Welcome to Looking Streets Behind, a Community retrospective column! Join me as I dive into a Community episode that has reached its 10th-anniversary milestone! This go-round, we’re delving into the Season Two finale “For a Few Paintballs More.” Wherein we learned that Denny’s is for winners, Leonard’s fought in a zillion real wars and Abed’s Han Solo impersonation is perfect. Truly and sincerely perfect. Joe Russo directed this beauty. Any time a Russo helmed a Community episode, you knew it was going to exceed expectations.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into “For a Few Paintballs More.” Shirley’s gonna miss CSI, folks!
Now, we open with Abed (Danny Pudi) and Troy (Donald Glover) storming the corridors of Greendale on a mission. Suddenly, Pistol Patty’s stormtroopers barge through the doors on their mission — to take out all Greendale students. But not to Denny’s because that’s for winners. Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) appears on the scene. Pistol Patty whips off her helmet and we see it’s really Dean Spreck (Jordan Black). We should’ve known that City College was behind all the chicanery! We’re blessed with those Star Wars-inspired opening credits. I am content.
Next, Troy and Abed reveal that City College has sicked its goons on them. Since the paintball competition has moved on from Spaghetti Western to Star Wars, Abed lays claim to the “Han Solo character.” You know, before Jeff swoops in. Troy seizes the moment to become the leader he was meant to be. Jeff (Joel McHale) tries to contest Troy’s leadership. Leadership is always thrust upon Jeff and he reluctantly acquiesces. It’s Troy’s turn now, bruh!
Then, Troy and Jeff bicker over the group’s game plan. Annie (Alison Brie) suggests they split up so both plans can be implemented. Suddenly, a paint bomb explodes. Magnitude (Luke Youngblood) sacrifices his life by absorbing the blow. He pop-popped his last pop-pop. Pop. Jeff learns that Dean Spreck is behind it all. Pierce (Chevy Chase) betrays the study group by relaying vital intel to Spreck.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel
Meanwhile, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) stands guard while Annie and Abed Solo stock up on supplies. Abed Solo seamlessly flirts with Annie. She vows not to succumb to his rotten scoundrel charms. Now, everyone regroups and they contemplate next moves. We can’t let Magnitude’s sacrifice be for naught!
Later, Jeff takes Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Leonard (Richard Erdman) and a handful of people outside to survey the campus grounds. They try to settle on a meeting place after their inevitable victory. Apparently, Leonard’s been banned from a Denny’s. Back inside, Troy, Shirley, Annie and Abed Solo are cornered by the City College stormtroopers. Troy tries to escape but he meets his demise and goes out like the awesome leader he is. This scene never fails to crack me up. The cinematography!
The Pièce de Résistance
Next, Jeff gives Quendra (Kendra with a “Q-u”) a pep talk prior to getting blasted with a paintball. Leonard also strikes out. Help us, Britta-wan Kenobi! You’re our only hope! Shirley pulls the fire alarm, which spews forth a shower of paint. Paintballs everywhere! Obviously, this covers City College’s stormtroopers. Abed Solo and Annie make out. This is what the people want! Give us Anbed! Abnie! Of course, after the snogging, Abed Solo morphs back to our Abed.
Then, while outside, Shirley pulls up in a go-cart to lend Britta a helping hand. They’re the last ones standing, after all. They proceed to lay waste to the City College stormtroopers. Just when our protagonists think they’ve won, a lone trooper shoots Shirley with a paintball.
But not all is lost! Another stormtrooper enters the fray and fires on his fellow troopers. We see that it’s really Pierce. Greendale wins! He demands that Dean Spreck write out that $100,000 check to the school. Pelton faints. Is this the only time we see Chang (Ken Jeong) in this episode? The penis flag of City College is lowered to make way for E Pluribus Anus once more.
Later, our core group is sitting in the study room. They’re trying to decide on what class to take together next year. Jeff defers to Troy since the latter had some killer ideas out in the paintball field. Troy declares they should all sleep on it. Pierce enters to grab his day planner that actually exists. Jeff and the group want to welcome Pierce back into the fold. However, Pierce declines. He’s done with them. A Community cliffhanger!
Now, the end credit scene consists of Abed and Jerry the Janitor (Jerry Minor) chatting it up. Abed regales him with the trials and tribulations of the paintball competition. Poor JJ now has to deal with the aftermath of it all.
The one-liners, facts and gags!
Pelton has some great lines in “For a Few Paintballs More.” “Why would someone who gets paid to do things be at Greendale?” Not to mention, this gem: “City College. Now, I understand everything. Now, your whole evil plan is clear as day. But if you need to explain it to your men, I understand.” Of course, Rash’s delivery is impeccable here.
Jeff’s “Denny’s is for winners” is an endlessly quotable bit. “I’ve been in a few real wars, and this is a lot more terrifying” is a fantastic Leonard jewel. He was also a Little Rascal (according to him). That tracks. Dean Spreck’s paltry attempt at rhyming and overall dean-ing — “Oh, you haven’t seen how mean this dean can be … an.”
Then, there’s Pelton showering the study group with praises and lovingly referring to them as “ballers, yo.” “I hope you like getting balled.” Garret’s “I don’t take orders from girls because they don’t talk to me.” Abed Solo telling the stormtroopers “You’re already dead” after pelting them with paintballs. It’s a play on the school’s motto, you guys!
Facts and gags
In “Critical Film Studies,” Abed reveals to Jeff that he had a cameo on Cougar Town (Which really did happen — Season 2 Episode 21, “Something Good Coming: Part 1.”). He was in a scene with Busy Philipps and Dan Byrd. Now, fast forward to “For a Few Paintballs More.” Philipps and Byrd can be seen celebrating with the crowd when Greendale triumphs over City College.
Additionally, Dan Harmon can be seen on a Greendale poster used by the group as a decoy. Here’s a fun fact: Vicki prematurely rushing onto the field amid our heroes’ assault on the Gatling gun is a nod to the “Leeroy Jenkins” video from World of Warcraft.
The Han Solo of it all!
“For a Few Paintballs More” is the perfect cap to my favorite season of Community. The score, the cinematography and the Star Wars references are the sprinkles on top of the meta sundae. The Greendale gods bestowed us with Anbed. Yes, I’m someone who now shamelessly wishes the show had developed something with Abed and Annie. That being said, I’m also glad romance wasn’t the crux of Community. It’s about the close bond shared by our favorite study group. This episode will live on in the Greendale annals for as long as it’s still the best school in the western three-quarters of the area.
Denny’s is for everyone, Winger. Pass it on.
What do you love most about Community‘s “For a Few Paintballs More”? Sound off in the comments below! Looking Streets Behind will be taking a summer break, but I’ll be back for the fall semester a.k.a. Season Three. I’m gonna have more fun and be less weird than the first two years combined!
Until then, stay streets ahead.