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Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations

"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" is the fifth episode of the fourth season of the NBC sitcom Community, which originally aired on March 7, 2013. The episode was written by Steve Basilone and Annie Mebane, and directed by Tristram Shapeero. The episode serves as a resolution to Jeff Winger's troubled history with his father. James Brolin guest-stars as William Winger Sr., Jeff's father. Adam DeVine also guest-stars as William Winger Jr., Jeff's half-brother.

"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"
Community episode
Community S04E05 - Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations.jpg
Jeff meets his father.
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 5
Directed by Tristram Shapeero
Written by Steve Basilone
Annie Mebane
Production code 405
Original air date March 7, 2013 (2013-03-07)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Alternative History of the German Invasion"
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"Advanced Documentary Filmmaking"
Community (season 4)
List of Community episodes



During Thanksgiving, Jeff decides to call off plans to visit his father, William Winger Sr. However, Britta forces Jeff to travel to William's house and share Thanksgiving dinner with him after traveling there on her own. Jeff seems surprised to learn that he and William Sr. are quite similar. Jeff also meets his half-brother, William Jr. (Adam Devine), who behaves erratically and fears that Jeff will "replace" him in his father's eyes.

Pierce, Annie, Troy and Abed decide to spend Thanksgiving with Shirley's family. They grow increasingly frustrated by her extended family's behavior and quarantine themselves into her garage. Abed begins to see the situation as reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption, and begins to narrate the story in a similar fashion to Morgan Freeman's narration in the film.

After spending time catching up, Jeff is taken aback by a comment William Sr. makes, suggesting that leaving Jeff and his mother behind was good for Jeff in the long run, as he is not as emotional or dependent as William Jr. Jeff lets his father know how much this statement offends him. Jeff later confesses that he faked appendicitis while in grade school to gain sympathy from his classmates to cope with his abandonment issues after William Sr. left. He even went so far as to cut himself to simulate an appendectomy scar in order to give proof of his lie. Jeff admits that to this day, he still keeps all of the "Get Well Soon" cards his classmates gave him, as proof that people do care about him.

Jeff leaves with Britta, satisfied with his encounter with his father, and reconciles with his half-brother, who has warmed up to him.

After confronting Pierce, Annie, Troy and Abed for staying in the garage, Shirley makes amends with them, and confesses that she is sad and frustrated with her family, as her husband is not home for this holiday.

Back at Greendale, the rest of the group discover that Jeff has set up a small, makeshift Thanksgiving dinner for them, as he sees them as his "family." They are joined by Dean Pelton.

At the end, Shirley discovers that Abed made a hole behind the poster for Shirley's Sandwiches, and then decides that she needs to remember it for "next year".


The episode was written by executive story editors Steve Basilone and Annie Mebane, and is one of seven season 4 episodes directed by executive producer Tristram Shapeero.


The episode was seen by approximately 3.29 million viewers when it premiered, an increased 16% in viewership from the previous episode.[1]


  1. ^ "Community: Season Four Ratings". TV Series Finale. April 12, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2013. 

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