Community Review: Big Cheddar vs. Tinkletown

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The thing about a brilliant comedy like Community is that sometimes it gives you what you didn't even know you needed. In "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism," it provided us some insight into Shirley's past.

Shirley has always been the sweet, conservative mother who strayed far from the evil ways and blunders of the rest of the study group. This week, however, we found out that her past affected Jeff Winger in a way we never could have guessed. Yes, young Shirley made young Jeff pee himself.

Young Shirley and Jeff

That picture you're looking at is of young Shirley - aka "Big Cheddar" - whooping Jeff "Tinkletown" at foosball. I just need to mention Jeff's rat-tail hairdo for a minute because there were multiple kids in my elementary school who rocked that trend. This whole scenario is so 90s and I love it.

Little did we know that Shirley was such a badass kid and her taunting ways helped shape the pretend-secure, overcompensating sarcastic Jeff Winger that we know and love today. I once read that creator Dan Harmon said the hardest character to write for is Shirley. Still, he rose to the challenge and created a storyline that really made us see this woman in a new light.

Her badass childhood only made me understand and love her more. It also presented an opportunity for her to bond with Jeff, something we hadn't seen much of before. The B story touched, meanwhile, on the roommate dynamic of Troy, Abed, and Annie. 

Annie's OCD tendencies led her to accidentally break Abed's special edition of The Dark Knight. When she and Troy panicked about how to handle it, Troy brought up one of the most universal truths in the world of Community: Abed knows everything. 

Abed does know everything, including how to do a perfect imitation of Christian Bale's throaty Batman voice. Annie could have used a lesson or two, but let's give the girl a break: she was crying while giving it a shot. However, if Abed is so wise, how did he not see that Annie was lying? Maybe he didn't want to see it. It could be as simple as Troy, Abed and Annie's bond overriding the anger Abed had about the DVD. 

This episode was full of love and awesome quotes. Heck, even Britta loved her cat enough to get it Lasik. As usual, hit the comments and lament how there's only one episode of Community remaining until... who the heck even knows when.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (81 Votes)

What was the song that played as Jeff and Shirley walked away as kids?


loved the episode! and the anime was unexpected and an awesome surprise!!!

Childish gambino

The opening and Jeff Shirley plot was good. It was writing and acting like that why i first fell in love with the show.
Didnt really like the annie/abed plot, thought it was pretty stupid, Troy summed it up pretty good, "Do you know how many sitcoms have done the secretly replace a broken priceless item thing?" yea one too many now.
...if community has more episodes like this i might actually miss it come January


Great episode! I'm glad to see the increase of Shirley screen time lately and 'Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism' made her completely awesome. I hope we get to learn more of her bad past in future episodes (assuming NBC does the right thing and puts the show back on future schedules). It was good to see Jeff get closer with her. Troy, Abed, and Annie make such fun roommates! Their story was very enjoyable to watch. Troy walking out happily humming that song that played on Abed's story radio (in 'Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps'), Abed's imperfect Batman, Annie again falling momentarily for a strong figure...all cute and sweet. They need more adventures together (again assuming NBC keeps the show going)! And with crazy laugh-out-loud moments like guest star Nick Kroll's insane foosball character and the Shirley / Jeff / cat anime battle combined with the little Britta and Leonard moments, this episode was a winner.


BTW I hope NBC realizes that Community won favorite tv guide cast cover against all the shows out there.


Anyone else think that could have been a young Abed in the flashback?


Community never ceases to blow me away. It is without doubt the coolest, most awesome show on air and I still can't believe NBC's taking it away from us. The only thing I look forward to every week is the new Community episode and now that it's going on hiatus, I don't know how I'm going to go on D:


this was (for me) as close to perfection as any sitcom has ever got. It had two decent story arcs, character development, laugh out loud funny lines, good v evil, references to films and tv that make sense and an unbearably sweet ending...honestly it trully was the best comedy half hour ive seen in years and so im completely baffled as to how its not more popular.


It is soooo true: fussball makes you aggressive, i love this show, loved the jeff shirley story, and the dynamic trio. great episode.
how did they get the idea to picture them as cartoons? love it.


No Britta and Pierce in the episode - made me love the episode even more...

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Community Season 3 Episode 9 Quotes

He only has the one eye Jeff, I can't exactly buy him a cat monocle. It's pretentious.


Pierce: The question is who am I doing this weekend?
Jeff: He's asking because he's already forgotten. It's nobody.