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One thing that Community has always been able to excel at is the peripheral story and character. The show has an awareness of itself and the characters who inhabit the world. That’s put on full display this week, and executed quite well. Honestly the main point of the episode, welcoming baby Ben Bennett to the world, was in no way a shocker. We all knew that Chang couldn’t be Shirley’s baby’s daddy; it would make the child too important to the main storyline. Despite there being no real tension there, Community was still able to execute the improbable baby delivery episode with the same panache the series always brings to television clichés.

”Chang babies love the sauce: alcohol and duck.”

For the first time in a long while Ben Chang had a semblance of normalcy in this episode. Of course he still had to unleash the freaky scary commentary on his culture by proclaiming all Chang babies are born with tails. Or that by visualizing a rabbit riding a dragon Shirley could increase the chances of her own Chang baby to win the lottery. Yes, that was all there. Even semi-racist self-reverential commentary on the last name of Chang, but also apparent was a real dude. It’s nice when the oddball side characters get a chance to shine as fully functional people and not just comedic caricatures.

”Congratulations, sir. After a fierce campaign, I happily concede this baby to you. Pretty classy of me.”

It’s now official; Andre is the father of his wife’s baby. The delivery of the child in the middle of an Anthropology final, this was a “bottle episode” by the way, somehow touched upon all of the major players in the episode. It was the glue that held everything together. Britta might have had the biggest epiphany this week as she’s always the preacher, but rarely the uh….doer. The scene where she goes in to check out the baby’s progress was amazing. The wonder, the horror, the confusion, the just everything about what she was seeing was too much for Britta. But it in some way made her a better person because she was able to come back and help deliver little Ben not long after.

Make your money, whore!”

In Saddest and Funniest side plot news Pierce offered an “Indecent Proposal” for ownership of Troy and Abed’s trademark handshake. It was one of those little nuances that make you want to hug the writers because you know that they are aware we’ve noticed these little things. To make it the B-plot of an episode is just something no other show would dare to do. Troy’s reaction after he sees Abed turn away in shame from Pierce is priceless. “No!” If it hadn’t been so ridiculous it might have had me in tears. Of course that’s probably somehow the definition of genius, keeping the audience laughing but unsure of whether this is a truly deep and emotional moment. Of course it isn’t, it’s just a damn handshake. But there was a loss of innocence in Troy’s face for a split second that you’re caught up the emotion.

”Don’t print that. Let’s just stop jotting. Stop writing!”

There’s a Dean Magazine, and Dean Pelton wants to be in it. OK, so the magazine only lasted two issues because it was such a horrible idea. But in the process of being observed for a piece in the mag, the Dean got to once again come out and shine. I find the goofy getups very hit or miss with Pelton, but when he gets into his crazy talking back and forth schtick there’s nothing funnier on Community. Especially when he starts to lose just a little of his emotional control, the voice starts rising, and he just says things he really shouldn’t. He means well, but like he tells Shirley after he kind of laughs like a crazed animal when trying to calm her down, he has no idea what he’s doing.

”We came so close to having one class that wasn’t all about them.”

Let’s finish this up with a list of some of the best lines from the episode. I think the one just above may be the winner. Spoken by the girl from the acting class to Neil, who responded with another reference to the St. Patrick’s day adventure we’ve never seen, it was such an aware comment by a background character.

“That’s like a million bucks in dog dollars.”

“Wowwee, this is a real college.” – Dean Pelton

“You know what, not different, equal. Equal to whites. You know what? Better than whites.” – Dean Pelton

“I just yanked a little dude out of my friend.” – Britta

“Let me guess who paid for that study, Big Antacid.” – Britta

“Even if that were true, that’s not something a woman does on her child’s head.” - Shirley

“That’s broken water!!!” – Annie

“My nephew Jim was born on a treadmill at Bally Total Fitness. Twenty percent incline!” - Chang