"I don't want my child's first memory to be Starburns!"
The group’s studies at Greendale have become less and less prominent during season two. ‘Competitive Wine Tasting’ was the first episode in a long while that actual featured the various members attending classes. This is probably a good thing as those type of episodes tend to be rather weak.
Of course, there are always exceptions.
'Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts' was a fun, if unspectacular, episode centred around the group’s unorthodox, and wholly unintentional, final anthropology exam. This was the (financial) calm before the storm of what will be the big, budget busting two-part season finale. A bottle episode to save some of that precious cash. So that meant one set, the core cast, some recurring players, a few extras, and one former Huxtable.
Anthropology, the class the group chose to take together this year, hasn’t been a major a fixture of the season, not like Spanish was last season. Spanish class was a huge part of the first season. It was what brought the group together. Well, that and Jeff’s desire to get into Britta’s pants. We regularly saw the group attending classes, struggling with the insane teaching methods of their equally insane teacher, and constantly worrying whether or not they would all pass the class.
Anthropology, on the other hand, has sort of faded into the background this season. Of course, it is highly likely that this is because there haven’t been many classes this year. Since Professor Betty White was sent to Africa to bring Inception to the native people, the class is now taught by Professor Duncan, a man who has no idea what anthropology is, and is inebriated a good 90% of the time. Under Duncan’s stewardship, Anthropology 101 has become the ultimate blow off class, much to Annie’s annoyance (it is hard to excel in a class where everyone gets an ‘A’ no matter what they do).
If the Dean hadn’t paid a surprise visit, along with a reporter for Dean Magazine ("Worst Idea for a Magazine Ever!" ), the group’s final exam would’ve likely consisted of heavy drinking, watching YouTube videos, and maybe making a Diorama. Instead the final exam became a boldly original, fully immersive practical exercised based on the origins of man. Or to put it another way, Shirley went into labour and, due to a race riot kerfuffle, the rest of the group had to help deliver her potential demon baby right there in the anthropology classroom.
There really wasn’t much more to the episode than that. Shirley had a baby and Britta overcame her self-doubt to play midwife and prove to everyone that she is definitely not the worst. Sure, there was also Pierce trying to Indecent Proposal Troy (Demi) and Abed (Woody) by offering to buy their distinctive hand clap (he wanted to ruin it for them because he found it annoying), that didn't amount to anything. It'll take more than a homage to a rather crap Robert Redford movie to ruin that special bond that Troy and Abed have.
Notes and Quotes
--The music that plays whilst Britta is checking Shirley's dilation is "Requiem" by György Ligeti, the same music used for the monolith scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
--I love that the other students are grumbling about how everything always ends up being about the study group. Life is tough for a recurring character.
--I wonder what happened to Duncan? Did he go hide in his office or escape to the nearest bar?
--Nice callback to Abed's background adventure earlier this season.
Troy: "Professor Duncan, you are such a great teacher when you're drinking."
Duncan: "Thank you, Daryl."
Abed: "It's Troy."
Troy: "Hey, if the man wants to give "Daryl" an A, let him do it."
Abed: "Don't tell any doctors I said this, but at this point in the situation the bus pretty much drives itself."
Shirley: "Who is the bus in this scenario?"
Duncan: "And that's what Jews do at weddings. Anthropology."
Abed: "Shirley, pretend I'm saying this in a soothing, reassuring, non-robotic voice. We're not gonna make it to the hospital."
Shirley: "An epidural is a proper Christian woman's only chance to get wrecked."
Three out of four race kerfuffles.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.