Community: Basic E-mail Security
April 14, 2015 8:42 AM - Season 6, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Greendale is getting hacked because they hired a racist comedian to perform at the school. In a return to Old Britta, she campaigns for free speech and everyone else joins in, hacking be damned!

"Computer no workie." "Please don't do that."--The Dean and Elroy, who also can't keep track of all of the parakeets that the Dean had growing up and now uses as passwords.

The show starts out with the school being hacked. There's nothing that can be done! Well, Elroy suggests that the dean could cut the hardline on the mainframe, and the Dean goes running frantically to do that until he realizes Elroy was being sarcastic. The hackers and their flaming green skull request that Greendale cancel their offensive performance, "you know the one we mean," the comedy show. As a step one, they have hacked the lunch lady's e-mails. Anyway, the hackers are objecting to a racist comedian called Gupta Goopta Gupta, or something like that.* They are threatening to out the entire activities committee's e-mails (that's us!) next if the guy isn't canceled.

* Trying to rewind Yahoo Screen to check the spelling of this turned out to be impossible, I give up.

Happily, we have a return to the old, not-drunk-all-day Britta in this episode, as she thinks everyone should not read the e-mails. The police show up, and the adult cop recognizes some of them and is offended that they don't know him after five years. He's here with the new cybercrimes division, which is a little kid who wants McDonald's. Anyway, I guess he'd rather talk about the new Avengers movie coming out--well, wouldn't we all.

Britta wants Jeff to do his inspiring thing to fire people up about this, and he's all, do what? Britta does a fine job of firing up people about the First Amendment on her own, at one point referring to being American as "We're the colony so high maintenance, the British gave up." Also, "cancel the show and you cancel people!" While she may want him banned herself, she'll defend his right to free speech. Britta has more lines in this episode than the entire season so far. It's so inspiring that eventually everyone decides to let their e-mails be hacked (though Chang was zoning out and doesn't know what they're talking about, and Jeff is a pragmatist who knows when to give in). The Dean is with you!....secretly.

Jeff isn't overly concerned about his Greendale e-mail, but after Elroy points out that they'll get his personal e-mail, well....let's just say he's got more on the line than that fraction of a buttcheek he thought he was putting out there. "it's Vietnam now, baby," Elroy cackles. Everyone agrees to avoiding the Internet tonight, or "no peeking at the leaking!" Guess how that goes.

The next day, most people are glaring at teach other, and Jeff throws a chair. "Something was wrong with that one. Bad chair." Elroy has a new shirt that says 2015 on it, updating his outfit to something more modern after someone complained. Abed hasn't read the e-mails, but everyone else did. Chang is especially unhappy, I'm sure we can all figure out why.

Things we learned:
* The rest of the group had Annie checked for amphetamines last spring after she was especially bouncy, telling her it was for the Human Genome Project. Well, part of it was.
* Abed told his girlfriend Annie doesn't get Donnie Darko. Who does?
* There's a betting pool about Frankie's sexual preference, and the words "chapstick lesbian" were used. (At one point Abed offers her some.)
* Frankie writes e-mails to her dead sister. It's a journaling exercise.
* Jeff writes enthusiastic fanboy letters to astronauts and loves them more than his dad. I see nothing wrong with this, but Elroy does. "They're national heroes!" "Yes, they are, now leave them alone!"
* Elroy accidentally got in some family's e-mail chain and he has adopted them as his own family. I don't think they're aware he's not related.
* Elroy also took photos and is making 3-D models of all the girls's bodies for some time traveler game.
* Chang is ranking Britta and Annie every day and sending it to Jeff. Jeff responded back once.
* Frankie is suing her dad for $80.

Franklie finds out the origins of the study group and that Chang was their teacher (and yet somehow she knows Abed's best friend was lost on a sailing trip and their older friend masturbated himself to death), and Chang admits he hasn't been well utilized since.

It's showtime, and Gupta is grateful that this one school hasn't canceled. On the other hand, only Fat Neil* shows for the show, until the rest of the school starts stampeding in to shut it down. The hackers inform the Dean that the entire school will be hacked if Gupta performs, and that happens. Which is to say Britta tells him to "Get up there and do your stupid act for freedom!" even though he doesn't want to perform for only one guy. This seems to hamper his act because there are no Jews and only one black guy to pick on, so let's pick on the poor fat guy (who is being physically HELD DOWN so he can't leave). "I see that you're fat, but are you also black or Jewish?" Because if you're black, your community will steal all of your food and if you're Jewish, everyone is too cheap to buy any.

* Is this a different Fat Neil, or am I just being thrown off by the beard? I'm guessing he's new since people have said the actor has another regular gig?

The entire school's data is online, for this guy, and Neil will never talk to them all again. The cops return with the hacker--it's another little kid who answers to, among other names I was too slow to write down (see previous "can't run back Yahoo Screen" remarks), "Fart Mitzvah." The school's master password was "change me."

The end scene is the two cops on a stakeout, with the adult cop trying to start conversation and failing at it. Then the kid spots something. "How fast can you get us to the mainframe hard line?" "Yankee doodle dandy," the adult cop says, and speeds away.

Quote Corner:
"It's cute, but it doesn't help our situation." --The adult cop on his new partner.
"We prefer to be called people without color or vaginas." --Jeff on being a white male
"I will bite your finger off and I will EAT IT!" --Elroy to Chang.
"You wretched invasive little gremlin!" -Frankie to Chang
"I am the school's worst nightmare!" --Garrett
"I feel more desensitized to jokes about Jews and blacks. is that progress?" -Jeff
posted by jenfullmoon (26 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can't decide if Abed is more excited about the idea of Dinosaurs the animal coming back, or "Dinosaurs" the tv show coming back.
posted by drezdn at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]

I'm fairly sure that's original Fat Neil. But now I'm second-guessing myself too!
posted by tracicle at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2015

According to Sepinwall, that was the original one. Go figure.

Abed would probably be happy with both or either of those.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:50 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

I liked this episode! it had nice bounce, and I'm glad britta got some of her old voice back.
posted by rebent at 6:29 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]

I liked this too. Seemed like Classic Community - especially with Britta.
posted by radioamy at 7:36 PM on April 14, 2015

Just read the TV Tropes. Apparently if you freeze frame on the lunch lady's emails, there is one with the subject "Buzz Hickey Memorial Service." :(
posted by radioamy at 7:41 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Well, it's "Buzz Hickey Memorial Services," so it could conceivably mean something else.

What felt off about this episode, and this season in general to me, is that the characters seem to be looping back around the same growth patterns we've seen before. One of the things I've most loved about this show is that the characters actually do grow and change in real, meaningful ways, and have had to really earn it (just like in life).

But this episode especially felt like the original study group members have learned nothing, and still treat each other as horribly as they did when they first met--or worse. I mean, who has a regular email exchange about a co-worker's sexual orientation, with a betting pool? It just sort of feels like we're in Seinfeld a little bit, where the horrible people never stopped treating each other (and everyone else) horribly, all the way through to the end.

I mean, it's still a great, funny show, but something fundamental is not working now. I kind of wonder if Harmon's story methodology/formula has actually started to box the writing in.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:45 PM on April 14, 2015

It feels like the moral direction/sensibilities of the show has changed. There are good pieces in each episode but the center is hollow? I don't know.

Why is McHale bulking up? I keep expecting to tune in one day and realize he has morphed into The Rock.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:15 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Computer no workie" is how I am going to initiate all future calls to my IT department. Also, I need to get my hands on a 2015 t-shirt as soon as possible (or at least before the end of the year).

Was the last scene a riff on True Detective, The Killing, or a little of both?
posted by crLLC at 6:58 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Did they say that Troy died?
posted by drezdn at 8:49 AM on April 15, 2015

McHale is huge for personal reasons. They even had a gag about how big he got last season.

When they were talking about Troy, they only mentioned that he had disappeared, nothing to indicate the he has for sure shuffled off the mortal coil.

Frankie has worn the same pair of awesome shoes the entire season. Anyone know which brand/model they are?
posted by porpoise at 8:50 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Let's say you're suddenly crushed out on Paget Brewster. Would this make Criminal Minds worthwhile? Asking for a friend.
posted by whuppy at 11:40 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gupta Goopta Gupta, or something like that.*

Gupta Gupti Gupta
posted by porpoise at 12:27 PM on April 15, 2015

I just came in to say that while I was watching this episode I was about to turn to my husband and ask if everyone was acting so weird because they all read the emails or what, and then Abed asked the exact same question and I got this surge of love for Community so profound that I didn't even know how to process it.

I loved that this episode existed even if I didn't think it was as well executed as it could have been because this happened from the Sony leak and having Community devote an episode to that whole insane event was so great.

Oh also if that cynical little boy policeman got a show I would watch the hell out of it. He was amazing.
posted by town of cats at 1:00 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Was the last scene a riff on True Detective, The Killing, or a little of both?

Totally True Detective, and it was delightful.
posted by LooseFilter at 4:53 PM on April 15, 2015

Let's say you're suddenly crushed out on Paget Brewster. Would this make Criminal Minds worthwhile? Asking for a friend.

Most definitely! If your friend likes police procedurals then they will love the first handful of seasons of Criminal Minds. Brewster doesn't show up until season 2, but the first 3 seasons all star Mandy Patinkin (who is amazing), so I wouldn't skip the first season.

It goes down hill in the later seasons, but she leaves the show anyway.

(Jeniffer Love Hewitt apparently joined this season, so it may be time I give this season a chance.)
posted by 2ht at 6:36 PM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Curious about the Gupta Gupti Gupta character - was he supposed to be a reference/parody of anyone in particular?
posted by radioamy at 7:38 PM on April 15, 2015

Carlos Mencia?
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:37 PM on April 15, 2015

Dieudonné ?
posted by Pendragon at 1:03 AM on April 16, 2015

I thought Dieudonné as well.

Great episode, much better than last week's.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:22 AM on April 16, 2015

Little note: That was director Jay Chandresekhar as Gupta, the comedian.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:36 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Troy disappearance was seen as a throwaway gag last season, I think in the episode after he left, there was a news crawler about Actor LeVar Burton and Companion going missing at sea.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:54 AM on April 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

and non-celebrity companion
posted by rebent at 12:26 PM on April 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

One nice little touch in this episode: Britta doesn't have a smartphone.
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on April 18, 2015

But this episode especially felt like the original study group members have learned nothing, and still treat each other as horribly as they did when they first met--or worse. I mean, who has a regular email exchange about a co-worker's sexual orientation, with a betting pool?

This struck me as entirely in character for the study group/save Greendale committee. They've always been kind of assholish about each other, and I don't think it's a huge setback in terms of character growth, especially since their assholery goes hand in hand with their frequently bizarre takes on caring about each other. Like testing Annie's blood for drugs: this is a horrible, boundary crossing thing! But it was done out of genuine concern. And befriending Britta's parents without Britta knowing is also pretty shitty, but again, it comes from a place of caring about their friend. See also: the many misguided yet well-meaning attempts to support Abed at various points through the show's history.

Having a running bet going about Frankie's sexuality is also a dick move, but it's well within the study group's established in-group cliquishness, and Jeff's justification that they at least kept it among friends rang really true to me. It's a whole "we can be dicks to each other, but god forbid other people be dicks to us, because other people aren't necessarily our friends/family," thing.

Anyway, this episode wasn't particularly a winner for me, but it made up for everything with the True Detective parody in the tag.
posted by yasaman at 11:20 AM on April 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really thought they were going to do an Attack On Precinct 13 there, but I guess the episode would have run long.
posted by Monochrome at 1:29 PM on April 26, 2015

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