|After another study session is over, the study group discuss their plans for Thanksgiving. Shirley invites everyone to her house for dinner with her in laws and Annie, Pierce, Troy and Abed are eager to attend. Jeff says he already has plans just as Dean Pelton arrives with his own invitation for the group to a "Thanks Living Day potluck dinner" at school. Pelton then lets slip some information he obtained after having read Jeff's e-mails. He reveals to the study group that Jeff plans on having Thanksgiving dinner with his father, William Winger and his half-brother Willy junior. Everyone is shocked while Britta is ecstatic believing their conversation on Halloween was responsible for this. When she offers her services as a therapist to assist him in the reunion, Jeff adamantly refuses.
|On Thanksgiving Day, Jeff arrives at his father's place, but cannot bring himself to knock on the door and instead jumps back into his Lexus and drives away. Over at Shirley's house, Troy, Annie, Abed and Pierce show up for the dinner. They briefly meet Shirley's father-in-law and Abed gives her a seven layer bean dip he got two years ago from Señor Kevin's. Meanwhile, Jeff calls Britta while driving and lies about having gotten closure with his father. He then fesses up about running away only to discover that she is there at William's place. Back at Shirley's house, the rest of the study group is having a hard time dealing with all of Shirley's in-laws. They gather in the garage to discuss their options and Abed suggests they need to do a prison break.
|Meanwhile, Jeff returns to William's house greeted by Britta. She apologizes for meddling in his affairs but says she sincerely wants to help him through this. Jeff again walks to the entrance of the house but this time knocks. The door opens and he finally comes face to face with his father William. The two quickly determine ground rules for the reunion not wanting this to turn into an overly emotional affair. Jeff then meets his half-brother Willy Junior who is intimidated by his presence and leaves the room upset. Britta offers to go see to him so that Jeff and William can spend time together. Back at Shirley's house, the other study group members are trying to figure out a way to escape. Annie tries to fake being sick due to being on her period but her ruse is foiled when Shirley takes her to see a relative who is a doctor.
|At William Winger's home, Britta and Willy Jr. are setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner while William and Jeff talk. Willy becomes upset by their bonding and storms off. At the same time, the other study group members are holed up in the garage taking turns to go interact with Shirley's relatives. Although they manage to entertain themselves the captivity starts to get to them and Pierce attempts to fake an injury so he can go. Instead, he ends up entertaining everyone and elects to stay. In desperation, Troy proposes to Annie and Abed that they eat the Señor Kevin's bean dip to get legitimately sick so they can leave. Meanwhile, William suggests to Jeff that abandoning him was actually a good thing considering how well-adjusted he turned out. Jeff is angered by his comment and leaves.
|Elsewhere, Troy, Annie and Abed are about to eat the bean dip when they are stopped by Shirley. She earns their sympathy after revealing that she invited them as a buffer since she is a target of her in-laws ridicule. Meanwhile, Jeff is driving away in his Lexus and is shocked when Willy Jr. pops out from the backseat. He begs Jeff to teach him how to be more uncaring like he is. Jeff tells him he shouldn't pretend not to not care because it just lets their father off the hook for being a terrible parent. He then realizes that's what he is doing himself and resolves to confront his father again. Meanwhile, Troy, Annie and Abed come up with a plan to help Shirley sneak out of the house. She appreciates the thought but tells them that despite how they treat her they are still her family. She gives them an out to leave but they all decide to stay and support her.
|At the Winger residence, Jeff returns with Willy Jr. and confronts William. He finally unloads all his anger and bitterness he has towards his father explaining how his absence negatively affected him all these years. Having finally gotten closure, he and Brita leave and once outside in his Lexus he sincerely thanks her for the help. Willy Jr. then shows up and thanks Jeff too, entering through the car window and embracing him in a hug. Sometime later at school, the study group returns to the study room and find that Jeff has a surprise for them. Having heard their holiday sucked too, he set up a special Thanksgiving dinner for them inside. Dean Pelton is invited as well and everyone digs in enjoying the dinner and celebrating the family they've all chosen to be a part of.
Shirley is doing laundry in her garage and humming the song "Daybreak" when she notices a slight breeze coming from behind the "Shirley's Sandwiches" poster. She looks behind it and discovers a hole in the wall that Abed made to escape from her Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of being angry she states she'll have to remember that the escape route is there when Thanksgiving rolls around next year.
- In Season Three Jeff is in therapy dealing with daddy issues and searches for his father in "Introduction to Finality".
- Dean Pelton had previously read Jeff's e-mails in the Season Three episode "Studies in Modern Movement".
- Andre Bennett's stereo business was first mentioned in the Season Three episode "Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts".
- Jeff reveals a scar right below his abs demonstrating to his father how he hurt himself just to get people to care about him. The scar seems to be located in the same area Jeff suffered a wound in the Season One episode "Modern Warfare".
- Climax: This episode is the end of Jeff's story arc with his father that has been hinted at since Season One.
- That just happened: In "Paranormal Parentage" it's revealed Jeff located his dad and Britta tries to convince him to get closure with his father.
- First appearance: Jeff's often mentioned father William Winger is finally introduced in this episode as is his half-brother Willy Jr.
- History lesson:
- Jeff fills in his father about his past as a fake lawyer while William tries to regale him with a tale about how he impersonated Ralph Lauren before he is interrupted by Willy. He then tells Jeff how his half-brother's mom died twenty years ago and that despite his best efforts Willy Jr. hasn't matured.
- Pictures of the study group can be seen at Shirley's including one of them (minus Pierce) in Halloween costumes from "Introduction to Statistics" on her fridge in the garage.
- Shirley's response to Pierce agreeing to go to her Thanksgiving dinner echoes Annie's response to Shirley when she volunteered to do Senior pranks with her in "History 101." Both had actually intended for Jeff to join them and were disappointed when someone else volunteered. Dean Pelton then repeats the same response when inviting everyone to the "Thanks Living" pot luck.
- William Winger decides to fake a heart attack just like Pierce had done before in "A Fistful of Paintballs" and "Advanced Gay."
- A sweet ride: Jeff's Lexus returns in this episode.
- Discontinuity: Abed is shown having difficulty moving the light weight Troy had been curling. In "The Politics of Human Sexuality," Abed has been shown to be surprisingly athletic and Troy's superior in a number of different athletic contests, including arm wrestling.
- School song:
- School supplies:
- School uniform: Shirley's apron that she used in the Season Three episode "Remedial Chaos Theory" is seen again in this episode.
- This must be the place: Shirley's house, William Winger's house, and Group Study Room F are all seen in this episode.
- Winger speech:
- William attempts a classic Winger speech after saying he did good by abandoning Jeff. After Jeff tells him to stop, he cuts right to the chase.
- Jeff's later speech lets his father know how much his absence has really affected him.
- Annie's Boobs: Apparently Annie's aunt's boyfriend asks her if her breasts are real.
- Awww!: Annie and Shirley coo when they see that Jeff has set up a special Thanksgiving dinner for the study group in the study room.
- Britta'd it: Jeff greets Britta after learning she had forced herself into his reunion with his father by saying she really "you'd" this one.
- Deanotation: The Dean greets the study group in his cowboy outfit by saying "How-Dean!"
- Gasp: Everybody gasps when Dean Pelton reveals that Jeff will spend Thanksgiving with his father, and again later when Jeffrey mentions that he has a half-brother.
- Gay, he's so gay!: Pierce suggests that Jeff is looking to come out of the closet to his father.
- Like an evil genie: When Jeff refuses to attend Shirley's Thanksgiving party, Shirley says she "can't think of anyone who would enjoy having [him] more." Cue the Dean.
- Mancrush: Dean Pelton touches Jeff inappropriately again on the shoulder and on the stomach in this episode. Jeff also invited Dean along to the special Thanksgiving dinner.
- Nice outfit: The Dean's John Wayne costume looks exactly like Jeff's cowboy outfit from "Introduction to Statistics," "A Fistful of Paintballs," and "For A Few Paintballs More."
- Sexy voice: Shirley does it a number of time during the episode, such as when Pierce mentions carving the turkey, and later when she first finds the group hiding in the garage.
- That's you: Troy imitates Annie after she complains about normal Thanksgiving dinners with her family.
- Turning it into a snake: Britta celebrates her part in getting Jeff to resolve his daddy issues by playing a loud boom box and trying to rap.
- WWBJD?: Shirley asks that her friends browse the available literature she has about taking Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
- Whoops: Troy says too much when he says that they were about to eat the bad dip to escape Shirley's dinner.
- You're the worst!:
- Annie calls Shirley's Thanksgiving dinner the Jonestown of dinners.
- Jeff calls Britta the worst after realizing she was right about confronting his father.
- IMDb: Abed mentions "The Shawshank Redemption," "Borat," and "Die Hard."
- Product placement:
- Shout out:
- TV Guide:
- Use your allusion:
- Willy Jr. compares Jeff and himself to Schwarzenegger and DeVito. This is a reference to the 1988 movie "Twins" where Arnold Schwarzenegger was the genetically superior brother and Danny DeVito played his inferior twin.
- When Jeff is surprised by the appearance of his half brother in his Lexus he proclaims, "What in the cat's cradle is going on?" which is a reference to the 1974 song "Cat's in the Cradle" about a father who was too busy to spend time with his son.
- When she learns that Jeff plans to spend Thanksgiving with his father, Britta does a victory dance to a song later used as the intro theme from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine."
Community's ratings rose 25% from the previous week's episode,and it recieved a 1.5/5 according to tvbythenumbers . This placed it third in its timeslot (but fourth in total viewers) and making it by a pretty wide margin the most watched show on NBC that night. On the Twitter, #HappyThanksgiving trended in the US for at least ten minutes after the episode ended in the Central and Eastern time zones.
On September 17, 2012, Community writer Steve Basilone tweeted a picture of the front of the script. On September 18, 2012, online entertainment news sites Entertainment Weekly and TV Line both reported that this episode was to introduce Jeff's father to be portrayed by actor James Brolin. Joel McHale would later tweet a photo of himself and Brolin on set during filiming of the episode. At the same time, Brolin had also been cast as the father of Richard Castle on the ABC crime drama "Castle".
- “Yeah, well, look, I don't have to tell you, I'm not a natural caretaker, but with Willy, you know, I checked all the boxes and he still turned out softer than wet cheese.”— William Winger
|Season Four Episodes|
1. "History 101"
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