Advanced Documentary Filmmaking

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"Advanced Documentary Filmmaking"
Community episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 6
Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar
Written by Hunter Covington
Production code 408
Original air date March 14, 2013 (2013-03-14)
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"Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of the NBC sitcom Community, which originally aired on March 14, 2013. The episode was written by Hunter Covington, and directed by Jay Chandrasekhar. In this episode, Abed makes a documentary about Changnesia in order to receive a grant, with Jeff attempting to prove Chang is faking his disease.


Abed is making a documentary for Greendale about Chang in order to secure a $40,000 grant from the MacGuffin Neurological Institute to study Changnesia.

Dr. Ken Kedan (Marc Jablon) is studying the rare disease citing that it affects the memory, but not the ability to make forced puns. Dean Craig Pelton (Deanologist) recounts his history with Chang, from his hiring as a Spanish teacher up to the overthrow of season three. Britta posits a theory that the current Kevin Chang is the real Chang and the power-crazy Benjamin Chang was the alter-ego and a hit on the head reverted Chang back to Kevin. She is quickly refuted by Dr. Kedan who is being interviewed alongside her and asserts that only a hit on the head can cure Chang if a hit on the head is what led to the initial ailment.

As Jeff asks Shirley to help him debunk the Changnesia documentary, he finds out that Chang has been hired by Shirley's Sandwiches. After being chided by Shirley about second chances, Jeff outwardly complies with the group in order to continue to secretly undermine the documentary. Britta interviews Shirley where it's revealed that Shirley was dead for three minutes at some point in her life.

Troy and Annie team up and call themselves Partner & Hoolihan, respectively. Troy and Annie, along with their cameraman, Garrett Lambert (Erik Charles Nielsen), interrogate a trout fisherman, Sully Sullivan (Mike Hagerty) who confesses to using Chang as unpaid labour for three months after seeing Chang come out of a trout tank.

Jeff is reviewing Britta's footage, which Abed says goes on for 12 hours and is mostly garbage. As they fast-forward through the footage they see Chang dialing a number and hanging up.

At the presentation in front of the institute, Annie believes Jeff will uncover the human trafficking, but to her surprise and everyone else's, presents Alessandra Chang (Andrea De Oliveira), Chang's wife. The owner of the phone number Chang had been filmed calling and hanging up on numerous times. This doesn't phase Chang and in order to elicit a reaction, Jeff kisses Alessandra. After seeing the opposition displayed by Jeff, Lorraine (Lisa Long) of the MacGuffin Neurological Institute grants the funds to the college.

Jeff ends up being ostracized from the group, but is welcomed back first by Chang who reminds Jeff of his former life and starting anew. The study group, along with the Dean and Chang, watch the completed documentary and after his apology, forgive Jeff for his undertaking.

In the tag, Chang calls someone to report that they bought it, "hook, line and Winger." Chang then throws his phone into a trash can, only to realize that was an idiotic move, which leads to him retrieving it before laughing as he walks down the hallway.


  • Chang, through the use of a mirror, estimates his current age to be 15 years old.
  • Jeff tells the group that the History of Ice Cream class has suffered another heart attack, which now only requires three more before the group can take their spots in the coveted class. The class was first mentioned in "History 101".
  • After Sullivan shouts out to his dog, Kevin, to keep quiet, Troy realises that he was named after a goldfish and dog.

Cultural references[edit]

The institute is named for the plot device known as a MacGuffin.

Abed compares the endurance of reviewing the useless footage filmed by Britta to The Tree of Life

The Dean tells Abed that the documentary needs "to be the Hoop Dreams of things people care about".


The episode opens with a title card for an A. G. Nadir Documentary Film, "Changnesia" describing it as:

Chang-ne-sia [chang-'n-zhuh]
Noun | Origin: Greek/Chinese
1. The complete and sudden loss of memory caused by a sudden trauma that was, itself, also forgotten.
2. See also: "Kevin's Disease".

The episode was written by new series writer and co-producer Hunter Covington, his first writing credit for the series. It was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, who directed four episodes previously for the series. Although aired as episode six, it was the eighth episode produced.[1]

This is the third "Documentary Filmmaking" episode of the series, following season two's "Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking" and season three's "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux".


The episode was initially seen by approximately 2.58 million viewers.[2]

It was met with mixed reviews with Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club rating the episode a B, saying, "[...] at every turn, it reminds me that it doesn’t particularly care to [make a fresh start], and that the past makes a warm, if smothering, blanket."[3] Eric Goldman of IGN gave the episode an 8.8, praising Ken Jeong's performance as Chang and that "It was the first episode this season that felt 100% "natural," if that’s the right word."[4]


  1. ^ "Behind the Scenes: Advanced Documentary Filmmaking". NBC. March 15, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (March 15, 2013). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory', 'American Idol' & 'Community' Adjusted Up; 'Elementary' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (March 14, 2013). ""Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" S4 / E6". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ Goldman, Eric (14 March 2013). "Community: "Advanced Documentary Filmmaking" Review - "Grant granted!"". IGN. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 

External links[edit]