Season 1: Episode 4 ”Social Psychology”
Wow, its almost been a year since I have done one of these. Well thankfully I’m not here to talk about the past!
The…uh…backbone (I use that term loosely) of this episode has to do with Jeff and Shirley’s relationship or rather lack thereof as Jeff cannot carry on a conversation with Shirley longer than 5 seconds and thus avoids conversations with her outside of the group. This is of course because Jeff’s gold medal in jibber jabber is based on his ability to sprint, not carry on long conversations with her.
But never fear, Vaughn to the rescue! That’s right, our favorite shirtless, neo-hippie (played by Eric Christian Olsen, Hi Hello How are you?) makes his first appearance as a potential love interest for Brita and foil du jour for Jeff. Jeff resorts to witty attack humor on Vaughn which suddenly gives him common ground with Shirley.
Jeff catches Britta making out in the quad (like high school students, foreshadowing the show eventually admitting that the tropes of high school life are easier to write comedy for, hello I’m looking at you lockers) which puts him in an awkward spot with Britta. He wants to be a good friend to Britta so he decides he can no longer make fun of Vaughn (tiny nipples) but Shirley (The Christian) decides to play the devil and keeps egging Jeff on.
Britta, trusting of her new platonic relationship with Jeff, shares that Vaughn is too relationshippy and gives Jeff a poem. Jeff shares said poem with Shirley and the proverbial poetic poop hits the fan. Britta and Vaughn find out, because this is a sitcom after all, and Vaughn blames it on Britta and hits the road explaining it as the least tight thing that has ever happened to him.
Shirley throws Jeff under the bus and Jeff realizes that his life is Degrassi Jr High. The two of them realize that they can no longer rag on people and thats the end of their relationship. I of course may have missed the point there.
Jeff then does what I guess is the Jeff Winger speech of the episode by blaming the whole thing on Britta treating him too much like “one of the girls” which she buys and forgives him, presumably because there wasn’t enough time left in the episode to get to a real conclusion.
Meanwhile, Professor Duncan pops up again as Annie is looking to join a Psych experiment he is running based on the Duncan principal (The more control lost by the ego the more gained by the id resulting in a surprisingly predictable or breaking point). This requires her to find two victims to participate and she decides to use Troy and Abed.
The experiment requires putting the victims in a room and making them wait for said experiment which is the experiment. Hilarity ensues as one by one the participants drop out until its just Troy and Abed remaining.
Troy breaks and has somehow loses the use of his legs. Abed of course is Abed so he never breaks (making it 26 hours) but Duncan does followed by Annie (validating the principal?). Annie takes it out on Abed and asks him why he didn’t leave and he says its because Annie said they were really good friends making her realize what she had done and…well I’m giving this sub plot too much attention here. It really just serves to show that these guys are getting closer to the eventual family they would become.
Even the bumper is forgettable in this episode (“other than Troy busting out “I’m Doctor Doogie Seacrest”) which tried hard but is sadly lacking in the funny and the story. This is our first big whiff of the show with 4 cool cool cools out of 10.
Vaughn – “No worries”
Jeff – “Interesting, because I might be worried if I was playing hackey sack a decade too late.
Duncan – “Okay I’ve actually been in this situation many times to I’m just going to be upfront. I’m not allowed to date any students.”
Annie – “Oh”
Duncan – “Even though your an 8. Which is a British 10. I am angry.”
Annie – “Please? You get paid”
Troy – “Do they do stuff to your butt?”
Annie – (disgustedly) “No.”
Troy – “ Do you get paid more if they do stuff to your butt?”
Annie – (sadly) “No.”
Troy – “That’s fine I’ll do it. I’m in.
Abed to Annie – “I didn’t realize we were really good friends. I figured we were more like Chandler and Phoebe, they never really had stories together…sure I’ll do it Chandler.”
Vaughn – “Hey your not going to order coffee?”
Jeff – “ Oh no I was just going to see if Britta…”
Vaughn – “ Hey no judgment bro I used to do coffee. Then I switched to green tea. Its like filled with these anti-oxidants and stuff. Its pretty tight.
Jeff – “Tight, yes I’ve heard that about green tea.”
Shirley – “Do you see how often Hackey Sack takes his shirt off? He’d play shirts and skins in a game of checkers.”
Shirley – “They call me Tatelina. It’s a bumblebee nickname. Its cute…but it stings.”