|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Joe Russo|
|Written by||Dan Harmon|
|Original air date||September 24, 2009|
Jeff (Joel McHale) is late to the group's study session, and the rest of the group is irritated, but only Britta (Gillian Jacobs) is willing to say anything to him. She berates the rest of the study group for not having enough self-respect to speak up, and then mentions the plight of Guatemalan journalists, repressed by their own government. Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie (Alison Brie) are horrified at what Britta describes, but their discussion is interrupted by Jeff's arrival. He greets everyone, charming each of them, except for Britta, who tries to address his tardiness while the rest of the group shouts her down.
Jeff gives Britta a card to apologize for the bad first impression he made two weeks earlier, but Britta remains wary of his advances, citing her "douche-ray vision" and criticizing him for exploiting the other, more naive members of the study group. After she brushes Jeff off, Shirley and Annie catch her and ask for more information about Guatemala. Britta mentions a journalist named Chacata Panecos who had been murdered by his government. Shirley and Annie plan a protest, featuring a candlelight vigil and brownies.
Their Spanish instructor, Ben Chang (Ken Jeong) declares himself a "Spanish genius", nicknamed "el tigre chino". He assigns the students short conversations, paired up randomly. Jeff attempts to switch partners in order to be paired with Britta, trading his shirt to Abed (Danny Pudi) in order to switch partner assignments with him. However, Britta, apparently foreseeing this, also switches partners, and Jeff finds himself assigned to work with Pierce (Chevy Chase).
Unfortunately for Jeff, Pierce is as thrilled to be working with him as Jeff would have been to work with Britta. Pierce pours scotch and insists on socializing rather than just writing a script for their conversation. Meanwhile Britta is horrified at the protest that Shirley and Annie have organized, calling it "tacky and lame". Shirley accuses Britta of using fringe politics to make herself look good without doing anything. Britta apologizes and asks to help them, and Annie offers to let her hang the Chacata Panecos piñata. Pierce continues trying to force Jeff into writing an incredibly overcomplicated Spanish presentation, until Jeff stalks off to join the protest, joining Britta. A few minutes later, Pierce shows up, drunkingly ranting at Jeff before inadvertently lighting himself on fire off of a protester's candle.
The next morning in Spanish class, Shirley and Annie are thrilled that the newspaper covered their protest (although the article was primarily about Pierce's injuries). They join Jeff and Britta in discussing Pierce, but Britta's discussion of Pierce's loneliness perhaps hits Jeff a bit close to home, and Jeff decides at the last minute to join Pierce in performing their overly elaborate presentation rather than bailing—perhaps out of pity for Pierce, or perhaps in order to look good for Britta. Their embarrassing presentation, featuring multiple costume changes, props, Silly String, dance sequences, the flags of Israel and Palestine, and expressions of open horror on the faces of the students watching them, earns them the grades of F and F-. Abed is the only person who applauds, but after class, Britta admires Jeff's selflessness—although she tells him that no woman in the class will ever be able to see him in a sexual context ever again.
"Spanish 101" introduced regular character Ben Chang and the repeated background character "Starburns".
This episode introduced the first Community end tag, a short vignette appearing at the end of the episode during the credits that usually involves a small segment unrelated, or at most tangentially related, to the overall episode plot. This episode ended with a "Spanish rap" between Troy and Abed, often credited for beginning the on-screen chemistry that led to recurring plots involving the two characters together.
Dónde está la biblioteca. Me llamo T-Bone. La araña discoteca.
Discoteca, muñeca, la biblioteca. Es en bigote grande, perro, manteca.
Manteca, bigote, gigante, pequeño. Cabeza es nieve, cerveza es bueno.
Buenos días, me gusta papas frías, los bigotes de la cabra es Cameron Diaz.
Yea boi. Boi. Yea. What. It’s 2009. Word.
Around 5.39 million Americans watched "Spanish 101".
Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club rated the episode A-, saying that he laughed out loud several times and conjecturing that the show had a good future ahead of it. He approved of the ensemble nature of the episode.
- Wise Up by Aimee Mann
- Daylight by Matt and Kim
- "Community Creator Dan Harmon Explains the Genesis of Every Reference on Last Night’s Episode". September 24, 2010.
- Seidman, Robert (September 25, 2009). "Thursday broadcast finals, plus quarter hour detail for FlashForward". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (September 25, 2009). "Spanish 101". The A.V. Club.