Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples

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"Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples"
Community episode
Community S02E05 - Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples.jpg
Shirley in the cafeteria, where Abed is filming his movie.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 5
Directed by Tristram Shapeero
Written by Andrew Guest
Production code 205
Original air date October 21, 2010 (2010-10-21)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" is the fifth episode of the second season of the American comedy television series Community, and the 30th episode of the series overall. It aired in the United States on NBC on October 21, 2010.[1] The episode's plot surrounds a religious film created by Greendale Community College student Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi).


The episode begins with Ian Duncan incompetently pretending to teach anthropology by showing viral videos from YouTube. The students suggest other videos to watch, until Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) brings the class down by asking what videos can be found by searching for "God". The results of the search are, not surprisingly, disrespectful, and she decides to ask Abed to make a viral video promoting a Christian message, but he's not interested. Meanwhile, Pierce (Chevy Chase) grows tired of being mocked by his younger friends, and starts hanging out with a bunch of elderly scofflaws called the "Hipsters", named for the fact that they've all had hip replacements.

Abed finds Shirley in the library, and tells her he's read the entire New Testament. Abed finds himself drawn to the story, but he wants to approach it in a new way -- a "Jesus movie for the post-post-modern world". Unfortunately for Shirley and Jesus, Abed's idea is an impenetrable story about a filmmaker exploring Jesus, a story that involves the filmmaker realizing that he is in some way Jesus. Abed's film is entitled ABED. Shirley is not impressed, and she disassociates herself from the project.

The Hipsters are betting on poker while drinking liquor; Leonard advises Pierce to pretend that they're playing bingo if they're caught. Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) walks in and Pierce convinces him to leave them in peace by pretending to be befuddled due to age with another group member explaining that "poker helps [Pierce] remember". Pierce's ruse earns him the respect of his peers, presenting a contrast to how the study group views him. Shirley continues in her mission, convincing her fellows from the study group to participate in her video, but they are interrupted by Abed, who has convinced the student body that they are part of something important. Out on the lawn the students are all gathered around Abed as he continues filming his epic.

Shirley overhears other Greendale students discussing the film -- speculating that some theaters are going to show the film in reverse, and that the film consists of the "deleted scenes" while the deleted scenes constitute the actual film. The students rush to join when they discover that Abed is answering questions about the film in the cafeteria. When Shirley protests, the other students accuse her of being a Pharisee, and she runs off.

Troy alerts the rest of the study group to Pierce's late-night shenanigans with the Hipsters. Pierce and Leonard are drinking out of paper bags when Dean Pelton emerges from his Prius with Shirley -- leaving his keys behind. Pierce is talked into a drunken joyride in the dean's car with the other Hipsters. Shirley and the dean unveil an official complaint stopping production of the film on the grounds of separation of church and state. The Hipsters crash at extremely low speed into a light pole due to one of their members' sudden genuine confusion. Pierce stays with his fellow, as the other Hipsters run off.

Abed realizes in post-production that his film is a "self-indulgent, adolescent mess" which will ensure that he never has a real career. He prays to God to save him from himself, and Shirley overhears. She destroys the equipment with a baseball bat, ensuring that Abed's film will never be seen.

Jeff, after being called by the hospital, comes to collect Pierce. He asks the hospital staff to treat Britta (Gillian Jacobs) as Pierce's primary contact, however, and asks that they call her every week at night. In anthropology class again, Abed convinces the professor to show the film Shirley had imagined, which he had unbeknownst to her completed -- a video of Troy rapping about the Gospels.

Cultural references[edit]

Director and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman is mentioned more than once in the episode.[2][3] The dialogue between Abed and Shirley about film within a film resembles Kaufman's film Synecdoche, New York.


Around 4.46 million Americans watched "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples".[4]

Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club rated the episode A, citing the fact that the show's structure creates believable opportunities for people with different beliefs to interact and engage with one another. He also focuses approvingly on the fact that Shirley and Pierce, unlikely comedic heroes, are given the reins in this particular episode.[5]


External links[edit]