Here’s what went down in last night’s “Curriculum Unavailable”: The study group collectively delved into a major theme of this season, Abed’s worrisome psychological well-being, through a series of clips that highlighted the whole group’s neuroses and Greendale’s role in all the craziness. It was essentially a clip show harking back to season 2’s praised “Paradigms of Human Memory” that also settled a dark issue (Abed’s sanity) and prepared for next week’s showdown with Chang. This meant many funny, enlightening montages and plenty of cultural references/nods (even for the newly renewed Community).
Clip Series 1: Abed’s Misadventures
After Abed is caught in his Inspector Spacetime costume inspecting the Greendale trash, he’s forced into therapy with Dr. Heidi (guest star John Hodgman); naturally, the rest of the gang comes along. Though they come to defend their friend, they acknowledge he’s had moments of strange behavior leading up his current “creepy-weird” state:
- Daylight saving time: Abed’s mind can’t accept this idea, as shown by his continuous shrieking while the clocks are changed
- Abed’s reaction to Shirley’s calling Brett Ratner “the new Spielberg” is not exactly normal
- He narrates people’s actions as they occur (like Pierce eating a tuna salad sandwich) and films them in their sleep (Annie’s bedroom, 4:30am)
Clip Series 2: “What You Call Insanity, We Call Solidarity”
Again in defense of Abed, the group recalls how they can all be a bit off:
- Britta joins the study group dirty and dazed, post-peyote
- Annie acts out “Troy and Abed and Annie in the Morning” using stuffed animals
- Jeff can be gentlemanly, but not at the expense of the cleanliness of his coat
- Troy drives an ATV into the study room (because “all terrain” includes carpet)
- Shirley gives the group her kids’ toys and trophies as punishment for them eating her cookies
Sadly, instead of proving Abed’s condition is relatively acceptable, the group’s displayed instability as a support system drives Dr. Heidi to declare that Abed should be committed.
Clip Series 3: Greendale is No Safe Haven
The group then turns to their school as the source of their irrational tendencies:
- Greendale offers the following classes: Baby Talk, Advanced Breath Holding, Can I Fry That? and Ladders
- The Dean plays human chess with the students as a way of agreeing on parking
- Pierce is showered with a surprise celebration for flushing the 10,000th flush
Clip Series 4: But Greendale’s Not All Bad
It’s surprisingly Pierce who comes to Greendale’s defense, and the group remembers all the happy times, which ends up being just a recollection of how the Dean showered the study group with his extremely biased love (they’re the first to be alerted of fires, he saves them pizza on pizza day, sings their names over the PA system and takes a bullet for Abed in this year’s sure-to-be-missed paintball war).
It’s after this reminiscing that the group realizes the Dean truly adores them and therefore would not have expelled them – Abed was right (not crazy) all along. But just as they leave therapy to head back to Greendale, Dr. Heidi shares the truth with them: there is no Greendale Community College; they’re all Greendale Asylum psychotic patients who have been experiencing a shared psychosis.
This shocking news leads to another alternative reality clip of the group reenacting past Community scenes, but within the walls of an institution (Troy and Jeff jumping on a bed, not a trampoline; Britta and Jeff pretending to shoot paintballs, as the Dean and a normal-voiced Garrett observe through a window). While Troy quickly accepts this mind-blowing explanation for all the weirdness that has gone down the past three seasons, Jeff just as quickly cuts through its illogic. This forces Dr. Heidi to admit he’s actually a fake psychiatrist hired by Chang to throw the group off his scent.
Clip Series 5: Chang’s Crazies
The group ponders if Chang is really insane enough to hold the Dean hostage for two months by examining past evidence:
- Chang snorts corn chips, Pulp Fiction-style
- Chang tries to use Garrett as a pre-cog, Minority Report-style
- Chang tasers his own balls
Conclusion: Chang is actually the unstable one — not Abed — and the study group must return to Greendale to reinstate their status as students and save the poor Dean. Also: therapy works! Now it’s time for the Takedown of Chang in the threefold ending of season 3.
(Image courtesy of NBC)