Director: Jay Chandrasekhar — Writer: Adam Countee — Aired: 2/24/2011 —Season: Two — Number: Seventeen Summary: Anticipating a visit from the Vice President of the United States, Dean Pelton holds an election for student body president.
Pierce relays to the study group his time at rehab where he met celebrities. After they officially welcome him back to the group, they decide to study but are unsure of how to proceed. The Dean walks into the study room and interrupts the awkward situation. He tells them that the Vice President is doing a tour of community colleges to promote education, and Greendale is his next stop. The Dean and the president of the student body are supposed to meet him. Since they don't currently have a student president, an election needs to be held before he arrives. Abed mentions this must be why the school has been under secret surveillance. Later in the cafeteria, the Dean has set up an impromptu election for class president.
Improving Greendale takes more than ideas, Annie. It takes time, gasoline, matches...
Well, news flash, Jeff. Some of us care about more than just fixing our hair and sculpting our abs.
He he, oh man...
Annie's enthusiasm for the election is dampened by Jeff's cynical attitude towards it. After he fails to help her with her campaign flyers, Annie cuts him down with a scathing remark about his status as a lawyer. Abed is watching the selection process when Agent Robin Vohlers introduces herself. She begins interrogating him, intrigued that he was able to spot the undercover agents they planted at school. On stage, Annie is pushed through the preliminary round along with a few other students. She is shocked when Jeff nominates himself, charming the audience with his meaningless rhetoric. Over in the student lounge, Troy and Abed are shooting a closed circuit campus TV news show covering the election. Later, the stage for the opening debates is set up and Annie asks Jeff to quit since he's not taking it seriously.
"I hung them all up".
Jeff, however, is intent on proving how much of a joke politics are. Meanwhile, Pierce is also on the dais taunting Vicki before being reminded by the Dean that all the microphones are on. The debate officially starts and Annie is the first candidate to present her ideological platform which Jeff counters with more insincere rhetoric. Out in the crowd, Agent Vohlers approaches Abed again with more questions and Troy notices the attraction between the two. Back on stage, Pierce uses his mic time as an opportunity to cruelly provoke Vicki into leaving. Having gotten his revenge for her not lending him a pencil, Pierce leaves as well. Annie tries to get the debate focus back on track by bringing up her stance on cleaning up the school's black mold problem.
"I feel a slight ego blowing in from the east." "You're about to feel my foot coming in from the south."
Jeff twists Annie's words saying she believes Greendale to be dirty and drums up support from the audience by disagreeing with her. Annie then reduces her platform to one issue, the black mold, and makes it into a rhyming sound bite that wins over the crowd. Elsewhere, Troy and Abed take a break from their election coverage when Pavel shows up. He tells Abed that the Secret Service are trashing his dorm room. Arriving at the scene, Abed finds his dorm in disarray and confronts Robin on her true reasons for investigating him. She weakly denies any hidden agenda but offers him an apology of sorts for her actions and leaves. Back at the debate, Annie again tries to get Jeff to quit. She argues that his participation could cause the vote to split and give an unworthy candidate the presidency. After Jeff refuses she threatens that she won't hold back anymore and has a surprise for him.
"I'm sorry you weren't a more obvious potential threat to the country."
As the debate starts up again, Star-Burns drops out not wanting to tarnish his reputation as a drug dealer. After Magnitude offers his view on the black mold issue, Annie then makes good on her threat and presents a special audio/video presentation. She plays a copy of Jeff's embarrassing 1997 audition tape for "The Real World" . Humiliated, Jeff runs off stage as the crowd laughs and Annie realizes she went too far. She finds him later in the storage room but Jeff stops her from apologizing admitting he deserved it. Troy interrupts and tells them that they are missing the debate. Jeff reminds him that he quit and is surprised to hear Annie say she dropped out as well. Troy replies he was referring to a captivating debate Leonard and Magnitude are having and leaves to watch the rest of it.
The crowd is mesmerized.
Jeff and Annie finish their conversation and she confesses she lost sight of the issues and became focused on winning. Jeff then suggests this all happened because they both cared what they thought of each other. In the middle of hugging out an apology, they are again interrupted this time by Pierce. He offers a poignant take on their conflict before revealing he had been stabbed in the face by Vicki with a pencil. Back at the election, the Dean is angered when the final votes show the winner of the election to be "South Park". Abed wraps up his and Troy's election coverage by mentioning how to create napalm from common household items. Over at the Vice-President's motorcade, Agent Vohlers gets wind of this statement. She advises the VP skip Greendale and go to City College due to the elevated threat level. She says she will look into the matter personally and slowly smiles.
Abed is alone in his dorm room watching the movie "Kickpuncher". Outside in a van, Secret Service Agent Robin Vohlers is watching the film as well through a pair of binoculars. After the film ends, he talks into his lamp which is wired; he tells her he had fun and suggests they "see" each other again.
Jeff states to Annie that he hid in the storage room because it was recently established that as a hiding place the men's room doesn't work. This is a reference to their restroom conversation in "Asian Population Studies".
Abed and Agent Vohlers, in their own stoic way, have an emotional moment when they realize they won't see each other anymore.
Middle Eastern Magic 8 Ball: The news scroll at the bottom of the screen during Troy and Abed's election coverage hints at future plot points:
"No paintball this spring claims Dean." and "Dean suggests end of year picnic, implies western theme". Greendale does play paintball again, as part of a western-themed picnic. The Dean tries, unsuccessfully, to tone it down.
Jeff plays pool while wearing jeans and a leather jacket. His outfit is similar to what he wore at the beginning of the Season One episode "Physical Education".
To curry favor with the student body, Jeff boldly calls 9/11 "bad" during his initial campaign speech. He had previously evoked the tragedy to win sympathy during Duncan's drunk driving case, and even brought it up while defending Britta at her cheating tribunal.
The news scroll references several previous episodes:
Troy introduces himself as Troy "Butt Soup" Barnes. He first used the phrase while making prank announcements in Football, Feminism and You.
A nice gesture: Troy and Abed do their signature handshake when they learn they both voted for "South Park".
When the winner is revealed, Dean Pelton angrily says that this type of thing happened 10 years ago which is why they abolished student government. However, the Community webisode series "The 5 As" contradicts this. It aired prior to the Pilot episode to promote the shows debut and a student called Brody Leitz is introduced as being the class president of Greendale who is shown presiding over a campus student government.
Jeff is said to be 19 in 1997, despite the fact that his driver's license in "Early 21st Century Romanticism" reveals that he was born in 1971, making him twenty-six in 1997.
Garrett Lambert returned as a candidate for student body president. He was accidentally nominated by getting into a line he thought was for ice cream. His next appearance is in "Competitive Wine Tasting".
Leonard returned as a candidate for student body president. He changed his last name to 'Rodriguez' to get the Hispanic vote. He later got into a debate with Magnitude in which he replied to his opponent by blowing raspberries. His next appearance was in "A Fistful of Paintballs".
Magnitude returned as a candidate for student body president. He later got into a debate with Leonard in which he replied to his opponent by saying his catchphrase. His next appearance is in "For A Few Paintballs More".
Pavel is a behind the scenes assistant on Troy and Abed's campus news program which covered the race for student president. His next appearance is in "A Fistful of Paintballs".
First appearance: Vicki makes her debut in this episode.
Dean Pelton tells the group that Joe Biden, who was Vice President at the time, will be visiting the Greendale campus.
When told of the "elevated threat level at Greendale", Biden responds "Whatever. I just had a dream that I was a regular president." Coincidentally, Biden was subsequently elected President in the 2020 United States presidential election.
Pierce's election profile says that he followed the Barenaked Ladies on tour over the summer.
Annie introduces her campaign slogan by saying "Read my lips." This phrase was famously uttered by George Bush, as a presidential candidate, during his speech at the Republican National Convention in 1988.
Jeff does an impression of British musician George Michael singing a reworded version of his hit song "Faith".
Showrunner Dan Harmon has stated numerous times that Annie Edison is largely based on the character "Tracy Flick" from the film "Election". This episode put Annie in a similar situation as Tracy, who deals with a teacher who doesn't want her to win the election for student body president at her high school.
Pierce tells a story about being in rehab with Tom Sizemore. Chevy Chase has spent time in rehab, though not concurrent with Sizemore or at the same facility.
A young Jeff Winger auditioned for "The Real World: Seattle". Actor Joel McHale is from Seattle.
Parody: This episode mocks politics, particularly the campaign and election process which often becomes less about the important issues and more about trivial matters.
Up against the wall: After welcoming Pierce back from rehab, the group awkwardly prepares to study when they are mercifully interrupted by Dean Pelton. Their reluctance to actually study pokes fun at the fact that the study group is rarely seen studying and is frequently interrupted, usually by the Dean.
In the Community The Complete Second Season DVD commentaries, episode writer Adam Countee mentions there was a scene shot of Abed and Agent Vohlers kissing but it was cut. In an interview with Hitfix regarding Abed's later girlfriend Rachel, Dan Harmon explained they made this choice as it took Abed's relationship with Vohlers too far, and thematically it worked better that they were two romantically compatible people who ultimately could not be together.
Near the end of the episode, Joe Biden wakes up from a nap and remarks he dreamed about being a regular president; he was elected 46th President of the United States on November 7, 2020.
“Ah. What am I gonna wear? I mean, I could borrow my sister's Uncle Sam outfit. It's tailored for ladies, but what else can I do on such short notice?”— Dean
“Well, you could not dress up like Uncle Sam. Or admit you don't have a sister.”— Jeff
“I'm sorry, Annie. I'm not the worker bee type. I'm more of a silverback gorilla with the claws of a lion, the teeth of a shark, and the quiet dignity of a tortoise.”— Jeff
“Face it, Annie. Politics are all about ego, popularity, and parlor tricks. Don't kid a lawyer.”— Jeff
“Well, if I see one, I will.”— Annie
“My name is Annie Edison and if elected I promise to make Greendale the signature community college of the entire western three quarters of the Greendale area.”— Annie
“That guy's such a mess. It's like God spilled a person.”— Troy
“Who's that?”— Troy
“Special Agent Vohlers. United States Secret Service.”— Abed
“Do you just constantly have your own little side adventures?”— Troy
“...Me too.”— Troy
“I suggest you drop out right now, because not only will I beat you, I will make you cry.”— Annie
“Oh, I feel a slight ego blowing in from the east.”— Jeff
“You're gonna feel my foot blowing in from the south.”— Annie
“This election's become a real horse race. According to our polls the campus is almost evenly divided. Now keep in mind the margin of error on this thing is about 98%.”— Troy
“Could be higher. We don't even know how to do margins of error. We talked to two people at a vending machine.”— Abed
“I actually withdraw my candidacy. I fear a political career will shine a negative light on my drug dealing. Thank you.”— Star-Burns
“When we seek to destroy others, we often hurt ourself, because it is the self that wants to be destroyed.”— Pierce
“Pierce, you're not usually so poignant.”— Jeff
“Two men fighting for the same piece of earth, one recently born, one soon to die. A competition reflecting the pointlessness of life.”— Abed
“As the confetti gets swept away and we begin gearing up for next years election for GCTV I'm Abed Nadir saying. Did you know you can make napalm out common dish soap and cat food?”— Abed