by Josh Johnson
After a few episodes of pillow forts and Dreamatoriums, this week’s “Community,” “Origins of Vampire Mythology,” was one of the show’s “normal” episodes. The plot centered around Britta’s ex-boyfriend working at a Greendale school carnival. Everyone in the group finds it hilarious that Britta has an ex who works at a carnival and is named Blade, because, as Annie explained it, “Some things are funny because they make no sense, and that is not one of them.”
It turns out that Britta has an unhealthy obsession with Blade (who may or may not be named after the “fantastic kick-boxing vampire movie”), so she enlists Annie to help her refrain from communicating with him. Britta insists on staying at Annie, Troy, and Abed’s apartment lest she be tempted to communicate with Blade.
The plan starts out well enough, despite Troy and Abed watching the movie “Blade” and Annie replacing Britta’s phone with a banana that reads, “You are a lying junkie.” But then Britta pulls out the big guns and tells Annie she always thought of her as a sister. Annie is so flattered by the gesture that she relinquishes the phone, but she switches Blade’s number for hers to keep Britta from actually talking to him.
Much to Annie’s surprise, Britta texts who she thinks is Blade without stopping. Soon, she moves to calling him, which leads to few fantastic scenes with the gang trying to imitate Blade and carnival sounds (anything that is reminiscent of Annie’s Batman voice will always be great). Finally, Troy, who realizes Britta only likes Blade because he is mean to her, texts her a complimentary message as Blade. Immediately, Britta emerges from Annie’s room completely over her “imaginary douche” (“Don’t knock it until you try it” the Dean offers).
Troy has had a rough couple of weeks, what with the full-scale pillow war with his best friend, so to see him so sad after realizing the Britta refers to people who are nice to her as “losers” was particularly hard to watch (though wonderfully played by Donald Glover). The Britta-Troy relationship story, which originated back in Season 2, has been one of the underrated aspects of the show, and it was nice to see it come back so naturally. When Britta figures out Troy wrote the message, her smile at the end of the episode was well earned and representative of some great character writing by the show.
Meanwhile, Jeff and Shirley go to the carnival so Jeff can learn Blade’s secret to driving women crazy. After dropping $300 at Blade’s duck-shooting booth, he reveals to Jeff that in a freak accident, the part of his brain that feels shame was damaged. While I question the scientific possibility of that happening, it felt like a fitting way to wrap up Blade’s character (played with wonderful aloofness by Kirk Fox). Plus, it was nice to see Jeff and Shirley have a story together. Their friendship started in Season 1 with them making fun of Britta’s then-boyfriend Vaughn, so it makes sense they would go together to make fun of Blade (I don’t know why character continuity impresses me so much, I guess that’s what watching a season of “Glee” will do to you).
Even though “Community” is well known for its grand scale parodies, it is still first and foremost a character driven show. “Origins” was a very charming episode that, just like “Pillows and Blankets,” made complete sense in the show’s vastly entertaining universe.
Josh Johnson is music editor. Email him at email@example.com.