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I took an informal survey of how Greendale was received and three themes emerged: Weird, Passionate, and Gross. Now you want to hang on to that grouping, in marketing it’s what we call the ‘Good Belushi.’
— Frankie Dart
It's the start of a new semester at Greendale Community College and Dean Pelton is on the school's P.A. system again. He is reciting a speech written for him by Abed Nadir thanking the individual Save Greendale Committee members for having rescued the school. When Annie's name is mentioned she's reminded that there was one task that the Committee didn't do. Outside, a student on the quad accidentally tosses a frisbee on top of a nearby building where it lands on an enormous pile of other frisbees. The added weight collapses the roof and rains all the accumulated plastic toys down below into the North Cafeteria. A wave of these disks sends Garrett spilling out of the dining hall where Leonard reunites with a frisbee he launched onto the roof over 40 years ago.

6x1 Garrett frisbee wave rider
Garrett rides a frisbee wave.
Later, the remaining Save Greendale Committee members meet in the study room to discuss the incident. Abed questions where Shirley is and the others confess they've been hiding from him that she relocated to Atlanta. She's there to look after her father and in her absence Britta is now running Shirley's Sandwiches. Dean Pelton interrupts the meeting to introduce a new consultant he hired named Francesca "Frankie" Dart. He suggests she join the Committee but is evasive when Britta asks if Frankie is meant to be their boss. Frankie then takes charge of the meeting and states that although they will be working together she has the final say. In the wake of several positive changes she implements, Frankie's other decisions rub Britta, Jeff, and Annie the wrong way. This includes banning alcohol on campus and cancelling superfluous classes like "Ladders."

6x1 Dean introduces Frankie Dart
The Dean introduces "the new Shirley": Francesca "Frankie" Dart.
On the campus quad, Frankie has lunch with Abed and they discuss his concerns with her fitting in with the group dynamics. Frankie tells him that although she is a boring person she is capable of working with eccentric individuals to turn their quirks into positive results. Abed is impressed with her attitude but leaves abruptly to meet Annie at Shirley's Sandwiches, where he finds Jeff and Britta there as well. They ask Abed to join them in forming a Secret Committee to oppose Frankie but he refuses, believing they are overreacting. The next day at the sandwich shop, one of Jeff's law students gives him an idea to defy the alcohol ban. At the next Save Greendale Committee meeting, only Chang, Abed, and Frankie show up. Abed explains the others won't be joining them due to a falling out they had over Frankie.

6x1 The Secret Committe
The Secret Committee is formed.
While Chang gets lost in his own thoughts, Frankie thanks Abed for standing by her and they resolve to work together to improve the school. After some confusion involving movie montages, Abed settles into his duties emailing someone named Diane. He later goes to the sandwich shop to look for his friends only to find Todd manning the cash register. Todd suggests he order "the special," which is in the back room. Abed is led to an exit where he follows stairs that takes him to a locked door. Once he enters he finds himself inside a room that resembles a 1920s themed Speakeasy. There is a bustling crowd with Britta bartending, Annie selling confectionery, and Jeff in the corner chatting with Custodial chief Bob Waite. Abed accepts Jeff's offer to stay and party with them but pays the price for it the next day.

6x1 Speakeasy
Abed discovers what "the special" is.
His hungover demeanor does not go unnoticed by Frankie, who points out one of his emails to Diane was shaky. He excuses himself to get an early lunch but instead goes back to the speakeasy. He is followed there by Frankie and some men she hired to dress as Keystone Cops (and one as a carrot, due to a costume shortage). She reveals she's known about their operation but allowed it since it kept them out of her way. Frankie tells them she's only doing something about it now since they've dragged Abed back into their shenanigans. When Abed defends his friends and says he belongs with them, Frankie insults him by saying he doesn't know any better. Frankie flusters at everyone's appalled response to her comment and reacts by trying to be weird and quirky. She ends up embarrassing herself and leaves the campus, allowing Jeff and the others to take back control of Greendale.

6x1 Raid
Frankie breaks up the party with a raid.
Alcohol is reinstated, as is the course known as Ladders, but it proves to be a dangerous combination. In the class the inebriated professor and his ladder fall onto several of his students including Annie. With lawsuits pending, the Committee realizes they need someone grounded like Frankie to deal with the latest fiasco. Jeff and Abed track her down with Diane's help and interrupt a job interview she is having. They plead with her to come back but admit they can't give her more money and can only offer their sincere apologies. Frankie says it's not enough but is willing to hear more apologies. Jeff and Abed go through a series of various apologies which placates Frankie and causes the interviewer to call in security. Afterwards, Frankie is welcomed back to the Committee in the study room as Garrett watches on from outside intently. He notices he is being observed by Leonard and leaves.

6x1 Garrett staring
Garrett standing on the outside looking in.

End tag[]

Shirley prevents her new wheelchair ridden employer Mr. Butcher from committing suicide by taking away a noose he was hiding. After the detective spirals into despair for not having solved the case of his missing wife, Shirley reminds him of the good work he has done recently like rescuing a runaway girl. He dismisses this by saying she did all the leg work and then makes a sharp turn in his chair which causes him to fall out of it and onto the floor. Shirley states that from now on she will be his legs and together they will eventually solve the case of his missing wife. She helps him into his chair and doesn't notice that the noose is moving mysteriously on its own. A promo bumper is then shown advertising the next episode of "The Butcher and the Baker" involving Shirley investigating Butcher being framed for a missing detective.

6x1 The Butcher and the Baker
New must-see TV.

Recurring themes[]


Continuity lists
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
  • And we're back: This episode marks the return of "Community" for a sixth season on Yahoo Screen after it was cancelled by NBC.
  • That just happened:
    • Sometime between "Basic Sandwich" and "Ladders" Shirley is revealed to have moved to Atlanta to take care of her father. She got a job as chef to a brilliant but troubled southern detective (see Meta references).
    • Britta is shown to have become homeless and is living in the campus quad in a tent. She is also running "Shirley's Sandwiches" while Shirley is away.
  • Previously:
  • History lesson: Leonard remembers the time in 1974 when Greendale was still a tech university and he threw his frisbee on the roof of the cafeteria.
  • School song: The song "I'm As High As Hell And You About To Get Shot" is played in this episode. It was last heard in the Season One episodes "Pilot" and "Introduction to Finality."
  • Theoretical Phys-Ed: Among the classes Frankie wants to cut are a class on magic wands, "Ladders," "VCR Repair," and "When is it OK to shake a baby?" The "Ladders" class appears later during the episode.
  • Mad Skillz: Vicki's singing talents are showcased for the first time in the speakeasy.
Recurring or debuting characters in this episode:
Recurring or debuting places in this episode:
Recurring or debuting items in this episode:
  • A sweet ride: Jeff's Lexus is briefly shown at the start of the episode.
  • School supplies: Frisbees are introduced in this episode and later appear in "Intro to Recycled Cinema."
  • Sweet spread: A bag of original Let's Potato Chips is shown when Abed and Frankie have a talk. A rack of Let's is seen as Abed goes behind the counter of Shirley's Sandwiches. Abed later pulls out a bag of Let's Pretzels to snack on.
  • Discontinuity:
    • It's not explained what happened to the the diamond teeth Chang got at the end of "Basic Sandwich." "Community" writer and executive story editor Alex Rubens suggested they either fell out or were repossessed when asked about it on his Twitter account.
    • Leonard is shown at GCC in 1974, contradicting "Basic Sandwich" which placed the founding in 1977.

Running gags[]

List of Running gags
Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
  • A dollop of whipped irony:
    • Annie sweetly condescendingly asks Abed if Frankie was sweetly condescending to him. Abed says she wasn't and can tell the difference now.
    • Britta says "Don't make it more dramatic than it is. It's a blood oath to defy evil."
    • While working the counter at Shirley's Sandwiches, Britta tells Annie that she has better experience at customer relations. She then yells at a customer who tries to return a sandwich she burned.
  • Attention students!: The Dean welcomes everyone back to Greendale with an announcement.
  • Like an evil genie:
    • When Chang shows concern that the study group is becoming increasingly white since Troy and Shirley left, Jeff tells him there's no cause for alarm. Cue the dean, accompanied by a white woman whom he introduces as "new Shirley."
    • After the interviewer suggests Frankie should start looking for places run by insane people, Jeff and Abed barge in and cause a scene.
  • Nice outfit:
    • Jeff and Abed wear 1920s style suits.
    • Britta is dressed in a bartender's uniform.
    • Annie is dressed in 1920s Flapper's dress.
  • Shut up, Leonard!: Said by Britta who then claims to have mistaken six people at a pharmacy for Leonard. Frankie then tries to deliver a "Shut up, Leonard!" insult and fails.
  • Take that, inspector!:
    • According to Jeff, the roof of the North Cafeteria that collapsed under the weight of 40 years of frisbees was mostly made of Styrofoam.
    • Annie mentions to Frankie that she has some ideas about de-electrifying the pool. Frankie then browses a list of problems she had the time to solve. Apparently under her watch, various things were "deloused, appraised, defused, rebuilt, de-peanut-buttered, debunked, spayed, neutered, re-sanctified, plunged, deported, and exhumed" respectively.
  • You're the worst:
    • Shirley leaves her sandwich shop to Britta, who struggles to make an edible sandwich.
    • Britta tries to show off her bartending skills with predictable results.

Pop culture references[]

List of Pop culture references
Pop culture references in this episode:
  • Shout out:
    • Musician Fat Boy Slim is mentioned by Dean Pelton as his DJ school had closed, allowing Greendale to be ranked fifth alphabetically in Colorado's listing of community colleges.
    • Musicians Trent Reznor and Johnny Cash are mentioned by Jeff. Jeff alludes to Cash's famous "Hurt" cover.
  • Name that tune:
    • The song "Sweet Emotion" (1975) by American rock band Aerosmith plays during Leonard's flashback.
    • The song "How You've Grown" by the band 10,000 Maniacs plays out over a montage of Jeff and Abed apologizing to Frankie.
    • The song "Secret Lullabies" by Daniel Holter & Matt Smith plays out over a montage of Abed doing odd jobs and a second time over a montage of Abed sending emails to Diane.
  • IMDb:
    • Jeff greets Abed at the speakeasy with the line, "What's the rumpus?" which Abed immediately identified as being from the 1990 film "Miller's Crossing."
    • Abed compares the meeting behind the sandwich store to The Big Chill.
  • Use your allusion:
    • When his frisbee disintegrates in his hands, Leonard says, "Like tears in rain." This is a quote from the character Roy Batty in the 1982 movie "Blade Runner."
    • Abed mentions that if the Pierce hologram was actually a ghost he'd like a head start at "busting it," referencing the movie "Ghostbusters."
    • Frankie says everyone is a "Living fart from the butt of a lesser God," referencing the movie Children of a Lesser God.

Meta references[]

List of Meta references
Meta references in this episode:
  • IRL:
    • Actress Yvette Nicole Brown left the show after five seasons to have time to take care of her ailing father. Having to look after a relative was also used as the reason the characters of Shirley and Frankie moved to different states.
    • When the cafeteria set was rebuilt in CBS Studio Center Stage 14, the design had to be altered to accommodate columns on that stage. This episode explains the redesign with the roof collapsing.
  • Satire: The episode end tag is a possible critique of NBC's network lineup after cancelling "Community," which has fewer situation comedies and more dramas.
  • Parody: The cliché of montage editing is parodied several times in this episode with Abed trying to make his tasks on the Committee montage-worthy, Abed and his friends having a drunk montage, and Jeff and Abed giving an apology montage to Frankie.
  • Everyone's a critic:
    • Abed's monologue to Frankie about her becoming a part of the group addresses several concerns the critics, fans, and the creators themselves have about the show, such how the characters make money and if they'll ever get their diplomas.
    • Abed criticizes Frankie as a character and questions whether she will be an asset to the show.
  • Background check: A picture of Community creator Dan Harmon as the character Patrick Isakson is shown hanging on the mirror behind the bar of the speakeasy. On the picture is written the words "Do not serve this man."


According to Community writer Alex Rubens, "Ladders" had the production code #602 and was shot after "Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care" but aired first (source).


  • The opening Paper fortune teller credit sequence has been altered again with new images. This includes a dragon dunking a basketball on a castle wall, a flamingo wearing cowboy boots, and two anthropomorphic bananas drinking alcohol. On the desk, the broken pencil (a reference to the Pilot episode) has now been replaced with a purple mechanical pencil and the coffee cup is now a glass of ice.
  • When Frankie leaves in her first scene, Chang can be heard saying, “Great seeing you Professor Slater.”
  • A picture of Shirley can be seen in the speakeasy bar.
  • Among the drink specials shown on the speakeasy blackboard are "Britta's Bomb," "Jeff Sour Hi Ball," "Annie's Root Beer Float," "Tuxedo #6," and "Topsey Turvey."
  • During the We're Sorry montage, Jeff holds up a computer at one point as an apologetic gift. This is likely a reference to the episode Economics of Marine Biology where Dean Pelton tries to gift Archie a computer to convince him to enroll at Greendale.

New Creatd by title card
New "Created by" title card.


My umbrella concern is that you as a character represent the end of what I used to call 'Our Show' which was once an unlikely family of misfit students and is now a pretty loose knit group of students and teachers none of whom are taking a class together in a school which, as of your arrival, is becoming increasingly grounded asking questions like "How do any of us get our money?", "When will any of us get our degrees?" and "What happened to the girl I was dating?" as opposed to questions I consider more important like "What is real?", "What is sanity?", "Is there a God?", "Where's that Pierce hologram?". Jeff said last year he saw a Pierce hologram, none of the rest of us have ever seen it so if there's a Pierce ghost on campus I'd like to get a head start on busting it.Abed
Season Six Episodes

1. "Ladders"
2. "Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care"
3. "Basic Crisis Room Decorum"
4. "Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"
5. "Laws of Robotics & Party Rights"
6. "Basic Email Security"
7. "Advanced Safety Features"

8. "Intro to Recycled Cinema"
9. "Grifting 101"
10. "Basic RV Repair and Palmistry"
11. "Modern Espionage"
12. "Wedding Videography"
13. "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"

Community Season Six DVD front cover

Season OneSeason TwoSeason ThreeSeason FourSeason FiveSeason Six