As seasons of Community went on, the show became increasingly meta as its fans became just as increasingly fascinated by all of its hidden layers.
Fans of Community swear by the show’s genius, citing show creator and showrunner Dan Harmon’s unconventional style as one of the main reasons for the show’s creative success.
And can we really blame them for thinking this way? Not since Lost had a creator been so attuned to the fan mindset. Harmon ensured fans were consistently rewarded upon episode rewatches. Like The Simpsons and Arrested Development), every frame of the show is filled with references, puzzles, and nods to both prior episodes and cultural touchstones.
Just in case you haven’t had time to comb through each episode with your finger over the pause button, here are fourteen of Community’s lesser-known easter eggs.
Introduction to Statistics
When?: Season 1, episode 7.
What?: Shirley speaks the zinger: “Did you ever see the Katherine Heigl movie poster with Gerard Butler where he had a hand over his weiner? That resonated with me.”
Egg: Yvette Nicole Brown, who plays Shirley, is referencing the romantic comedy The Ugly Truth, in which she was featured in a supporting role.
When? Season 1, episode 12.
What? A painfully immature bully terrorises the study group.
Egg: That bully is played by Anthony Michael Hall, the bullied nerd from The Breakfast Club—a movie that’s referenced repeatedly by Abed, and a character that’s spoken of in the pilot. Hall also played Chevy Chase’s son Rusty in the classic National Lampoon’s Vacation.
Contemporary American Poultry
When? Season 1, episode 21.
What? Pierce tries to implement a new turn of phrase: “streets ahead”, which is a more muted version of “miles ahead.”
Egg: Forever the social media whore, Dan Harmon took an insult from a random twitter user and turned it into an ongoing bit.
The Art of Discourse & Paradigms of Human Memory
When? Season 1, episode 22 & season 2, episode 21.
What? Troy and Abed construct a shabby robot named ‘Boob-a-Tron 4000’, and Abed reveals that it will only come to life if someone spills bong water on it.
Egg: Later, in season two’s brilliant flashback episode, ‘Boob-a-Tron 4000’ is seen walking around in the background.
When? Season 2, episode 1
What? In the opening montage, Troy gets out of bed wearing Spiderman pajamas.
Egg: Harmon is referencing the public push (#Donald4Spiderman) to see Glover take on the red tights after Tobey Maguire.
When? Season 2, Episode 6
What? A QR code appears on the episode’s zombie meat packaging.
Egg: That QR code scans to read: “Greetings from Greendale Community College.”
Aerodynamics of Gender
When? Season 2, episode 7.
What? Abed adopts a Robocop-esque persona, complete with a detailed electronic display in his field of vision.
Egg: That display foreshadows upcoming episodes such as the Christmas episode, the blanket fort, the paintball sequel, and many more.
When? Season 2, episode 8.
What? The whole episode is a search for who stole Annie’s pen. In the end the culprit is revealed to be a vent-dwelling monkey named Annie’s Boobs.
Egg: In the cold open, while Abed is insisting they’re about to do a ‘bottle’ episode (one, self-contained location), we can see Annie’s Boobs stealing the pen in the background behind Abed’s arm.
Asian Population Studies
When? Season 2, episode 12.
What? Shirley’s husband Andre says that the sweater he’s wearing was a gift from his dad.
Egg: Andre is played by Malcolm Jamal Warner, who played sweater-obsessed Bill Cosby’s son in The Cosby Show.
Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking
When? Season 2, episode 16.
What? Troy freaks out in a hospital over meeting LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Egg: Behind Troy hangs a cheesy Amy Poehler portrait.
Paradigms of Human Memory
When? Season 2, episode 21.
What? The study group make a fairly impressive diorama of them making a diorama (their 20th and final diorama for Anthropology 101).
Egg: Fans discovered that a quick cutaway reveals a miniature Chang, wearing the same outfit as in the scene, hovering outside the study room.
Remedial Chaos Theory
When? Season 3, episode 4.
What? The Greendale girls hover outside Abed and Troy’s apartment, attempting to remember if they lived at 303 or 304.
Egg: This is a reference to the episode production codes, where this classic episode was pushed back from episode 303 to 304 due to its complexity.
Pillows and Blankets
When? Season 3, episode 14.
What? Through an old painting, the discoverer of Greendale is revealed to be a man named English Memorial.
Egg: That man is a nude Dan Harmon.
When? Season 3, episode 19.
What? While the Greendale Six enjoy a stint in a mental institution, the usually piercing Garret is revealed to be a doctor with an ordinary voice.
Egg: That voice belongs to Dan Harmon.
Community airs nightly on SBS2 at 7:05pm. Season 5, which saw Dan Harmon return to the series, is on SBS On Demand: