Director: Rob Schrab — Writer: Dean Young — Aired: 4/7/2015 —Season: Six — Number: 5 Summary: Jeff squares off against a charming prison inmate Willy who’s attending Greendale via telerobot. Britta enlists Abed to get around Annie’s rules against parties in their apartment.
Frankie calls a meeting of the Save Greendale Committee to discuss a financial opportunity for the school. As they wait, Britta asks Annie and Abed if she can throw a party at the apartment. She objects when told any party has to be kept to a maximum of eight guests. Jeff interrupts to point out the arrival of a Teleprescence robot with Frankie's face on the tablet. She starts her presentation on the device before entering the room. She tells everyone that the Department of Corrections will pay the school $300,000 in funding if they'll allow Convicts to attend via the robots. Pelton objects at first until Jeff convinces him it's a good idea. Afterwards, Frankie, Dean Pelton and Jeff oversee the activation of the robots and introduce the convicts to the campus.
Frankie presents a unique proposition from the Department of Corrections.
At Jeff's Law class, he meets a prisoner named Willy convicted for murder. The two exchange some underlying hostile banter before Jeff starts his class by playing a movie. Over at Abed's locker, Britta asks him to overrule Annie about the party. Abed defers to Annie's decision but Britta hatches a scheme to get her way. That night in the school's parking garage, Jeff is both amused and horrified when Willy attempts to use his robot to push him down some stairs. Over at her apartment, Annie finds that Britta convinced Abed to have a party by filming her script about the perfect party. Annie retires to bed and allows Britta her victory but warns her that she'll be begging for her forgiveness soon.
Willy tells Jeff to look down some stairs.
The next day, Jeff goes to Dean Pelton's office to complain about Willy only to find the convict already there via a laptop chatting to Craig. The Dean admonishes Jeff for his lackadaisical efforts at teaching his class. Jeff tries to object by mentioning how Willy tried to murder him but the prisoner convinces Pelton he's lying. The next day, Jeff finds Willy in front of his students answering questions about prison. He tries to regain control of the class but finds that they respect Willy more than him now. Later at Britta's party, Jeff is complaining about Willy but is unable to find a sympathetic ear. Britta is too busy hosting, tells Jeff to be less of a buzzkill and, Abed is busy filming the party for his movie.
"Mr. Winger, when did you stop being funny?" - Garrett.
Dean Pelton and Frankie arrive to the festivities to inform everyone that the D.O.C. is pleased with how the program is going. They bring in a few of the prisoner's iPads to join in the party including Willy which causes Jeff to leave. The morning after, Abed is still trying to film his movie and the lively cast keeps Britta from getting any sleep. Over at the school parking garage, Willy has his tablet robot approach Jeff and offers some suggestions about class. Before he can finish Jeff grabs the device and tosses it down the stairs. Dean Pelton walks in on the scene and immediately puts Jeff on a forced sabbatical and has him escorted off campus by security. Some time later, the committee holds a meeting at Britta's bar.
You destroyed my device and my heart!
Britta is forced to tell Annie she was right and asks for her help in dealing with Abed. When Jeff finally shows up he's angered when he learns Pelton is holding a ceremony to make Willy an honorary professor. The others point out the only reason Jeff's upset is because Willy is the one manipulating the Dean now instead of him. Although Jeff admits to using Pelton he denies having led him on or intentionally hurting him. The committee encourages Jeff to tell this to the Dean but because of his suspension he's not allowed on campus. However, Elroy comes up with a plan while Annie accompanies Britta back to their apartment. They interrupt Abed's filming and Annie has Britta confess that she lied to him about the project so she could throw a party.
Don't question rules, rules are good, I'm bad, all hail Annie!
Abed cancels the rest of the shoot and Annie tells Britta he's going to slowly make her pay for her actions. Over at Greendale, Jeff crashes Willy's Professor Emeritus ceremony using a makeshift teleprescence robot Elroy created. Via the iPad, Jeff's tells the Dean he's not a manipulating murderer like Willy but an employee who enjoys working at Greendale and considers Pelton to be a friend. The Warden then reveals Willy is not a killer but a wrongly convicted man whose sentence was just overturned. When Jeff mocks Willy for being exposed as a fraud, the prisoner uses his robot to attack Jeff's makeshift one. The two devices repeatedly smash into each other until Jeff's gets knocked over. Before Willy can claim victory, Pelton turns off his iPad and pushes his robot over. He picks up Jeff's device and carries him away amidst the cheers of the ceremony attendees.
It's so violent! Mmmmmm
The Save Greendale Committee meets in the study room via the telepresence robots, which they're testing because the prison is offering them at a discount. Frankie also announces that the rehabilitation program has been aborted. The meeting goes awry very quickly: Britta is arrested in a coffee shop, a kid draws Elroy's attention by vandalising his RV and it's found out that Chang is actually in the bathroom of Abed and Annie's apartment. Frankie assumes they will have to decline the prison's offer. Abed disagrees and takes every tablet over with his own signal. The Abeds vote an unanimous yes on the purchase and announce that they're planning world domination, chanting eradicate and getting the janitor who still retains the signal of the Dean's tablet to chant with them.
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
In the opening scene Abed is wearing a "Space Clone" T-shirt. This references the "Space Clone" comic book he put up as the prize for his "Hot Lava" game in the Season Five episode "Geothermal Escapism".
Abed has a "Pop back" flashback which reveals an unseen moment when Annie moved into his and Troy's apartment in the Season Three episode "Studies in Modern Movement".
The Dean references an anti-bullying rule that applies specifically to him. This was rule was revealed in a newspaper clipping in Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing.
Part of a lock is seen outside of the door to Annie's bedroom, this references when Britta asked Annie to keep her from contacting her ex-boyfriend Blade. Annie installed the lock mechanism in case it became necessary to physically keep Britta away from Blade. This occurred in the Season Three episode "Origins of Vampire Mythology."
Coined and minted: "Coucher" - A moocher who is allowed to live in a residence and sleeps on the couch.
Catchphrase: The multiple Abeds on tablet screens chant "Eradicate!", the catchphrase of the Blorgons.
School song: "Pillar of Garbage" by Natalie is Freezing can be heard during the scene where Jeff is talking to Britta at the party.
Express tuition aisle: Jeff's law class consists of watching "Planet Earth". He himself admits it's a phony class.
Britta briefly shows attraction to Jeff when it seems like he is being progressive about prisoner reform but quickly loses interest when it's revealed he was only after the government funding.
After the robot fight between Jeff and Willy, Dean Pelton swings Jeff's robot around and carries it away.
Recurring or debuting running gags in this episode:
A dollop of whipped irony: After Annie refuses Britta's house party request, she tells her she's not some authoritative controlling power to rebel against. When Britta denies that's what's she's going to do, Annie tells her she'll do what she's told.
PCness: Dean Pelton gets uncomfortable saying the word "black" around Elroy.
Man-Crush: Pelton is happy about the $300,000 and touches Jeff's abs saying "Look at us running the school together".
Abed does an impression of comedian Jerry Seinfeld when referring to Britta as a "coucher".
Abed does an impression of "the black guy in every sci-fi movie" by repeating back what was just explained to him.
Use your allusion: Elroy says he is nobody's "fourth Ghostbuster". This is a reference to the movie "Ghostbusters" and the character of "Winston Zedmore". He was a African American who became the fourth official member of the group and was generally referred to as the token black guy.
Elroy says "brain the size of a planet" which is a quote from Marvin the paranoid android from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 5 book trilogy.
Product placement: Double Robotics Telepresence robots are featured prominently on the show as are the Apple iPads attached to them.
IRL: The janitor who appears in the end tag and retains the signal of his tablet even when Abed takes all the other tablets over is played by Abed Gheith, Dan Harmon's original inspiration for the character of Abed.
Abed mentions "Pop back" and "Pop forward" gags which have become staples of several situational comedies on television, notably the Tina Fey sitcom " 30 Rock".
When Dean Pelton carries the broomstick and tablet device away after the robot fight his actions parody the last scene in the classic 1982 film "An Officer and a Gentleman".
The final study room scene in this episode mocks traditional romantic comedy conventions, particularly love triangles and the last minute confession at a wedding ceremony.
“I have a brain the size of Jupiter. I'm nobody's fourth Ghostbuster.”— Elroy
“Mr. Winger, when did you stop being funny? I mean, am I wrong, or does he seem really intense here? You're born in the dirt, you'll die in the dirt. Who are the kings of the dirt?”— Garrett