14 October, 2011

COMMUNITY 3.04: Remedial Chaos Theory... oh the madness!

Last night's killer episode brought us not one, not two, not three, not.... BUT SEVEN TIMELINES of awesomeness! This was easily the best episode of season 3 and arguably (we shall let time decide these things) a top 3 episode of the series.

There has been some debate between critics, fans, and douchefucks who smear monkey shit all over their bodies before putting their come-stained pudgy donut-grasping sausage-sized fingers on their perpetually sticky-from-projectile-launching-sweat-gland-deposits and opine their diabetic-coma diatribe all over the Internet assclowns, about the quality of this latest season. The writers answered that debate with a nuclear bomb of genius!

Let's cut to the chase, the episode is based around a party at Troy and Abed's new apartment. The study group members show up and eventually the pizza guy rings the doorbell. Jeff, in his infinite manipulative laziness, comes up with a way to decide who has to go downstairs to receive the yummies, by rolling a single dice. Seven people around a table... six sided dice? Hmmmm. Oh, Jeff!

As Jeff starts to roll, Abed points out that he is creating six different timelines. Jeff mocks the notion and rolls. The show then takes us on this epic ride!

Note: first timeline is not bolded since it is the first time happening. Subsequent timelines have bolded text to indicate a change from Timeline 1 or a significant change in the other timelines. Italics are used when a change in the timeline created a small change or when the timeline sequences have been exited.

Timeline 1 - Roll is 2: Annie
Britta puts on Roxanne by the Police; Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom; Shirley checks on her personal sized pies; Britta starts to sing and Jeff stops her; Britta asks to use the bathroom and Abed shows her where it is; Troy finds Annie's gun in her purse; Pierce gives Troy a "housewarming gift"; Jeff gets up and hits is head in the ceiling fan, Pierce laughs; Shirley brings the pies to the table; Britta comes out of the bathroom and Abed is waiting in front of the door, and tells her that it smells weird inside; Annie arrives with the pizza and Britta rushes dramatically over to the food; Annie mentions that the pizza guy was super creepy.

Timeline 2 - Roll is 4: Shirley
Britta puts on Roxanne by the Police; Jeff reminds everyone to not eat Shirley's pies; Jeff says he doesn't like being the bad guy, then as Britta starts to sing, he stops her; Britta asks to use the bathroom and Abed shows her where it is; Jeff talks about not enabling Shirley's baking; Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom; Pierce gives Troy a "housewarming gift"; Troy is horrified to find the gift is a troll statue; Jeff laughs, then gets up and is hit in the head by the ceiling fan, Pierce laughs; Annie offers to look at the injury in the bathroom; Britta and Abed are ending their conversation in the bathroom; Shirley shows up with the pizzas; Britta rushes dramatically over to the food; Shirley asks if anyone remembered to take out her pies; Shirley pulls out her pies and they are all burnt; Jeff tells her she is not allowed to have baking things as an identity; Shirley yells at the group and storms out; upon slamming the door, the rolling rock in the Indiana Jones miniature begins to roll; Abed catches the rolling rock.

Timeline 3 - Roll is 3: Pierce
Britta puts on Roxanne by the Police; Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom; Shirley checks on her personal sized pies; Britta starts to sing and Jeff stops her; Britta asks to use the bathroom and Abed shows her where it is; Annie tells Troy she loves his place and that he's "all grown up now"; Jeff mocks Troy's maturity and Annie laughs with him; Troy gets up in anger and hits the Indiana Jones miniature, releasing the rock; Abed catches the rolling rock; Britta has her head out of the bathroom window smoking a marijuana cigarette when Troy knocks; Troy enters the bathroom and tells Britta he is a man; Annie tells Jeff he is a bit hard on Troy; Jeff gets up and hits is head in the ceiling fan; Annie offers to look at the injury in the bathroom; Abed tells them that Britta is in the bathroom; Annie and Jeff enter the kitchen where Shirley is taking out her pies; Annie and Jeff flirt and Shirley offers pie as a remedy which Jeff saarcastically shoots down; Britta and Troy talk about why Jeff is mean to him and that Jeff has a guarded personality; Pierce returns with the pizzas and mentions how unattractive the pizza guy was; Britta and Troy share a happy moment together while everyone else notices their bond and are puzzled.

Timeline 4 - Roll is 6: Britta
Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom; Shirley checks on her personal sized pies; Abed remains at the table with Jeff, Troy, and Annie; Jeff gets up and hits is head in the ceiling fan, Pierce laughs; Annie takes Jeff into the bathroom to look at his injury; Troy and Abed have a friendly conversation; Pierce gives Troy a "housewarming" gift; Jeff and Annie talk about her safety and how much Jeff cares about her; Troy screams and Jeff and Annie rush into the livingroom to find Pierce holding the troll, taunting a terrified Troy; Shirley interjects, followed by Abed commenting on why Pierce is behaving this way, and Pierce calls Abed crazy; Britta shows up with the pizza guy and tells the group they are in love and getting married.

Timeline 5 - Roll is 1: Troy
Troy rushes out of the apartment and slams the door, starting the rolling rock in the Indiana Jones miniature, Roxanne by the Police is already playing; Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt in an airplane bathroom; the rolling rock falls to the floor; Shirley checks on her personal sized pies; Britta starts to sing and Jeff stops her; Britta asks to use the bathroom and Abed shows her where it is; Jeff gets up and hits is head in the ceiling fan, Pierce laughs; Annie tells Jeff she will look at his injury in the bathroom; as Annie begins to walk she trips over the rolling rock, her purse goes flying as she falls on a nearby table and launches the content of the table onto the floor, breaking a bottle of alcohol; Pierce kicks the "housewarming gift" as the gun in Annie's purse fires, hitting Pierce in the thigh; Annie tries to apply first aid to Pierce as blood spurts out of his leg, hitting Shirley in the torso and face as she walks into the room with her pies; Britta comes rushing out of the bathroom with a lit marijuana cigarette in her mouth, opens her mouth wide in shock at what she sees and the cigarette falls onto the alcohol spill and lights on fire; the gift box is set on fire and Jeff tries to put out the apartment fire; Troy walks in with the pizzas and sees the carnage, then notices the now burnt box contains the troll he fears and reacts in horror.

Timeline 6 - Roll is 5: Abed
Britta puts on Roxanne by the Police; Abed tells everyone he needs money for the pizzas; Pierce talks about having sex with Eartha Kitt; Shirley checks on her pies without saying so; Britta starts to sing and Jeff stops her; Britta asks to use the bathroom and Troy tells her it is down the hall; Jeff hits his head and Annie offers to look at it in the bathroom but Troy reminds her that Britta is in there; as Britta smokes, Annie and Jeff go into the kitchen where Shirley has just taken out her pies; Britta comes out of the bathroom and asks what smells so amazing; Shirkey excitedly reacts by taking the pies to Britta and letting her eat one; Pierce gives Troy a "housewarming gift"; Troy thanks Pierce and then expresses his gratitude over letting him stay with Pierce when he was without a place to live, while Shirley expressed to Britta that she feels baking is her only value to the group and Jeff tells Annie he worries about her; Pierce, feeling guilty, tries to prevent Troy from opening the gift; Britta mistakenly confesses that the group made a pact not to eat Shirley's pies, and that she is high, while Annie and Jeff kiss in the kitchen; Pierce and Troy fight over the gift while Britta and Shirley argue about drugs and pies, while Jeff and Annie kiss; Annie admits something Jeff said reminded her of her dad and Jeff judges her on lip-gloss use; Troy sees the troll and yells at Pierce to die alone, as Abed shows up with the pizzas.

Timeline 7 - Roll is stopped by Abed
Abed gives a speech about randomness/chaos etc, talking about everyone in the group and then pointing out the Jeff's system of choosing who goes for pizza made it so he never has to go; Jeff proudly laughs as the group reacts with different levels of disgust; Britta puts on Roxanne by the Police; Jeff goes to get the pizzas and says "Like it matters who goes", then hits his head on the ceiling fan as everyone laughs; Troy uses airplane bathroom as a metaphor for Jeff but Pierce does not take the opportunity to talk about Eartha Kitt; Shirley goes to get her pies; Britta sings Roxanne and the group joins her in dancing and singing; Pierce tosses the "housewarming gift" out of the window; Jeff returns with the pizzas and notes that the fun the group is having is what happens when he is not around, then eats pizza while he watches the group have fun.

Episode Ending - Based on Timeline 5
Pierce is dead; Annie is in a mental hospital; Jeff is missing an arm; Shirley is an alcoholic; Troy is missing his larynx and has a voice box; Britta has a blue streak in her hair; Abed discusses how they can go to the prime timeline and make their evil selves part of the prime; Jeff storms out with Britta and Shirley.

Exit Timelines
Troy and Abed are sitting in their pajamas in their apartment watching television and eating popcorn; Abed is aware that something is different but doesn't know what, then dismisses the feeling.

So what does it all mean? Apparently Jeff is the personality that stifles their fun. Troy and Britta are one talk away from either a great friendship or falling for each other. Annie has a father-like crush on Jeff, who himself is hot for her but doesn't want the obvious attraction reasons to be so obvious. Pierce still wants to be appreciated. Shirley feels like an outsider and tries too hard to seem significant to the group. Abed is a genius... but we already knew that!

What did you think? What did you take away from the episode?

Oh and if I had to rate it...

98 out of 100!


  1. It was a great episode, but did you really laugh? Kind of like the "My Dinner with Andre" episode...

  2. I laughed a few times... especially when the shit hit the fan and Pierce was bleeding all over the place. Though, I don't need to laugh to enjoy something.

  3. Great fucking episode. Maybe my favorite to date. Nice to have the timelines written out like that. I forgot some of it happened.

  4. I thought this episodes was absolutely amazing. Didn´t think it could get better before the tag and than it became even more fantastic.

    Although I am not sure, if they really wanted to reserve the timeline in the ending scenario. I think Abed suggested, that because they are now evil, they should get to the prime timeline, murder those versions of themselves and thus establishing the evil timeline as the prime one.

    And I laughed plenty. Seriously those were 30 minutes of perfect television for me. The 303/304 gag and the googly eyes sequence were also gold.

  5. Oh, I missed him saying that one little bit. Let me correct that.

  6. @Head Geek Furious -

    I completely agree with you, and that's what shows how genius the minds behind this series are. Shirley is usually the least interesting character, so I think what the writers are doing is pretty spectacular. She really seems like the odd one out in the study group at this point, even more than Pierce, and she's coming to realize that. The writers should explore this more over the course of the season...

  7. Episode was almost as good as that time Eartha Kitt banged me in an airplane bathroom lol .

    Brilliant episode !! Chris Mckenna is by far my favourite Community writer .

  8. Community just did in 21 minutes what Fringe has not been able to do in 4 episodes....actually showed very, very, very well what a different timeline can be if one thing is changed...BRAVO! I love Community for being this smart and this awesome...and it was so well done that it was easy to follow...whereas Fringe I am scratching my head and trying to follow all the on the nose clunky dialogue and expostion...lol. I laughed at everyting from Abed knowing how to get Jeff to stay at the party, to evil Abed, to pierce getting shot, to everything! hehehe

  9. COMMUNITY is the show where the writers are consistently showing off and making other writers look like chumps.

  10. One of the things that makes this show the best on TV is the non-verbal acting. I don't know right now if the genius of the acting sets up the genius of the writing or visa versa.

    My favorite moment: Before Troy gets the pizza, he says he wants to be quick so he doesn't miss anything. In the few minutes he's gone, everything goes wrong, in a hilarious Rube Goldberg device of pain that was set up hilariously by the previous timelines. The expression on Troy's face is one of my favorite Troy faces the entire episode (favorite being the "cartoon crossover" face).

    And seriously, folks, Chevy is funny on this show. Downright hilarious. Maybe those of you who don't agree buy too much into the character. But, don't remember which segment it is, the face he makes right after Troy pisses him off is absolutely great comic acting. We know what he's going to do, he knows what he's going to do, and the face shows absolutely how much he's going to enjoy the upcoming pain.

    I'd love to go through each episode and point out the non verbal acting that adds so much. The stuff that might get unnoticed. I think I could write 3 pages of Chang alone.

  11. Oops, I spot an error in my post!

  12. I think Chevy can be funny, sure... but sometimes they hammer that asshole character nail into us so much that it is difficult to laugh at or with him.

    Plus, the man is pure evil in real life. :)

  13. Vader's My Little Pony PillowOctober 15, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I've watched it 10 times and it gets better every time. At first I thought it was one of the best episodes but now I am convinced it is the best.

  14. I just read your exchange with Dan Harmon on twitter and wanted to say that I laughed through the WHOLE EPISODE!!!

  15. No doubt, this episode is funny as a milffuck (that's pretty darn good in my vocabulary).

  16. You must feel lucky to have him read your article! I would melt if he even tweeted me calling me an asshole.....

  17. I am honored he took the time to check it out. He is a top 3 showrunner and a creative genius! Everything he does is ahead of the curve... which also means it isn't always (or ever) appreciated by the masses.

    But then once it becomes mainstream, it probably stops being edgy, epic, and/or genius.

    If I was the hoping/praying kind, I would be on my knees asking God to give COMMUNITY 4 full seasons.

  18. Ryan Schwartz sucks!October 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Oh shit.... Ryan ruined Dan's day.

  19. There, there, let's not kill Ryan. He thought the episode was great.

    Oh and I should note that this episode is technically 3.03. Last week's episode was 3.04. Good to know when you watch them back to back.

  20. Hey, look! I have a fan! Thanks 'Ryan Schwartz sucks!' I love the exclamation mark. Really drives home what you said there...

    As Head Geek said, I don't think Dan saw past my first comment. It's all just a misunderstanding. It's a shame he thinks that I disliked the episode though...

  21. Plus, all anyone would have to do is click on your name, go to your blog, and read your review of the episode to know how you feel about it.

  22. Yeah wow I'm just impressed that Dan Harmon read your blog! Very cool.

    Add me to the list of people who thought "Remedial Chaos Theory" was great. And I DID laugh, a lot. Not everyone is a "laugh out loud" type of person though. My husband tends to only laugh out loud (at any t.v. show or movie) when something over-the-top ridiculous happens. Where as I will sit there and laugh my ass off at something even if I'm all by myself.

  23. I think that Chevy just makes a great villian...I mean on Chuck he was awesome and in the second season of community he was magnificent...especially on the dungeons and dragons episode. I think in real life critics have said that he can be difficult....and people also like to have a good hate on him...I mean I watched his roast at the Friers Club in New York City and that was just fucking insanely offensive and fucking cruel. It was funny but you could tell that other roasts are not this bad...but people just enjoy taking a dig at him. I think community had to make someone else the outsider this season, it is only fair...I mean making Chevy's character the villian again would be too much and a little unfair...but saying that this episode had the first Pierce being an ass and rude and insensitive and the episode was awesome!...so it may take a little time to adjust to a new enemy within.....but Chevy served a great purpose last season and we should be thankful for that. Read Sepinwalls reviews and even he lost the plot a little on how he could not stand Pierce...great actor...great villian...great performance.

  24. I think the great part of this episode and the season so far is that they are setting up a huge Jeff arc. This episode more then the previous 2 have put the premier into great perspective...Jeff may only sort of see it but if he does not stop keeping an ironic distance and making fun of everything while being emotionally constipated...then he will be or will end up being like Pierce!

  25. definitely top 5 episode. maybe top 3. and that's because every top episode can't be judged by the same criteria to each other because they're so different. makes sense? :)

    on a different note, wouldn't you and everyone agree that the show would be at least as funny, less annoying and smoother if Britta was gone? or killed off?

    gawd. her character is so annoying and useless. could it possibly be Britta's writing or Gillian Jacobs' acting? i'm sorry for ranting on such an awesome episode. you are god, Head Geek Furious.

    -dude who found his car

  26. She calls Jeff out on his crap and although annoying...you would miss it a lot. She may not be totally funny but she does give a lot of emotional wieght to the stories that explore character growth. I mean in this episode she noticed that Jeff likes to keep his life private and compartimentalised...that is a great insight...it also explains some of the timelines...why Jeff kept shutting her up from singing and how Jeff is unable to open up and dance and sing like the rest of them when he has to get the pizza. Britta does have heart and that is always good to have. Pierce and Jeff are like the same...insensitive and damaged, Abed is awesome and lives in his own pop culture world, Troy is trying to grow up and understand what it needs to be a man, Annie is wound tight trying to plan and control everything in her life and shirley is shirley....these characters all have their purposes...even Britta!

  27. I have to say this was probably my favorite episode since the premiere. Although, to add to the discussion above about like/dislike etc. I had the interesting opportunity to watch this episode with a friend who hadn't really watched the show before and isn't a devoted fan. She definitely didn't appreciate the humor of the multiple timeline thing as much as I did, so it was interesting to see someone else's less enthusiastic reaction to something I thought was really genius. Also @Jenny agree on your thoughts about Britta, if she weren't there she'd be missed, even when she's annoying I still enjoy having her around. Plus, I think there caricature of her as the crazy liberal is pretty damn funny.

  28. Great, now Dan Harmon will never read my blog again. You are fired!

  29. What? I complimented his genius lol. My friend just didn't appreciate it as much, mostly cause she hadn't watched many episodes before. Are you referring to my comment about Britta? Because I do enjoy her as a character, even if her craziness is a bit overblown at times. But you have to admit she's a bit of a caricature, admittedly though they use her in the correct way for humor.