Film and TV

Community: "Origins of Vampire Mythology"

The Chevy Chase/Dan Harmon dust-up really puts all past Pierce abuse in perspective, and as I watch the show now, I've come to the conclusion that the only way to deal with the situation is to get rid of Chase.

I don't say this easily; Fletch was one of the guiding movies of my youth, and I have a strange affection for Seems Like Old Times stemming from multiple viewings on HBO during a particularly scorching Texas summer, but it's obvious he doesn't want to be there, none of the cast wants him there and, more to the point, Harmon doesn't want him around anymore. Last night's subplot with Chang felt shoehorned in at literally the last minute, unfunny as it was.

And I can't be the only one who was bummed to find out Blade wasn't really a vampire. Curse you, misleading episode titles!

Assembled in study hall, the gang discusses the arrival of a carnival. Britta frets that it may be the same carnival that employs her ex-boyfriend. After sharing several healthy laughs at her expense because of this (and because his name is apparently "Blade" -- no relation to the Daywalker), they also learn she can't be trusted not to "do him like a crossword puzzle" if left to her own devices. This issue is so serious she must entrust herself to Annie's care. She's a pill-popper herself, so this is obviously a good idea.

Vice Dean Laybourne, meanwhile, informs Dean Pelton he wants Troy assigned to the a/c repair program. Troy has told him he's not interested, so he wants Dean Pelton to change his mind. This would appear to pose problems for a man who plays with scale playsets like Captain Stillman from Stripes, but he still manages to insinuate himself into the gang's DVD-watching gathering that evening, leading to a progressively less amusing series of "What are you doing here?" queries.

Maybe Laybourne could have sent Dr. Kane (Michael Williams) instead, except -- oh, right -- he's been completely AWOL since the mid-season hiatus. Nice gimmick.

Operation Lock Britta Down experiences complications as Troy and Abed insist on watching Blade (the movie) while Britta pesters Annie to check for messages from Blade (the carny). She descends into predictable Heroin Diaries behavior ("What if my mother's dying?") and has to be locked in the bedroom to keep her from getting her freak on with her ex. She seems to calm down momentarily, but she's still trying to text the guy, a strategy thwarted by Annie swapping out her number with Blade's (a "diabolical" move, Abed notes). Britta is clearly unprepared to be left to her own devices.

And is an atrocious speller.

That leaves Jeff and Shirley to check out the carnival -- and, of course, Blade himself -- where they run into Pierce and Chang (the former, having tired of being ostracized, has resorted to desperate measures). On first blush, Blade is nothing to look at. That doesn't stop Jeff from wanting to take a closer measure of the man. And all Shirley wanted to do was go on a ride.

Jeff becomes increasingly obsessed/irritated, as Blade reveals himself to be even less special than we'd imagined. After dropping literally tens of dollars on Blade's BB gun booth, Jeff finally learns he was semi-lobotomized by an errant bolt that removed his sense of shame. That's it. Just like that, Britta's increasingly frantic attempts to hook up following Annie-As-Blade's insenstive text -- followed just as quickly by her utter lack of interest when Troy-As-Blade sends her an affectionate one, knowing Britta will respond poorly because "she doesn't like herself" -- as well as Jeff's discovery have given us a 22-minute play on the "chicks dig jerks" trope.

Once Britta discovers the ruse, she rushes to the door...only to run into Jeff, who returns seemingly a changed man. He admonishes Britta (and himself) to "just stop hating ourselves." Britta, realizing it was Troy all along, favors him with a smile, and Jeff and Annie share lovey-dovey looks and somebody get me an airsick bag.

Sorry, I realize this is one of Community's so-called "strengths." It was just delivered with all the subtlety of a folding chair over the head. Whatever. No Chevy, no peace.

Random out-of-context quotes:

"Her pain unifies us. She is the King Arthur of bad taste in men."

"You are a pillhead, so think of Blade as Adderall and handcuff me to the radiator like a motherflipping carny-banging werewolf."

"Read the banana, Britta." [You are a lying junkie.]

"I spent most of my carnival years pregnant."

"She was born in the '80s...she still uses her phone as a phone!"

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar