Director: Joe Russo — Writer: Dan Harmon, Megan Ganz — Aired: 2/17/2011 —Season: Two — Number: Sixteen Summary: Pierce claims that he is about to die and summons the study group to the hospital to bequeath personalized gifts unto them while Abed documents the entire event.
Pierce, it's starting to seem, from observing the others, that you're using the social leverage afforded you by your alleged deathbed to exact complicated acts of psychological vengeance on those closest to you.
The study group arrives at the hospital after learning about Pierce's overdose. When they go to see him in his room, they notice Abed is there with a crew filming them. He explains he's there to document Pierce's life for historical purposes. A cut away scene featuring Abed reveals that he's not actually filming for Pierce's sake but just to try out the documentary format which he feels is easier to tell a complex story. The scene cuts back to Pierce who tells the group that he called them all there to bequeath gifts to them. He explains that the pills wiped him out and that he is dying. In a cut away scene, Pierce reveals that he's not dying and that he's planning on getting revenge on the study group for being disrespectful to him.
As the others sit in the waiting room they talk about Pierce. Jeff is skeptical and refuses to feel guilty, leading to Shirley to compare him to Abed. Shirley is called in to talk to Pierce first, and he gives her a CD, claiming it's a recording of the others talking behind her back. Britta is next, denying that she wants anything from him. Pierce gives her a check for $10,000 with no recipient listed, suggesting she to give it to a charity of her choice or to fill out her own name. Annie is called next, but Jeff goes instead. Pierce says that he always thought it would be Jeff in the bed instead of him. Jeff ignores him and calls him out on trying to play mind games with the rest of the group. Pierce starts trying to guilt Jeff about his absent father, before claiming to have found Jeff's father and to have invited him to meet Jeff at the hospital.
I'm fine. Everything is normal.
Back in the lobby, Britta tries to help Jeff roleplay conversations with his dad, but he refuses to take it seriously and pretends to be her father. As it devolves into insults, they give up. Jeff is shown talking to the camera about how his father was "a two-bit con man" and how money can't just make people show up. As he's saying this, LeVar Burton pokes his head through the door asking for Troy Barnes, saying that Pierce sent him. Troy is seen in the cafeteria screaming about not being ready to meet LeVar Burton, and how "you can't disappoint a picture".
Next is Annie, who is given a tiara by Pierce, that he claims has been in his family for six generations. In the waiting room, Annie and Britta with their gifts are shown with Shirley smiling at them while holding her CD. Meanwhile, Troy sits across the table from LeVar, paralyzed with fear. He is then shown singing the theme song from Reading Rainbow while crying, sitting on the floor of the bathroom. Annie storms in to ask Pierce what the tiara means, asking him where the diamonds came from. He responds that it means she was his favorite, leaving her sitting the hall asking what that meant. In the lobby again, Britta says that she has given the money to the red cross, and that she's a terrible person because she would have taken it if the camera wasn't on her.
Are they Holocaust diamonds?!
Shirley tries to guilt them again about the CD, causing Britta to take it and storm down the hall to find a CD player. With the CD playing, we hear Pierce trying to get the others to badmouth Shirley before they all notice his hidden microphone and start to talk about how he views friendship as a competition, leaving Shirley guilty for not trusting the others. She then admits to using guilt to force others into doing things, before guilting Abed into adding the segment into the movie. Jeff is then seen asking Pierce again about whether he found his father, adding that if this is some kind of trick or an actor, that he he will beat Pierce and "there will be nothing madcap or wacky about it." As soon as Jeff leaves the room, Pierce is seen scrambling for the phone, presumably to call off whatever joke he had planned.
Thank you, Pierce, for validating my self-righteousness.
Britta is seen sitting with LeVar and talking to him about a show called "Rebop" before he asks her about Troy. He says that since Troy doesn't seem comfortable talking to him, he should probably try to catch his flight. This prompts Britta to offer him all the money she has, $261, if that would let him reschedule his flight and talk to Troy, prompting him to say that she is "a very generous friend, but really stupid with [her] money." Next, as he waits in front, Jeff gets a call from someone claiming to be his father. Jeff follows the sedan as it tries to back away, until it hits another car. Opening the door and dragging Pierce out, Jeff throws him onto the ground and begins hitting him until the rest of the study group drags him off. Pierce then tries to explain his actions, how everyone else thinks of him as a joke, forgets his birthday, and never invites him to anything. Jeff remarks that this isn't exactly helping him with that image, before trying to hit him again.
Jeff takes Pierce more seriously than expected.
As Pierce is led back inside to be treated for his new injuries, Jeff admits that he might still have some issues with his father and took it out on Pierce. Annie returns to talk to Pierce, saying that she's figured out what the crown meant and that he's warning her about her own elitism, and returns the tiara, saying that is she "grows up to be the kind of person that thinks she can play favorites and torture the rest, [she'll] die sad and alone". As she leaves, Pierce remarks sadly that "she's actually just my favorite." Abed then narrates the final scenes saying that the documentary didn't turn out as well as he'd hoped, but that he might be able to connect the shots later to make it make sense. Finally, we see Pierce asleep in his bed with Jeff asleep in the chair next to him causing the others to "Awww". Pierce then remarks that "Jeff and I became like father and son today" prompting a denial by Jeff.
When Britta arrives for her bequeathment, Pierce says, "Is that you Death?" and then acts disappointed to learn it's Britta. In the Season One episode "The Science of Illusion" Britta was so discouraged by the fallout from her failed April Fool's prank that she suggested people would be more welcoming if Cancer knocked on their door than herself.
Troy shouts, "I hate you, Pierce!" much like he did when Pierce discovered the secret trampoline.
History lesson: Pierce provides Jeff with detailed information on his father, William Winger, in order to convince him that he really has located him and is bringing him to the hospital to reunite them.
Coined and minted:
"Complisult": Complimenting someone while also insulting them.
"Explanabrag": Explaining something while bragging about it.
Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: When Pierce and Jeff talk about Jeff's Dad, Pierce mentions he thought he'd be a hologram when they had the talk. Pierce does become a hologram in "Repilot".
Pierce says farewell to Shirley, "Smell you later," a phrase made famous by The Simpsons character Nelson Muntz.
Pierce responds to Jeff's rant with, "Crystal," indicating that there is no misunderstanding. This is likely a reference to a courtroom exchange between characters portrayed by Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in the 1992 film A Few Good Men.
Britta refers to LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte, the name of the character he portrayed in Roots. In the end tag, LeVar calls himself Kunta.
Parody: The episode can be seen as a spoof of the current trend in sitcoms started by "The Office" to structure their stories with a documentary style.
IRL: In the DVD commentary, Dan Harmon and Megan Ganz reveal that Shirley's confessional scene was inspired by an email sent by actress Yvette Nicole Brown pointing out that she was the only actor in the episode without a talking head scene.
In the Community The Complete Second Season DVD commentaries, writer Megan Ganz mentions that Shirley's talking head scene was added in after Yvette Nichole Brown sent her a passive/aggressive email asking for such a scene.
“I'm excited about the narrative facility of the documentary format. It's easier to tell a complex story when you can just cut to people explaining things to the camera.”— Abed
“Mr. Hawthorne is ready to commence his bequeathings.”— Nurse
“Is that you, death?”— Pierce
“No, it's Britta.”— Britta
“Britta, you're the selfless one in the group, right?”— Pierce
“Wouldn't know, I haven't thought about myself in years.”— Britta
“I hope to die surrounded by my family.”— Shirley
“That's the only way I'd agree to be surrounded by my family.”— Jeff
“Me and Abed have an agreement: If one of us dies we stage it to look like a suicide caused by the unjust cancellation of Firefly.”— Troy
“Vengeance? Huh, no. I was never one to hold a grudge, Jeffrey. My father held grudges. I'll always hate him for that.”— Pierce
“Hi, I'm Jeff's dad, hi.”— Britta
“Hi, Jeff's dad, I'm Britta's dad.”— Jeff
“What? Why?”— Britta
“I don't know, got drunk, didn't have a condom. And her mom gets freaky when she hears Oingo Boingo.”— Jeff
“Oh God, I wish I could relate but much like my son, I'm a closet homosexual.”— Britta
“Don't apologize for that. You're talking to the guy who banged Britta's mom. I have no standards.”— Jeff
“Well what do you say we take a tumble? I'll put on a wig.”— Britta
“That's it, you're under arrest. I'm an undercover cop.”— Jeff
“It's not illegal to be gay.”— Britta
“It is here in Iran.”— Jeff
“Not when we're in the Green Zone.”— Britta
“That's Iraq, stupid.”— Jeff
“Well, what do I know? I'm Jeff Winger's dumb gay dad.”— Britta
“If you're lying to me, if my father isn't coming, if a car pulls up and anyone other than my father steps out, say, an actor, or you in a wig, if you try to pull any Ferris Bueller, Parent Trap, Three's Company, F/X, F/X2: the Deadly Art of Illusion bulls**t, I will beat you. And there will be nothing madcap or wacky about it. Understood?”— Jeff