Community fans tonight were rewarded for their commitment to the show. The episode, "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism", featured the return of several gags; Abed as batman, Annie's high-pitched whimpering, the mall's Mexican restaurant, and Shirley's darker side. These last two items set up a huge reveal about the nature of Jeff and Shirley's relationship. It turns out that Shirley, a.k.a Big Cheddar, is the reason Jeff Winger is who he is.
The most shocking thing about this news isn't that Shirley caused Jeff to his pee his pants, but that she is only two years older. Community writers love to play with the ages of their characters. If this two-year age difference is cannon, we might have to review the lines on which the group has been divided.
According to the official NBC Community bio Jeff is 33 years-old and Shirley is therefore 35. It would seem that she has more in common with Britta and Jeff than Pierce. Pierce has long been a foil for the character, but the two have also stood out as a pair. This is because they are the only two that have been married with kids.
Perhaps by making Shirley younger the writers are looking to broaden her character. We now know two facts about Shirley, she has an anger problem and she was once an alcoholic. Both these elements have been woven throughout the third season and may be foreshadowing a future episode.
There were too many highlights in this episode to mention them all. Nick Kroll as the leader of the European students was one of them. The anime inspired grudge match was another.
The best part of tonight's Community was seeing Shirley and Jeff finally bonded as friends. As they walk away at the end of the episode it is clear that there is some hope for them. Perhaps this rag-tag group belongs together.
Next week is the last episode of the season for Community. It will be their annual Christmas episode, which gets crazier every year. In 2010 Abed had a psychotic breakdown that allowed the show to be molded in the claymation genre. This year they take on Glee in an episode titled, "Regional Holiday Music". Yes, they have promised that the cast will be singing original music. This may tie back to the musical number from the opening credits of the premiere. Will Jeff and Annie finally sleep together? You will have to tune to NBC next Thursday at 8pm.