The opening seconds had Troy and Abed in bee costumes, and based on Troy’s defeated look I thought maybe it was an Abed project. You can imagine my disappointment when it soon became clear we were looking at another Annie episode. Apparently Annie volunteered the study group to star in an anti-drug play for a bunch of middle schoolers. (Does anyone else feel like we’re getting into dangerous Saved by the Bell territory here? It seems like these people are the only ones at the school who do anything, ever.)
Shirley, who is starring as a green crayon in the play, still refuses to address Chang at all, much less acknowledge that the baby she’s pregnant with might be his. Britta’s annoyed because a guy who’s interested in her won’t stop texting her. When Britta walks out to have a chat with Shirley, Jeff seizes her phone and writes back to “Marcus” that Britta can’t wait to show him what’s under his cat costume.
Pierce (who would be an extremely unlikeable character were it not for the endearing way that Chevy Chase plays him) is upset that in his role as “Drugs,” he doesn’t have any lines. In a fun if totally bizarre bit of backstory, we learn that part of Pierce’s family empire was selling moist towlettes. When Pierce was a child, his father recast the role of his son in the commercials because he didn’t think Peirce was good enough.
Pierce also notices that Annie has been going around school picking up empty soda cans, and he decides to follow her to see what she’s up to. At first I thought she was just being a good recycler, but it turns out that she’s just totally broke, and redeems the cans for cash before heading home to her crappy apartment in a bad part of town. I didn’t particularly want to learn more about Annie, but it just so happens that her infrequently-mentioned Adderall-fueled breakdown in high school that sent her to rehab also resulted in her being cut off financially by her parents.
This scene was saved by Pierce’s deadpan “Doesn’t everyone have rich parents?” because it universally bugs me when “I’m poor!” is supposed to be some huge revelation. Or just a cheap (ha) way for a character to be deep or more interesting. (Writers: Annie isn’t interesting! Stop trying to make it happen!) Pierce admires Annie’s hard work, and he seems to relate to her feelings of not being good enough for her parents, so he writes her a check to help her out a little with her rent.
It’s the night of the anti-drug show, and Britta tells Jeff how excited she is to see her nephew, Marcus, who’s been texting her about how much he’s looking forward to the show. I had kind of seen this development coming, but it was fun watching Jeff try to fix it with a series of frantic texts to Marcus. Meanwhile Pierce uses his new place in Annie’s good graces to make some changes to her script. The show itself is horrible, though whether or not it’s any worse than Annie’s original script is anyone’s guess.
The play does have its funny moments, including Troy and Abed harmonizing their mournful buzzing at the Cool Cat’s funeral. (I dunno, just go with it) Pierce does a little too well, and the kids like his character so much that after he’s flushed down the toilet, the kids start chanting “we want Drugs!” during the intermission. (A kids’ anti-drug show is long enough to require an intermission?) Annie snaps at Pierce about all his changes, and in the ensuing argument, the rest of the group finds out that Pierce gave Annie money and is understandably upset. As Jeff puts it “We did this for you because of your morals, but it turns out you don’t have any.”
It’s true, a character like Annie who always makes everyone else feel bad about their questionable decisions probably can and should handle the criticisms. But instead she cries and runs away. In swoops Chang, who honestly seems like he stalks the group at this point, who is willing to use his un-likeability to reprise the role of Drugs and get the kids to learn their lesson. It works, and as he gets swarmed by the hateful group of tweens, the gang has a chance to resolve their issues. I guess? Everyone forgives everyone, with Britta literally saying “Oh, Annie, come here! Group hug!” which I don’t think Britta would do. But whatever!
I missed the credits gag because my DVR cut it off, but I’ll just assume it was Troy and Abed doing something hilarious. This episode had a few funny moments, but overall it was a weird one. It felt for the first time like Community was a more traditional sitcom and not the wacky show I’ve come to love. I think maybe it was because there wasn’t enough Abed. But maybe that’s just me.