Community TV Series ESL Discussion Questions

Jeff Winger, Abed Nadir, Annie Edison, Britta Perry, Pierce Hawthorne, Señor Chang, Shirley Bennett, Troy Barnes

Jeff Winger, Abed Nadir, Annie Edison, Britta Perry, Pierce Hawthorne, Señor Chang, Shirley Bennett, Troy Barnes

Season 1, Episode 1,Pilot

Recently disbarred lawyer Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) is forced to attend a community college to redeem his illegitimate law degree, planning on exploiting his friendship with former client Dr. Ian Duncan (John Oliver) for test answers. He starts up a Spanish study group in order to score with attractive classmate Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs), who invites her friend Abed Nadir (Danny Pudi), who in turn invites fellow classmates Troy Barnes (Donald Glover), Annie Edison (Alison Brie), Shirley Bennett (Yvette Nicole Brown), and Pierce Hawthorne (Chevy Chase). After believing he has secured a date with Britta, Jeff stirs up conflict within the group in order to leave with her, only to be confronted by her about his ulterior motive. When he gives an inspirational speech to calm them down and finally go out with Britta, she reveals his true intentions and asks him to leave. Jeff storms out, only to find out the answers obtained from Dr. Duncan are actually blank. As he is leaving campus, Jeff runs into Pierce and Troy who are encouraged by his advice. Jeff resigns himself to flunking the test, but Britta, speaking for the group, reluctantly invites him back, saying the group didn’t make much progress after his departure.

1.1) Describe Abed Nadir.  Abed has trouble interacting with others, and his friends hint that he might have some form of Autism. On occasion, Abed has displayed coping mechanisms to things he cannot deal with, such as seeing everything as a claymation adventure, or being convinced he is Batman. Abed is the source of much of the show’s meta-humor, and he often interprets the group’s everyday adventures by comparing them to TV tropes or clichés.

1.2) Describe Annie Edison.  Despite this, Annie ends up at Greendale instead of an Ivy League school because she developed an Adderall addiction while studying for finals. This led to a major breakdown and a stay in a rehabilitation clinic, as well as being disinherited by her parents. Annie was extremely unpopular in high-school, to the extent that even the teachers hated her, and crossing guards lured her into traffic.

1.3) Describe Britta Perry.  At first, Britta puts up a facade, appearing intelligent and cool at the start of the series. However, as the group gets to know her and her defenses are stripped away, the flaws in her personality become more obvious.

1.4) Describe Jeff Winger.  Jeff Winger is a suspended lawyer who enrolls at Greendale after his firm discovers that he falsely claimed to have a bachelor’s degree. Jeff often acts as the de facto leader of the group.

1.5) Describe Pierce Hawthorne.  Pierce is often seen as the least liked member of the group due to his self-importance, incoherence and casual bigotry. Despite his apparent arrogance, Pierce is aware of his place in the group, and he often attempts to appear cooler, fit in, and make others like him more.

1.6) Describe Señor Chang.  “Señor” Ben Chang, an extremely unhinged man, originally the group’s Spanish teacher until the school discovers his incompetence and lack of teaching qualification. He goes on to become a student and later a security officer for the school. Chang’s insanity and loose grip on reality often lead him to take extreme action for no apparent reason.

1.7) Describe Shirley Bennett.  Shirley Bennett is a single mother and vocal Christian going to school to start a brownie business. Shirley is seen as the “mother” of the group and often uses this to manipulate them by being passive-aggressive and appealing to their sense of guilt.

1.8) Describe Troy Barnes.  Troy Barnes is a former high school star quarterback who lost his scholarship to a top-tier university when he hurt his shoulder doing a keg flip. Troy went to the same high school as Annie, but never spoke to her and did not even recognize her at the start of the series. Troy starts the series obsessed with being cool, but due to his friendship with Abed, he lets his guard down and embraces his nerdy, childish side.

Season 1, Episode 2,Spanish 101

The Spanish students are paired to create simple dialogues; Jeff is stuck with Pierce after an attempt to be paired with Britta backfires. Shirley and Annie mount a student protest after Britta tells them of anti-journalist violence in Guatemala.

2.1) Describe the relationship between Jeff and Britta.

2.2) Describe the Spanish presentation that Jeff and Pierce do.

2.3) Describe the protest by Shirley and Annie.

Season 1, Episode 3,Introduction to Film

Jeff signs up for an “easy A” class taught by Professor Whitman (John Michael Higgins), where all they have to do is “seize the day” to receive an A. Though Jeff soon realizes it will not be as easy as it seems. Meanwhile, Britta helps Abed by paying for a course where he can study film. Abed’s father is angered when he finds this out, and Abed creates a film documenting his life and how people do not understand him, including that he feels he is to blame for his mother’s abandoning the family. His father is moved by his film and agrees to pay for his classes.

3.1) Describe Professor Whitman.

3.2) What is carpe diem?

3.3) Why did Jeff take the class with Professor Whitman?

3.4) Why is Jeff flunking the class?

Season 1, Episode 4, “Social Psychology”

Jeff begins to bond with Shirley over their mutual distaste for Vaughn (Eric Christian Olsen), Britta’s new boyfriend, a laid back hippie. Meanwhile, Annie joins Professor Duncan in a psychology test that tests people’s patience, which has Abed, Troy and Señor Chang (Ken Jeong) as test subjects.

4.1) Describe Vaugh.

4.2) What is a hippie?

4.3) Why does Jeff dislike Vaugh?

4.4) Why does Shirley dislike Vaugh?

4.5) Why does Britta like Vaugh?

4.6) Describe the psychology test by Professor Duncan.

Season 1, Episode 5,Advanced Criminal Law

Señor Chang discovers someone has cheated on their Spanish test, and will fail everyone unless the cheater comes forward within 24 hours. When Britta comes forward, Jeff represents her when she is facing expulsion for cheating. Meanwhile, Annie enlists Pierce to help write a new song for Greendale.

5.1) What does Señor Chang do when he finds evidence of cheating?

5.2) What does Britta do in response to the actions of Señor Chang?

5.3) Describe Britta’s trial?

5.4) Describe the process of songwriting used by Annie and Pierce.

5.5) What do you think of the new Greendale song?

Season 1, Episode 6,Football, Feminism and You

The dean blackmails Jeff into convincing Troy to join Greendale’s football team, over the objections of Annie. Shirley teaches Britta proper ladies room etiquette. Pierce and the dean devise a new school mascot, the Human Being.

6.1) Describe Dean Pelton.

6.2) What information does Dean Pelton use to blackmail Jeff?

6.3) Should Troy join the Greendale football team.

6.4) Describe Shirley’s lesson to Brita about ladies room etiquette.

6.5) Describe the new school mascot.

Season 1, Episode 7,Introduction to Statistics

Annie hosts a Day of the Dead party for Halloween. Jeff hits on his statistics professor, which upsets Shirley but not Britta. At the party, Pierce goes on a bad trip and has to have Jeff and Abed help him.

7.1)  What is the difference between the Day of the Dead and Halloween?

7.2) Describe Jeff’s Stat professor (Professor Michelle Slater).

7.3) Who is prettier, Michelle or Brita?

7.4) Would Michelle or Brita make a better girlfriend for Jess?

7.5) What costumes were the cast members wearing?

7.6) What costume would you wear to a Halloween party and why?

Season 1, Episode 8, “Home Economics

Jeff is kicked out of his condo and moves in with Abed temporarily, until Britta helps him move on and look for apartments. Annie helps Troy prepare for his date with a different girl. Pierce briefly joins Vaughn’s band.

8.1) Why does Jeff live with Abed?

8.2) Would you like to live with Abed?  Why or why not?

8.3) How does Annie prepare Troy for his date?

8.4) Why does Pierce join Vaughn’s band?

Season 1, Episode 9, “Debate 109

The dean solicits Jeff to join Annie in a debate competition, where they will compete against star debater Jeremy Simmons to debate whether Man is intrinsically evil or good. Abed’s latest student films show a prescient tendency that frightens Shirley, whose predicted behavior includes being chased by a werewolf. Pierce offers his services as a hypnotherapist to Britta in her attempts to stop smoking.

9.1) What is a debate competition?

9.2) What is the topic of the debate?

9.3) Is man intrinsically evil or good?

9.4) Describe Jeremy Simmons.

Season 1, Episode 10, “Environmental Science

Jeff becomes friends with Señor Chang and helps him get back with his wife. Pierce helps Shirley with her public speaking class. Abed and Troy work on a biology experiment.

10.1) How does Jeff help Señor Chang?

10.2) How does Pierce help Shirley?

10.3) Describe Abed and Troy’s biology.

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One response to “Community TV Series ESL Discussion Questions

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