Director: Anthony Russo — Writer: Andy Bobrow — Aired: October 14, 2010 —Season: Two — Number: Four Summary: Abed and Dean Pelton must rescue the study group who are trapped in a 1980's space simulator.
Dean Pelton called the Greendale school board to an emergency meeting in his office. He informs them that City College is preparing to "launch" a space simulator program. If they succeed they will get prestige and probably an increase in enrolment. He suggests they counter it with a preemptive space simulator launch of their own to steal both possibilities away from City College. Pelton presents to the board an old relic from the County museum "The Kentucky Fried Chicken Eleven Herbs and Space Experience". The board members are skeptical he can pull it off but Pelton assures them that he has a crew in mind who can get the job done.
"You guys are walking in slow-mo?"
Later in Greendale's parking lot, Dean Pelton meets with the study group angry at them over their anonymous submission of a design for the new school logo. After the logo was approved and made official, Pelton later learned from one of them that it was actually a representation of an anus. As punishment he has tasked them with cleaning up the simulator before the big press conference he has scheduled. He expressly forbids them from actually entering the Winnebago but after he leaves Troy and Abed ignore his warning. Over Annie's protestations, the others join them inside where they find Abed in complete awe of the Winnebago . He decides a special outfit is needed for the occasion and leaves for his dorm to put it on.
The new school logo the study group submitted.
Annie is still trying to get them to leave leading Britta to accuse her of having ratted them out to the Dean. Uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, Pierce accidentally hits a button which shuts the Winnebago's entry hatch. It powers up and they are greeted by the onboard computer system S.A.N.D.E.R.S. (Systematic Android Network Diode Energy Rocket Systems). The A.I. informs them that they have just been sealed inside causing the group to panic. Jeff tries to calm everyone down when the Winnebago suddenly starts to move. After the Winnebago is towed off campus, Abed shows up in an astronaut flight suit and wonders where everyone went.
As the Winnebago continues to be towed, the study group is unable to get a signal on their cellphones due to the Winnebago being sealed. Troy unsuccessfully attempts to take control of the simulator's "command chair. Dean Pelton is heard trying to contact them through the radio head sets installed onboard. Back in the the study room, Pelton demands over the radio remote that they return as Abed listens in on the conversation. Jeff responds they are unable to comply because the the windows and doors are sealed shut. Abed corrects him saying once the simulation is complete the seals will be released. Dean Pelton then asks Abed to guide them through the simulation so they can open the windows and get a clue as to where they are.
Ground control to Major Tom...
Abed takes control of the situation and asks Troy to adjust the settings on the displays. Troy tries to convince the others to join him in completing the simulation but they ignore him. Pierce, suffering from a head injury incurred when the Winnebago was initially towed, starts hallucinating. Reacting to what he believes is S.A.N.D.E.R.S. taunting him, attacks Troy. Over at Greendale, the study room has been converted into "Mission Control" with Abed in charge of a team of students dedicated to bringing the simulator back. Meanwhile, the study group subdued Pierce and locked him the storage area. With everyone's emotions running high, Annie accidentally confesses her part in the Winnebago being towed.
Pierce attacks Troy.
Annie admits to the others she made a deal with Dean Spreck, in exchange for her help in getting the simulator towed he would assist her in transferring to City College. After learning who was actually behind this, Jeff decides that they need to get back to Greendale and thwart Spreck's plan. He cedes control over to Troy so he can lead them through the simulation. After it's completed, the Winnebago unseals, a window opens and Jeff is finally able to use his phone's GPS to discover where they are. After informing Abed about their location they discover they've been towed out of town. There's nothing Greendale can do for them to get them back in time for the press conference.
Form feet and legs...form arms and torso...and I'll form the head!
The group is down over their current situation and they begin to realize that for all of the gripes they have about Greendale they are genuinely happy to be there. Shirley forgives Annie for her actions as does Britta although she reprimands her for ratting out the group to the Dean. Jeff then confesses that he was the one that told Pelton about the flag. He was annoyed that the Dean couldn't see the logo was meant to be an anus. Pierce joins in the conversation and says he has regained his senses. He asks to be let out of the storage room but when they comply he rushes towards the viewscreen with S.A.N.D.E.R.S on it and rips it out of the wall. Jeff inspects the damage and sees that the hole Pierce just created in the wall of the simulator leads to the drivers seat of the Winnebago.
Pierce's space madness finally comes in handy.
Back at the study room, Dean Pelton prepares to tell the bad news about the simulator to the assembled press when he gets an unexpected visitor, Dean Spreck from City College. He taunts Pelton and lets him know that he was responsible for what happened. It's then that the Jeff contacts "Mission Control" to let them know that they are now driving the simulator back with Annie at the wheel. From the Greendale mission control, Abed is able to navigate them back to school. Outside at the press conference, Deans Pelton and Spreck make their way past the throng of reporters in attendance. As Spreck continues to taunt Pelton, they both hear a ruckus and see the space simulator's dramatic return.
The Study group makes a dramatic return.
It crashes it's way through campus and finally stops when it reaches the press conference. Annie quickly exits the vehicle and opens the side hatch and a crazed Pierce rushes out. The rest of the group leaves the simulator and basks in the cheers of the crowd. Spreck confronts Annie and haughtily tells her she is not City College material which she takes as a compliment. After Jeff congratulates Troy on a job well they are joined by Abed. Jeff asks if he wants to sit in the captains chair of the simulator but Abed passes on it believing that nothing could be as cool as what he did today. A small explosion then rocks the simulator as the Dean triumphantly holds up the school's flag now adorned with Greendale's new anus logo.
Dean proudly displays the new anus flag as the KFC 11H&S burns.
Greendale's new logo debuts in this episode. It was submitted anonymously by the study group ostensibly as a symbol referring to the school as being "The Crossroads of Ideas" but in actuality it was just a representation of an anus.
Jeff uses his cell phone to pinpoint the location of the group after they were towed away inside the Eleven Herbs & Space Experience to another location.
Pierce repeatedly mistakes his iPod for a cell phone.
The Dean tells the group to keep snickering and pack themselves full of peanuts and really be satisfied.
Shout out: Britta tells Pierce that he is not talking on his phone but listening to a Wesley Snipes narrated audio book.
Use your allusion:
The acronym of City College's space simulator C.C.C.P. (The City College Cosmic Pioneer) is the same as the acronym of the Soviet Union C.C.C.P. (Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик).
The design of the brochure for the EHASE is similar to the Star Wars logo.
After Pelton shows off the new school logo to the study group, he tells them to keep "snicker"ing and to pack themselves with peanuts and "really be satisfied" which is a reference to the candy bar "Snickers".
Homage: The episode also parodies a number of space travel films, including Apollo 13, The Right Stuff, Deep Impact, Armageddon and The Last Starfighter. The opening sequence of this episode satirizes the film The Right Stuff, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Wolfe. Later in the episode, Abed's role opens a satire of the film Apollo 13, with Abed playing the role of Gary Sinise's character. Pierce's claustrophobia mimics the "space dementia" contracted by Steve Buscemi'scharacter in Armageddon, and Troy's unexpected hug with a hitherto unknown woman is similar to another incident in the same film.
The episode was originally titled "The Fundamentals of Flight" and is still referred to by that name in the Apple iTunes store.
The control station which Troy mans on the Eleven Herbs and Spices Experience is a prop that has been used many times on various TV shows and films. One of these productions was Joss Whedon's Firefly series It appeared on the episode titled "The Train Job" as a control station on an Alliance Cruiser.