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'Community' 'Introduction to Teaching' Recap: Nicholas Cage Is a Sexy Cat

After reestablishing order in "Repilot," Community turned its attention to moving forward with "Introduction to Teaching." With Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) now a teacher at Greendale, the show experienced a shift in the dynamics between its characters. With the exception of Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), Community's main cast has pretty much always been on the side of the college's student body. For four seasons, the study group led Greendale's bizarre collection of lost souls on countless crusades against the college.

The group has now been divided, with Jeff finding himself on the side of the faculty. Unlike Season 4's attempts to evolve the relationships between Community's core characters, "Introduction to Teaching" actually achieved that goal. It turns out the secret was never in having Britta and Troy date or making Annie pretend that she was Jeff's wife. All it took was making Jeff a teacher to breath a ton
of fresh air into that duo.

"Introduction to Teaching" also made it clear that while last season's showrunners could make a version of Community that looked like Community, they never understood why the show worked. Thankfully, it only took until Season 5's second episode to get a pop culture moment that should make fans of the show forget anything Season 4 attempted: Abed's (Danny Pudi) all-in deconstruction of Nicholas Cage. When Pudi puts together his Emmy tape, this segment needs to be on it.

LAST EPISODE: 'Repilot' • NEXT EPISODE: 'Basic Intergluteal Numismatics'

Jeff began his tenure as a teacher thinking that he would breeze through it like when he was a student at Greendale, skipping syllabuses or grades. After his first class, Jeff met Buzz Hickey (Jonathan Banks), a fellow teacher and his office mate. Hickey's hardened demeanor further convinced Jeff that he could half-ass the teaching thing, introducing Jeff to the faculty lounge, a place full of martinis and free from the Dean.

Worried at what she was seeing from Jeff, Annie (Alison Brie) enrolled in Jeff's law class. In a role reversal, Annie assigned Jeff homework to prove that he was fit to teach the class. At Hickey's urging, Jeff realized that he had to make Annie drop out of his class, which would mean turning on his friend. In their next class, Annie's attempt to bait Jeff into an argument led him to making her look foolish in front of the class and having Annie storm out. In a weird turn of events, Jeff jumped on this moment to actually teach his class about winning an argument in court, something that showed him he might actually enjoy being a teacher.

Meanwhile, Abed, Troy (Donald Glover), Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) had enrolled in a class about Nicholas Cage. The assignment to just watch five Cage movies (and not marathon them) unleashed the pop culture-obsessive Abed that we knew from earlier seasons of Community. Tormented by the question asking whether Cage was good or bad, Abed stumbled into class and unleashed an insane channeling of Cage. Upon realizing there was no answer to the Cage question, Abed left class and returned to his apartment to discard his collection of movies. Thankfully Shirley's Hellraiser reference restored Abed's faith in pop culture.

After realizing he could like teaching, Jeff tracked down Annie to apologize. A crying Annie told Jeff that she wasn't hurt from his actions, but was actually crying over getting an A- in Hickey's class. Jeff revealed to Annie that minus-grades were just teachers ways of punishing students they didn't like. With the knowledge that minus-grades were made up, Annie started a riot and stormed the Greendale cafeteria. Jeff attempted to use one of his speeches to quell the disturbance, but was met with boos and thrown food. Jeff Winger the Teacher doesn't have the same powers Jeff Winger the Student once had.

In light of the minus-grades episode, the Dean called Jeff into his office and put him in charge of a real Save Greendale Committee. After apologizing to Annie, Hickey was forced to join the committee too, taking Pierce's former seat at the study room table.

The new study room table has been dubbed the Mark II, taking a note from Iron Man's playbook. Abed also gave it voice-activated powers, allowing it to enter study mode at a moment's notice.

Kevin Corrigan has played Professor Sean Garrity before, appearing in the Season 2 episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design."

ABC = Always Be Cageing

Watching Pudi play Abed channeling Cage was brilliant. Pudi has had some great moments as Abed over the years, but this was probably the most animated we've seen Community allow him to be.

Hickey brought shelter rations for lunch, a move that caused Troy to become instantly impressed. Does this mean that there's no chance we'll see Troy try to give Hickey a cookie magic wand?

Jeff to Leonard: "You look like the road manager for the California Raisins."

Jeff: "I can’t just pretend I’m teaching. I’m not Mythbusters."

Abed on Cage: "He begs you to stop watching, but you can’t."

Abed channeling Cage: "I’m a cat! I’m a sexy cat!"

Abed: "So Nicholas Cage is Jesus?"
Shirley: "Uh no. But he clearly works in mysterious ways."

Jeff trying to stop the riot: "The teachers here are teachers here because they did something wrong. Same as the students. So get on the same time, because take it from me, those of us that get to leave aren't going anywhere."
'Community' 'Introduction to Teaching' Recap: Nicholas Cage Is a Sexy Cat Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 1/02/2014 Rating: 5

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