Community has returned after a three month hiatus that had fans freakin’ out with fear their favorite comedy was gettin’ axed. Thankfully, Community prevailed and is back where it belongs, Thursday nights at 8pm on NBC. Make sure you join us every week as we recap the continuing exploits of Greendale’s most infamous study group.
So far since Community‘s returned we’ve had a wedding almost ruined by Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta’s (Gillian Jacobs) drunken ramblings, a bar mitzvah where Seacrest Hulk rampaged and Chang (Ken Jeong) gained an army, and a feud between best friends Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) that ended in an epic and climatic pillow fight. Things have been crazy at Greendale Community College, even for them! This latest episode has been a nice change of pace. “Origins of Vampire Mythology” is a little quieter, a littler calmer. Well, sorta. Normalcy has returned in the sense that we begin withe everyone gathered ’round the study table, Troy and Abed are inseparable, Pierce (Chevy Chase) is complaining he doesn’t have a best friend, and we learn Britta has a past love she can’t control herself around. Oh, and the Dean (Jim Rash) shows up in an all too revealing train conductor’s outfit. That’s very normal by Greendale standards.
There’s a carnival coming and with it Britta’s ex boyfriend who’s named after a kickboxing vampire. And he’s a guy who has some kind of unnatural hold on her, she can’t deny him anything! Hmm, maybe he is a vampire. Britta seeks out Annie’s help to keep her away from Blade, that is if she can stop Annie from ogling Jeff. Y’know, at one time I found the Jeff and Annie thing kind of cute, but the further they try and develop her school girl crush the more nauseated I feel. Jeff is on the verge of real breakthrough when it comes to not being an utter douche, a hook up with Annie could ruin that. And probably ruin her.
Britta’s a mother-flipping carnie-banging werewolf and she needs to be restrained by any means necessary.
Earlier when the Dean pranced into the study room in his conductor gear it was because he’s into trains now, but we’re reminded later when Dean Laybourne (John Goodman) of the Air Conditioning Repair School visits him he’s not gotten over his love of dalmatians. Every scene with the Dean, or in this case Deans, is a show stealer. Jim Rash in particular has turned a character who could have been a one trick pony into a standout in an already hilarious ensemble. His interactions this episode with Laybourne, who’s again demanding Troy come to his AC Repair School, and later on in Troy, Abed, and Annie’s apartment while the hold Britta hostage are short but priceless. By no means is the Dean a headlining character but he stands out every chance he gets, and all you want is more.
After Laybourne threatens the Dean (and mercilessly crushes one of his dalmatians!) he agrees to do his best to manipulate Troy into transferring to the AC Repair School. Even if it means showing up at their apartment in pajamas with snacks.
Abed: I need help reacting to something.
While Troy, Abed and Annie lock Britta in Annie’s bedroom because she cannot be trusted to sit quietly and watch Blade without constantly wondering if her Blade is trying to get a hold of her, Jeff and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) check out the carnival. Well, they go to the carnival but the only thing on Jeff’s mind is finding this Blade and learning his irresistible secret. It’s a twist having Jeff and Shirley spending time together, it’s something we rarely see happen and as Jeff reminds us she’s the only one who truly gets him. Shirley’s able to see through the bullshit. She also doesn’t have an ulterior motive when it comes to Jeff because she’s never wanted to get in his pants, unlike the other women in his life, Annie and Britta.
But they’re not the only ones at the carnival, Pierce and Chang are there on what’s basically a date between the two lonely guys. You’d think the pairing of these two would lead to something diabolical and hilarious, but no, it just kind of falls flat. Makes you wonder about all the bitching we’ve heard from Chevy Chase about how he believes he’s being grossly underused on the show. Maybe he has a point because I can’t think of much Pierce has done this season that’s really stood out. Apart from Pillow Man, but how much of that was due to Chase’s comedic chops and not simply enjoying a grown man in a giant suit made of pillows.
Checking back in on Britta and how she’s coping through her Blade-withdrawal, not very well, Annie decides it’s time to show Britta some trust and gives her back her phone. But Annie’s not stupid, she switched Blade’s number in Britta’s phone to her’s. This only leads to them being inundated with texts ever second from a desperate Britta. The girl literally can’t control herself and Annie tries to get her to stop texting by responding as Blade with as many mean comments she can think of. It’s no good, Britta is attracted to douchebags and Annie’s only making that attraction stronger. She really screws it up when she texts, “LEAVE ME ALONE,” because it only pushes Britta to start calling.
Troy: She was born in the 80s, she still uses her phone as a phone!
In order to stop Britta from throwing herself at an imaginary douchebag Troy comes up with the only thing that can stop her, make Blade sound nice. Taking the phone from Annie, Troy sends a nice text message to Britta and the constant texting and calling ceases. Britta comes out of Annie’s bedroom because now that Blade isn’t treating her like crap, he’s a loser. Messed up, right? Jeff’s no better as he is finally is able to learn the secret of Blade’s appeal. Ten years ago a loose bolt flew off a ferris wheel and embedded in his skull destroying the part of his brain that feels shame. He’s appealing because he doesn’t care. Doesn’t care what other people think or feel or how it affects him. He’s literally brain-damaged.
This revelation causes not only Britta and Jeff to pause and reevaluate how they see themselves, but Annie too. All three of them have an epiphany about needing to to start liking themselves and stop seeking approval from others. This moment of self-actualizing is then kind of ignored when everyone sits down to finish watching Blade. Britta now realizing the sweet text came from Troy gives him a look of longing, Annie and Jeff share a look, followed by Troy and Abed glancing at each other knowingly. Come the end of the episode everyone is paired up accordingly and it highlights the two tiers of this cast. There’s Jeff, Britta, Annie, Troy and Abed then everyone else. Seriously, Pierce, Shirley, Chang, and the Dean are all fabulous characters who at one point felt like a larger part of the show but now seem to constantly on the back-burner while we sort out all these weird relationships between the five principles. I’m not saying I hate it because Troy and Abed are so obviously meant for each other but how is the evolution of a possible Troy/Britta romance going to screw everything up? And Jeff and Annie? I don’t think it’ll ever end well for those two.
“Origins of Vampire Mythology” was a good return to episodes not drenched in some complex concept, but it does remind you what a shift the show has made over this season from focuses on the interactions of the study group as whole and more on those five individuals. Maybe Chevy isn’t just some crazy old man? Okay, yeah, he is a crazy old man but maybe he has a point about the show needing to return to its roots.