|Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
- That just happened: Troy and Abed having moved in together as of Biology 101, and realize as roommates, best friends and lab partners, they spend too much time together.
- Previously: When asking for new lab partners the group references a few plotlines from previous episodes including "the space bus", "paintball", and "second paintball."
- Discontinuity: Pierce claims to have had sex with Eartha Kitt, a reference to one of the recurring plot points from Remedial Chaos Theory, an episode which was produced before Competitive Ecology but aired one week later.
- Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: During his numerous narrative voice-overs Chang repeatedly questions his own sanity, foreshadowing his growing break with reality throughout the season.
|Recurring or debuting characters in this episode:
- Returning faculty: Professor Kane returns this episode as the group's Biology Teacher.
- Returning students: Vicki and Magnitude are lab partners presenting their terrarium project together.
- First appearance: Todd makes his first appearance as the kind former soldier taking Biology with the group. The janitor known as Crazy Schmidt makes his debut as well.
|List of Running gags
|Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
- Annie's Boobs: Jeff describes Annie as "a good grade in a tight sweater."
- Awww!: The group responds to Shirley's baby pictures.
- Biggest laugh of the night!: Annie faints and falls off her chair with a loud thud when she fails the first major lab assignment.
- Gasp: Annie gasps when Professor Kane calls them "the mean clique."
- Man crush: Dean Pelton mistakes Jeff's simple question, "What are you doing?" for a come-on, stating his availability after lunch.
- OK we get it, you're young!: Annie asks who Nick Nolte is.
- WWBJD: Shirley gets pedantic while commenting on science versus religion. Everyone groans.
|List of Pop culture references
|References to popular culture in this episode:
- IMDb: Professor Kane mentions Harry Potter and Star Wars.
- Product placement:
- Professor Kane wants to know what happened with Legos.
- Jeff isn't a fan of Ben Sherman's winter collection, unlike three of his twitter followers.
- Shout out:
- Troy mentions Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy.
- Eartha Kitt. Yes, Pierce, we heard you. An airplane bathroom.
- Though not mentioned out loud, Chang hangs a picture of Larry Bird while trying to unravel the mystery of the Arizona Matchbook Company.
- Chang wonders what would happen if Jack Nicholson was a gynecologist.
- TV Guide: Troy breaks up with his lab partner, claiming he wants to catch up on Breaking Bad.
- Use your allusion:
- Chang's detective fantasy is an homage of film noir and detective films.
- In the DVD commentary, episode writer Maggie Bandur explains that the fire in the cafeteria was modeled after the Reichstag fire which Adolf Hitler used to consolidate power in Nazi Germany. In the aftermath of the Greendale fire, Chang is named head of security after Sgt. Nunez quits.
|List of Meta references
|Meta references in this episode:
- Everyone's a critic: Jeff states that Abed is a computer. Abed agrees. Many viewers and critics find Abed's character unrelatable.
- Up against the wall:
- The entire class groans when Professor Kane assigns a diorama for Biology homework. Greendale students were assigned 20 dioramas for Anthropology 101 alone.
- When assigned lab partners for the semester, everyone in the study group is initially teamed up with somebody outside the group leading to many awkward stares. Troy quietly asks, "Who are these people?" This is a nod to the fact that everything that happens at Greendale revolves around the study group members.
- The group requests to be lab partnered up amongst themselves and Britta explains, "It's kind of a thing, we've been through a lot," laying out the premise of the show. Kane responds that he has "so many conversations that make no sense."
- Troy and Abed suddenly notice how much time they spend together.
- Abed assigns lab partners according to optimal audience appeal. The rest of the group then discusses their relative popularity.
- Annie wonders who Jeff is always texting since everyone he knows is already there. It would be only until season four that Jeff confesses that he pretends to be texting while he is, in fact, just staring at his phone to avoid getting close with others.
- Jeff interrupts a group argument and Troy immediately assumes that Jeff will heal the group with another Winger Speech.
- Todd scolds the group with a diatribe about the dysfunctional nature of the study group.
- In the Community The Complete Third Season DVD commentaries, Gillian Jacobs points out that she is wearing a large band-aid on her left forearm for this episode. This was due to a malfunctioning squib that burned her arm on the indie film Let Go.
- “I've been walking my beat a long time, sir. A long time. I've kept my head down, paid my dues and, well, I think I'm ready to make detective.”— Chang
- “You've only been here a month, you really haven't done much of anything and there's no such thing as security-guard detective.”— Sgt. Nunez
- “If loving worms is stupid I don't wanna be smart.”— Britta
- “It is, and you can't be!”— Annie
- “What is wrong with you people?! Huh?! I thought you were supposed to be friends! I thought you were supposed to love each other! Your love is weird! And toxic! And it destroys everything it touches!”— Todd
- “I think you knee-d it.”— Chang
- “Ha, ha. Gotcha. This was also a test and you all penised.”— Britta