Community: 'Ships Ahoy!

Community S03E15: "Origins of Vampire Mythology"

Community's incredible three-episode streak of comedy reinvention slowed down to a canter last night with "Origins of Vampire Mythology," a non-conceptual episode that was a 'shippers dream. For those who are not cool enough lucky enough to know what a "shipper" is, let me be the one to introduce you to the concept: 'Shippers are fanatical weirdos who obsess over romantic entanglements between fictional characters from their favorite TV shows, movies, and imaginary lives. They are the idjuts responsible for the co-dependent smashing of two names to form one (Lost's Skaters and Jaters, for example) and such gaudy apparel as "Team Peeta" T-shirts with glitter all over them. They must be stopped!

Friendship and more-than-friendship were at the center of "Origins of Vampire Mythology," as relationship potential between a fawning Annie and a shirtless Jeff, a senile Pierce and a juvenile Chang, and a surprisingly sensitive Troy and a confused Britta served as the beating, longing, throbbing heart of the episode. With a series as fiercely adored as Community, there's always going to be a difference of opinion regarding whether romance belongs on a show like this. Well, it does and it doesn't.

On one level, Community is the anti-sitcom, with severe allergies to typical sitcom tropes. But Community is also eager to explore those tropes and put them through the shredder. The series is also heavy into serializing things this season (how long will Laybourne try to recruit Troy?), and romantic storylines are a tried-and-true backbone of multi-episode storytelling. Lately, Annie's been crushing on Jeff hardcore, and Britta and Troy have shared a couple googly eyed moments. These developments point to the natural progression of friendship between these characters who spend so much time together, but they also stink of the writers running out of ideas. What we have here is recognition that Community is a sitcom, which might be the scariest thing of all. But let's see where this goes before we make any rash judgments.

The series has tackled these kissy-faces before, and the early Jeff and Britta stuff was pretty horrible until halfway through Season 1, somewhere around the Valentine's Day episode when their back-and-forth drunk-dialing became the launching point for their friendship. We learned in Season 2 that they had been hooking up behind the scenes, usually when they were wasted—as they were at Troy's birthday party—and that added a fantastic Community-ish layer to their "romance." Jeff and Annie have also been connected more than once, but I think we can all agree that they're horrible for each other for countless reasons. Troy and Britta have flirted with getting it on during their drama class, and Annie started the series with a huge thing for Troy. But let's face it, Troy only has eyes for Abed.

My take: I'm not really jazzed about romantic relationships on Community. I just think that any bit of hand-holding would destroy the group dynamic that's so strong right now and has been for the last two seasons. External characters coming in as boyfriends/girlfriends are great, but any intra-group relationship would have to be handled very delicately. There's reasonable worry that with "Origins of Vampire Mythology" the show is speeding toward Sitcom City via the Romance Expressway, but I hope those end-of-episode puppy-dog eyes were setting up something that Community can twist in ways it does so well rather than usher in the next Jim and Pam. God I hate Jim and Pam.



Study Group Notes
– Aside from all the babble above, this was a decent episode of Community, but nothing spectacular. It won't make my re-watch list, that's for sure.

– Pierce: "She has the King Arthur of bad taste in men."

– Abed: "I need help reacting to something." One of my favorite Abed lines EVER.

– Do you think there's room for romance on Community?

– How many of you had an insatiable urge to watch Blade after this episode? And we can all agree that Blade II is the superior film, right?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (102)
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I don't care if you hate shipping, that end scene when Jeff/Annie looked at each other was wonderful and just sizzled not just with chemistry but emotion. There's real emotion there people! Oh and Britta was so girlshly happy about Troy's text it made me happy. I want to see her like that all the time!
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I liked this ep. i laughed my ass of with the group as they mocked Britta, the Dean did one of his better eps. since the Shirley giving birth one (Easy the best Dean appearence to date) and lets face it the Chang/Pierce combo was awesome.. All in all these last few episodes have been brilliant in my opinion and I can only hope and pray that Community goes on forever.. or atleast as long as I live!
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Not one of my favorites, aldo it had a few funny zingers.
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I'm suprised no one has mentioned the "ship" that really needs to happen: Annie/Britta. (At least in my dreams, it's happening)
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Just get me a scotch and soda
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"She was born in the 80's, she uses her phone as a phone!"



I'm sorry, the Dean was hilarious tonight. "What a wonderful opportunity for a young man of... errr... an urban race" "Natalie can you get me a book on how to do things, you know what, just get me a Scotch and Soda."
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I was born in the 80s. I hate texting.
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Weird, I actually liked this episode a lot more than last weeks.
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I wouldn't say you're weird because I did too. This felt like a much better episode in my opinion.
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"Blade" was the movie that proved that Marvel could make pretty decent movies out of their numerous characters - without it,there wouldn't be any "XMen" or "Spider-man" franchise.



"Blade II" was the best movie of the series, even with Whistler's ridiculous resurrection.



"Blade: Trinity" killed the franchise. Nobody can dispute that.



... FANBOY TALK!
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Fuck yes, Blade II is superior! And that was one of my favorite Abed lines ever as well and I've already found a chance to use it lol
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Did anybody else think there was something strange about Gillian Jacobs this episode? A lack of expression in her face?
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I loved this episode, it was great seeing Jeff trying to figure out Blade's secret. Pierce/Chang was awesome, and Jeff/Annie scenes are ALWAYS awesome.



I actually like the "romance" parts of Community just because they don't play the romances out in a sit-com-y way (or in any other "normal" tv-show way). It's always funny and never too serious, it's all about chemistry and/or humor. They don't follow any rules, like "oh, now they're in love and their whole characters have to change" (for example the player becoming a romantic boyfriend all of a sudden).



Yup, I'm a shipper but I won't be stopped.
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If they decide to do a bit of old school sit com romance i do believe most fans would say they jumped the shark so to speak, but then again, a little romance never completely ruined a good sitcom.
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"I need help reacting to something.".....my only real laugh in this episode!
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Blade 2 all day. And I really couldn't care what Community does, because I have faith that they'll do it in a way that will make me happy. Just don't bring in any Amy Farrahfowler-type characters from left-field and make them a primary, and I'll be ok with it.
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"I was part of the gang, it was in my hands!"
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isn't anybody else wondering what troy's text as blade said?!?!
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I thought it was good, not the best, but not the worst, made me laugh a lot especially the end tag xD just like Troy
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I liked the episode, you can't expect that every episode of community to be great! May be 'cause I'm a silly girl, I would like the exploration of theses romantic relation-ships. I know this isn't that kind of show, bue they're humans, very attractives people who spend to much time together.



I would be fun to watch Britta in a healthy relationship, with Troy or someone else, who knows.



The whole Annie/Jeff is different, it more than obvious that is not just some girl crush, it's something mutual, Annie probably loves Jeff and he, I don't know if he loves her, but he definetely feel something for her that he never felt for Britta.



Anyways, I don't think we should freak out, Community will let this storyline on a side and move on to something funnier, and may be in the future (season 4?) they'll pick it up again. I don't think we should worried about this.



PS:sorry for my english
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Overall the episode was not a classic, but considering the bar Community has set for its 'Classic' episodes this by no means a slight on 'Origins of Vampire Mythology".

Dean Pelton was hilarious as always, I really enjoyed him not answering as to why he was there with anything but 'ouch' and the such. Especially his 'oh well that didn't work, that's what I get for improvising' after failing to fulfil his visit's purpose of recruiting Troy to the AC repair school.



As for the appropriateness of in-group relationships, they do indeed have a place, as long as the writers handle them with the same skill they do other story elements. The point being as you pointed out that the shows writers have proved themselves to think outside the sitcom box, whilst also applying this thinking to normal sitcom situations, basically we have to wait and see how its done. Only then should we judge whether it worked.



"But let's see where this goes before we make any rash judgments". Great words, its just a shame that most of your review flies right in the face of this ideal.
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NOOOOOOOO PLEASE
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I hope that was sarcasm about Blade II. It was one of the most brutal sets of movie effects I've ever seen, We're talking some Plan 9 shit here.
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Just spit-balling, but could this have been timed as a Valentine's day episode BEFORE NBC took it off the schedule and messed up the timing of things? In my head I don't think so, unless it was like a week after Valentines day, since it was on a Tuesday... I don't know. I just think maybe that's an explanation to the seemingly forced romantic vibes this episode gave off.



Just an explanation to maybe help soothe the disdain for simple romances that didn't just pop up, they have simmered for a while (since season 1!)...
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Omg, I feel the same way. I'm so happy I'm not the only one. I hate Jim and Pam and I hated the cheesy love-struck Troy in this episode. Keep it meta and funny Community drop the cliche friends turn more than friends stoyline.
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Saw this on tumblr describing the writers/fans/everyone else in relation to community, thought it was hilarious:



http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2f8jtf0TC1qe44s7o1_500.jpg
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Annie was particularly enticing in this episode. I think it was because of the sweater. That color really suits her. Nice participation by Annie's Boobs. (Not the monkey.)



In spite of all that, I didn't laugh as much in this episode. I miss the good old times of chicken fingers, conspiracy theories and space program spoof.



The only Blade I like is Blade Runner.
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Haha! Yes! You're the only one to mention that spectacular sweater. I would like to send the costume designer of Community a very nice gift basket and a thank you card for their exemplary work.



"Any time I get to see Annie's Boobs (not to mention the Monkey), and Troy and Abed, well, acting like Troy and Abed, everything suddenly becomes right in my world."



I posted that on a Community review a few weeks ago. Great minds fantasize alike.



Also: Blade Runner is quite possibly the greatest sci-fi movie of its time.

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BLADE RUNNER. Stop talking about awesome things, too much awesome.
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Blade: Trinity (the third one) was the BEST! It had Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, and Parker Posey! And DRACULA! Haha
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In regards to the romances. I have to vote no. If they did one or the other with either Jeff and Brita or Troy and Britta. It would be ok. Both, I don't think would be good. However I do trust the writers and think it would be funny. I think it would be funny if Jeff and Annie sneak around everyone's back. And instead of keeping it off the screen as they did with Jeff And Britta, they could keep it on the screen and see how long they can keep the group in the dark. If done well that could be ok. I do say this however, with the knowledge that I might be biased because I just want Alison Brie to have as much screen time as possible. In her western outfit, or the christmas outfit.



Troy and Britta could be interesting in that it would pull Tory away from Abed and I would like to see how they would react. Also they could write in that this would be the first black guy Britta has dated and see her in her Britta ways attempt to over emphasize how ok she is with it. For some reason I envision Britta in Cornrows drinking a forty.



But again I trust the writers and know they will make it funny.
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I'm not a big fan of either, but I always preferred Blade over Blade II.



The first half of this episode was pretty great. I like that they didn't do anything over-the-top this time around.



As for the romance... eh, I guess I'm kiiiind of in the same boat as Tim, in that I would prefer the characters not really be "dating" each other. I did think the Broy/Tritta thing was pretty cute... except that I've become quite repulsed by Britta the past season and a half and Troy deserves better. Ugh, why am I talking about this? Argh! Damn you Community for turning into a romcom! Hehe.
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Personally I'm ok with romances, just as long as they dont become such a huge focus on the show like in other tv shows. Don't really want to see any of them getting together right now, maybe later in the series but not now for sure
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I'm on the fence with this episode. I did like the revisit with Troy and Britta (Tritta?), Annie and Britta bonding with each other, and the Dean dropping into the apartment. But I wasn't that into Jeff getting hung up over himself again and Pierce and Chang's carnival friendship was lacking.



Surefire cure: I'll rewatch the episode again; maybe I'll appreciate it more the second time.
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"Tritta," "Broy..." LOL Cute names. Let's hope the resulting relationship is as funny.
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Tritta sounded better to me, or maybe Troitta? Ungh, I can't decide any more.
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Boy.
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I've nothing against potential romances between the Community characters. Like Tim said it has to be done carefully, but it's a natural progression. Now that's out of the way this episode was subpar: it wasn't particularly funny (except for Abed's awesome line of course), there was no concept, and the character development also wasn't great. I probably liked Jeff's content best. But all the romance discussion seems a bit misplaced to me as no inter-group relationships were actually progressed in this episode, the closest was Pierchang which was boring.



At this point I have some issues about the 'concept season' and 'serialised storytelling'. I like it from a everything gets more dark and crazy up til the end of the year perspective that was hinted at two episodes ago (but not progressed at all in this episode). Unfortunately what has actually transpired is certain motifs reoccurring in a tedious repetitive way without any progression. We've had Annie mooning over Jeff again and again, subtle hints of Britta and Troy again and again, the Vice-Dean pushing for Troy's recruitment again and again. Have any of these aspects developed at all past the season 3 premiere? This is not serialised story telling, this is more like the Simpsons-style nothing ever changes from episode to episode. The exception to this was Remedial Chaos Theory that had a high concept, was hilarious AND had great character moments. Perhaps Jeff and Shirley's friendship has been the best explored in this season to date. Also I don't think promoting the Dean to a main character has been fully successful. He was effective in small, snappy doses but now it seems the stories are being warped to fit him in. He contributed VERY LITTLE to this episode.



A much better example of a relationship-centric, low-concept episode was Season 2's Competitive Wine Tasting - a low-concept episode that was also one of the best episodes of the series. In fact, in terms of character development, I'd say at the moment that Season 3 has been weaker than both Season 1 and Season 2, despite its commitment to serialisation, with Season 2 being one of the greatest television seasons ever.



I don't want to get too negative because I've still really enjoyed this season and Community is still the best comedy on television.
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I feel like I need to disagree, even though I don't want to argue. Because I'm enjoying the HECK out of this season. I'm looking forward to each episode, I'm wondering what's going to happen with Laybourne, Troy and Abed, the Evil timeline, the air conditioning annex, and yes even the romances to see where they go (even though my own theory is that romances won't ever work in this group, and they work better as a whole then paired off). AND Heck, I've been on the edge of my seat waiting for the Dreamtorium episode (which is next week!)



One thing: serialization isn't going to work PERFECTLY in a comedy. They only have 22-minutes a week, and even then each episode needs its own story.



It's disappointing I guess, when people say they're not enjoying this season as much as, the HOLY GRAIL OF ALL SEASONS OF ALL TIME OF ANY SHOW EVER EVER!!! [/sarcasm], Season 2. It was really really great, but the writers (who haven't changed much at all over the last two seasons), are trying out something new with Season 3. Just like they did with the change from Season 1's focus on making the group friends and their relationships, to Season 2's focus on putting them in fantastic situations from the spoofs and concept episodes. It's why I like this show so much. You don't know what to expect. It's fun when that happens, with a comedy no less!
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I find different perspectives to mine fascinating so thanks for responding. I think I'll just add that I like the writers trying new things and the potential for serialisation, evil timelines and air conditioning, but for reasons I listed above, I don't think the execution has been up to the standard of previous seasons, and I'm worried that most of the characters are becoming stagnant.
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I tend to side with you that the character work hasn't been perfect. And each week I'm putting more and more of my eggs/chips in to the basket/bowl that is the season finale (which from how secretive their keeping it, I don't know if I should be more excited or more scared). And that's pretty bad of me. I'm definitely hoping for a fantastic ending stretch to the series that makes all of this worth it.



Plus, isn't this great? This back and forth? The huge discussion across the internet that Community fans have episode to episode? That we can have theories and wants and predictions about a COMEDY on TV? I haven't cared this much about a show since Lost, and it boggles my mind that a Thursday night sit-com can do this.
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Yeah I don't know. It's just amazing how much weaker season 3 has been compared to season 2. It is as if the season 2 writers up and left, or just dont have the heart and soul anymore. Maybe Chevy had a point about Harmon's writing being weak, if he indeed did write this episode himself.



I don't know about being the best comedy on tv, I think parks and rec have had a way stronger season this year than Community. Which was the other way around last year.
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season three is not "amazingly weaker" than season two. If you look at where we are at this point in the season compared to last year, this season actually matches up pretty well. In the first seven episodes of both seasons we get one true "classic" episode (epidemiology and remedial chaos theory), one concept episode thats generally considered a miss (basic rocket science vs. horror fiction) and "normal" episodes of varying quality. Then in season 2 we got one of the best 4 episode runs of the series (calligraphy, conspiracy theories, mixology, and the christmas episode) but the pre-break season 3 episodes are in around the same tier (documentary 2, foosball, and the musical). Then in both seasons, post-break up to ep. 15 we see some pretty good "normal" episodes and one classic, concept episode in episode 14 (d&d and pillows and blankets). The current season just needs to have an end stretch similar to last years'.
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I enjoyed this episode more than the previous ones back from the hiatus
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The great thing about Community is that romantic moments can come and go very quickly. I would not be surprised if we don't see any of this back in the next episode, only to explore it further in 3 episodes or so.



But I don't mind the way they do it. Their group is so chaotic, that sometimes they just need to sit down and have a good moment. And I saw the last scene (which actually involved most of the 'romance' this episode) more as a moment for the group. Troy helped Britta to learn about herself in this episode, and a crush doesn't have to lead to romance. Annie and Jeff shared a smile, which they do a lot after nice group moments, nothing new there.



Also I kind of liked the idea of Pierce and Chang being friends. Those two don't have a clear role in the series atm, and I think that a friendship between them could help them find something to hang on to, instead of having to find excuses to include them.



Am I the only one thinking of renaming myself as "Templeton Ferrari the 3rd"?



P.S. Annie's boobs were great this episode ^^
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All Blade movies are trash, but yeah this was a soapy rom-com subpar episode of Community. Did it have a female writer?



And yes god yes, I really hate Jim and Pam as well
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Can we keep sexism out of this please? According to Wikipedia the episode was written by Dan Harmon himself. Actually the other episode he wrote this season was Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps, arguably the two weakest episodes of the season!
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Yeah that's a pretty poor track record! I just meant since it was a rom-com'ish ep, and those are typically aimed at girls
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Agree that "I need help reacting to something" was a great Abed line. All the forays into "shipping" were cute, fun and interesting. I trust Dan Harmon and his team to do it right.
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Abed: "I need help reacting to something." I laughed for a full minute to that.



And no, Blade was much better than Blade II.
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I thought it was a good episode, and as others have stated below, romance on a tv show doesn't spell the death of it if done right. The study group spends a lot of time together, it would only be natural for some of them to develop feelings for each other. And as long as the romance of the characters doesn't become the focal point of the show then I think it will work out fine. I have confidence in the writers of the show.

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Annie & Jeff should get together real soon :D:D:D
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Jannie? Jaffie? :)
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Team Jeff & Annie!
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Most definitely!
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I agree...'I need help reacting to something' certified this episode gold. Or plaitnum? Did I spell that right? I don't know...anyway, that line. If the entire episode had been that short scene...I mean, Oscar worthy comedy right there. Kind of. I don't know.

It was just a cool line, alright?
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it was a incredible line ! i stoped breathing for a second just asking myself, did abed really say that ??
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I know! Whoever penned it is awesome.
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I thought this was a great episode. The people below me summed it up pretty well.

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"What are you doing here Dean Pelton!?" "So rude" and Abed's "I need help reacting to something" were great



But i have to agree with Tim on this one.... the romance wasn't "great" i mean i felt they were trying a bit too hard... and not in a conceptual sort of way, it was pretty weak



Doesn't mean i don't <3 Community
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The "shipping" as you state is definitely nauseating but I just don't see that on Community to that level. If so, then it's done in a "Community" way. I also feel there's a huge anti-romantic sector. Uh hmm, Tim. :D



But to really get down to it, would you rather see just these 3 seasons that have mostly been great in their true Community way or just a little bit, inject a tad of that "sitcom" feel and get better ratings and last the 6 seasons way that's talked about? I'd like to get back to CLASSROOM stuff but even then they can do their quirky bizarre way. Community shouldn't pander too much to the "sitcom" crowd but for the masses, it's over the head of the majority.
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What!? Blade 2 was horrible. Great overall episode. Is it just me or was whomever doing the make up for Alison and Gillian going a little heavy. The only issue I had was the whole Jeff and Shirley Are usually way more funny together. I mean they had the foozeball episode and you can't come down from that
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Thought this episode was a damn good episode, great one liners, dean in an outfit, and just good ol' goofy situations. I trust Community to not ruin the flow of the show if they do a relationship within the group (I'm for some of the relationships) as they don't ever really take precedence over a plotline, in my mind they just enhance some plotlines.



And I do not agree that Jeff/Annie are horrible for each other, in fact I think they're perfect for each other. But I'm perfectly alright if they don't end up together because the show and the camaraderie of the characters and the sheer hilarity of the show is more important.
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I liked this one, sure it wasn't going to be on the same level of the last one, but give them a chance. It was a good way to recognise of the little romantic moments that had been happening without blowing them too out of proportion or going too far. I agree that a full blown romance between members of the group would be reeeeeaaally difficult to get right, it doesn't mean we can't have little run ins to keep the shippers going. And they are kind of cute.



THE ONE LINERS WERE FANTASTIC! Particularly Abed's :)
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I liked this episode. There were a bunch of funny parts LIKE:

- Laybourne's nonsense threat in the dean's office

- the dean's mixology skills

- the dean Troy and Abed doing a carnival impression

- "I need help reacting to something."

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

- A Winger-esque speech, but more for his own use than for everyone else.



So I laughed a bunch, and enjoyed a silly more traditional three plot story in an episode of Community. It sucks when fans get all up in a huff because not every episode is a fantastic spoof on a something. Because we all know that's not what season 1 was, and we enjoyed that for what it was.



I love that they're going FULL ON serialized this season. A concept-SEASON as I've said before, not a season of concept-episodes. It's fantastic. Enjoy it.
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When the group admitted how much they hated themselves, the show went to that dark place where emotional moments in Community subside, but didn't fully hit that mark as it did so many times in season 2. The episode felt much like the majority of season 1 and we shouldn't scorn that fact, despite how spoiled we were with the ridiculously good episodes of season 2. I liked this episode and don't think it's fair to use derogatory terms like "sitcom" just yet.
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-I disagree wholeheartedly Timmy!! A little romance is not a bad thing. and its ALWAYS existed on Community. Why are we pretending this a new phenomenon???? This episode was f'n HILARIOUS. C'mon Now!



-Both of those one-liners were too funny!!



-Yeah, if done well--and I have total confidence in Community.



-Blade franchise.....ehhhh..... Twilight, that's where its at people!!

(j/k- twilight is creme de la garbage. It's just wrong!!!!!!)
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I missed a minute of it... I was in the room when they were watching Blade with the sword sound effects. I stepped away and came back right before we saw the front of the TV with the "no DVD signal" bouncing around the corners.



Did they pause? Or was that an "in joke" that the actors were just really standing in front of a mostly dead TV while the sound-guys kept sword sounds on a loop
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The movie had been turned off at that point.
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I liked this episode despite it being a little off-kilter for Community. The one thing that stood out though, the one thing I couldn't and still cannot understand, is what the hell was going on with Gillian Jacob's/Britta's makeup. She's wearing like a pound of pancake and a thick eyeliner as well as lipstick even before the Blade storyline entered her orbit. It's like they wanted to make her more of a feminine love-interest focus this week, but instead made her look a decade older than she actually is.



As to the romance, they've way overplayed the bromance between Troy and Abed, so having Annie pine for Jeff as if he's on a pedastal is funny so long as it keeps being awkward the way it is, and I have found Troy and Britta's little moments surprisingly authentic because they're generally small and connected via emotional hooks. The reality is that groups like this do sometimes have hookups, and they don't ruin the group right away, they just cause an excessive amount of eye-rolling from the rest of the members.



That said, Jeff and Shirley's relationship was an oddity last night, too much too fast after the foosball episode only to have it blow up halfway through, that was some sitcom writing right there (and Shirley has such an on-off switch for tolerance, she puts up with Jeff's silliness for a while but then when she's done she's REALLY done).



Pierce's storyline didn't really go anywhere but had a few laughs and felt like the beginning of a real storyline for the character, so I give it a pass.



WHOA WHOA WHOA! Blade II is such a lesser-than after the brilliance of the first film! Bringing back Whistler?!? Having Blade team up with vampires to pull an "Aliens"? And the titular character not only is playing back seat to so many other things, but locked in a castle he's just quippy and lame and action-movie-cliche. No, that movie wasn't half the film the original Blade was.
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