|Directed by:||Justin Lin|
|Written by:||Emily Cutler|
|Original air date:||May 6, 2010|
"The Art of Discourse"
"English as a Second Language"
"Modern Warfare" is the twenty-third episode in the first season of Community and originally premiered on May 6, 2010 on NBC. In the episode, after the Dean announces the prize for a friendly game of paintball, Greendale sinks into a state of all-out paintball war, with every student battling for supremacy. During the chaos, Jeff's study group teams up in order to last longer in the game. Meanwhile, Jeff and Britta consider making their relationship more than friendly.
The episode was written by Emily Cutler and directed by Justin Lin. The episode's plot is a parody of multiple action movies such as Die Hard, Battle Royale, and Rambo. The episode "Modern Warfare" has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and came third in its timeslot.
When Jeff and Britta enter the library arguing with each other again, the rest of the group complains and Abed remarks that the constant sexual tension between the two is dividing the study group. Jeff responds by deciding to take a nap in his car. An hour later, he wakes up to Greendale resembling an apocalyptic wasteland covered in paint. When he enters the school, he is told by Garret, a casualty of the paintball war, that the prize of the Spring Fair Paintball Assassin game announced by the Dean raised the stakes of the event. Before Jeff can discover what the prize is, Leonard shows up with a paintball gun, shoots Garret multiple times, and then goes after Jeff. Jeff flees until he meets Abed in the hallway (decked in a Rambo-esque uniform), who shoots Leonard, saving Jeff.
Abed takes Jeff back to his base, where he has teamed up with Troy. Abed and Troy reveal that the coveted prize of the paintball game is priority registration, which gives the last student standing the ability to schedule their own classes next semester. They convince Jeff to join forces with them in order to last longer in the game. After eliminating the chess team, the three run into Pierce and Star-burns, who are raiding the vending machines for supplies. Pierce eagerly betrays Starburns for the other three and joins them. Jeff, Troy and Abed take a bathroom break only to find themselves in a trap set up by Shirley, Annie, and Britta, who have joined forces. Abed insists that all seven of them should join forces, even Jeff and Britta, who argue at first notice. The group heads to the outer campus and is attacked by the Glee Club, who takes out Annie and Troy before the rest of the study group takes cover. Jeff lures Pierce into the open as bait for the Glee Club, and then he, Britta and Abed take out the rest. The four remaining group members hide inside the ruined cafeteria and talk about what they'd do with priority registration. Shirley says she'd take morning classes to spend more time with her sons, and Britta says that any one of them that wins should give the prize to Shirley. Jeff becomes annoyed and accuses Britta of being a phony, and Shirley and Abed almost shoot them to stop them from arguing and take them out of the game. The four are then attacked by a group of roller-skating-disco-junkies, who are beaten by the group, but Abed and Shirley are taken out.
Britta and Jeff escape to the group's study room, where they forgive each other for their past arguments and insults and make fun of Abed's take on their relationship,. Jeff says that it would serve the rest of the study group right if they had sex in the study room and held it over them. Britta agrees, and the two actually have sex on the table. Afterwards, Britta unsuccessfully tries to betray Jeff before Señor Chang—employed by the Dean to take out any remaining students—barges into the room and attacks the still-dressing couple. Britta steals Jeff's clip of paintballs and sacrifices herself to take out Chang, leaving Jeff as the winner of priority registration. Jeff narrowly escapes the blast of several paintball bombs strapped to Chang's chest, and heads for the Dean's office. The Dean reveals that priority registration is illegal, but gives it to Jeff anyway under pressure. The next day, Britta and Jeff decide to pretend they didn't hook up, which is almost foiled by Abed's insistence that something within the group has changed (Pierce responds by saying that it might be himself, he's wearing a man-thong). Jeff gives the priority registration form he won to Shirley, surprising himself and Britta.
The episode was written by Emily Cutler and directed by Justin Lin, his third directing credit for the season and series.
The episode is an affectionate parody of such action movies as Die Hard, Terminator 2, The Matrix, Highlander, Rambo, The Running Man, Scarface, Face/Off, Battle Royale, Predator, The Warriors and Hard Boiled. In addition, Abed comments that Jeff and Britta's relationship was lacking the heart and soul of Ross Geller and Rachel Green's relationship from Friends and Sam Malone and Diane Chambers from Cheers. Jeff also wakes up from a nap in his car and sees the campus destroyed as a reference to 28 Days Later.
In its original American broadcast, "Modern Warfare" was viewed by an estimated 4.35 million households receiving a 2.0 rating/7% share in the 18-49 demographic coming third in its timeslot after according to the Nielsen Media Research. The episode received much acclaim from critics. Jonah Krakow of IGN gave the episode a 9.7 calling it "Incredible" and also stated "Most sitcoms don't have as many water-cooler moments as serialized adventure shows like Lost or 24, but I know this episode of Community will be an exception." Jason Hughes gave the episode a positive review saying "Like most action movies, there isn't a whole lot more to say about the plot. But, like action movies, it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch it all go down." The episode later won "Comedy Episode of the Year" at the Gold Derby Awards. Sean Gandert of Paste gave the episode a 9.1/10 calling it "phenomenal" and also calling it a "spitting distance" from being the best episode of the season.
- "Modern Warfare" at NBC.com