I’ve done some digging around and no seems to have cracked this nut completely so after the cut, the magical secret of this episode is revealed:
EDIT: Dan Harmon says nope. Oh well.
The first hint is in the opening of the show:
"You sure it’s not 304?"
“No, it’s 303. I checked twice.”
What the writers are telling us is that the fourth episode is in fact the THIRD episode. So what about “Competitive Ecology”, the third episode that aired?
That’s the episode that takes place in the alternate timeline where Abed gets the pizza.
In Competitive Ecology:
- Shirley references Britta’s “marijuana lighter” Britta tells Shirley she’s high only in the Abed timeline.
- Pierce says he told the group the Eartha Kitt story, something he did not do in what Evil Abed refers to as the “primary timeline”, the one where Abed catches the die and Jeff gets the pizza.
THEREFORE PAY ATTENTION TO ANY SUBSEQUENT EPISODES THAT REFERENCES EVENTS THAT HAPPENED IN COMPETITIVE ECOLOGY (such as the study group having to share lab equipment), AS THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT TAKE PLACE IN THE ALTERNATE ABED TIMELINE. My guess would be every episode from now until mid-season.
BONUS Explanations: Jeff eats his pizza funny, picking off the topping but avoiding the crust because he doesn’t eat carbs and Annie’s got a gun because she lives in a crappy neighborhood.
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