Abed and Shirley in a bar.
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Jay Chandrasekhar|
|Written by||Andy Bobrow|
|Original air date||December 2, 2010|
In the episode, the study group celebrates Troy's 21st birthday, the legal age, at a bar. Jeff and Britta try to guide Troy into the new phase of his life. However, the night out slowly becomes silly and depressing due to alcohol, and Troy is forced to become the adult for the night.
After realizing that tomorrow is Troy's 21st (and not his 20th) birthday, Troy (Donald Glover) and the group decide to celebrate at a bar. Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) argue about which bars are cool, but settle on one called The Ballroom. Britta gives Annie (Alison Brie), who is underage, a fake ID in the name of Caroline Decker from Corpus Christi, Texas. Paranoid about being caught, Annie memorizes Caroline's personal information and effects a Southern American accent.
At the bar, it quickly becomes apparent that Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) is an old regular of The Ballroom. The bar has numerous photos of her completely drunk pasted on the walls among those of other regulars. She spends the night nervously trying to take the photos down before anyone in the group sees them. Pierce (Chevy Chase) arrives on his own in his wheelchair, but gets stuck at the door and grumpily refuses any help.
Troy is excited to learn about drinking from the "adults." Jeff and Britta continue to argue, now about what would be cool as Troy's first legal drink. Annie stays in character as Caroline, whom she imagines to be a drifter and free spirit, and tells the bartender about her "friend" Annie, who plans everything out in her life but doesn't even know who she is. Abed (Danny Pudi) meets a fellow science fiction geek, Robert (Paul F. Tompkins), who buys him a drink but is quickly overwhelmed by Abed's passion for science fiction. Robert finally asks Abed outright if he would like to have sex. Abed declines and confesses that he understood Robert's intentions for some time but just wanted to talk about science fiction, and Robert leaves in disgust.
Britta finds one of the photos of Shirley, and she and Jeff and Troy make fun of her. Shirley confesses to having had "a few bad years" and leaves in shame but grudgingly helps Pierce, who is still blocking the door.
Troy orders his first drink on his own, ignoring Jeff and Britta's advice that his choice, a 7 and 7, is uncool. Then he notices Annie flush with (alcohol-induced) self-doubt, Abed moping about his exchange with Robert, and Jeff and Britta still arguing (but now drunkenly). He abandons his drink and responsibly drives the group home in Jeff's car (which he's wanted to drive for some time). Britta and Jeff gradually realize that the places they had been arguing about are actually the same bar, which makes Troy angry, as he had been looking to his older friends for life advice and now realizes they're just as clueless as he is.
As he drops Annie off, Troy movingly gives her a self-assuring talk. When he returns, Abed tattles on Jeff and Britta for making out, and Troy chides him like a parent. Jeff is proud of Troy for his sensible decision making throughout the evening and reminds him that he is now truly a man.
The epilogue shows Abed helping Troy into 157 T-shirts at once.
The episode was written by Andy Bobrow, his second writing credit of the show. It was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar, his first directing credit of the series.
"Mixology Certification" was a departure from the usual array of pop culture references. Among the real world topics the episode touched on was Troy's Jehovah's Witness faith which forbids birthday celebrations. Instead, Abed and Annie buy a cake which reads: "Hello during a random dessert. The month and day of which coincide numerically with your expulsion from a uterus" to avoid mentioning "birthday". Annie researches Troy's Chinese zodiac and thinks he is a Horse (1990), even though he insists he is a Snake (1989). At the bar, Abed plays the Asteroids arcade game. He spends the evening chatting with another guy at the bar about the 1984 film The Last Starfighter and the 1999 TV series Farscape. For his first alcoholic beverage upon reaching the legal drinking age, Troy orders a 7 and 7.
The episode received positive reviews from critics.
Kelsea Stahler of Hollywood.com wrote that the episode gave viewers "something a little more meaningful". She added, "Normally, I'd be annoyed about a sitcom trying to teach me something about life, but Community has such a humble, but authoritative way of teaching us as viewers that I can't help but appreciate." Alan Sepinwall of HitFix called the episode "dark but surprisingly sweet." Todd VanDerWerff said it was one of his favorite episodes, though he "expect[s] lots of people to just hate it because of how thoroughly it wears its heart on its sleeve." He gave the episode an A of an A to F scale. In a tv.com ranking of every episode, they placed the episode second overall. They cited its bittersweet emotional beats, and for being just a basic sitcom premise, something becoming increasingly rare in the show. The author, Cory Barker, said that it was his personal favorite episode of the series.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick called the episode "average" and gave it a 2.5/5 rating.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (December 2, 2010). "Mixology Certification". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Kirkpatrick, Jeffrey (December 3, 2010). "Community Review: "Mixology Certification"". TV Fanatic. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Stahler, Kelsea (December 3, 2010). "'Community' Recap: Mixology Certification". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Gorman, Bill (December 3, 2010). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Private Practice,' 'Bones,' 'Nikita' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- Sepinwall, Alan (December 2, 2010). "'Community' - 'Mixology Certification': You're the man now, shaggy dog story!". HitFix. Retrieved June 25, 2011.