Can you believe 90% of the episode involves characters sitting around some pushed-together tables to TALK could be so unfailingly funny and heartwarming? One of the riskiest things ever done in a primetime comedy...oh man, did they just pull it off so spectacularly.
As a teacher in training, I am acutely aware of bullying and emotional health issues in an educational setting, and so it was awesome to see how the characters dealt with issue.
Yes, we were presented with the most extreme bad side of Pierce ever (and it'll be interesting to see how this is addressed in future episodes), but would the episode have worked as well if there wasn't just a high stake for playing Dungeons and Dragons?
The social issue was a personal highlight for me, but of course it was the comedy platinum that made it instant classic of epic proportions.
Here are comedic highlights in no particular order (I'm just naming them as I think of them)
1)Cold opening/woman's narration who turned out to be a janitor
2)Drow aka Blackface Elf Chang
3)Britta and her Hermione Granger turn about inequality of social status
4) Of course, the funniest thing ever shown on TV, Annie's seduction of Abed
4) Abed's Dungeon master, maiden elf, and various other characters he had to take on
5) Troy's oblivinious, and insistence on board game and Jenga
6) Jeff still trying to be cool playing the game
7) Although Shirley didn't get a moment to shine, her presence and reactions and small utterances would have been sorely missed in her absence
One final ponderment: how much different was the pre-production table read of the first draft compared to what we saw on TV? i mean, come on, all the characters did was deliver lines around a large table?