Director: Tristram Shapeero — Writer: Andrew Guest — Aired: October 21, 2010 —Season: Two — Number: Five Summary: A religious film project Shirley hires Abed for spirals out of control as Pierce finds new, older friends.
In the film, Jesus is a filmmaker trying to find God with his camera. The filmmaker realizes that he's Jesus and he's being filmed by God's camera. It goes like that forever because the filmmakers are Jesus and the cameras are God. And the movie is called, ABED. All caps. Filmmaking beyond film. A meta film. My masterpiece.
In the Anthropology classroom, Professor Duncan stretches the definition of Anthropology by having the students study man through the use of video internet memes posted on YouTube. Although most of the class is enjoying the clips, Shirley and Pierce are not amused. She finds the videos to be crude and he doesn't understand the appeal of the humor. Shirley is saddened when she learns that such clips are viewed by millions while in comparison only a handful of people attended her church the night before. The next day in the cafeteria chow line, Shirley approaches Abed with request. Her church agreed to help fund the creation of a viral video with a Christian message and she asks if he could help. Abed refuses stating he's a filmmaker not a preacher and Shirley leaves disappointed.
Professor Duncan's YouTube Anthropology lesson.
Pierce fills up his plate with an unhealthy balance of food but Abed tattles on him to Britta and she guilts him into making a healthier choice, much to Pierce's annoyance. Annie watches this happen from the Hot & Brown coffee shop. She asks Jeff if he plans on doing anything about Pierce's recent behaviour but he is uninterested in getting involved. Before Pierce can pay for his food, Leonard cuts in line. He grabs several cookies and leaves without paying, giving the cashier some attitude as he walks off. Pierce is impressed with his audacity and follows Leonard back to his table where he meets his friends, a group of similar, cantankerous older students. Britta shows up, assuming Pierce got lost on the way to the study group's table. Leonard blows her a raspberry and she leaves in a huff. Pierce then mocks her joining the older group at their table.
Pierce meets Leonard and his hipster friends.
At a table in the library, Abed is inspired after reading the New Testament and has written copious notes for the religious film. He tells Shirley about his plans for the film when he sees her in the library. However, after hearing his complicated meta ideas, Shirley decides to cancel the project. In a storage room, Pierce is with Leonard and his friends drinking liquor and playing poker. Dean Pelton interrupts them demanding that they put an end to their shenanigans. Pierce fakes dementia, causing a sympathetic Pelton to allow them to continue. After the Dean leaves, Leonard and his pals praise Pierce for his fast thinking. In the study room, Shirley tries to film the video herself with the reluctant help of Troy and Britta. They are all distracted when they hear a loud commotion outside of the building. They go to investigate and find a large crowd in the quad gathering around a camera crane with Abed standing on the raised platform.
Abed goes super meta.
Dressed up in a wig and Gothic outfit, he addresses the students below aided by a booming microphone headset. He explains that the show he is putting on is all a part of his new meta film project. Shirley tries to get Troy and Britta back to doing her film but they instead decide to join Abed in his latest endeavour. The next day, Shirley notices the excitement Abed's project has generated among the students. She follows them to the cafeteria where Abed is holding a "press conference" about it. Everyone is in awe despite the fact that Abed answers their questions with meaningless platitudes. Shirley challenges his mixed messages when Abed's responses seem to indicate he is losing himself in the new messianic role. Shirley insults Abed after being mocked by his fans causing him to win more support after he forgives her trespass.
Abed as the new Messiah.
Shirley leaves but later confronts Abed again during the group's study session. Jeff is unconcerned when Pierce arrives late for the meeting until he learns from Troy he had been hanging out with Leonard and the hipsters. When Jeff tries to lecture him about his new friends, Pierce storms out. At the same time, Shirley threatens Abed that she will shut his movie down. That evening, Pierce is loitering around the Library entrance with the Hipsters. Dean Pelton arrives in his car with Shirley and amidst the taunting from the geriatrics they both enter the building. Leonard discovers the Dean left the keys in his unlocked car and suggests taking it for a joyride. Pierce but feels peer pressure from the others to join in. Meanwhile, Shirley and the Dean enter the cafeteria with two security guards in tow intending to make good on her threat earlier.
Dean and Shirley flee the Hipsters.
Dean Pelton confronts Abed with allegations made by Shirley that he is using school funding for a religious film. Abed deflects the charges alleging that in a sense all movies are religious. To Shirley's dismay, the Dean buys the argument and joins Abed to watch an upcoming take being shot. Outside, the Hipsters are out riding in Dean Pelton's car when the driver Richard suddenly loses his memory. Realizing he isn't faking this time they panic as the car slowly inches toward a lamppost. When the vehicle comes to a halt, the Hipsters scatter abandoning Richard. Pierce stays behind disturbed the others would so easily abandon a friend. Inside the cafeteria, Abed watches a rough cut of his film with Star-Burns while the others prepare for the final scene. Unsure about his project for the first time, he leaves to take a walk and ends up in the courtyard.
Praying out loud, he states how bad his movie is and worries that it will ruin his future film career. He asks that the project be taken away from him but after receiving no response heads back inside to face the music. However, Shirley overhears his prayer and is touched by Abed's honesty. Abed returns to the set to finish the last scene welcomed by his adoring fans. Shirley then turns off the lights and grabs a baseball bat. She smashes the video footage hard drives, the editing laptop and camera. Shirley spares Abed a glance before walking out of the room. Elsewhere, an annoyed Jeff enters the administrations office. As Pierce's emergency contact, he received a call that he and the hipsters were being held there after having been rounded up by campus security for their joyride.
Jeff planned on leaving Pierce there but changes his mind when he learns from the receptionist that Leonard has been abandoned by his family. After having Pierce released into his custody, he refuses to listen to his explanation. Pierce defiantly knocks over a stack of papers as he leaves causing the hipsters to cheer. The next day, Abed takes the seat next to Shirley in Anthropology class. Abed muses on his status on campus as a genius and hers as a villain before guessing that she heard him praying. Shirley denies it just as Professor Duncan starts the class and plays a YouTube selection Abed suggested. It turns out to be the film Shirley wanted from the beginning. They hold each others hands and thank each other for helping them to stay humble.
Jeff studies alone at the table when Troy and then Abed arrive wearing the same outfit as Jeff. They begin mimicking his every word until he storms out. Annie arrives wearing the same outfit and asks if she is too late for the prank on Jeff. Troy and Abed then start mimicking her.
Filmmaker Charlie Kaufman is mentioned twice. Dean Pelton is a big fan but Shirley seems to find his work overly complicated.
Shirley's reference to Charlie Kaufman, in which she criticizes Abed for making "a movie about making movies about making movies," is most likely a reference to Kaufman's 2002 film Adaptation, a movie about Charlie Kaufman writing the film itself.
Several scenes from the episode mirror passages from the Bible. Shirley confronting Abed is similar to how the Pharisees questioned Jesus. Abed's prayer that his film will be taken away from him is similar to Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. The final scene in his film is clearly inspired by paintings of the Last Supper.
Pierce's story line with the Hipsters is reminiscent of numerous coming-of-age teen movies: he meets a group of rebel misfits, is welcomed into the group, begins misbehaving and arguing with his parents, gets in over his head, is abandoned by his new friends, caught by authorities and then his family is there for him at the end.
Well-read: Abed read the New Testament of the Christian Bible overnight.
Everyone's a critic: Some see this episode as Dan Harmon's commentary on the show itself and the possible overuse of meta on Community.
Résumé: Professor Duncan shows a YouTube video with someone farting a laser. The clip is taken from the first episode of Laser Fart, a series of short videos Community creator Dan Harmon wrote and starred in for his monthly film festival, Channel 101.
Up against the wall: Abed occasionally stares straight into the camera. At one point he says, "The film is the story and the story is us. We are the film."
Frequent background extras Long haired guy
and Jeremy make another of over 65 and 45 episode appearances respectively. Both are in numerous hallway and Anthropology 101 class scenes. Long haired guy is behind Troy and Abed when all are watching the Youtube videos in class, is behind the hipsters in the cafeteria and, is in the crowd when Abed does his crane shot.
“This subject's lack of definition cuts both ways. If farts are fair game, so is God.”— Professor Duncan "teaching" Anthropology
“Oh, hey, yeah, wooo, it's meta now. 'Cept here's the thing: I'm a devout Christian and you guys are feeding into this poor boy's delusions.”— Shirley
“It's so cool. She's an actual real life Pharisee.”— Eric
“Hey, bitch. Why don't you go back to your temple.”— Red headed girl
“Leonard? You're hanging out with Leonard? You know I hate him.”— Jeff