Director: Richard Ayoade — Writer: Sona Panos — Aired: March 24, 2011 —Season: Two — Number: Nineteen Summary: Jeff and the group arrange a Pulp Fiction birthday party for Abed, but he has his own plans.
Abed was being weird. And by that I mean he wasn't being weird.
It's Abed's birthday and Jeff arrives at an upscale restaurant chosen by Abed for a one-on-one dinner to celebrate. Jeff is shocked when he is greeted by Abed, whose personality seems to have changed completely. He hugs Jeff, makes eye contact, and abstains from his usual pop culture references. Jeff suggests they go to a burger cafe instead but Abed refuses. Unbeknownst to Abed, Jeff has an elaborate Pulp Fiction themed surprise birthday party planned at the cafe. He makes a call to Britta to let her know he is running late. She informs the rest of the study group, as well as Chang, who await Abed's arrival dressed as characters from the film.
The Dean could have played Zed...
As the study group waits for Abed and Jeff to arrive, Troy finds himself jealous of the efforts Jeff has gone through for his best friend's birthday. Chang notices a briefcase like the one from Pulp Fiction and wonders what's inside. Britta's stern warning from Jeff that only Abed is allowed to open it intrigues Troy, who worries that Jeff is a better friend. Back at the restaurant, Jeff tries his best to get Abed to leave. Abed ignores his efforts and the Pulp Fiction wallet Jeff gives him. Instead, he relates to Jeff what he did during his spring break. Through a Cougar Town fan club Abed created on Facebook, the show's producers invited him to visit the set as thanks for his efforts to promote the show. He not only got to meet all the cast and crew but also was given a brief walk on part for a scene they were shooting.
Jeff's not sure what to make of the "New" Abed.
Abed explains to Jeff that his brief cameo had a profound effect on him. He found it difficult to reconcile the paradox of being a viewer of the show but then suddenly a character in it. He invented a persona for himself named "Chad" in order to feel like a man from Cougar Town instead of a fan of the show. When the take ended he wasn't ready to be Abed again, envious of the rich and detailed life he created as backstory for Chad. The time he spent pretending to be someone else made him realize how wasteful his endless hours of watching television and movies had been. As the crew moved on from the scene, Abed panicked, knowing that Chad was now dead, and pooped his pants. The staff helped him clean up and he simply went home.
If he starts talking about a trip to Europe, I'm leaving.
Back at the cafe, Troy's fixation on the mysterious briefcase is exacerbated by Chang, who supposes that Jeff is Abed's new best friend. The diner's manager, Brian, has arrived and tells Britta that the restaurant has already been closed longer than planned an he's losing money. Britta begs for more time but Brian is getting impatient. After finishing his meal, Abed says he resolved to start a new life free of pop culture and full of substance. He asks that Jeff help him with this by having his first real conversation. Jeff objects to the concept of a “real conversation”. Humans, he continues, use conversation to hide the things they don't want to admit; conversation is essentially humans lying to each other and themselves. Jeff's phone interrupts him but he drops it in his water glass before going on. He tries to explain there is no normal, everybody has parts of them that are messed up and Abed shouldn't try to be like anybody else. He then shares two very personal stories about the lies people accept to avoid dealing with their pain.
Britta's tips are this big.
Chang continues riling Troy up about Abed's date with Jeff until he snaps and opens the briefcase. Inside, he finds a certificate of authenticity that identifies it as the actual briefcase used in Pulp Fiction. Troy quickly closes the case as Britta scolds them for endangering the success of the party. They turn to see that the lightbulb inside the briefcase ignited the certificate and the briefcase is engulfed in flames. Chang accuses Troy of being a bad friend which angers Troy so much that he attacks Chang as the others try to break them apart. Jeff finishes his anecdote with a sigh of relief, glad to be able to talk openly with someone.
Troy Britta'd Jeff's gift.
Just then, Pierce, dressed as the gimp from Pulp Fiction, bursts in and berates Jeff for keeping the rest of the group waiting so long. Abed puts the clues together and figures out the surprise party Jeff had planned. He calls for the check and tries to quickly wrap up the dinner. This confuses the waiter , who mentions something about “My Dinner With Andre.” Jeff picks up on the exchange and asks Abed what the waiter was talking about. Abed reveals that the whole dinner has been an elaborate reference to a film about two friends having a dinner conversation. Britta strides up to the table, followed by the rest of the group in their costumes, and yells at Jeff for getting her fired. Abed is dazzled by the characters in front of him but Jeff storms out in anger.
Jeff returns to the diner to retrieve the briefcase and has to settle with Brian for the damages caused by the group. Abed follows him and thanks him for the gifts. Jeff explains that he's angry with Abed because he was only trying to make him happy when, the whole time, Abed was just doing another movie reference. Abed replies that it was more than just a reference, it was a chance to connect with Jeff, who he hasn't spent much time with lately. Abed thinks aloud that he's not changing and growing like the other group members and is getting left behind. Jeff advises that emotional breakthroughs are overrated. Abed confirms that they are still friends before asking Jeff to pay the hefty bill they left behind after their dinner was cut short. Jeff returns to the fancy restaurant to find the surprise Pulp Fiction party waiting for him, courtesy of Abed.
Identity crisis: Abed apparently is undergoing one of these by appearing "normal" to Jeff and wanting to discard his pop-culture obsessed persona. He later reveals it was all just an act. The act leads Jeff to reveal some personal information himself, as well as undergo a minor identity crisis also.
Catchphrase: Abed says his signature catchphrase "Cool, cool, cool" but adds two additional "cools" when he sees all his friends in their outfits.
Jeff admits that he called a phone sex line because he is insecure about why people like him.
Jeff tells Abed that he was forced to dress up as an Indian girl on Halloween one year.
I'm gonna get a drink:
Jeff asks the bartender at the restaurant for a Macallan neat.
Abed asks the bartender for a spritzer.
Troy has a sip of wine which he refers to as "No-no juice."
Middel Eastern Magic 8 Ball:
Annie correctly guesses that Abed says 'cool' five times.
Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
Come sail away!: Troy chokes up when he sees that Jeff bought Abed the actual briefcase from Pulp Fiction. During the end tag Troy cries after seeing the bill for his and Abed's lunch.
Gay, he's so gay: Pierce calls Jeff "pretty gay" for wasting the group's time with the surprise party.
I'm Batman!: Abed takes on the persona of the titular character in My Dinner With Andre.
My other half: Troy is jealous of the great birthday gifts Jeff has for Abed.
Nice outfit: Most of the Study Group and Chang dress up as various characters from "Pulp Fiction while Abed dresses as the character from "My Dinner with Andre":
Jeff is "Vincent Vega" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actor John Travolta.
Britta is "Mia Wallace" from the film "Pulp Fiction."
Shirley is "Jules Winnfield" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Annie is "Honey Bunny" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actress Amanda Plummer.
Troy is "Pumpkin" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actor Tim Roth.
Pierce is "The Gimp" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actor Stephen Hibbert.
Chang is "Butch Coolidge" from the film "Pulp Fiction." The character was originally played onscreen by actor Bruce Willis.
Abed is "Wally" from the film "My Dinner with Andre." The character was originally played onscreen by actor Wallace Shawn.
You're the worst!: Although not explicitly stated, it is heavily implied when it turns out Britta gets no tips as a waitress at the cafe. Annie and Shirley exhibit little surprise. Later Britta's boss accepts less money from Jeff for the damages to his restaurant just so he doesn't have to re-hire Britta.
Use your allusion: "Pulp Fiction" director Quentin Tarantino also wrote and directed "Reservoir Dogs." At the beginning of the film the characters carry on a lengthy dialogue about tipping waitresses. This may have influenced the exchange between Britta and her boss about her lack of tips.
Jeff is a pawn in Abed's homage to "My Dinner with Andre" which starts at the beginning of the episode and lasts until Pierce shows up at the restaurant wearing his gimp suit.
Jeff throws Abed a "Pulp Fiction" birthday party at a diner with the rest of the study group dressed up as characters from the film. He also gives Abed a replica of the trademark wallet and the infamous briefcase.
In the Community The Complete Second Season DVD commentaries, Danny Pudi mentions that due to the lateness of the script delivery and the length of many of Abed's monologues, teleprompters were used for the first time on set. Also, the only scenes where Chevy Chase is in the gimp costume are those where his face is seen.
“His obsession with pop culture always alienated him. He'd quote movies, pretend his life was a TV show, he'd watch Cougar Town... it was as if he didn't want people to like him.”— Jeff, narrating
“Can you imagine the expression on Abed's face when he walks in?”— Annie
“Of course I can imagine it. It's always the same.”— Pierce
“Yeah, but he's gonna say 'cool' at least five times.”— Annie
“Pulp Fiction? Yeah, I saw it on an airplane. It's cute. It's a thirty minute film about a group of friends who like cheeseburgers, dancing, and the Bible.”— Shirley
“How is it even possible to lie when you are alone?”— Abed
“You can call a phone sex line. That's lying to yourself.”— Jeff
“No, that's just being honest with a stranger about being lonely.”— Abed
“What if you're dishonest about why you're lonely? What if you're a good-looking guy who calls a phone sex line and tells them he weighs 400 pounds, just so he can hear a woman say she's attracted to him anyway?”— Jeff
“Well, I don't believe that happens.”— Abed
“Wrong. That's me! I did that last week.”— Jeff
“But why would you pay a woman on the phone to think you're fat?”— Abed
“Because I'm scared that if I were overweight that no one would like me. God, that feels good to admit!”— Jeff
“And I said: "No, that's a girl's costume." And my mom said: "It's fine. Indian boys have long hair and braids too." There was only 45 minutes left to trick-or-treat, so what could I do? I put the damn thing on, and I went door-to-door. And everyone was going: "Oh, what a pretty little girl!" And by the third house, I stopped correcting them. I mean, why draw attention to it? And honestly, once the shame and the fear wore off, I was just glad they thought I was pretty.”— Jeff
“You said the meal was at market price. What market are you shopping at?!”— Troy