. Later in the cafeteria, Annie is gushing about Rich to the rest of the study group much to Jeff's irritation.
Annie's latest crush is revealed to be Rich.
Annie asks that they consider letting Rich join the study group as he could be an asset. Jeff argues that it would be unfair to let Rich join without considering other options first. Annie counters by proposing the study group invite any potential candidates to a mixer where at the end of the night they will vote on a new member. Shirley's ex-husband and current boyfriend Andre Bennett then shows up. After he leaves to buy them a round of soft serve, Britta cautions Shirley again about getting back with him. Shirley says it's the right thing to do since she is pregnant. After hearing that she is 8 weeks along, Troy and Pierce realize that the conception happened around Halloween. That night, the study group holds an impromptu mixer to pick a new member inviting their classmates from Anthropology class to Group Study Room F. Andre is there as well and Troy attempts to find out exactly when he and Shirley hooked up.
Shirley's new/old significant other, Andre Bennett.
Jeff arrives with his attractive candidate, Quendra. She is upstaged when Rich shows up bringing bags of home made kettle corn for the party winning over the party goers. Chang walks in on the gathering angered at not having been invited. Jeff is unable to stop Quendra from leaving the party when Pierce makes her an indecent proposal. He is then approached by Annie who suggests the group vote now as the mixer has wound down leaving Rich as the only real choice. After Annie concludes her pitch to the study group for Rich's inclusion, Jeff steps in and offers an alternative choice: Ben Chang. He presents a persuasive argument that it's better to go with the devil you know than a question mark like Rich who is too good to be true. After the group votes, it's shown to be a tie with Shirley having the deciding vote.
Everybody loves Rich.
Pierce, who was won over by the kettle corn, threatens Shirley to vote for Rich which causes her to vote for Chang. Pierce then reveals that Shirley and Chang had sex on Halloween and she could be carrying his baby. Andre realizes that's why Troy had been grilling him earlier. Shirley looks to Troy for answers and he is forced to admit he got a voice mail sent to him by Chang on Halloween. Chang bragged about it and Shirley's voice could be heard in the background. Shirley is shocked but Chang himself further confirms the incident with photos on his cell phone that he now realizes are of her. After she chases him out of the study room she returns to Andre at a loss to explain how this happened. Andre leaves ignoring Shirley's pleas and causes Rich to depart as well. This ends up upsetting not only Annie but Pierce as well.
Chang has incriminating photos.
Some time later, Jeff is in the men's restroom washing up when Annie confronts him over Rich. Jeff states he just dislikes the guy and denies any jealousy of her attraction to him. Annie doesn't buy it and demands Jeff actually own up to his feelings for her. When Jeff deflects her accusation, Annie declares her intentions to ask Rich out before leaving. Britta then walks in and asks that Jeff talk to Andre for Shirley's sake. Despite her reservations about Andre, as Shirley's friend she supports her decision to be with him. Jeff leaves and finds Andre outside of the library staring out at the pouring rain. Before Jeff can speak, Andre explains that he blames himself for what happened since he was the one who left her. Although his selfishness cost him his family, he explains that the love of a good woman can change a man.
"Either you want me or you don't, what's it going to be?"
He assures Jeff that no matter who the father of the baby is he won't abandon Shirley and heads back inside. Abed then shows up and tells Jeff that Rich turned Annie down. Jeff suddenly runs off in the rain towards an unknown destination. Back in the study room, Andre lets Shirley know he's not going anywhere. Meanwhile, Jeff eventually reaches someone's doorstep completely drenched. Upon seeing the person, Jeff expresses his admiration and acknowledges their moral superiority. It's then revealed to be Rich whom Jeff pleads with to teach him to be just as good so he can abuse that power. Rich is uneasy with his motivations until Jeff points out that not helping him would go against his nature. Unable to argue with his logic, Rich agrees and invites Jeff into his apartment to dry off.
Troy and Abed are doing their fake morning show in the study room with Rich as a special guest. Outside the room a large crowd looks on as Rich demonstrates his kettle corn making techniques. Troy is impressed with a large wooden spoon he is using which he explains he carved from an oak tree that was hit by lightning in his backyard. Jeff then shows up annoyed that Rich is participating in the fake talk show. Rich invites Jeff to join them but he abruptly walks off. Troy, Abed and Rich then say "Troy and Abed in the morning" in unison to delight of their audience outside.
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
And we're back: The study group returns from Winter vacation. It is also the return of the show itself from the holiday break.
Chang asked about joining the group at the start of the semester ("Anthropology 101") and brings up the promise Jeff personally made to consider his membership.
Troy tells Pierce about the voicemail from Halloween ("Epidemiology"), in which Chang bragged about hooking up with Shirley.
In the Season One episode "Introduction to Statistics", Shirley says that Andre leaving her was the best thing that ever happened to her, and if he ever came crawling back, she would turn him down.
Andre and Shirley are officially dating after hooking up during Labor Day of the previous year.
Annie has a crush on Rich and must deal with Jeff's jealous reaction.
There are multiple editing discontinuities with the chalkboard in the Anthropology classroom:
When Shirley and Britta comment on Professor Duncan's tardiness, the chalkboard is shown covered in writing which matches that from the episode "Anthropology 101". Professor Duncan enters a few seconds later and the board has changed to say simply "Anthropology / Introduction to the Study of Man" in the upper right corner.
Soon after, the word "PENIS" is visible on the chalkboard (4'30") just a few seconds before Prof. Ian Duncan writes the same word where it had previously appeared.
Jeff mentions that he has known Rich for almost two years but Jeff met Rich near the end of his first year, in "Beginner Pottery." This means that Jeff has known Rich for almost one year, not two.
Mad skillz: Rich demonstrates his kettle corn making skills in the end tag.
Chang warns Jeff that he doesn't want a front seat to "Annie love Richie", likely a reference to Joanie Loves Chachi.
Rich's kettlecorn spoon in the end tag is carved from an oak tree in his back yard that was hit by lightning. This is similar to the movie The Natural, in which baseball player Roy Hobbs fashions wood from a lightning-struck tree into a "magical" baseball bat.
Parody: The end of the episode, after Abed tells Jeff about Annie's text, is reminiscent of a common trope in romantic films, in which the male protagonist runs through the rain to find his female love interest, whom he has lost, to deliver a heartfelt message in an attempt to win her over. The audience is meant to assume that Jeff has come to visit Annie's apartment to tell her that he is in love with her, until it is revealed that he is actually speaking to Rich.
While attempting to pry details from Andre about his reconnection with Shirley, Troy briefly impersonates Bill Cosby, who played Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Malcolm Jamal-Warner, who portrays Andre, previously played Theo Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
Andre tells Jeff that his father gave him the sweater he is wearing. Cliff Huxtable, Theo's father on The Cosby Show, was known for his distinctive sweaters.
In an interview with AV club's Todd VanDerWerff, "Community" creator Dan Harmon referred to this episode as being the most "normal" and as "mainstream" as the show could get. He didn't consider this a negative as he felt the episode was good and stated: "It should be held up in approaching any debate where the show should be watered down, weirded out, or a combination of the two."