Anthropology 101

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"Anthropology 101"
Community episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 1
Directed by Joe Russo
Written by Chris McKenna
Production code 201
Original air date September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23)
Guest actors
  • Betty White as June Bauer
  • Dino Stamatopoulos as Starburns
  • Richard Erdman as Leonard
  • Abigail Marlowe as Britta fan
  • Sara Van Horn as Cafeteria server
  • Angela Malhotra as Female student
  • Kelsey Gunn as Student
  • Angela Trimbur as Student
  • Ken Schumaker as George Clooney impersonator
Episode chronology
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"Pascal's Triangle Revisited"
Next →
"Accounting for Lawyers"
List of Community episodes

"Anthropology 101" is the second season premiere of the American television series Community. It was originally broadcast on September 23, 2010 on NBC.

In the episode, the study group attend their first series of classes in Anthropology 101, the course which they had decided to take together for the new semester. The episode also picks up on the storyline that began in the season one finale involving a love triangle between Jeff, Britta and Annie. Jeff and Britta begin what is seemingly a passionate relationship, but the revelation that Jeff got involved with Annie at the end of the previous year disgusts the group. Each member begins taking out their frustrations on each other. With the group on the verge of breaking up, it's up to Jeff to bring them to reconciliation.

The episode was written by Chris McKenna and directed by Joe Russo. It received positive critical reviews.

Plot[edit]

It's the first day of classes in the new school year. Britta (Gillian Jacobs) returns from summer still embarrassed after she confessed her love for Jeff (Joel McHale) in public at the end of the previous semester only for him to walk out on her. Troy (Donald Glover) has been staying with Pierce (Chevy Chase) since the beginning of summer and has been posting offensive comments made by Pierce on a Twitter account, @oldwhitemansays, which is a hit among other students.

The group meet up in the library, where Britta confesses to them that she only "opened her heart" to Jeff to get one over his ex-girlfriend. However, she soon becomes popular with the female community at Greendale, for being "fearless", while Jeff becomes the villain. Meanwhile, Annie continues to flirt with Jeff, following their kiss at the end of last year. Jeff outright rejects her advances, calling the kiss a mistake and implies the age difference between the two of them is troubling for him.

The group go for the first lesson in Anthropology 101, where they find Chang (Ken Jeong) also enrolled. Their teacher is Professor June Bauer (Betty White), an eccentric old woman who shoots Starburns' (Dino Stamatopoulos) face with a blowgun and drinks her own urine. The class' first assignment is to explain which among nine tools is the most important to humanity's survival.

After an encounter in the cafeteria where Britta, cheered on by everyone else, humiliates him, Jeff decides to inflict the same dilemma on Britta. In Anthropology class, he tells Britta he loves her. Much to his surprise, Britta responds positively, which delights everyone except Annie. They then begin outlandish public displays of affection, trying to upstage each other at every opportunity. They even get engaged at the behest of Abed (Danny Pudi), who is disappointed at the lack of drama in the episode and is trying to spice things up. He even prepares to stage a wedding with a band and a George Clooney impersonator to help should Jeff have cold feet.

Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), who is overjoyed that Jeff and Britta are finally "on the right track," then reveals to everyone that Jeff and Britta had sex in the library room during the paintball game last year ("Modern Warfare"). Annie breaks into a rage, punching Jeff in the nose and then revealing that Jeff kissed her after sleeping with Britta. The group then erupts with anger at Jeff. Britta finally relents in her game with Jeff and admits she never loved him, which sends him into jubilation. She then admonishes Annie over flirting with men she was previously with (Vaughn, then Jeff). Jeff reveals to Pierce that Troy has been posting his comments to Twitter, which annoys Pierce. Abed, upset at all the drama, "cancels" the episode and walks out. Jeff then knocks him for not being able to tell life from TV. Abed's rebuttal consists of him making it clear he is able to differentiate life from TV, and enjoys TV because it is predictable and has likable lead characters. Reality, he says, is the opposite: it is unpredictable, and you have characters like Jeff instead. This silences the group and they each leave.

In the next Anthropology class, Jeff answers Professor Bauer's question by saying that the most important tool is respect, and that the study group needs each other and should respect each other more. In response to this, Senor Chang shouts "Ha, gay!" Bauer then announces the correct answer – combining all nine tools to form a deadly weapon. She attacks Jeff with the weapon, quipping "use respect to defend yourself." Jeff is strangled by the weapon until he blacks out.

He wakes up in a hospital surrounded by the rest of the study group and they reconcile. Troy promises to close the Twitter account, though Pierce argues that the fact the account had 600,000 followers means there is money to be made there. Bauer is suspended after the incident. Chang shows up and asks if he can join the study group, but they ask for more time to think it over. In the final shot, Chang is shown arguing back and forth with himself in the study room, showcasing his insanity.

Continuity[edit]

Production[edit]

"Anthropology 101" was written by Chris McKenna, his third writing credit of the show. It was directed by Joe Russo, his ninth directing credit of the series. Due to the large number of storylines involved, coupled with the introduction of a high-profile guest star, the episode took a month to break.[1]

Creator Dan Harmon said anthropology was picked as the course the study group are taking because of its potential for story ideas while still having the academic rigor that could justify the group actually needing to study.[2] Another issue that needed to be resolved was Chang's role in the series. The writers decided to improvise when deciding whether or not Chang should join the study group. "He defines the perimeter of the campfire because he’s neither necessarily having a seat, nor is he a monster out in the dark, but he’s just sort of out there," said Harmon.[2] As for Jeff and Britta's dynamic after the season 1 finale cliffhanger, writer Emily Cutler suggested making their relationship entirely casual without making a fuss. Harmon said he thought the idea was "genius" as "many of you in the audience have been doing at various points in your lives, particularly the broken points, two of these people have been, in an ungodly middle finger to our fairytale perceptions of monogamy, using each other as sex toys."[2]

Betty White guest starred as June Bauer, the anthropology professor.[3] An unnamed singer hired by the production sang a parody of the song Linger by the Cranberries as part of the episode's failed wedding ceremony.[4]

According to Russo, the opening shot of the episode which cascaded across the bedrooms of the study group members cost $75,000. The extended set for the scene was too long for the studio and had to be broken up into two, with the two separate shots digitally reconciled.[1] The opening montage was originally set the song Campus by Vampire Weekend before being changed to Baby Fratelli by The Fratellis.[5]

Cultural references[edit]

Troy was shown in Spider-Man pajamas, in reference to the Twitter campaign that pushed for actor Donald Glover to be cast as Spider-Man in the latest installment of the series.[6] The group also discussed the 2010 summer hit Toy Story 3.[6] Harmon said, "I try not to date the show, but I felt like ten years from now Toy Story 3 was so good that it will be one of those movies that everyone saw and everyone cried at."[7]

Troy's Twitter account which quoted Pierce's offensive remarks, @oldwhitemansays, was a jab at CBS's sitcom $#*! My Dad Says which premiered on the same day the episode aired.[8] The account actually exists, and has 77,000 followers as of September 2012.[9]

In the episode, Jeff referred to the Twilight series as proof that "men are monsters who crave young flesh."[9] The song sung during Jeff and Britta's fake wedding is a reworking of "Linger" by The Cranberries.[10] The George Clooney impersonator made reference to the actor's role in the widely-panned Batman & Robin.[9]

The episode's end tag (during the closing credits) featured a rap collaboration between Troy, Abed and Professor June Bauer (Betty White) set to Toto's "Africa".[10] According to Harmon, "it just seemed appropriate because of her being [an] anthropology [professor]."[7]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

On its original American broadcast on September 23, 2010, the episode was viewed by an estimated 5.01 million viewers with a Nielsen rating of 2.2 in the 18–49 demographic.[11]

Reviews[edit]

The episode received positive reviews from critics.

Matt Riechenthal of TV Fanatic gave the episode a 4.8/5 rating, saying that the episode tackled complaints that season one focused too much of Jeff's love life and of the cliffhanger finale "by playing it up and mocking it to hilarious results."[9] Kelsea Stahler of Hollywood.com praised the episode for "[taking] the comedy high road, instead of taking the soupy soap opera route" and remarking "I’m glad this show is back."[8] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix said "'Community' opens season two in incredibly strong form, with an episode that turned the finale threads both good (Jeff/Annie kiss), bad (Britta/Jeff/Slater triangle) and uncertain (Pierce/Troy as roommates) to its advantage."[6] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club called the episode "a little cluttered" but still "a very, very funny episode of a very, very funny show."[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Russo, Joe (2011). Community: The Complete Second Season: "Anthropology 101" (Audio commentary DVD). Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 
  2. ^ a b c VanDerWerff, Todd (2011-06-07). "Dan Harmon walks us through Community’s second season". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Recap". TV Fanatic. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  4. ^ Dan Harmon. "Dan Harmon Twitter post about the episode". Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ http://twitter.com/#!/tvoti/status/190660557131612162
  6. ^ a b c Sepinwall, Alan (September 23, 2010). "'Community' - 'Anthropology 101': R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me". HitFix. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Adalian, Josef (September 24, 2010). "Community Creator Dan Harmon Explains the Genesis of Every Reference on Last Night’s Episode". New York. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Stahler, Kelsea (September 24, 2010). "'Community' Season Premiere Recap". Hollywood.com. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d Riechenthal, Matt (September 24, 2010). "Community Review: Meta-tastic!". TV Fanatic. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Wieselman, Jarett (September 24, 2011). "Betty White raps, The Cranberries linger on 'Community'". New York Post. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ Seidman, Robert (September 24, 2010). "TV Ratings Thursday: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Scores at 8pm; ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Tops Night With Young Adults; ‘My Generation’ Premiere Stalls". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  12. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (September 23, 2010). "Anthropology 101". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 

External links[edit]