|Meta references are anything on Community that indicates a self awareness that it's a television show. This is usually expressed through Abed who will often make comparisons through TV and pop culture references. Typically, these statements come close to breaking the fourth wall. These can also be expressed through homages and parodies or allusions to things indirectly related to the show. In the "Recurring Themes" section of the episode pages on this wiki, Meta references that appeared in that particular episode are listed and separated into specific subsections. Below are each of those categories along with examples.|
- Background check: Any messages which appear onscreen that speak directly to the audience. Usually this involves a chalkboard or eraser board that appears in the background of a scene.
- Everyone's a critic: Any indirect references to criticisms about the show. Ex. "Biology 101" opening musical number "We're Gonna Finally Be Fine" has references to criticisms about Season Two.
- Homage: A tribute to something done with reverence. Ex. "Basic Lupine Urology" was an homage to "Law & Order".
- IRL (In Real Life): These are references to personal information about cast or crew who have worked on the show. Ex. Donald Glover was once a practicing Jehovah's Witness, a religion he shares with his character, Troy. Yvette Nicole Brown's Christian faith is also referenced through Shirley's religion.
- Parody: A lampooning of something done mockingly. Ex. "Regional Holiday Music" was a parody of "Glee".
- Résumé: A reference to a project outside of "Community" that is related to someone who is a current or past member of the cast and crew. Can also be used if a series of references are made about someone's specific body of work. Ex. In "Environmental Science" Chang and Jeff mention cherry daiquiris which was the stage name of a character Gillian Jacobs played in the movie "Choke". In "Introduction to Film", a few references are made to Robin Williams' career.
- Satire: A humorous reference of someone or something done in a way to both mock and criticize.
- Up against the wall: Any reference that comes close to breaking the fourth wall. Ex. In the Season Three episode "Digital Exploration of Interior Design", Abed ends the show (the first episode of a two part story arc) staring straight into the camera and saying "To be continued!".