Community: Bonding Over Batman, Foosball, and Pants-Peeing

Ha ha! Jeff went pee-pee in his pants! Last night's Community, "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism," didn't parody, trickerize, or Easter Egg its way to laughs. It just let the show's characters be themselves, put them in some odd situations, and still squeezed a little weird out of the tube.

In a pairing that was long overdue, Jeff and Shirley bonded over foosball. The former was the student and the latter was a ninja-like master at the parlor game dominated by a smorgasbord of German students at Greendale (led by the awesome Nick Kroll in a guest role). Anytime Shirley is able to step out of her role as the gang's seventh wheel, it's a treat, because Yvette Nicole Brown is a champ, and she brought it this week as a woman trying to overcome the horrors foosball clouded her childhood with. Shirley Mr. Miyagi'd Jeff until she'd boosted his skills and confidence, but both the lesson-teacher and lesson-taker harbored a deep foosball secret.

Flashback to Shirley and Jeff's childhood: Young Shirley is schooling a young white kid on the foos, dismantling her opponent with simultaneous game- and wordplay. After Shirley lands a few pokes of the sticks in the groin of the unnamed boy, every young person's worst nightmare sets in: The levee breaks, and the kid pees himself. Cut back to the present, where there's steam coming out of a seething Jeff's ears as he tells us he was that pee-pee boy, and the event changed his life forever. Shirley and Jeff take out their anger on the mini-field, the show inexplicably becomes a foosball anime, and a lesson is learned. And I think that lesson is, "foosball ain't no thang to get angry over." After showing up the Germans by knocking the ball into that dead spot in the middle of the table where no plastic soccer player can reach it, the two set out to go see a movie together... only what we saw were two kids, a menacing foosball monster and a kid who peed his Levi's, walking away arm in arm. And the world let out a collective "awww."

At Casa de Trobed, Annie accidentally broke Abed's Dark Knight super-special-edition-autographed-by-Christian-Bale-DVD and went through great lengths to cover it up, as Annie is wont to do. One lie begat another lie, and eventually there was nothing left for Abed to do except turn into Batman again (finally!) and solve the mystery himself. Annie eventually came clean, and all was forgiven. As is the case with our Greendale study group, friendship always prevails.

What made "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" so great was its emphasis on the bonds between the gang and outstanding individual performances by everyone involved. It had the great, big, beating heart of "Mixology Certification" and the zaniness we've seen more of in Season 3. But mostly, it was just flat-out funny. Alison Brie was fantastic as always, with three laugh-out-loud Annie moments: her Christian Bale impression, her extended "uhhhhhhhhhh," and her melting at the touch of Abed's hand on her cheek. Donald Glover and Danny Pudi were vintage Troy and Abed, and words don't begin to describe how great it was to see Joel McHale and Yvette Nicole Brown isolated together. Add in a hilarious guest spot by Nick Kroll (seeing him transformed into a human foosball kicker was one of the season's single best gags) and the deadpan policeman (guest-star name, please?), and not a single person was wasted. Overall a fantastic episode of Community and another reminder that Greendale can also do simple effectively.

Study Notes:
– Hardly any Britta or Pierce, and no Chang or Dean. And where's John Goodman? And Michael K. Williams? Nevertheless, this episode didn't need any of them.

– That said, Britta's small amount of screentime was money.

– German Kroll: "I wish there was a word to describe the pleasure I feel at your misfortune." Policeman, after Annie's giant lie: "That's good color for the report..." and "I'm getting tired of saying this to people, but these things wouldn't happen if you'd invest in a simple shoe safe." These are the lines that crack me up.

– The anime bit: necessary or unnecessary?

– Seriously, Annie's Christian Bale impression.

– Ratings update: Community hit a two-month high last night, with 3.92 million viewers and a 1.7 adult demo rating. Community beat Parks and Recreation in total viewers and was just a tenth of a point below it in ratings. Whitney somehow managed 4.02 million viewers and a 1.9 rating. Damn you, Whitney!

– And in case you missed Leonard's vanity card at the end of his frozen food review (which is actually on YouTube), check it out in an extended cut here:


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (66)
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Was it intentional to use the Swedish word smorgasbord (and why do you know that word anyway?) about German people?
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Worst episode thus far for me, but still alright i guess. It was a little too heavy on the "i love you, you love me," schtick for me... I missed the Dean and Pierce.
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I thought it was such a fantastic episode, case in point of why I really love this series...but I suppose at the same time, the very reason it's being canceled...It's missed a good chunk of the viewing audience or as Hollywood likes to cal it, the LCD (Least Common Denominator)



In other words, Hollywood typically goes with as formulaic as possible
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Smells like community spirit. Fantastic episode from the starting banter, through the Jeff rant on german props to the Chuck Lorre parody in the very last second. Perfect and a 5 stars from me.
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About the policeman, the guys name is Craig Cackowski and is also known as Officer Cackowski. But I've been having a Community marathon over the weekend and he's been in about 5 other episodes, all the way back to the season 1 episode "Politics of Human Sexuality", where he was just a measly Security Guard. Looks like he got a better job!
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I think the anime-style foosball battle was a take-off of kid's shows like Bakugan et al where the game they're playing is basically marbles but the way it looks on the shows is waaaay over the top (to make it exciting).
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what is the song at end of leonard's youtube video! i love it!
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Isn't it Casa Troniebed now with Annie also living there.. or should it be Trobedan or does any1 else have a good name for it?
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Good episode. Awesome news about the high(ish) ratings.
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I'm hoping if NBC does decide to drop it another network such as FX is able to pick it up. Although I love the show how it is, they could easily save some money by axing Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, long-arc (or so we were told) actors such as John Goodman, and get rid of some of the strange sets they have done. I think the writers could keep the quality high with less to work with - better than having the show go off the air. I hope.
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Great episode. All of it, the anime, the human foosball player, Batman, the cop (Craig Cackowski, was also in "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"), when Troy walkings in humming and see's Annie with the broken disc - ends up walking out hum-crying,

Troy "Animal hospital!"

Abed "The animals are the patients."

Troy "Oohh.... that makes sense :(

I could probably mention every thing in this episode, it was one of my favorites.
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an OK episode, but the entire time i was thinking of the Friends episode where ross found out phoebe robbed him as a teen....
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anime bit: awesome
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The anime bit: necessary or unnecessary?

I vote for unnecessary. IMO felt out of place.
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Loved the anime piece! Brilliant and one more example of why I love this crazy show.
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this unfunny atheist show getting worse every time.
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I'm unsure why atheism has anything to do with this TV show. It is to watch for laughter. God is okay with laughter. Really. I promise.
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Stop watching it then. And go comment on shows you like. Joan of Arcadia perhaps?
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what's wrong with atheism...?
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What a peculiar thing to say. One out of seven of the main characters is overtly religious, which is more than virtually every other show on TV since God blessed us with the final episode of Seventh Heaven.
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I see what you did there, "God blessed us with the final episode".... >giggle<
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The anime surprised cat made me laugh so hard I cried.
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I loved the anime bit. But again, it's one of those things that may not appeal to a mass audience. Community tends to do that, which probably explains why their ratings don't hold up to some of the other NBC comedies. I, for one, appreciate their creativity and willingness to do such awesome stuff.



Annie's Bale impression was great, but I loved it even more because during her first try at it, she gets a disgusted and sad look on her face halfway through the sentence. I love her.
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Yeah but seriously,Annie's Christian Bale impression!

And the anime bit,absolutely necessary. As in Kill Bill,it conveys the violence and the rage,but to a different extent: realizing that the two were not enemies at all,just miserable children as much as everyone else (e.g. Poor Abed and his way of working things up with delusions and worlds of his own)
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i can NEVER get enough of this show!! so f*cking funny!!!
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I think it was a fantastic episode!

I've watched it 3 times already, and Annie's rendition of Bale makes me burst out laughing every time.

Yvette Nicole Brown finally got some great overdue lines and she just SHINED!

Britta's very short appearance was gold!

Troy & Abed work soooo well together it's scary!

The scene where we see Jeff & Shirley leave arm in arm was just perfect!



PS: Thought the anim was great!
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Tremendously fun episode. Shirley's impossible manipulations of the foosball were just one of many great moments. And Nick Kroll improves everything on which he appears. The episode of [adult swim]'s "Childrens Hospital" on which he guest starred as a foreign doctor on the night shift (with an equally poor command of English) was just as funny if not better.



If you like Nick, do your best to catch his consistently great work as one of the principle cast members on FX's underappreciated "The League."

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I'm just really glad that Community got a higher rating and viewership this weeek.
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Just an amazing comedy show. I can't believe it might get/probably is getting cancelled. Great episode as always.
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"Abed is Batman Now"

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I thought the anime bit was a great touch. It really showed how out of touch with reality the game made them and it turned real life again when they calmed down and got real with themselves and each other. The director made an amazing decision on that one, it made the scene that more effective.
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Anime - not necessary, per se, but still amazing.
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No Britta this episode , loved it but i like Pierce though
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Wasn't the best episode ever, but if you love Community you will enjoy this episode.

The less Britta - the better.

And dear God, who watches Whitney?
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Another great episode. I just watched it for a second time and it just makes everything better. I enjoyed Annie's duplicity. And Glover can say so much with Troy without speaking a word. Abed as Batman, I have been waiting for this since the Halloween episode with him as Batman. It is just too funny.



And who would have thought that Shirley would have been the reason for Jeff being the way he his. That is some kind of awesome. Jeff has been getting the Pierce treatment this year. Which I imagine is they are trying to tell the audience that he and Pierce really are the same person. Jeff being what Pierce used to be like and Pierce being what Jeff will become if he doesn't change. And I know some have been aggrieved at Jeff being painted as a villain this season. But this episode kind of brought it all together with the explanation of tinkle and big chedder. Brilliant. The anime was outrageous and unexpected and great. What other comedy could bring both laughs to their audience and depth to their characters in the way that they do.



Most other comedies the people are just the way they are and it overshadows their "special episodes" that try to give the character more likability and more depth. BBT can have as many shows as they want explaining and further Sheldon but it gets over shadowed by Sheldon in the next episode.



And really last night was Nick Kroll's night. The crazy German Foosball player and he being used as foosball person was hilarious. But PK Ruxin was genius. Beyond genius. Well done Nick Kroll and I hope they bring you back like they have some of the other villains in the show.



Another quality episode and reason why this show shouldn't be benched for the likes of a past its prime Office and the crap that is Whitney. Seriously NBC does someone on Whitney have pics of one of you in a compromising situation. Because that is the only reason I could fathom that you would choose it over what you have with Community.



It isn't getting the ratings you would like. I understand that. Put it in another time slot for crying out loud. Put it on Wednesday and let it go up against The Middle and see how well it does. Do something, save one of the only things that makes your miserable reality show based network worth watching anymore.
More+
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The anime bit was clever parody and I loved it!
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One episode left before the incredibly long hiatus D:
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Actually it would be "Fussball" in german :D
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Oh, thank you. The headline text left me confused, I thought maybe it was some special term or something. Because it's not the way Fussball should be written.
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Nick Kroll, book-ending the night on Thursday' night's two funniest shows. "Community" needed more of him. Brilliant episode, get ready for new episodes of Whitless at 8:00 coming soon! It was depressing realizing that fact as the episode ended.
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I am still in denial
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I don't blame you, retroman77.
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I've never seen Foosball written down before. Not what I would have expected.
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To add, the bit I thought was the funniest was how Jeff reacted to what happens in that gif. "Were you guys walking around with a soccer ball just so you could do that?" *looks at ball* "They left the ball and everything... I think they were literally walking around with it like a prop to use."
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I loved this episode, but for some reason I thought it was strange. It's like it's odd to watch a normal-ish episode of Community :P

Anyway, Annie's long uh was probably the cutest thing I have seen in ages! She does this thing where she suddenly turns me lesbian... it's confusing. Actually, there wasn't one thing I didn't like about this episode. Maybe the anime bit wasn't needed, but it didn't detract from the overall funniness in the least.
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Guys everywhere have suspected for quite some time, but now you've confirmed it. Alison Brie is so cute, she can even make straight women doubt their sexual preference.
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I will confirm this along with spklvr.

Every time I watch community and Alison is on screen, i keep thinking "I know I am supposed to be straight, but..." She simply is just THAT fantastic! (ok, so total girl-crush here).

Also, when she does this eye-fluttering thing, like she did again this episode when Annie realised she broke the dvd, it just makes my heart melt!
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Going to anime may have been an acknowledgement of a recent Nichijou episode in which two main characters have a massive fight which also devolves into them praising each other: http://www.crunchyroll.com/my-ordinary-life/episode-14-579800
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Well, I'm officially onto stage 3. I was in denial for the first few days after I heard NBC was putting Community "on the bench for a short time". My mind just couldn't accept it. How could a show so funny be going off the air for any amount of time? It didn't take me long to move onto anger. I would sporadically snap at friends, neighbors, and random animals on the street (cats, racoons etc). I furiously wrote several vitriolic emails to NBC and spewed outraged sentiments on every online forum I frequent. It got so bad I started writing profane epithets about Community being shelved on hockey discussion boards at ESPN (I have henceforth been banned). But I am now onto stage 4: Bargaining. I've become lost in a maze of "If only" or "What if" statements. I want life returned to what is was; I want so badly for Community to come back in January. "Please God," I bargain, "I will never illegally download Community again if you will bring it back." I'm sure in the coming weeks the crushing depression will sink in. But acceptance seems like a distant dream on a never ending horizon.
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I feel your pain! I myself am choosing to still stay very much in denial.

Because when that cold hard reality will inevitably catch up with me, I will not be able to get out of that depression...

So for now, denial.



six seasons and a movie!!!!!!!
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I will never accept it....NEVER. Viva 'la Resistance!!
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Profound, man. Profound.
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Did anyone else read Leonards obnoxiously long but hilarious messge at the end of the frozen pizza review? "why are you working so hard to make me not want to talk to you" :D



I'm so glad I pressed pause at the end of the episode, otherwise I would have missed it.
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Somehow it's funny that American television always seek out Germans to make fun of :D (Community, How I met your mother, South Park - to name only those within the last 6 month).. but what the hell is "fuenschaften" and "freudenkatzen"????? we have so many funny sounding German words, why make them up?



Anyway, I loved the episode... Annie's 'uuuhhhh', Troy humming that tune from Halloween, the cat in the Anime (there's always a cat) ...:D
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Yes, yes, the cat was a great touch!
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-Community won TV Guide magazines viewer's choice for best comedy--The cast is on this week's cover. Ironically, the manatees at NBC aren't convinced. Damn manatees....



-Also, Annie's Christian Bale-Batman impression was tooo funny. She's cute as a button.

-And Leonard is one of the strangest most awesome characters, on any show, ever!!

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Was the anime "necessary"?? I dunno. but honestly I LOVED it, and thought it was f****n awesome!!! Unexpected moments like that is what sets Community apart from everything else.
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Best episode of the season, and that's a huge accomplishment. I was weeping from laughing so hard, and I really did let out an "aww" at the scene when young Shirley and Jeff walked away arm in arm.



I can't stand the idea that next week may be the last episode.
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Yeah I have to agree, I loved Jirley? Sheff? ....Whatever, they rocked as a duo!
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This episode was great, I love it when Jeff tries really hard to win at things. (Like in Debate 901, Physical Education, Beginner Pottery, and The Art of Discourse) And seeing Shirley doing something useful for once was great too, as she's usually the one left out of things.



The Annie/Abed/Troy parts where great too, I really loved Annie's Bale impression, even if I'd find it slightly funnier if there was a mention of the Christian Bale light-rant mention. Abed as Batman was a nice surprise too.
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Amazingly HILARIOUS episode! Eat it NBC! I find when it comes to sitcoms the characters are not usually explored in depth so that the comedy overall is not compromised but this show is somethin else... Truly unique and hilarious and did i mention hilarious!
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This was absolutely HILARIOUS last night. I nearly cried, I was laughing so hard. Nick Kroll as the human foosball kicker, and better, Joel McHale's rant about the fact that they brough tthe soccer ball JUST for that purpose? Comedy gold my friends... GOLD!

As for the Anime, I loved it. It was totally unnecessary, but I thought that it was funny and so perfectly placed.

Abed growling like Bale... I just kept waiting for him to say, "And talking like this is really hurting my throat," or when he got his costume off, "Man, I need a lozenge."
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LOL I loved this episode too! I actually paused my dvr to read all of that text, it took a little while but I got it. And I totally agree with you on the pairing of Jeff and Shirley, they really needed an episode together. And I really loved the anime bit, it took it to the next level! Oh and the song from the Halloween episode Troy was humming is stuck in my head right now, and I love it!
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Lol I loved the entire episode so funny and a great classic tale of friendships, I died at the human foosball bit, and I loved the anime bit so random but so awesome. How is it that TTB reruns and Shitney can beat this genius show?
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I concur. and I'm stealing "Shitney"--so obvious, yet so fitting!!
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It doesn't have a laugh track and most people apparently can't decide on their own when to laugh.
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