COMMUNITY Recap: ‘Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts’ - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

COMMUNITY Recap: ‘Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts’

April 29, 2011 by  

This week on COMMUNITY marked a landmark for one our characters, and the resolution of a many-episode mystery: the birth of Shirley’s child, and the revelation of whether the father of the baby is Shirley’s reconciled husband Andre (guest star Malcolm Jamal-Warner), or their former Spanish teacher Chang. It was a really sweet episode overall, and it shined a light on the different plots and character development strings they’ve been tugging at for the better part of the season.

The episode starts with the “final exam” of the group’s Anthropology class, which consisted mainly of drinking, merriment, and Annie’s indignancy at being the only one who actually studied for the exam.

Dean Pelton arrives with a reporter for Dean Magazine (a magazine for deans and about deans) in tow, trying to prove that Greendale is the best a school can be. So, obviously, the whole thing goes awry very, very quickly. Shirley realizes that the indigestion she’s been experiencing all morning has actually been contractions, and she goes into labor, her water breaking all over the classroom. As one of their classmates says, “We came so close to having a class that wasn’t all about them.” “Yeah, but remember when they went on that fishing trip for St. Patty’s day? That was a good one.”

Britta, sensing a way to sneak in as the hero, immediately turns into a backseat birther, searching her head for every little piece of birth trivia she probably heard from the other shoppers at her local Trader Joes, all the while she gamely tries not to show how much it all disgusts her.

In their corner, Troy and Abed are getting played by Pierce, who has decided to “buy the rights” to their signature handshake. They agree (a grand is a grand), but soon realize just how nefarious his intentions are. Once they’ve sold it to him, it’s not as special to them anymore; he’s ruined it! Is this the worst thing Pierce has ever done to our study group? Not by a long shot, but it still hurts.

Abed soon becomes distracted by other things, however, like the fact that Shirley can’t get to the hospital due to the race riot that broke out over Greendale National Foods Day, and now he’s the only one in the room (aside from Shirley, who has two kids) who actually has experience delivering a baby — he spent an entire episode earlier this season in the background doing just that. So when Britta takes a peak at Shirley’s cervix and subsequently vomits in the nearest trashcan, Abed steps in to save the day.

Shirley, being the devout Christian woman that she is, however, finds that there is a conflict of genitals and doesn’t want Abed “down there,” so they best find someone else he can coach through the delivery. That leaves the only two women in the room Shirley actually knows — and Annie gets green in the gills just thinking about it. The group takes turns trying to calm her (Dean Pelton’s attempt is by far the funniest, as it is completely unexpected and wildly uncomfortable), but surprisingly the only person actually effective at it is Chang, who tells Shirley the stories of all the other Chang babies with horrific birth stories.

In another corner of the study room, Jeff gives Britta a much-needed pep talk, and one that I think sums up her character in this episode (and the series) pretty much to a T: “Britta, there is something in you that wants to take care of people so hard that you’ll do it ‘till you puke. That’s what Shirley needs right now.”

There’s an interesting new dimension to these characters now that we know they’ve been boinking all season. There’s no question that they care about each other, in much the same way that everyone in the group (except Pierce) has always cared about each other, but the added level of tenderness hidden under the thin layer of disgust they have for each other is surprisingly endearing. Somehow, Jeff gives Britta the strength to step in for Abed and help deliver Shirley’s baby. Luckily for her, “at this point the bus pretty much drives itself.” And I’ve gotta say, Gillian Jabobs has been BRINGING IT lately.

Shirley’s baby is out in the world, and the father is….Andre! You can tell by his lustrous dark skin and the fact that he doesn’t have a tail. Didn’t you know, all Chang babies are born with tails?

Still, Shirley takes to heart how much Chang helped her get through labor, and decides to name the baby after the baby’s could-have-been-father, Ben Chang.

Let’s all take a moment to welcome into the world….Ben Bennett! His power is so great that he brings back the magic of Troy and Abed’s handshake!

I’ll leave you with this quote from Jeff and Britta at the end of the episode:

Jeff: “Can you believe that’s how we come into this world? Screaming, crying, and covered in crap? And then somewhere along the way we get it into our heads that we’re destined for greatness.”
Britta: “We are! I just pulled a little dude out of my friend!”

What did you think of this week’s episode of COMMUNITY?

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