Community Wiki
Community Wiki


As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be in a Mafia movie.
Jeff tries to refocus the group on finishing their study session after being sidetracked by discussions of Troy failing his class and Shirley's new crush. He wants to finish studying early, so that he can get to the cafeteria on time before the Chicken Fingers sell out. Britta, who is a vegetarian, is amazed at how much the study group loves the food. She says that they wouldn't eat animals if they saw how badly they were treated. As Britta continues, the group notices other students outside moving quickly towards the cafeteria. Abed makes a break for it after Britta mentions her dying cat, and the others follow suit except for Shirley. Britta sees her desire to leave, however, and tells her to go.

CAP Chicken run!
The study group arrives at the cafeteria only to find that the chicken fingers have sold out already. Jeff gets angry when he sees Star-Burns, who is working as a frycook, delivering a plate of Chicken Fingers reserved for some students. Decrying Star-Burns' abuse of his position, Jeff states that the study group should do something about it. His plan is to get Star-Burns fired and replace him with Abed who has experience as a cook in his father's falafel restaurant. The group is at first resistant to the idea, but a gesture from Jeff along with a Winger speech silences their objections and convinces them otherwise. Abed looks forward to the plan as he envisions it as a Mafia-style movie.

CAP The source of starburns popularity
The source of Star-Burns' popularity is revealed: chicken fingers.
The study group initiates the scheme starting with Britta, whose job it is to get close to Star-Burns. Annie then takes an incriminating photo of him handing chicken fingers to Britta which Jeff publishes in The Gazette Journal Mirror. The resulting scandal gets Star-Burns fired and has the cafeteria manager looking for a replacement. Shirley tears down any flyers announcing the open position. Troy then interviewed for the job making a bad impression so that Abed would look like the better candidate. Pierce provided false references which cemented his employment. Abed is then hired, and later in the cafeteria, the study group enjoys the reward for all their efforts by sharing a plate of chicken fingers.

CAP Scandal
Scandal! Woodward and Bernstein would be proud.
However, the group is bothered when they see that Abed had set aside some chicken fingers for Señor Chang. Abed explains that he made a deal with him for a 10% bump in their grades on all of their next tests. Jeff is uncomfortable with how Abed took the lead in this, but the rest of the study group applauds his initiative. A noticeable shift in leadership of the group occurs. Under Abed's guidance, he and the group eventually create an elaborate chicken fingers distribution network set up to curry favors from the willing student body. Jeff's arrival at the study room later shows the group enjoying the spoils of Abed's machinations.

CAP The study group enjoys the perks of being a crime family
The study group enjoys the perks of being in a crime family.
Shirley is canoodling with her crush, Sexy Dreadlocks, Britta has a personal assistant, Troy has a pet monkey, Annie has an expensive new backpack, and Pierce has an entourage. Jeff sends all the distractions away which causes the group to start arguing amongst themselves. Jeff attempts to quiet the group but finds that his gesture doesn't work anymore. He leaves to talk to Abed at his dorm room and discovers a long line of students waiting to see him as well. After being allowed an audience with Abed, Jeff tells him this has gone too far. Abed disagrees as the chicken fingers have provided him a way of understanding people, and even better, they can understand him as well.

1X21 The Family Tree
Abed has a plan.
Abed posits that the real reason Jeff wants to bring this to an end is because he is no longer in control. Jeff dismisses the notion but proves it essentially correct when he replied his belief that Abed had created the entire operation just to usurp Jeff's authority. He leaves and gathers the rest of the study group for a meeting in the storage room. He implores them to stop working for Abed and bring his organization to an end. They refuse to listen as they are too content with the perks Abed provides them. When Abed arrives to the cheers of the group, Jeff threatens to leave them all for good. No one seems to care so he leaves but as he goes he glances back and sees the group shamelessly fawning over Abed.

CAP Standing on the outside looking in
Jeff is standing on the outside looking in.
The next day, Jeff is in the cafeteria and sees the study group at a table with Abed, enjoying their new status. He is then approached by Star-Burns with a proposal. He hands Jeff a key to the cafeteria's kitchen and explains that the deep fat fryer has a valve that isn't manufactured anymore. Remove it, and Abed's power is gone. Jeff reluctantly accepts the key. Meanwhile, Abed notices the study group becoming pettier with their demands and losing respect for him. He decides to send them all a message. He shreds Annie's new backpack, releases Troy's monkey, disables Pierce's new big screen TV, puts gum in Britta's hair, and steals Shirley's new crush away from her.

CAP The Chicken Finger Mob
The Greendale Chicken Finger Association.
The study group frantically tracks down Jeff and tells him what Abed did. Jeff takes the time to gloat that he was right which causes the group to start arguing. Jeff manages to quiet them with his signature gesture. Surprised that it works again, he promises that he will take care of Abed. Later that night, Jeff sneaks into the cafeteria using Star-Burns' key. He is surprised to find Abed there, still working the deep fat fryer. When he asks what he is doing, Abed responds that he's trying to create a new food item to interest everyone since they all seem to be tired of chicken now. Jeff realizes that Abed hadn't been using the food to live out a mafia fantasy; rather, he was using it simply to get closer to people.

CAP It was either this or a Knight Rider homage
It was either this or a Knight Rider homage.
Abed believes that if he can somehow connect with people like Jeff does, he can make them happy. This makes Jeff confess that he had come to sabotage the deep fat fryer. He also admits that Abed's earlier assessment of him was correct, for he was indeed jealous of him being in charge. Jeff asks that Abed make a deal with him: he'll help Abed connect with people if Abed makes sure he treats them right. Eventually, everything returns to normal within the group while a new chicken finger syndicate led by Garrett and Leonard takes over. Abed finishes relaying these events to Dean Pelton who is annoyed by him having avoided his original question: Who stole a box of hair nets from the kitchen?

CAP You know what they'll never make a rplacement for
Chicken finger mobs can be replaced, but friendship can't.

End tag[]

Troy and Abed perform the classic mime escalator illusion for the rest of the study group. The group leaves before they can see them perform the elevator clothing exchange bit. Community.troy_and_abed..elevator

Greendale Finger Association[]

Abed set up an elaborate distribution network for the chicken fingers. Troy was the bagman charged with receiving the chicken fingers from Abed and delivering them to Shirley and Britta. They packaged the food, preparing it for Annie who acted as the legman and distributed the food to the students. Pierce, using his experience as the C.E.O. of Hawthorne Wipes, kept the operation from being exposed by bribing the authorities, namely Dean Pelton. While Jeff sold the Chicken Fingers. All this was done to get favors from the other students which resulted in many spoils the study group enjoyed. Abed created a chart listing the group's contributions as well as their desires which he sought to fulfill. The following is a list of those goals along with some personal observations from Abed about each of the study group members:

Abed's Chicken Finger maffia
Abed's distribution network.

Chicken Finger Mafia member Likes Needs



  • Butt stuff
  • Football
  • Being called T-Bone.
  • Sports
  • Admiration
  • Monkey
  • Video games
  • Internet friends
  • Bananas for monkey


Function: Talking

  • Clothes
  • Pool
  • Expensive things
  • Fast cars
  • Pretty girls
  • Control
  • Preferred parking
  • Admiration
  • Law degree


Function: Distribution

  • Organization
  • Structure
  • Pills
  • School
  • Extra credit
  • Flowers
  • Romance
  • Backpack
  • Notebook
  • Cute pencils
  • Organizers


Function: Money man

  • Admiration
  • Shirley
  • Gadgets
  • To be "Streets ahead"
  • Big TV
  • ...with remote
  • Followers
  • Admiration
  • "Streets ahead"
  • "Streets behind"
  • A guy named Travis
  • Turban guy


Function: Control

  • Birds
  • Time
  • Movie classics
  • Banjo music
  • Understanding
  • Lip balm
  • Number 2 pencils


Function: Sorting

  • Brownies
  • Male booty
  • Baking
  • Family
  • [blank]
  • Jesus
  • Baby Jesus
  • Sexy dreadlocks
  • More time
  • Babysitter


Function: Sorting

  • Feminism
  • Thinking she is helping
  • Bums
  • Activism
  • Lost causes
  • Cats
  • Hairdresser
  • Boots
  • Leather jackets
  • Motorcycle
  • New cats
After his network is established, Abed and the rest of the study group, excluding Jeff, start flaunting their influence. On top of the other boons Abed rewards his crew with, he also has blazers created for each member emblazoned with a Chicken Fingers logo per Annie's request.

Greendale Finger Associates
The Chicken Finger Association.

Greendale Finger Association gallery[]

Recurring themes[]


Continuity lists
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
  • Googly eyes: Shirley has a crush on a fellow student referred to as "Sexy Dreadlocks".
  • Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball:
    • Britta mentions her cat is sick. In the following episode "The Art of Discourse", we learn that it died, and she's looking to replace it.
    • Abed calls Jeff out for his alarming behavior and tells him there are specialists he can go to for that, and Jeff agrees he might need to do that. In Season Three, Jeff starts to see a therapist.
  • Previously:
    • Jeff and Annie use the school newspaper The Gazette Journal Mirror from Investigative Journalism to publish a story about Star-Burns.
    • Troy says "If God were edible... Not that I'm Catholic, but if it was cool to eat God, he'd be a chicken finger." He was previously established to be a Jehovah's Witness in "Comparative Religion"; Jehovah's Witnesses eat bread and wine in a ceremony called "the Lord's Evening Meal" or the "Memorial of Christ's Death," but unlike most other Christian denominations, do not believe that the bread and wine become the body of Christ.
    • Abed calls Troy "T-Bone," a football nickname he used in "Football, Feminism and You."
  • Coined and minted:
    • "Streets ahead": To be ahead of the curve, quick on the uptake.
    • "Streets behind": To be behind the curve, slow on the uptake.
Recurring or debuting characters in this episode:
Recurring or debuting places in this episode:
Recurring or debuting items in this episode:
  • Sweet spread: The most popular food item on the cafeteria's menu is Chicken Fingers.
  • School supplies: A copy of the campus newspaper The Gazette Journal Mirror makes an appearance.
  • School uniform: Abed's Chicken finger mafia members wore navy blazers with the group's food item featured on a patch over the breast pocket.

Running gags[]

List of Running gags
Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
  • A nice gesture: Jeff makes a hand gesture that immediately silences the group.
  • Annie's Boobs: The monkey "Annie's boobs" debuts in this episode. The real Annie doesn't care for the name which Troy points out was voted on by the monkey's Twitter followers.
  • Nice outfit: Troy wears a pharaoh outfit for an interview.

Pop culture references[]

List of Pop culture references
References to popular culture in this episode:
  • IMDb:
    • Abed mentions the Predator franchise when talking about Shirley's crush.
    • Jeff and Abed recreate the iconic scene from Sixteen Candles.
    • Jeff mentions the robot "Johnny Five" and the artificial intelligence "HAL" when describing Abed's transformation from loveable to evil. Pierce confuses HAL with Hal Holbrook.
  • Name that tune:
  • Shout out: Shirley mentions Tyler Perry and his movies.
  • TV Guide:
  • Use your allusion: When Star-Burns is fired from his frycook position, the paper published the story under the headline "Star-gate" which is a reference to the sci-fi movie and TV series of the same name. Later, when Troy applies for the same job, he turns up at the interview dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh in a manner similar to an alien race called the Goa'uld in Stargate. The paper has a line below the headline that references Watergate.

Meta references[]

List of Meta references
Meta references in this episode:
  • Homage: The episode is an homage to various Mafia movies parodying and imitating the cinematography, style, and narration often associated with those types of film. Obvious influences include "Goodfellas", "American Gangster" and "Mean Streets". A notable reference was the reenactment of the final scene in "The Godfather" when Jeff leaves the study group, and Troy shuts the storage room door behind him.


Following the original broadcast of "Contemporary American Poultry", actress Gillian Jacobs tweeted a photo of her character Britta's section of Abed's Chicken Finger Mafia board.

Britta likes function wants
The unobscured Britta panel


Abed, your social skills aren't exactly streets ahead. Know what I mean?Pierce
I don't.Abed
You're not alone in this case. Pierce, stop trying to coin the term 'streets ahead'.Jeff
Trying? Coined and minted. Been there, coined that.Pierce
Does it just mean 'cool' or is it supposed to be like 'miles ahead'?Annie
If you have to ask, you're streets behind.Pierce
To victory. It feels unfamiliar but it tastes like chicken.Jeff, toasting to success
Troy, why do you have a monkey?Jeff
Uh, it's an animal that looks like a dude. Why don't I have ten of them?Troy
This is insane!Jeff
More insane than programming them to replace auto workers?Britta
Season One Episodes

1. "Pilot"
2. "Spanish 101"
3. "Introduction to Film"
4. "Social Psychology"
5. "Advanced Criminal Law"
6. "Football, Feminism and You"
7. "Introduction to Statistics"
8. "Home Economics"
9. "Debate 109"
10. "Environmental Science"
11. "The Politics of Human Sexuality"
12. "Comparative Religion"
13. "Investigative Journalism"

14. "Interpretive Dance"
15. "Romantic Expressionism"
16. "Communication Studies"
17. "Physical Education"
18. "Basic Genealogy"
19. "Beginner Pottery"
20. "The Science of Illusion"
21. "Contemporary American Poultry"
22. "The Art of Discourse"
23. "Modern Warfare"
24. "English as a Second Language"
25. "Pascal's Triangle Revisited"


Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six