At the conclusion of last week's Law & Order-themed episode, the Greendale student body lost one of its own -- the enigmatic, drug-dealing, pet-lizard-owning and sideburns-rocking Alex Osbourne a.k.a. Star-Burns. Last night's outing, "Course Listing Unavailable," was an offbeat farewell to the character that followed the arc of the five stages of grief... well, maybe three out of five anyway.
Certainly, no one seemed to be in denial that Star-Burns had passed on. In fact, as the episode began, most of the study group seemed already to have reached the final stage: acceptance. But then they learned that, due to Star-Burns's death, Professor Kane had resigned and they'd be receiving an incomplete for his Biology class, which meant the two most horrifying words in the English language: summer school. In the wake of this news, they suddenly reverted back to the second stage: anger. Their fury wound up turning Star-Burns's memorial service into a full-blown riot, one that was only quelled by Chang's young army. It also got them expelled from Greendale altogether, immediately pushing them into the fourth stage: depression. But by the end of this odd, though not entirely unpleasant episode, they wound up coming full circle back to acceptance. (It's safe to say their expulsion is only temporary, too... unless Dan Harmon's plan to get the show renewed another year is to ditch the community college setting altogether and have the characters buy a small town radio station or something. Hey, it almost worked for NewsRadio!) As a final send-off to Mr. Osbourne, here's a look at how each member of the gang dealt with his death and their most memorable Star-Burns related lines:
How He Deals: Initially hiding behind his "cooler than thou" persona, Jeff finally allows his anger to bubble to the surface when the death affects him personally... by making him go to summer school.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "It turns out that Star-Burns, this man in this urn, was a hero to us the whole time because he did the one thing that none of us ever tried to do. He got out. And then he exploded."
How He Deals: Whatever emotions Abed is feeling (and we're not entirely sure he feels anything), he funnels into his work -- specifically his tribute video to Star-Burns that the deceased specifically requested he make.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "Star-Burns also left me his ashes. He requested they be burnt. I don't think he knows how ashes work."
How She Deals: Ever the practical, positive one, Annie wants to deal with his death head-on and -- through talking about it -- move past it. Poor naïve Annie; she should know by now that it ain't ever that easy with this crew.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "You mean, Star-Burns died how he lived... in a meth lab explosion?"
How He Deals: Of the group, Troy's the one most unnerved by the concept of death, which is why he spends $7 to call his pen pal in China to make sure he's not one of the 100 people that died after Jeff finished his sentence.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "If we rub that, will he come out and do celebrity impressions?"
How She Deals: Never hesitant to make every situation about herself, Britta volunteers to serve as the group's grief counselor, before realizing she's terrible at it.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "I dunno. Glittery. Ask me something else."
How He Deals: Pierce distracts himself from the meaning of Star-Burns' death by obsessing over the mystery of his life that bothers him the most -- what the guy did with his comb.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "I know my comb is in here, you son of a bitch!"
How She Deals: Surprisingly, Shirley doesn't overtly turn to religion for comfort. But she does try to speak well of the deceased, until she helps incite that anti-Subway riot at his memorial.
Best Starburns-Related Line: "Star-Burns, I'm told, was a drug dealer, which of course is not good behavior. But it was a business. He had an entrepreneurial spirit."
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