Community (2009–2015)
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The Science of Illusion 

Britta's April Fool's Day prank has disastrous consequences, but she refuses to confess that she was responsible. Annie and Shirley temporarily work as security guards, but both of them want to be the "bad cop."


Adam Davidson


Dan Harmon (created by), Zach Paez


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Episode complete credited cast:
Joel McHale ... Jeff Winger
Gillian Jacobs ... Britta Perry
Danny Pudi ... Abed Nadir
Yvette Nicole Brown ... Shirley Bennett
Alison Brie ... Annie Edison
Donald Glover ... Troy Barnes
Ken Jeong ... Ben Chang
Chevy Chase ... Pierce Hawthorne
Jim Rash ... Dean Pelton
Jay Johnston ... Police Officer #2
Eve Brent ... Glenda
Craig Cackowski ... Officer Cackowski
Dino Stamatopoulos ... Star-Burns
Richard Erdman ... Leonard


Pierce is willing to do and wear whatever it takes to reach a new level of ascension in his Buddhist church. Meanwhile, Britta secretly tries to shake her reputation as a "buzzkill," resulting in a prank gone horribly wrong. Britta's misguided attempt at levity forces new campus security officers Annie and Shirley to investigate the crime. Written by NBC Publicity

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 March 2010 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Pierce's napkin drawing of the Greendale Human Being can be seen hanging up behind Dean Pelton's desk. See more »


Annie Edison: The name's Annie Edison, but people call me Psycho 'cause I had a nervous breakdown in high school. My partner's a Christian housewife. How can we help you?
See more »


References Mortal Kombat (1992) See more »


Troy and Abed in the Morning!
Performed by Donald Glover and Danny Pudi
See more »

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User Reviews

In honor of "Community"- a review of every episode. (S1;E20- "The Science of Illusion")
27 November 2016 | by MaximumMadnessSee all my reviews

(This is the twentieth part in an ongoing series, in which I am writing brief reviews of each and every episode of Dan Harmon's beloved cult- comedy "Community." Originally conceived as a response to NBC's cancellation of the series before it was revived for its final season on Yahoo.)

"The Science of Illusion" is a very solid offering in the first season of "Community." It's one of those episodes that pops up now and then to show just how far into the realm of the strange the series can go while still being able to maintain a grounded and heartwarming sense of character and setting. With plenty of laugh out loud gags, some great high-concept parody and a good does of character drama that crops up now and then, it's definitely a good addition to the series.

Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) attempt to play an April Fools Day prank backfires in a ridiculous and hilarious way when she accidentally kills a Science Lab frog and sends a cadaver being kept for a medical class careening out of a window. Annie (Alison Brie) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) are drafted by Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) to investigate the matter, and both take the job way too seriously as they vie for the position of being the "bad cop" in the team. Things take an interesting turn when they start to suspect that Jeff (Joel McHale) is the perpetrator. All the while, Pierce (Chevy Chase), a member of a strange religious cult, is convinced by Jeff and the others to dress up in increasingly hilarious garb that they claim were sent to them by his Church. He doesn't realize that as part of a prank, they're trying to make him look like a real-life take on the Cookie Crisp wizard.

The biggest laughs here come courtesy Annie and Shirley and their brilliant riff on the classic "buddy cop" formula, which is parodied to absolute perfection here. Especially with Abed (Danny Pudi) tagging along, providing live commentary to their every deed and lead in the investigation. Their back-and-forth banter is just wonderful, and it's really nice to see Shirley in one of her rare chances to stretch her comedic chops in the series. The best gag, which I won't spoil, comes at the climax of a tense foot-chase over Greendale's campus in a perfect bit of physical comedy gold. It's also great to see Britta in a central role once again, with her deadpan delivery and detached sense of humor.

While it's far from the series best, "The Science of Illusion" is great fun for fans of the series. Its broad elements of parody and some keen and clever instances of interpersonal conflict and development keep the laughs coming at a mild a minute, and will even potentially tug at the heartstrings once or twice. And for that, I give it an excellent 9 out of 10.

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