Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy

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"Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy"
Community episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 18
Directed by Anthony Russo
Written by Andy Bobrow
Production code 217
Original air date March 17, 2011 (2011-03-17)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Intro to Political Science"
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"Critical Film Studies"
List of Community episodes

"Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" is the 18th episode of the second season of the American comedy television series Community, and the 43rd episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on NBC on March 17, 2011.[1] The episode focuses on Shirley's pregnancy, while Abed and Troy make friends with a student from the Balkans.


The study group is throwing Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) a baby shower in their usual meeting room in the library. Annie (Alison Brie) got Shirley's child two gifts. It's not clear whether the father is Shirley's formerly separated husband Andre (Malcolm-Jamal Warner) or Ben Chang (Ken Jeong), and so, wanting to "cover all ethnic bases", Annie gives Shirley a doll representing an African-American girl, and a note from the manufacturer promising to increase the racial diversity of their selection. Chang appears disappointed when Shirley and Andre state emphatically that, whoever the baby's biological father is, Shirley and Andre will raise the baby as their own.

Britta (Gillian Jacobs) asks Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) who the cute boy was that she had seen hanging out with them. They tell him he's their new friend, Luka (Enver Gjokaj), and that he's a lot of fun -- and thus she is forbidden from pursuing him, as they don't want another friend "ruined" by Britta divulging his secrets. Britta does not comply, and makes an excuse to stop by as Luka is playing video games with his friends. She easily convinces him to see her later, over Troy and Abed's loud groans.

Shirley asks Jeff (Joel McHale) to help talk Chang into signing a document forfeiting his parental rights, in case he is the biological father. Jeff tries to get out of it by arguing that Chang won't really try to act as the child's father, but Shirley points out that Chang is rather unpredictable, and points down the hall at him, where he is spinning around in a circle, seemingly trying to attack his own backpack. Jeff sighs and promises to try to get Chang to sign the document, for the sake of the child.

Britta and Luka are making out when she suddenly asks him to keep their liaison a secret. He promises, and alludes to his life in the Balkans and things he doesn't like to talk about. Britta realizes he must have seen war and genocide, and tells her that he can talk with her about anything. Luka begins to describe the horrible violence and atrocities he witnessed -- and says that he desperately misses cleansing his country of the "unclean people". Britta is horrified but can't figure out a way to tell Troy and Abed that their new friend is a war criminal without being guilty of "ruining" another friend of theirs just like they predicted.

Jeff arrives home to find Chang, whom he'd grudgingly agreed to stay with him temporarily, sawing off the legs of his coffee table rather than looking for a job. Jeff gives him the document and Chang starts to cry. Jeff realizes that he can use this to his advantage, and encourages Chang to get a job and an apartment -- saying that Shirley will allow Chang to be a part of the baby's life if he seems like a responsible adult. The next day Chang shows up with a pipe trying to mimic being responsible. His behavior remains erratic and inexplicable -- for instance, he installs aluminum siding on a pool table in the cafeteria.

Abed and Troy are playing video games with Luka again, who shows them that in the game they're playing, they can get extra points for killing innocent villagers. Britta walks in and tries to make an excuse to talk to them but is horrified at Luka's evident glee at slaughtering innocents, even though this time they're only video game characters. As she leaves she hatches a plan to steal one of their DVDs, in an attempt to frame Luka. But Abed and Troy have video footage of her taking the disc, and they demand to know why she's attempting to ruin another friend of theirs. By way of explanation, she bursts out with the news that Luka is a war criminal -- which Troy and Abed don't believe.

Jeff comes home to find Chang with two young black boys, teaching them Spanish (badly). He tells Jeff that they're Shirley's sons, and that he picked them up after school to prove that he could be a responsible father. Jeff tells him he's a kidnapper and insists that Chang call Shirley to beg forgiveness while he takes the kids home. The boys, however, tell Chang that their mom isn't named Shirley. Jeff tells Chang to get out as he leaves to take the kids home -- but as soon as he's gone, Chang calls the cops to report a kidnapping. Jeff manages to get out of trouble quickly, though -- Shirley had persuaded the boys' actual mother not to press charges. They see Chang being arrested -- apparently the boys' mom is pressing charges against Chang. Jeff tells her that Chang could get three to five years on a child endangerment charge, and that instead, using the fact that Chang had attempted to teach the boys Spanish, they could put him away for twenty years for child trafficking. Andre talks Shirley and Jeff out of their plan, though, showing sympathy for Chang.

Troy and Abed come up to Britta and reveal that they believed her enough to ask Luka questions about his past. They apologize for doubting her and tell her not to conceal anything like this in the future.


"Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy" was the third episode of the show written by Andy Bobrow and one of many directed by Anthony Russo. It was the only episode in which Enver Gjokaj guest-starred, and the second of several featuring Malcolm-Jamal Warner.


Around 4.15 million Americans watched "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy".[2]

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club rated the episode A-, calling the end of the A storyline somewhat weak, while praising the B storyline involving Britta and Luka.[3] TV Fanatic's Matt Richenthal rated the show 4 out of 5, calling it "great stuff all around" and praising Yvette Nicole Brown's comedy chops, while opining that she hasn't gotten enough camera time previously during the season.[4]


  1. ^ "Community Episode Guide - Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy". NBC. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ Gorman, Bill (March 18, 2011). "Thursday Final Ratings: "American Idol," "Wipeout" Adjusted Up; "Bones" Adjusted Down, Plus CBS NCAA Basketball Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (March 17, 2011). "Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy". The A.V. Clu. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Richenthal, Matt (March 18, 2011). "Community Review: A Battle for Our Affections". TV Fanatic. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 

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