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In the words of your hacky duck, "What the hell?"
— Abed

In the Teachers' Lounge, Professor Duncan tells Jeff about his romantic interest in Britta and pleads with him for help in trying to score with her. Somewhat touched by Duncan's desperation, Jeff advises he find a lame cause to feign interest in so he can get her attention. Later in the study room, Duncan signals Jeff after the Save Greendale Committee meeting adjourns. Jeff asks if the group has plans for the weekend, and Duncan mentions wanting to go to the Riverside Forefront Theater because a benefit show is being held there for starving children with cleft palates, which expectedly sparks Britta's interest. However, Jeff and Duncan's plan backfires when Annie, Shirley, and Chang want to go to the event as well. The only exception is Abed, who intends to see a Kickpuncher movie festival. Things go further awry when the Committee uses peer pressure to force Jeff to attend the benefit too.

5X7 Jeff and Duncan in Teachers lounge
Duncan asks Jeff to help him get with Britta.
That night, after the benefit show concludes, Shirley and Annie leave to go have dinner as Chang receives a phone call from his ex-wife. He tries to take the call in private but unknowingly makes his way onto a stage where an audience mistakes his conversation as performance art. When they start to applaud, Chang decides to continue "entertaining" them. Meanwhile at the theater bar, Duncan is chatting with Britta while Jeff is preoccupied with his cell phone. Britta is surprised to see an old acquaintance named Michael, along with a few of her old anarchist friends, amongst the event's crowd. She goes to say hello despite fears they will think less of her since she is no longer protesting. Jeff is about to leave when Michael calls for everyone's attention and toasts Britta as a true hero for her past activism. Britta then gives a short speech about truth which wins over the crowd. Her sudden popularity also manages to intrigue Jeff, who elects to stay, much to Duncan's chagrin.

5X7 Britta becomes the toast of the party
Britta becomes the toast of the party.
Back at school, Abed finishes a Kickpuncher outfit he created for the movie festival but is saddened he has no one to enjoy it with now that Troy is gone. Abed dons the costume and is about to leave school when he notices Professor Buzz Hickey is working late in his office. Abed decides to try and bond with Hickey by demonstrating to him a foam launching gadget on his costume. Abed sprays Hickey's desk with the substance, ruining pages of work he had just completed. Abed apologizes for the mess he made and attempts to leave so he can get to the festival on time. Before he can go, Buzz grabs him and handcuffs him to a filing cabinet intent on teaching him a lesson. Back at the theater, Chang runs out of the building terrified. He is convinced he just had a super natural encounter with either an old janitor or an audience who died years ago in a fire.

5X7 Abed sprays Hickey's desk
Abed sprays Hickey's desk with foam.
At the same time, Britta tries to inspire her activist friends to take up their old anarchist ways. She ends up feeling humiliated when they refuse and Janet points out how less successful she is compared to them. Duncan then makes his move and goes over to comfort her, offering her a handkerchief as well as a hug. Jeff watches as the last two seconds of his self-imposed one-hour time limit run out. Over at Greendale, Abed compliments Buzz on his cartoons and apologizes for his actions. He then asks it be let go but Hickey still refuses to unshackle him. Abed then angrily takes back his earlier praise and bashes the cartoons as unimaginative and joyless. After a heated argument, Buzz finally lets Abed go. Meanwhile, Duncan and Britta are in his car driving away from the benefit. He is caught off guard when she absently asks him if he has friends.

5X7 Duncan makes his move
Duncan makes his move.
She mentions how throughout her life she has defined herself by her friends and now she feels worthless because of what her old anarchist buddies said about her. Duncan has a change of heart and decides not to take advantage of Britta and offers to drive her home. He then regrets his act of chivalry when she mentions how in her vulnerable state she might have done something stupid had he tried to hit on her. At Greendale, Abed goes back to Hickey's office and shows him a script he had written about a police officer. He asks Buzz to look it over as it lacks authenticity on the subject matter, which the professor would be able to provide. Before they begin collaborating on the script they apologize for what they said to each other earlier. The next day the group convenes in the study room for another Save Greendale Committee meeting.

5X7 Chivalry regrets
Duncan immediately regrets his act of chivalry.
Abed and Hickey walk in discussing the types of bullet calibers. Jeff and Duncan show up talking about a boys' night they had drinking booze, arguing about sports cars and trying to whittle. Britta arrives refreshed after having spent the night alone getting in touch with herself. A disheveled Chang then shows up and asks them if they believe in ghosts. Annie warns him that any of his craziness won't be tolerated if he wants to remain on the Committee. Chang swears he isn't crazy and that he's just trying to process some weird encounters he had at the theater. The group is unaware he had gone to the benefit with them, which causes Chang to start questioning his own existence. Britta suggests he do what she did and go home, light some candies, and take a bath. As they all continue to converse, a framed picture of Chang with the Old Timey Photo Club is shown.

5X7 New BFF's
New BFF's.

End tag[]

Duncan asks Dean Pelton about a Tex-Mex place he once suggested for lunch. The Dean tells him it's called "Salsa Von Tacos" and assumes he is being invited to come. Pelton is embarrassed when his assumption is corrected, leading to an awkward exchange between them. The two have a few emotional outbursts and unexpectedly bond after sharing some personal secrets. After they hug it out, Duncan swears he won't go to the restaurant, which pleases Pelton.

Recurring themes[]


Running gags[]

  • Awww!: Britta, Annie, Shirley, and Chang coo when Duncan mentions wanting to go to a benefit for starving cleft palate children.

Pop culture references[]

  • IMDb: Jeff mentions the movie E.T. changed his perception of peanut butter filled candies.
  • Product placement:
  • Shout out:
    • Dane Cook and several of his romantic comedies are referenced by Duncan when he compares Jeff to the characters the actor/comedian portrays in those films.
    • Duncan refers to himself as the type of character Jason Biggs plays in those romantic comedies.
    • Britta mentions political activist, graffiti artist, and director known only as "Banksy" when describing her old days with anarchist groups.

Meta references[]

  • Parody:
    • Chang's experience with apparent ghosts and finally finding out he's a ghost is a reference to The Sixth Sense.
    • The close-up group photo at the conclusion of the episode parodies the ending of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
  • Against the wall:
    • Annie taking note of how little she and Shirley did in comparison to the rest of the Save Greendale Committee is a reference to the small amount of screen time they have in the episode. Annie also mentions that they've had enough focus lately to which Shirley grumbles in response "Speak for yourself." This is a reference to how much Annie's character was featured in the first half of Season Five in comparison to Shirley's character.
    • Chang's Old Timey Photo Club photo features various behind the scenes Community crew including writer Tim Saccardo and series creator Dan Harmon.
    • Britta says to Ian, "You and Jeff have actually known each other longer than anybody, huh? I always forget that. I guess 'cause you guys don't really act like friends," possibly a reference to how Ian was missing from the show for years and Jeff never mentioned him.
  • Background check: The chalk board in the last scene hints that Troy is currently in the Bermuda Triangle. The longitude coordinates -70° 23' 49.68 for that area is given as his last known location (no latitude is given). The chalkboard reads:
The Bermuda Triangle
GCC 506/507


Could a "live" "Troy & Abed in the morning" via satellite be on the horizon? Throw us a lifeline!

GCC 513


Critical reaction[]

  • Tom Surette "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality," which might be my least favorite Community episode title EVER, tried to land an emotional punch and took a swing at our sensitive spots, but missed badly and gouged out our eyes instead."
  • Alan Sepinwall, HitFix:"This isn't a flavor of "Community" I would want to be served every week, if only because the characters and the world are too funny to be buttoned down like this forever. But when the show decides to go to this more melancholy place, it does it very, very well. This was lovely."
  • Eric Goldman, IGN: "It didn't all work and felt a bit out of sync tonally, but I admire the show for not playing it safe." (8.0/10)
  • Todd VanDerWerff, A.V. Club: "My friend Alan Sepinwall has been comparing this episode to “Mixology Certification,” the long-hallowed episode from season two that was a kind of bittersweet beacon amid the first half of that season, when the show was probably at its creative high point. Yet I can’t help but think this comparison doesn’t do just a bit of a disservice to “Bondage,” which comes close in its finest moments to “Mixology’s” blend of big laughs and poignancy, but also seems to have a lot of other things on its mind." Score: A
  • Britt Hayes, ScreenCrush:"It’s not a bad episode — far from it. It just takes a heavier tone than previous weeks, and I do wonder if this episode was meant to air before the previous one, particularly due to Abed’s focus on Troy’s absence."
  • Brian Collins, Badass Digest: "Overall, I think this is an episode that you might not single out as one of the season's best (though of all the ones I've seen, it's definitely the best showcase for Banks/Hickey), but strengthens it as a whole."
  • Gabrielle Moss, TV Fanatic: "But Jonathan Banks's Hickey absolutely burned through his first performance as Abed's tough love father figure. Watching them go at it, I didn't think I was watching my favorite Community moment of the year - I was watching the best five minutes of network television that I've seen this season." Score: (4.8/5)
  • Nick Hogan, TV Overmind: "This episode was a lot of fun. Revisiting the Jeff/Britta relationship, Jeff and Duncan’s friendship, and creating the Abed/Hickey dynamic all worked really well to put beloved characters in interesting situations."
  • Untempered Television: "To call “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” an off-week is a bit of a misnomer as it was an incredibly funny half-hour of television and each story worked on a number of levels; even Chang’s random ghost adventure was oddly humorous at times. The problem is that none of these stories quite landed for me, and the resolution for the Abed/Hickey match-up just rang false."
  • PolarBears, Polar Bears Watch TV: "There are certain moments that don’t quite resonate, but the episode shows us that Community can still bring the drama. Now, let’s see something different next week." Score: B+
  • Joe Matar, Den of Geek: "But all in all, this episode didn’t make me laugh all that much. However, I’m all right with Community not being that funny if it’s doing something else right." Score: 4/5
  • Ben Umstead, Twitch: "In all of this mutability it recognizes too how people do take time to really make shifts, and often fall back on old patterns or stories if they don't make new intentions clearly. Tonight's episode allowed for some characters to take some small, careful but fully empowered steps forward, while acknowledging the fact that those old patterns are apart of the substance too."
  • Nick O'Malley, "As short as this 13-episode season is, "Community" is doing a great job of taking its time and re-establishing all of the relationships on the show. Now, we just need the show to finally get Shirley some screen time (something the show acknowledged in the closing minutes)."
  • Jennifer Marie, Just About Write: "I think that if there is anything to take from “Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality” it would be this: you don’t HAVE to be selfish. You don’t have to be manipulative. Heck, you don’t even have to be trapped or confined or controlled by anyone. What Britta said in this episode is true – you need to focus on who you are and who you REALLY are as a person. Act like the person you want to become and eventually that’s who you will be."
  • Sarah Shachat, ScreenCrave: "“Beta Male Sexuality” is not a high-stakes or high concept episode, yet it develops characters, making us care that extra bit more for them all, and it’s funny in the moment." Score: 8/10
  • Logan J. Fowler, PopBreak: "I have to admit, this episode of Community was a weak return after it was on break due to the Olympics. I didn’t really care for the Chang or Britta story, and Jeff having feelings for Britta again seemed almost like the writers were scooping water from a well that had no liquid left." Score: 6/10
  • Mark Harrison, Den of Geek: "It might not be the kind of Community you want every single week, but it's definitely the kind of episode that no sitcom but Community could do as well as this, with stunning performances from the stalwart cast, some terrific writing, and that epic takedown of Dane Cook's short and terrible film career."
  • Matt Carter, "But, the funny thing with this show is that it can recover from a slow start, and build to something that is both funny and memorable. We’re not going to say that that “Bondage and Beat Male Sexuality” was the greatest thing that the show has ever done, but there were a number of nice little heartfelt moments."


"Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality" was watched by 2.56 million American viewers. It revived an 18-49 rating/share of 1.0/3. hitting season low ratings. The show ranked third in its timeslot for the night behind CBS "The Big Bang Theory" and FOX's "American Idol" placing twelfth overall for the night.


5X7 Promo pic13


  • Dan Harmon appears in the "Old Timey Photo Club" picture shown along with Community staff including Dan Guterman and Spencer Crittenden.

S05E07-Old Timey Photo Club4
Old Timey Photo Club picture with Dan Harmon.


Isn't she great? She's everything I love about America. Bold, opinionated, just past her peak and has started to realize that she has to settle for less. And the moment she needs a shoulder to cry on [pulls out handkerchief] BAM!Duncan describing Britta
You're a bad person and a bad cartoonist!Abed
You go ahead, hurt my feelings!Buzz Hickey
Oh, you have feelings?! Have you considered putting them into your work? Your cartoons are monuments to joylessness; nervously assembled jokes based on nothing from your life or anyone's life! You're furious at me for being creative because you want to be able to create. You have all this rage and shame and loneliness which I don't even know how to feel much less understand and you decide to put what on paper? A duck? Jim the duck?! You think I'm crazy?! You think there's something wrong with me?! Jim the duck!Abed
I just don't like being left behind!Dean Pelton
Season Five Episodes

1. "Repilot"
2. "Introduction to Teaching"
3. "Basic Intergluteal Numismatics"
4. "Cooperative Polygraphy"
5. "Geothermal Escapism"
6. "Analysis of Cork-Based Networking"
7. "Bondage and Beta Male Sexuality"

8. "App Development and Condiments"
9. "VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing"
10. "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
11. "G.I. Jeff"
12. "Basic Story"
13. "Basic Sandwich"

Community The Complete Fifth Season

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six