Jeff finds Annie in Britta's tiny kitchen. It's the first weekend of summer vacation after spring finals, and Britta had offered to host a "grown-up" evening at her apartment, which as far as Jeff can tell means that they are doing exactly what they'd normally do, albeit with more alcohol and less organized board games and movies. Annie is facing away from him, trailing a finger along the edge of Britta's countertop, sipping slowly from the Tom Collins that Pierce had made her earlier in the evening.
She spins, startled, and puts out a hand quickly to stabilize herself.
"Jeff! You startled me."
"I can tell." She blinks at him, owlishly, and he recognizes the effort it took to coordinate that movement. "Feeling a little tipsy, are we?"
She straightens up and throws her shoulders back. "I'm fine. It's just... alcohol's different from Adderall, that's all." She laughs a little, to herself. "That rhymed."
"Welcome to adulthood, where we abuse substances to get away from our problems and not to increase our ability to work on them." He reaches forward to snag her drink. "Also, unintentional rhyming is usually a good sign that it's time to call it quits for the night."
"What, Jeff? Afraid I can't handle my liquor?" She swats at him. "Don't be such a square."
He raises an eyebrow. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize we were in a 1960s sitcom."
"Hardly." Abed is rattling ice cubes in his glass and headed for the fridge. "We have the wrong dynamics for that era, because while our group as a whole has a non-cynical bond and friendship, we still trade in a barbed and modern style of referential humor that would hardly translate to 1960s sensibilities." He pulls a bottle of vodka from the freezer. "Also, I would dislike having to pause after every sentence for a laugh track to tell the audience how they should react to a scene."
Troy bursts into the kitchen and slides to the cabinet with white gym socks on the linoleum floor. Abed claps his hands.
Annie giggles. "You should do Risky Business, Troy."
"I do have the charm of a young Tom Cruise." Troy firms his lips and reaches down to tear his jeans away. "Halfway there."
"It's overdone as a pop culture reference, but I'll allow it," says Abed.
Jeff gestures. "And you're wearing breakaways because..."
Troy and Abed ignore him, staring at each other intently. "I'll speak with Britta about an appropriate soundtrack. Jeff, we'll need your shirt."
Jeff starts to protest, catches himself, and shrugs. "You're just lucky I look good in a wife beater."
"Boy, where are your pants?" Shirley is standing in the doorway, holding an empty pretzel bowl and staring at Troy's naked legs with narrow eyes. She notices Jeff, and the pitch of her voice goes up a notch. "And why are you taking your shirt off?"
Annie pipes up, "Troy's doing Risky Business, Shirley."
Jeff looks up from unbuttoning. "Apparently, I'm the shirt."
Her face lights up instantly. "Oh, that's nice. Tom Cruise was such a handsome young thing back then, before he went all crazy and locked up that poor Katie Holmes girl." Shirley navigates around Troy to reach the cupboard with the snacks, forcing Abed aside to make room.
"How are we all fitting into this kitchen at this point?"
"Are you dissing my apartment, Winger?" Britta squeezes in the door, and Troy pirouettes out of her way and deeper into the press.
"No, but I was remarking on the fact that a Foreman grill is the centerpiece of your kitchen, and everything else appears to be scaled to match it."
Britta flips her hair back. "My apartment has character, which is something I, unlike some people, value."
"Boo," says Pierce, sticking his head in the doorway. "Spoken like a true lesbian. Oh, wait, are we playing monkeys in a barrel here?" He squeezes himself between Annie and Britta. "I love that game."
"That's a game?"
"It is the way I play it." Pierce bumps into Britta, Annie, and Shirley in turn.
"Eew," says Annie. Jeff tosses his shirt to Troy.
Pierce points at Troy and snickers. "Missing something?"
Shirley straightens up. "If you say one word about pantsing, Pierce, so help me God..."
"We've decided that Troy has the charm of a young Tom Cruise and should reenact the iconic scene from Risky Business."
"Troy's going to dance around in his underwear!" Annie says, beaming.
Jeff hisses, "Annie, don't put it like..."
"Gay!" Pierce announces the word like a linguistic bullet, and Jeff closes his eyes.
"Pierce, I thought we talked about this."
"Oh, right. Sorry, Jeff." Pierce moves to stand next to Troy and slings an arm over his shoulders. "Gay," he whispers, proudly.
Britta purses her lips. "I was wondering where Troy's pants were."
Abed snaps his fingers. "Britta, we'll need a pair of your ironically-oversized aviator sunglasses as well."
"There's nothing ironic about my sense of fashion, Abed." She clears her throat. "...And I'll go get them."
"Baggels," says Troy, and Annie laughs.
"You know, Abed, in the movie Tom Cruise doesn't actually wear sunglasses in that scene."
Abed stares at Jeff. "Is that sarcasm?"
"It's a fact."
"I know facts, Jeff. I had assumed since that what we are enacting here is already an homage to the scene, we would join the ranks of the other recreations of the event, all of which have the character in sunglasses, as seen in such seminal television classics as the Nanny, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and ALF."
"The Nanny? A television classic? Are you being sarcastic?"
Troy starts to dig his fists and pop his knees. "Now this is a story all about how..."
"Annie, sweetie, can you help me with the food?"
"Sure, Shirley." Annie looks surprised at herself for a moment and starts to giggle again. "Surely!"
Shirley shoves the pretzel bowl in Annie's hands and walks her out of the kitchen, a hand at her back, glaring at Jeff like he's the one personally responsible for Annie's underage drunkenness.
Troy snorts. "Surely."
Britta's voice yells out distantly from somewhere else in the apartment. "Abed! What kind of sunglasses did you want?"
"Excuse me. Directorial choices." Abed points toward the door and exits.
Pierce claps a hand on Jeff's shoulder. "Have you tried some of the scotch I brought?"
Jeff finishes the rest of Annie's drink and holds out the empty glass. "Not yet."
Abed is sitting on the couch with Annie cross-legged on the floor in front of him. He's doing some sort of complicated braiding pattern with Annie's hair, his long fingers sorting her hair into neat sections and weaving them together. Britta is scowling at her laptop, a tiny white netbook, attempting to download Bob Seger, and Shirley and Pierce are seated in chairs a little ways off, conversing in low voices. Pierce is drinking from a tumbler of scotch and Shirley has a virgin daiquiri with a paper umbrella that Annie bought in a ten-pack.
Jeff takes another sip of his drink, stretches his legs out, and lets his head sink back in a hazy warmth.
"Got it!" Britta says, and jumps up from her spot on the couch next to Abed.
"Excellent," says Abed, his fingers paused in Annie's hair.
"I have some speakers..." She narrows up her eyes in concentration. "Somewhere. Just let me find them."
"Guys?" Troy's voice drifts in from the kitchen, a vague note of panic audible. "It's cold in here with no pants."
Pierce raises his voice and yells back, "Be a man."
"Found 'em." Britta triumphantly plugs two egg-shaped speakers into the side of her laptop and hits the mouse button.
"One, two, one two three...."
The opening piano riff plays, and Troy slides out of the kitchen. He has his back to the group and an egg beater dangling from his right hand. Abed nods once and continues to braid Annie's hair.
Shirley coos. "You look just like Tom Cruise."
"Black Tom Cruise," says Pierce wisely, and raises his glass.
Troy pedals his sock-clad feet and starts to lip sync into the egg beater. He dances over to Britta and holds out his free hand to her.
She smiles. "Hey, dance buddy."
"Sup," he says, and spins her around. He plays the air guitar in a circle around her, and she launches into something that looks like a Charleston, with her arms straight down by her sides and her hands bent up flat, kicking her heels up.
Pierce gets up and goes over to Britta and Troy. "May I cut in?"
"Do I dance," Pierce scoffs. "I've been known to cut a rug in my day."
"This I've got to see," says Troy. Pierce starts to do the Charleston as well, with less bounce but some skill. Britta grabs one of his hands and they start to dance together, circling each other and waving their free hands, doing little kicks with their feet.
"Are you done yet?" Annie is tapping her toes and starting to twist around. Abed puts his hands firmly by her ears and faces her forward again.
Shirley is nodding her head to the beat, and Troy does a sideways slide over to her and takes both of her hands. Shirley dances like the rinse cycle of a washing machine, with all sorts of little twists and turns, and she claps her hands in appreciation when Troy does the splits in front of her.
"Done," says Abed, and wraps a band around the thick rope of Annie's braided hair. She jumps up, and starts dancing with Pierce and Britta. Pierce is a little out of breath at this point and seems happy to let Annie carry the heavy work and quickstep her way around him.
Britta wanders over to sit on the arm of Jeff's chair. Her face is flushed and her hair is starting to come undone from its pins in blonde waves.
"You should dance," she says.
"I was kind of enjoying watching you dance."
She smiles at him and slugs him on the shoulder.
"Ouch," he says, rubbing his shoulder and adopting a wounded expression. "Way to injure my dancing shoulder, genius."
Shirley holds out her hand for Jeff.
"Are you going all Sadie Hawkins on my ass, Shirley?"
"Don't make me regret it," she growls.
He takes her hand and they start in on a bouncy little jig together.
Britta goes to sit next to Abed on the couch, and after a few seconds she tilts her head over to rest it on his shoulder. Troy is doing the robot in the corner and announcing his dance moves. "Binary two-step. Arrested robot. Can't buy me robot love, y'all!"
Jeff spins Shirley, and she grins at him with delight.
Abed looks down at Britta, leaning against his shoulder. "Dance scene. Cool cool cool."
"Shh," she says. "I'm trying to enjoy the moment."
Annie laughs, Pierce attempts to jive, Troy becomes a deactivated robot, and Abed tilts his head and decides that maybe Britta is on to something, after all.