Oh, Starburns, we hardly knew ye. Tonight we come together to remember our (sort of) lovably weird druggie with the fancifully shaped facial hair. Starburns is gone but not forgotten—mostly because he won’t let us forget him. He’s recorded one of those videos that people on TV do where he bequeaths stuff. The lucky recipients? For his ex-wife Magda, herpes. For no one, his Styx albums. And for Abed? Well, our favorite documentarian gets the greatest gift of all—the responsibility of putting together a Starburns video tribute. (Oh yeah, he gets his ashes, too. Just go with it.)
Study time. Troy is having some issues dealing with Starburns’ death and death in general. (Is that a Jehovah’s Witness thing? I feel like that’s an important part of his character that we haven’t talked about much since we celebrated his first birthday. Any Jehovah’s Witnesses out there?) The gang is mostly handling ‘Burns’ untimely passing the way you’d expect: Jeff is indifferent, Shirley waxes nostalgic, Annie tries to figure out the “right” way to deal with it. Britta steps in as an unlicensed psychology student and grief causer and offers her services in this trying time. Stick-on starburns. Hee.
Ugh, Ben Chang and his minions of bar mitzvah boys. Chang wants to get martial on their Greendale asses, all because some scuzzball just blew himself up trying to make meth. Time to learn how the sausage gets made. Or something. Dean’s not biting. It’s too extreme.
Back at Britta mind control, she’s torturing them. I mean bringing their emotions to the surface. No no, that’s not working, so Annie suggests a memorial. Jeff makes fun of the idea. Look, he reasons, one minute something is in your life, and the next it’s not—deal with it. (Guessing by the end, after they all turn on each other, he will come to his senses and realize that memorials are good and blah blah blah—okay, so he’s predictable! I still love you Community!!!)
Enter the dean: In light of the whole Starburns thing, Professor Kane has resigned (huh?), and their biology class is can-can-canceled. (They should have called this episode Willing Suspension of Disbelief, but I don’t care, because I love you, Community, so so much!!!) That means summer school. Which in turn means that summer vacation is gone. Oh well, one minute something (say, showing off your anorexic torso on the beach for some hot mamas rocking skankinis) is in your life, and the next, it’s not. DEAL WITH IT. (Wow, that learning lesson came earlier than usual.)
Garrett singing “Ave Maria.” Oof. Cut to eulogies. Oh, hi, Jeff. He skated right through those stages of grief and landed on acceptance: He has accepted that this Fallujah of higher learning is a prison. Turns out Starburns was a hero to them because he actually got out. And exploded. Because Greendale hates its students? Oh, this is about summer school. Okay. (He’ll have less time to shop for cobalt button-downs at Banana Republic, I guess?) Annie’s turn at the podium. Uh…yeah, she’s not much better. (What is with that podium???) Greendale has warped her like a Barbie in a microwave. Shame on you, Dean. Maybe Shirley can resurrect this fucked-up memorial service. Nope. The Podium of Misery only reminds Shirley of that time she tried to open a sandwich shop in the cafetorium and Greendale said no Shirley, you’re on Subway turf now.
I am surprisingly saddened to see the group turning on their beloved Greendale. Surely this can’t last—can it?
The dean is scared by the impending mutiny, so he has no choice but to sign on the burnt-sienna line: Change’s martial law is enacted.
Cut to Abed leading the crowd in a spirited round of “Greendale sucks.” Who will say-ee-ave their souls? Pierce? “Let’s burn this mother down!” Ok, no, not Pierce. Cue the riot. And the looting. (Oh no you DIDN’T, Community. Seriously, was this episode timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the LA riots? Or is it a coincidence? This show is too smart for coincidences, so I’m gonna say no. Wow, ballsy.)
Over in the infirmary, the dean is not pleased. Subway’s taking its $5 foot-longs elsewhere and the school board is convening to investigate the ringleaders of the riot, heretofore dubbed the Greendale 7. (Ok, no, not a coincidence. Wow, Community. Just WOW.) Jeff has been chastened: Yes, the dean is a bad dean, but they’re worse students. (Gratuitous stomach touch.) So what do they do? Claim a bad case of the funeral crazies? Won’t work. They need a fall guy. Chang. Nope, not havin’ it. Tranquilizer dart. Hey, it’s the DJ from the look-alikes bar mitzvah! (Nice continuity, writers!) The school board—abetted with unbidden baked goods from Chang and a drive-by fake-deaning—votes to expel the Greendale 7. What the WHAT?!
Hmm, and suddenly we’re thrust back into Remedial Chaos Theory. Pizza’s here…roll die to see who gets it? Nah, Britta will do it. (Because pizza, pizza, in my tummy, me so hungy, me so hungy?) Shots! Wait, what’s happening? Pizza guy…Britta, don’t have sex with him. This is the perfect timeline. (Also, pizza always looks terrible on TV.)
Ok, sorry, I didn’t have a stroke in that last graf, I’m just having trouble digesting what it all means. There’s our beloved study group, sitting back at Tranbed’s table, only now they have nothing to study. Will the dean wake up and fix things so as to be rewarded with a Winger-Troy sandwich, or will we have to see what the gang is like when they have nothing to do? That could be fun. For a minute. Then I want them back in the study lounge, where they belong. What do you think will happen?
Also? STARBURNS VIDEO TRIBUTE! What a surfer that guy was. RIP, ‘Burnsy. The world made more sense with you in it.