J Talks Conviction and Kookiness on Community 3×15 “Origins of Vampire Mythology”

While I normally don’t write stand-alone reviews for Community, I enjoyed last night’s episode so much that I think it is warranted.  “Origins of Vampire Mythology” struck just the right chord of funny, sweet, and weird, and pretty much summed up the essence of all the main characters.  Having been slightly underwhelmed by the two-part blanket/pillow fort battle that preceded “Origins of Vampire Mythology” (maybe I just don’t like to see Troy and Abed fighting), this week’s episode was a perfect example of why I love Community so much: the genuine wackiness and heartfelt earnestness of the characters.

Everybody is earnest in what they do: Annie genuinely wants to help Britta, even if she goes about it in a questionable way; Shirley is there for her friend Jeff in his time of need; Troy is lovable and loving, and is sometimes a doofus; Abed is Abed.  Even Jeff, who is egotistical and self-serving to the extreme, pursues his egoism and self-promotion with conviction and zeal.  The show doesn’t apologize for who these characters are, and as a result their study group/friendship is both believable AND a barrel of laughs.

The action of “Origins of Vampire Mythology” begins when the Dean (looking absolutely adorable in a train conductor’s outfit) tells the study group that a carnival is in town.  Britta, it turns out, has a lustful obsession with an ex-boyfriend named Blade who worked at a carnival.  Oh, Britta.  Annie voices everyone’s opinion (including the audience) when she says, “some things are funny because they make no sense, and that is not one of them”.  After the group gets a good laugh at Britta, it becomes apparent that her problem is more serious than anyone suspected: if she sees Blade again, she will “end up doing him like a crossword”.  Intervention is needed.  Annie responds to Britta’s call for help by taking her home and implementing harsher and harsher measures to prevent her from contacting Blade.

Annie, Troy, and Abed stage an intervention while Britta struggles

What ensues is a hilarious game of manipulation and mistakes.  One of my favourite parts was when Annie tricks Britta into revealing her desire to call Blade by pretending to retrieve her phone.  She opens a drawer and Britta seizes the contents, only to discover a banana that says, “you are a lying junkie”.  Well played, Annie!  Eventually Britta ends up locked in Annie’s room, but plays on Annie’s insecurities and desire for a sisterly bond to get her phone back.  Feeling betrayed but still one step ahead of the game, Annie has switched phone numbers with Blade so that she receives all of Britta’s texts to him.  This exemplifies Annie so much: she is a shrewd micro-manager and a very intelligent person, but she’s also very sensitive.  She is truly saddened by Britta’s behaviour, and Troy and Abed don’t exactly help matters by criticizing Annie’s actions.

While Annie, Troy, and Abed eventually discover that Britta likes Blade because he’s mean to her, Jeff confronts Blade at the carnival face-to-face to find out how he can hold such sway over Britta.  It’s not that Jeff is in love with Britta (I think that ship has sailed), he’s just insanely jealous that anyone can have that kind of power and magnetism.  Shirley, acting as his wing-woman, gets increasingly worried about Jeff’s motives as he grills Blade on why he is so desirable.  Ultimately it turns out that Blade has brain damage from a loose bolt that was embedded in his skull.  As a result, he has no shame, and that makes him attractive.  Jeff’s final speech to Britta about hating herself is supported by the fact that Britta only gave up on Blade when she thought he said something nice to her (texted by Troy).

Britta sees Troy in a new light

The end of the episode is really sweet because it shows the characters appreciating each other and realizing things about them that they never knew.  Annie finds out, through Troy’s mysterious nice text and his behaviour afterward, that he has feelings for Britta.  Britta, after realizing that she might have a relationship problem, puts it together that Troy sent her the text and is touched by that.  Britta and Annie’s silent communication, when Britta asks Annie with her eyes if Troy was the one who sent her the message and Annie confirms it, is sweet for a whole lot of reasons.  Annie and Britta restore their sisterly bond and the revelation makes Britta look at Troy in a new way.  Annie and Jeff share a smile (Annie is obviously smitten, and has been for a while), and Troy and Abed are content to watch the movie Blade with their friends.  Everybody’s happy!

And you can’t get much better than Abed doing stand-up to Troy’s hilariously receptive reactions.

Other fun things:

  • I think the new romantic-ish pairings of Troy/Britta and Annie/Jeff make much more sense than the original pairings of Jeff/Britta and Troy/Annie, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play out this season.  I know some people are down on Jeff and Annie since she’s a lot younger than him (“we try not to sexualize her”!), but they do have great chemistry!  And Britta and Troy are both so kooky that it just might work.
  • Annie was at the top of her game this episode: she gets Jeff to change his shirt so she can admire his bod, she does an impression of Troy accidentally telling Britta where her phone is hidden, and she has a Charlie St. Cloud poster hanging in her room (doesn’t that say so much about her character?)
  • “She was born in the 80’s, she still uses her phone as a phone!” – Troy, when Britta tries to call Blade on Annie’s number

For another take on this episode, check out S’s awesome review on G33KPRON here!


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