The Dean had his seventh epiphany today which has given me an epiphany of my own: The Dean is a genius...he has to be, if he isn't then I've given almost two weeks of my life to an idiot. That is unacceptable! Therefore the Dean IS a genius and I WILL DIE protecting his vision!
In the study room, Dean Pelton plays the outdated Greendale TV commercial for the study group. He explains that the school board has given him $2000 to remake the ad. Most of the study group are willing to help, including Jeff, but Abed declines. He chooses to film a documentary about the Dean's project guessing that it will be more interesting. Pierce walks out on the project in protest when Dean Pelton tells him the shoot will not be catered. When he finds out there won't be any trailers, he promises to rent his own. On Day One, Dean Pelton introduces the script with the help of his "script supervisor", Annie. Troy, Shirley, Britta, and Jeff rehearse their lines. When filming starts, Jeff portrays the Dean with the aid of a bald cap and intentionally overacts his part.
Go Greendale, go Greendale, GO!
It’s in an attempt to get cut from the commercial but Dean Pelton ends up loving the performance. In the parking lot, Pierce's rented trailer is delivered and he begins his one man strike. Meanwhile, Jeff schemes to screw up production by suggesting they film in front of the Luis Guzmán statue. He tells Guzmán's lawyer that his image is being used without permission. In the cafeteria, Dean Pelton struggles to direct Shirley to be more "sassy" without resorting to the cliche "sassy black woman." As Day One ends, the Dean prepares to wrap the production, having gotten all the footage he needs, when he receives a call from Luis Guzman. Jeff's plan has backfired and Luis offers to be a part of the commercial, though he can't make it to Greendale right away.
Pelton scraps the entire first day of shooting to rewrite the script so that it’s worthy of Luis Guzmán. Everyone is excited by the news but question the need to start from scratch. Abed notes that this is the first step towards the Dean's inevitable self-destruction. Day Two of shooting sees the production take over the whole campus. Classes are canceled and school resources, including the students, are conscripted to work on the commercial. Pelton’s new script contains inscrutable notes and he adopts a tortured artist persona. In his office, he lays out his plans to explore the topic of race. He repeatedly films Britta and Troy hugging until they get his vision right. The shoot drags on for four more days and becomes $9,642 over budget.
Greendale's most famous alumnus.
On the eighth day the school board checks in to see what’s taking so long. Dean Pelton refuses to compromise, risking his job if the board isn't satisfied with the commercial. By Day Nine is taking a toll on the crew including Annie who has invested so much time in Dean's vision that she refuses to face the fact that she wasted nearly two weeks of her life. Shirley is so fed up that she envies that Pierce has managed to avoid being involved. Meanwhile, Pierce commandeers a trailer delivered for Luis Guzmán and continues his holdout over the catering. On Day Twelve, Dean Pelton instructs Jeff to remove his bald cap but he refuses as the production has caused him to have an identity crisis.
Pelton makes headlines.
Pelton fires him causing Jeff to run off and Britta to yell at the Dean for taking things too far. When Annie sides with her Pelton tells everyone to leave if they don't want to be there and ends up alone. Later, Luis Guzmán arrives at Greendale and finds the campus deserted. He locates a disheveled Dean Pelton who shows Guzmán the incoherent commercial he has been editing. Later, Abed interviews Guzmán who explains that he had to back out of the project. Dean Pelton discovers them filming and is outraged Guzmán agreed to be interviewed but declined to do the commercial. Guzmán realizes that Pelton is embarrassed by Greendale and tells him he should appreciate the school and its people more.
You're worse than crazy.
Ashamed, Pelton strips naked, burns his university degree and films a confessional to apologize for his actions. Dean Pelton composes himself by the time the school board representatives arrive and presents what he thinks is his finished video. Instead what plays is a professional-looking commercial that satisfies the board members who leave. Abed admits to Pelton that he was responsible, he explains that since shooting the documentary was affecting the story he went ahead and fixed the commercial. In the study room, the group finishes watching Abed's documentary when Dean Pelton enters and asks for their forgiveness. Jeff and the others easily forgive him and a group hug ensues. Once it ends and everyone leaves Abed is concerned to see Troy and Britta still embracing each other.
Pierce's trailer has been taken to Hollywood where he exits angrily in front of the new occupant, actor Jeff Garlin. Pierce steals Garlin's granola bar and runs off. Garlin demands a new trailer and granola bar from an intern.
Discontinuity: A caption names one of the board members as "Eugene Johnston" but the character's name is later given as Richie Countee.
Googley eyes: Troy and Britta continue hugging after the group hug breaks, unaware that they are the only ones still doing so. Abed notices this and is worried.
Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball:
Troy and Britta’s interactions hint at their growing romantic attraction.
The two members of the Greendale Board of Directors comment that they want more of the crazy Asian guy, referencing Chang. This is foreshadowing of their infatuation with Chang later in season and their part in helping him ascend to control the school.
Come sail away!: Troy loses it after filming 12 hours of a hugging scene with Britta.
Deanotation: Uncharacteristically, Jeff utters numerous examples in his role as Dean:
Welcome to Deandale Community Colle-dean!
Just Dean it!
Lights. Camera. Dean!
The Gazette Journal Mirror is also shown to do this with the words "DEAN-SASTER" and "IN-DEAN-FINITELY" in its headlines.
Sexy voice: Shirley switches the tone on her voice after Pelton annoys her:
“The word he's looking for is sassy. He better pray he don't find it.”— Shirley
Shut up, Leonard!: After Jeff indicates he's always willing to go the extra mile to avoid work, Leonard interrupts saying "Like sex with women.” Jeff tells Leonard to shut up and that he smells like mentholyptus.
That's you: Jeff does an overly flamboyant impersonation of Dean Pelton hoping that it will cause him to be fired from the commercial.
A literal reference to IMDB : When on the phone to Luis Guzmán, Dean Pelton says, "I loved you in..." but is unable to finish the sentence and snaps his fingers at Annie, who searches the internet on her phone. She doesn't get far enough however, because Pelton reads off it and ends up blurting, "...in IMDB."
The orange that Pelton hands to Annie is a reference to Apocalypse Nowdirector Francis Ford Coppola's other epic film, The Godfather. In that film oranges always appear on screen just before someone suffers a brush with death.
Dean Pelton refers to his resemblance with Jimmy Lovine by saying "This isn't Hollywood, Pierce. If it was, these glasses would be tinted and I'd be friends with Stevie Nicks." Jimmy Lovine looks similar to the Dean, wears tinted glasses and is friends with Stevie Nicks.
Use your allusion: Dean Pelton's direction of Britta and Troy to "Tear down those walls" is an echo of when US President Ronald Reagan challenged the head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to destroy the Berlin Wall: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!".
Homage: The episode format of a documentary about the making of a film is taken from Hearts of Darkness, itself a documentary about the making of Apocalypse Now. Abed makes the connection explicit early on. Additionally, Jeff and Dean Pelton both have moments reminiscent of scenes from Apocalypse Now. Annie's behavior is also reminiscent of Dennis Hopper's sycophantic photographer character in Apocalypse Now.
Parody: Several characters, especially Dean Pelton and Jeff, spoof on the occasionally outrageous behavior of cast and crew members of major motion pictures.
Up against the wall: Early in the episode, when told about the documentary being filmed later, Britta asks, "If we're shooting this weekend, why are these cameras here?" while pointing towards the cameras filming the show.