Annie tried to cover her smile with her hand as she slipped out from behind the dumpster. With a shake, she put on her Serious Face™: Annie Edison, College Student. Shoulders back, chin out, backpack maturely slung over one shoulder, she strode forth across the parking lot like the biggest intellectual on the Greendale campus. Which she probably was.
Abed slid into place beside her, walking at the same brisk, purposeful pace, continuing a conversation she was pretty sure she'd never started. "I'm thinking that Jeff is Steve Martin's character in LA Story. And that Britta is Sara. So you're SanDeE*," he said. "Although that only works if you know about Sara and are fine with being SanDeE*." He cocked his head. "I wonder who is the Richard E. Grant character, then? Could be me." He smiled crookedly at Annie and waggled his eyebrows.
"What are you talking about?" Annie asked. "I've only seen Steve Martin in The Pink Panther. Who's Sandy?"
"You've seen Roxanne," said Abed. "And The Muppet Movie."
"I have not seen Roxanne." She stopped in the middle of the parking lot. What was the point of trying to look like Annie Edison, College Student, while she was having a debate about movies with Abed? "And Steve Martin was not in The Muppet Movie. Everybody in that movie was a Muppet!"
Abed stopped, too, and furrowed his brow. "How could you not have seen Roxanne?"
"Because I'm not obsessed with movies that came out before I was born?"
"Jeff was 17 when Roxanne came out," Abed said, and continued without pausing for breath. "Steve Martin is 20 years older than Sarah Jessica Parker, who played SanDeE*. He's only five years older than Victoria Tennant, who played Sara. I think Jeff might be about nine years older than Britta. Of course Victoria Tennant was Steve Martin's real-life wife, and they played together in All of Me as well. She played a villain there. And the heroine at the same time. Complicated," he finished, looking to the side, thoughtfully.
Annie stamped her foot, realizing as she did so that she had completely destroyed any meaning vestiges of Serious Face™. "Abed, I don't care if you're the human IMDb, what's going on between me and Jeff is none of your business." Abed slid his eyes toward her again, although his expression didn't change. "And nothing is going on between me and Jeff!"
Abed started walking again, back toward campus, but spoke at the same volume as if Annie were going to follow him. She did. "Maybe it's not LA Story. Dirty Dancing? Baby is a good Jewish girl who's used to standing in corners."
"My God, Abed," said Annie, hurrying after him. "I am not Baby, and Jeff is nothing like Patrick Swayze. And why is Jeff always the hero of whatever movie you think of, anyway?" Abed just looked at her quizzically, head angled toward her as he walked. "Why aren't you ever the hero?"
"Because Jeff is Jeff," said Abed. "He is the hero. I'm the half-Polish half-Palestinian comic relief. The sidekick. The wingman. The Ron to his Harry. The Chewie to his Han. The Azeem to his Robin --"
Annie stopped short and grabbed Abed's arm to jerk him to a halt. "Wait a second," she said, appalled. "Are you saying you can't be the hero because you're, you know."
"Short? Strange? Skinny?"
Annie balled up her hands into fists, exasperated. "Palestinian." She looked furtively at the completely empty parking lot and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Brown." She blushed a little.
"Don't be silly," Abed said, and he didn't seem angry at her so it looked like she hadn't been racist to say it out loud. She hoped? "Jeff is the hero because Jeff is the hero." He walked around her in a slow circle. "But it's true that there aren't any good roles for." He stopped abruptly. On anyone else it probably would have been trailing off uncomfortably, but Abed was never uncomfortable. Or always uncomfortable, maybe. "Half-Polish half-Palestinian comic relief."
"There are totally Arabs with good roles in the movies!" Abed stopped circling and met her eyes, and Annie wracked her brain. There must be! "Aladdin?" No, she thought, wincing, because Abed would insist he was Jafar. "Othello?" she tried, hoping to head twirling of imaginary mustaches off at the pass, but Othello was even worse. "Casablanca?"
"Unless Rick has something he isn't telling us, I don't think so," Abed said. He looked thoughtful. "That could be another good movie for you, though."
"Don't you dare," said Annie. "You are about to turn Jeff into Rick, and Britta into Ingrid Bergman -- because everybody thinks Britta is the pretty one! -- and then you will make yourself into the little weasley guy who has the letters of transit and gets killed, and you'll make me into, into, I don't know, that singer who sings the French national anthem and sleeps with everybody."
"Yvonne." Abed flashed his quick, quirky non-smile. "Played by Madeleine LeBeau, who fled from the Nazis and married a Jew, so maybe a good role for you."
"Dammit, Abed!" She was hard-pressed not to stamp her foot again, but Annie Edison, College Student could have a serious intellectual discussion without resorting to middle school behavior, really. "Why not you as Rick and me as Ilsa?" She paused. "Okay, I admit that you probably think that it's Troy as Rick and you as what's-his-name."
Yeah, I thought so, she thought.
"If I'm Rick," he said. "Then Jeff is Victor Laszlo. We'll always have Greendale." His face shifted into a mask of romantic angst, and Annie almost believed him. "We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to the parking lot behind the cafeteria. We got it back last night."
"So now you want me to make out with Jeff behind the dumpster?"
"I thought you said nothing was going on between you and Jeff," said Abed.
Annie resisted the urge to scream. "I just don't see why everything is about Jeff!"
"What if you're Yentl?" asked Abed. "Then you could hook up with Britta, instead of with Jeff. Or Shirley, if you want."
"Christ," said Annie, and Abed raised his eyebrows. "What's next? Kissing Jessica Stein?"
"Interesting," said Abed. "Is there a connection between Jewish girls and lesbians? Hmm, or maybe it's just Semites and homosexuality. In film class we watched a movie about the forbidden gay love between an Israeli and a Palestinian. Maybe we could solve the whole Middle East crisis with a greater understanding of homoeroticism." He bit his lip. "If Troy were here, he'd make a joke about falafel now. This is why I need Troy to be here."
"And you think we have an illicit gay love?"
"I don't understand," said Abed. "I also don't understand the joke about falafel that Troy isn't here to make. That's because Troy doesn't understand falafel. I should make him come to the restaurant. You can be Kitty Pryde."
"Wasn't she played by Ellen Page?"
"Ellen Page is hot," said Abed.
"True," said Annie. "Can you get us free falafel? I mean, for the whole group?"
"Maybe," said Abed.
"Because I'm imagining Shirley seeing falafel for the first time," said Annie. "Or Pierce."
Abed smiled again, that flash that was gone almost before Annie could see it. "It's excellent falafel," he said. "We shouldn't just be using it for comic relief."
"Agreed." Annie linked her arm through Abed's, and started walking him back towards campus."What is half-Polish half-Palestinian food, anyway?"
"I'd have to think about it," he said, laughing a little, short and startling. "I haven't had Polish food since my mother left. You could make pierogi stuffed with shawarma." Abed copied Annie's stance as they walked. "I bet you could mix a mulukhiyya with bigos. We should try it. You can come to my apartment for dinner. You'll be Isabelle in Crossing Delancey." Then he glanced at her, quick and nervous. "Or someone else. How about The Bowler? I'm clearly Captain Furious."
"I have no idea who those people are."
"No problem!" said Abed. "It works anyway."
Annie's shoulders were back, her chin was out, her backpack maturely slung over one shoulder as she walked arm and arm with Abed. "Abed," she said. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."