No, no! Bad! We are better than City College we always have been. Which is why I know we did not give a degree to a dog!
In the early hours of the morning, Annie receives an email from a friend who works at a local TV station. She learns that City College is planning to air an attack ad against Greendale soon. Annie texts Frankie and suggests they gather everyone for an emergency meeting of the Save Greendale Committee. Although Annie advises against it, Frankie texts Dean Pelton to alert everyone else. He bungles the attempt by needlessly texting Annie and messaging a teenager in Japan he believes to be Jeff. Eventually they all meet up in Group Study Room F where unexpectedly Chang shows up. An inebriated Britta makes an appearance as well but runs out after she accidentally soils herself.
Britta has an accident.
When Jeff attempts to leave Annie tries to appeal to his sense of school pride. This is undercut when Britta returns now wearing oversized trousers she got from Elroy Patashnik. He accompanied her back to the study room after finding her wandering around campus pantsless. Abed announces he obtained a copy of the commercial from a contact at City College and plays it for the committee. It purports that Greendale once gave a dog named "Ruffles" a degree, which the Dean can't confirm or deny. Jeff believes that it doesn't matter if it's true, it only matters if it can be proven. He proposes they discredit the dog while Frankie and Annie leave to verify the claim.
City College reveals Greendale gave a dog a degree.
Chang departs to carry out his own plan while Pelton again texts the Japanese teenager he believes to be Jeff. Over at Elroy's RV, Britta confesses to Elroy she wouldn't mind if the ad was true, because then everyone at school would be just as much of a joke as they think her to be. They briefly bond over their mutual love of a '90s alternative band until her off key singing ends the moment. In the records room, Frankie and Annie search the file cabinets for Ruffles's file. Annie hopes it isn't true but Frankie warns her that kind of wishful thinking is wasted action. She then finds a lengthy transcript for the dog, which both proves her point and devastates Annie. Frankie points out there is no record of a degree being given to Ruffles however.
Frankie and Annie uncover the truth.
In the study room, Jeff and Abed show Elroy and Britta the counter-attack ad they created which blatantly defames Ruffles. Frankie and Annie return and update the others on what they discovered. Since the dog didn't receive a degree, the commercial is technically slander, which will allow them to prevent the station from airing it. Annie objects to this strategy, preferring that Greendale own up to its mistake. She snatches the transcript away from Jeff, frustrated that everyone doesn't see things her way. Frankie tries to reason with her and asks what purpose honesty will serve if it destroys Greendale.
Tug of war over Ruffles's transcript.
Annie counters they shouldn't stoop to using City College's methods and sarcastically adds they should let both schools battle it out. She can then enroll in whichever one survives where her grades matter. Believing this to be an ultimatum, Frankie tells Annie they are willing to let her transfer if it means saving the school. When the others silently back Frankie up, Annie angrily throws the transcript back and storms out. She empties out her locker and goes back home where she fills out an online application for City College. Abed interrupts her to shows her the new commercial the Committee just shot. It features Dean Pelton with Ruffles in his office confessing that she was once a student at Greendale and that the school needs to get its act together.
The Greendale response.
Annie returns to school and tells everyone she knew they would take the high road in handling the scandal. Frankie playfully responds that it was her hope they would do that, while Jeff shrugs it off as the most prudent course of action. Chang then returns to show the counter attack he launched at City College. He hoped to create a more appalling scandal over there by shooting a solo porno video on that campus. Everyone turns away in disgust except for Abed who critiques the video. He is impressed that Chang was able to shoot a porno, despite being the only actor, even saying that Chang might be a genius. However, he points out that the porno doesn't accomplish its purpose, since the location of the shoot is vague and Chang was wearing a Greendale t-shirt in it. Chang takes the criticisms to heart and goes off to reshoot.
Chang shows the Committee his video response to the attack ad.
Over in Japan, the father of the teenager Pelton believes is Jeff confronts his son over high charges to his cell phone's data plan. The teenager dismisses his father's complaints and mocks him for reducing things to matters of finance. The father tells his son when he joins the real world he will know what it means to be truly reduced. He predicts that's when he will finally understand how small and insignificant he is. When his father leaves the teenager is shaken by his words and contacts Pelton. He reveals his name is Takashi and hopes Pelton could be his confidant. However, he is unable to convince Pelton he isn't Jeff. A voice-over then reveals that day changed his life forever and led him to become the Oyabun, the leader of the Japanese mob known as the Yakuza.
Up against the wall: Dave and Vicki's dialogue references their roles as recurring characters with few lines. Dave says he's being "called in to do more stuff" while Vicki laments that they'll be lucky to get three words out, just as she is cut off by the regular cast.
According to Community writer Alex Rubens, "Basic Crisis Room Decorum" was the 102nd episode shot for the series, although it was the show's 100th episode in order of release to the public (source).
“But what do you hope is true?”— Annie
“Oh, God, no, I never hope. Hope is pouting in advance. Hope is faith's richer, bitchier sister. Hope is the deformed, attic-bound, incest monster offspring of entitlement and fear.”— Frankie