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Britta is throwing a Halloween pre-party party before the study group goes to the actual party. Abed and Troy show up as the Inspector and the Constable and Jeff shows up as one of those Fast and Furious guys. When he goes to leave, however, Britta stops him and reveals the truth.
Remember those psychological evaluations Britta made everyone do? Well, she ran the numbers, and it turns out someone in the study group has homicidal tendencies. She claims that it's her directive as a psychology student to figure out this person and get them the treatment they need. The problem is that the tests were anonymous, so Britta devises a way to figure out the sociopath: tell scary stories, and see how everyone reacts.
Britta's story starts off with Britta and Jeff making out in a car when they are informed by the radio that an escaped mental patient has escaped and he has a hook thingy for a hand (you know what I mean). Jeff gets out the car and the escaped mental patient kills him. Back at the study group, Abed complains that he didn't care for the characters, as they were stupid and didn't act like people actually would. So he tells his version of the story.
Abed's story starts with the newlyweds Abed and Britta going to a cabin in the woods and sharing a kiss. Abed turns on the radio and listens to a song (because having the broadcast start immediately isn't realistic) before they are informed of the escaped mental patient. Abed calls the police with his fully charged cell phone and then they both stand in the middle of the cabin back-to-back holding knives. When the other members of the study group ask if the characters will get killed, Abed says yes, when it's earned. Annie gets annoyed that these aren't really scary stories so decides to tell her own.
Annie's story starts with the fair maiden Annie getting rescued by the dashing Jeff. However, Jeff has a secret: he's actually a vampire with a thirst for blood (and a blood-deprived Britta in his closet) and...he can't read! Annie teaches him how to read, but then Jeff reveals that he will always be a monster...before Annie reveals that she's also a monster, a werewolf that preys on pretentious, self-obsessed vampires. Annie describes how the werewolf then eats Jeff, eating his eyeball while still attached to his optic nerve so he can see his own flesh being digested. And then she flossed her teeth with his entrails. Troy decides to tell a story that's "real."
Troy's story starts with Troy and Abed as Top Gun fighter pilots who crashed in the woods and found a cabin populated by Pierce as a mad doctor. Doctor Pierce knocks them out and when they wake up, they are sewn together. They figure out that this gives them psychic powers, so they knock out Doctor Pierce and then eat a sandwich. When Doctor Pierce wakes up, they show that they put his butt on his chest and switched his feet and hands, giving him breasts that he can never play with due to his foothands. The actual Pierce gets fed up with his treatment in the story, so he tells his own.
Pierce's story starts with "Magnum" (Pierce with a wig) and his harem of ladies who wish for more sex. Gangstas Troy and Abed barge in, but Magnum disarms them and beats them up with his gigantic penis. The real Troy says that this story wasn't even scary. Shirley says that she has an actual scary story from back when stories were about good versus evil.
Shirley's story starts with a wild party with booze and drugs. Britta pours her carton of "weed" over her, but then their death metal is interrupted by heavy news on the radio: all the good people have been raptured up, leaving only the "cool" people. Outside, a rain of blood and plague of locusts is going on, but Britta writes it off--she's lived in New York, after all. Finally, the Devil (played by the Dean) shows up and tells them about their schedule of torments...until the spirit of Shirley arrives and blows the Dean Devil away. Shirley says that she's just come back to wish them goodbye and that she forgives them, then disappears. The Dean Devil comes back and real Shirley says that he then chainsawed them, sewn them back up, and then chainsawed them again...forever.
Everyone gets fed up and decides to leave for the party when Britta tells them about the test results. They still want to leave, but she says that if they do, they could all get brutally murdered (describing the murders in detail), so that now the study group think Britta may be the mental disturbed one. Violence nearly breaks out until Jeff tries to tell his story: Jeff's story starts with the whole group having a good time until the escaped mental patient barges in to kill, but Jeff asks why he kills. The mental patient takes off his paper bag to reveal Chang who says that he kills because he is afraid. They all hug mental patient Chang.
In the study room, the group proclaim that Jeff's story was lame and it doesn't help anything until Jeff reveals that he didn't even look at the questions on the test and just randomly filled in bubbles. They look at the test again and Annie tells Britta that she put the tests into the machine upside-down, so the results are all wrong.
One hour later, Britta has redone all the tests...and all of them except one reveal that the test taker is mentally disturbed. The group decides not to know which one is the sane one so they can all think it is them and leave for the party. Afterwards, it's revealed the sane test belonged to Abed.
The Community episode "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps" provides examples of:
- Anvilicious : In-universe examples. Shirley's story where the bad people are all hurt. Jeff's story has the lesson that killers are just misunderstood people who need a hug.
- Art Shift: Annie's story is shot in old west style.
- Author Tract: Shirley's story is an in-universe example.
Devil-Dean: *Swings around a chainsaw* GAY MARRIAGE!!
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Being buried to the neck in scorpions is followed by a lava enema, which is followed by Pilates. Subverted when The Devil explains that Pilates is the name of the demon who will eat your genitals.
- Big No: In Troy's story.
- Brainy Specs: Britta wears some while reading Warren Piece.
- Brick Joke: Combined with Funny Background Event and Shout-Out. As Annie complains that there's nothing on Britta's playlist but Spooky Party, the Beetlejuice soundtrack, and NPR podcasts, a student dressed as Betlejuice walks by the window. This is the third time someone has said "Beetlejuice" in the course of the entire series.
- Bridal Carry: Occurs in both Annie's and Troy's stories.
- Buffy-Speak: Britta's story is filled with it, including the killer having a "hook thingy."
- Call Back:
- Can You Hear Me Now: Defied Trope in Abed's story. He made sure his cell phone was fully charged before heading up to the mountain cabin.
- Cardboard Prison: Justified in Abed's story. Given the recent economic downturn, the nearby asylum cut corners and a patient escaped.
- The Casanova: Pierce in his story.
- Caught Up in the Rapture: Shirley's story.
- Coincidental Broadcast: Played straight in Britta's story, Defied Trope in Abed's story -- much to the annoyance of everyone except Troy (who bops along with the muzak Abed has playing until the broadcast proper).
- Continuity Nod: Troy mentions that the Dean got taco meat from the army for the Halloween party.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The fate that befalls Mad Scientist!Pierce in Troy's story.
- Creator Breakdown: Each narrator's story is more than a little informed by their personal issues and relationships to the rest of the group.
- Critical Research Failure: Shirley seems to think that you can snort marijuana.
- Britta seems to think that War and Peace is actually called Warren Piece.
- Death By Hedonism: The younger members of the group suffer this in Shirley's story.
- Death by Sex: Defied in Abed's story. Britta's attempt to kindle romance is quickly shushed to avoid dropping their guard.
- Decoy Damsel: Annie in her story.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In Britta's narration:
Radio announcer: ...an escaped intern from the asylum has just escaped...
- Digging Yourself Deeper: In attempting to persuade everyone that there could be a psychopathic individual in the study group, Britta's graphic description of what could happen if they were allowed to go unidentified and untreated only serves to freak everyone out and convince them -- and herself -- that she's the psychopath in question.
- Don't Go in The Woods: Played straight in Britta's story, justified in Abed's story. It's no longer the '50s, so it makes sense to rent a cabin rather than park at a make-out point.
- Dramatic Thunder
- Dumbass Has a Point: When Britta is revealing her motives for the Halloween stories Pierce points out that if one of them was a murderous psychopath, in over two years of friendship and hanging out they'd have probably picked up on something before now.
- Ear Worm: "Daybreak" by Michael Haggins, the song from Abed's story, both in- and out-of-universe. It has received numerous call backs being hummed or vocalized by Troy, Annie, and Abed. It was finally referred to by name and played in "Pillows And Blankets".
- Einstein Hair: Pierce in Troy's story.
- Epic Fail: The group refers to this as "Britta." It doesn't help that she graded the tests upside down, failed to notice even after double checking, and set the whole episode's plot in motion because of the misunderstanding.
- Even Better Sequel: In-universe. Troy expresses this opinion for Super Monkey Ball 2 right before being attacked in Britta's story.
- Flaming Devil: The Dean in Shirley's story.
- Framing Device: The results for the tests Britta had the group fill out a couple episodes ago have come back, and someone his potentially homicidally insane. Britta feels the best way to detect who it could be is to tell scary stories and observe the results.
- Funny Background Event: This one takes it to a whole different level.
- Fur Against Fang: Annie's story.
- Gag Penis: Pierce has one in his story.
- Gangsta Style: Abed and Troy hold their guns this way in Pierce's story.
- Genius Bonus: Annie's story contains a haiku. your porcelain neck/in the light of the full moon/too appetizing
- Despite Jeff's denial, he actually does show certain signs of sociopathy. See the Fridge Brilliance page for more details.
- Genre Blindness / Genre Savvy: Parodied; Abed objects to the Genre Blindness displayed by the characters in Britta's story, and his innate Genre Savviness leads him to construct a perfectly logical horror story where the protagonists avoid every single cliche, mistake and convention present in the genre... even the necessary ones, which are justified. This almost completely robs his story of suspense, tension and horror.
Annie: Ugh! Do these people ever die or what?!
Abed: ['Spooky' voice] Eventually... once it had been... earrrrrrrrned!!
- Gorn: Annie doesn't spare any details about Vampire!Jeff's rather gruesome fate.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Shirley's Improvised Weapon.
- Group Hug: Jeff's story ends with one, even including hook-handed killer Chang.
- Halloween Episode
- Heartwarming Moments: Invoked, parodied and subverted: Jeff is clearly trying to invoke one of these through his story in his usual style, and clearly expects everyone to react as if it was one, but they instead consider it, in the words of Pierce, "the gayest crap I've ever heard in my life."
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: All of the stories play with this to some degree, but Pierce (irresistible sex-stud with a full head of hair capable of beating up Gangbangers!Troy and Abed with his Gag Penis) and Shirley (angelic messiah-figure who nobly forgives her friends their sins before being raptured into Heaven) really go to town with it. Shirley's contains a particularly lame attempt to pretend this isn't the case:
Britta: Thank you for saving us Shirley! I mean, your name's not Shirley, this is a story about strangers!
- Ho Yay: Troy's story features him and Abed dressed like fighter pilots from Top Gun who are sewed together for life. And can read each other's thoughts. It also opens with Troy carrying an injured Abed bridal-style into a cabin.
- Hypocritical Humor: During the stand-off at the end, Annie can be heard yelling "Stay back, psychos, or I'll slit your throats and bathe in your blood!"
- Also, Jeff doesn't know which of The Fast and the Furious guys he's dressed as because "I don't watch that shallow crap. I just pick a costume girls'll like."
- As Jeff explains that he isn't a sociopath, he actually displays several traits of sociopathy such as remorselessness, egocentricity and amorality. See the Fridge Brilliance page for more details.
- I Am a Monster: Jeff in Annie's story.
- Idiot Ball: Abed's story is devoted to completely averting this.
- Improvised Weapon: Despite being in a college library, most of the study group is able to come up with a weapon at a moments notice. Averted by Britta, who wields a switchblade.
- Instant Sedation: in Troy's story.
- Jaw Drop: The group's collective response to Pierce's story is slack-jawed horrified astonishment.
- Jive Turkey: Troy and Abed in Pierce's story.
- The Killer in Me: The ending to Britta's story. Even the real Britta didn't see it coming.
- Mad Scientist: Pierce in Troy's story.
- The Messiah: Parodied by Shirley's story, in which Shirley -- "I mean, your name's not Shirley, this is a story about strangers." -- shows up in a heavenly cloud to defeat Satan!Dean Pelton with a single breath before nobly forgiving her friends for "making fun of her Christianity." And then she gets raptured... conveniently leaving her friends there to get tortured by Satan.
- Mood Whiplash: In-universe, Annie instantly switches from dramatically describing the death of a vampire in horrifically precise gory detail to innocently chirping "See? There was a twist!"
- Mugging the Monster: Vampire!Jeff in Annie's story.
- Nightmare Fuel: It might be more of the uncanny valley effect of it but Werewolf!Annie was pretty creepy to see.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Annie in her story.
- Only Sane Man: When Britta runs the test sheets again, apparently only one member of the group isn't violently insane, and it's Abed.
- Jeff might be sane, as he randomly filled out the test. But then again, considering the rest of the season as a whole is largely devoted to how screwed up he is, it's unlikely.
- Person as Verb:
- "You Britta'd"
- Also, "Pulling an Abed" (being meta)
Jeff: Wow, you Britta'd Britta'd.
Abed: Yeah, way to pull an Abed.
- Also, Pierce (not getting it)
Shirley: I don't get it.
Jeff: Shirley, don't Pierce.
Pierce: I don't get it!
- Also, Shirley (protesting/lecturing)
After the gang leaves the study room, Jeff and Shirley start arguing. Most of it is hard to hear, but Jeff distinctly says "Well, now you're Shirleying" at the end.
- Psychic Powers: Apparently Troy thinks that sewing two humans together results in telekinesis and telepathy.
- Purple Prose: Annie's story is dripping with it.
"Stifle your slackened maw, you drained and tainted bitch dog!"
- Rule of Cool: In Troy's story, he and Abed gain multiple Psychic Powers after being sewn together. Why? Probably because of this.
- Running Gag: Yet another appearance of the show's own Affectionate Parody of a certain wildly popular British sci-fi franchise occurs in this episode when Abed and Troy show up to the pre-party dressed as Inspector Spacetime and Constable Wigglesworth.
Britta: I told you guys, you didn't have to dress up.
Troy: We know. We were wearing this anyway.
Abed: Yeah, when we're dressed up, you'll know.
- Shaped Like Itself: The radio announcer in Britta's story says that an "escaped mental patient has escaped."
- Ship Tease: It would be far easier to list which pairs weren't teased in this episode then go through all the examples.
- Shout-Out: Annie and Shirley's stories appear to have been a little influenced by Twilight and Left Behind respectively. Britta's story is a version of the popular "hookman" urban legend. Troy's story is reminiscent of The Human Centipede.
- Special Edition Title: The halloween version used last season is back, this time adding in Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) with a drawing of a man in an electric chair.
- Stylistic Suck: Each story is deliberately and humorously subpar in a different way depending on who's telling it:
- Britta's first story jumbles details and is told in a rushed, awkward fashion as would be told by someone who isn't really that good at telling stories half-remembering something -- additionally, the scant characterization is influenced by her Straw Feminist-esque views on intergender relationships (the man is horny and idiotic, while the woman is sensible and proven ultimately correct);
- Abed's story is overly logical and lacks emotional resonance, more concerned with filling plot-holes and avoiding cliches, unrealistic actions and Contrived Coincidences than actually telling the story;
- Annie's story is melodramatic and filled with overblown dialogue and Purple Prose;
- Troy's story over-relies on Rule of Cool at the expense of making sense and all the characters -- no matter who they are -- talk like he (and Abed) would;
- Pierce's story is sexist, racist, filled with Totally Radical attempts to remain relevant and turns Pierce into a Marty Stu sex-god, and also completely misses the point of what a Halloween scary story is supposed to be in the first place;
- Shirley's story is a poorly researched bad Christian P.S.A version of a horror story which turns Shirley herself into a self-righteous Mary Sue Messiah figure who saves the day with a Deus Ex Machina before delivering a poorly-disguised sermon to her friends.
- Jeff's story Tastes Like Diabetes. He also doesn't bother to construct a narrative and just skips to the end.
- Too Dumb to Live: Jeff in Britta's story. Abed calls Britta out on it while telling his own story.
- Twist Ending: Annie is particularly proud that her story has one.
- Were Still Relevant Dammit: What Pierce desperately wants to believe in his story.
Gangsta-Troy: *Being punched by Magnum* YOU... ARE... STILL... RELEVANT!
- Wild Teen Party: In Shirley's story.
- Write Who You Know: Perpetrated by everyone.
- Wolverine Claws: Troy's Improvised Weapon, wooden pencils held between his fingers.
- Woman in White: Annie in her story; Shirley in hers.
- Women Are Wiser: Parodied; in her story, Britta's Author Avatar feels the need to point out that she was right about the situation to Jeff while he's being stabbed to death by a psycho with a hook for a hand.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: When it's revealed that all but one member of the study group is, according to their psych profiles, completely insane, they collectively decide it's better that they can keep ahold of the comforting delusion that any one of them may be sane rather than knowing who is or isn't. Turns out it's Abed.
- To be fair, it's possible that Jeff is also sane - he states that he filled in his evaluation randomly, so the results of it are presumably inaccurate. The rest of the series as a whole, however, would seem to suggest that even with this taken into account he's still probably not as sane as he would like to think...