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The carnival is in town and that means bad news for Britta: someone she used to date works at the carnival and his name is Blade. As the study group laughs at that, Britta explains that Blade only needs to text her and she'll come running. So she gives up her phone to Annie and asks her to keep her addiction in check...by letting her stay at the apartment and making sure she never goes to Blade.
Meanwhile, Jeff is curious over just how exactly Blade does it, so he and Shirley go to check out the carnival and the duck shooting booth that Blade runs. They run into Pierce and Chang, who have decided to try being best friends.
And in a further subplot, Vice Dean Layborne tries to make the Dean persuade Troy to enroll in the AC Repair School.
Tropes within the Community episode "Origins of Vampire Mythology":
- All Girls Want Bad Boys:
- Deconstructed with Britta and Blade:
- The reason why Britta wants Blade is explored throughout the episode, and shown to be unhealthy on her part.
- Blade himself is something of a variation on the standard 'bad boy' type, in that he's (on the surface at least) quite affable, pleasant and laid back, making it easy to understand why someone would be initially drawn to him without realizing his inner self-centredness rather than if he was obviously signposted as a complete dickhead from the start. It's also revealed that Blade has brain damage that means he can never feel shame - so he literally doesn't and can't care about anyone other than himself; he's a bad boy because he literally can't help himself.
- Parodied with Annie, who clearly experiences this to a much lesser degree than Britta (even if, given her obvious interest in Jeff, she's not entirely free from it) -- she just cannot figure out that the meaner the texts from 'Blade' get, the more turned on by them Britta is.
- Deconstructed with Britta and Blade:
- Anticlimax: The Dean's plot to get Troy to join Laybourne's school ends rather abruptly when Troy flatly tells him no. Although considering his 'plot' appears to have basically been show up at his apartment in pyjamas, hang around for a while and then at some point ask him outright to join Laybourne's school, this is only to be expected.
- Bastard Boyfriend: Blade, and Britta makes a crack which gets a reaction that suggests Jeff may be this to Annie.
- Call Back:
- Jeff and Shirley are shown to still be good friends, continuing from "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism."
- The Dean's train set is decorated with dalmatians.
- Troy is ultimately the one to send a nice text to Britta, furthering the subplot of their UST.
- Troy's awareness of Britta's 'damaged bad boy' issues also stems from "Competitive Wine Tasting".
- "YOU ARE THE OPPOSITE OF BATMAN!"
- You don't know what that means!
- A blink-and-you'll-miss-it example; the peeved expression Jeff has after Pierce points out that Britta has "the King Arthur of bad taste in men" is because he hooked up with Britta in "Modern Warfare" and then, as revealed in "Paradigms of Human Memory", spent most of season two in a Friends with Benefits relationship with her.
- Googly eyes.
- Covert Pervert: Yes, Annie, the only reason you wanted Jeff to change his shirt is because it "wasn't working." Riiiight.
- Crappy Carnival: Where Blade works.
- Disaster Dominoes: Annie had the best of intentions, and giving back the phone with a covertly switched-out number was actually a good plan to prove trust. But actually attempting to impersonate Blade, without an endgame in mind, shows she didn't learn any lessons from the broken DVD incident.
- Embarrassing First Name: Britta's ex-boyfriend is actually named Blade. Subverted in that he's not actually embarrassed by it (or anything else).
- Finish Dialogue in Unison: Gag version. Pierce and Chang both suggest things to do at the carnival at the same time. Pierce suggests cotton candy. Chang suggests Russian Roulette.
- Friendship Moment: Britta tries to invoke one of these to prevent her friends laughing at her past with her ex-boyfriend. It fails the moment she mentions that his name is 'Blade'.
Jeff: She invoked friendship to undercut the laugh and we're still laughing -- that's how funny it is!
- Fruit of the Loon: As a decoy for Britta's phone, Annie has written 'You are a lying junkie' on a banana. There is absolutely no reason for her to have used a banana for this purpose.
- Fundamentally Funny Fruit: Okay, maybe there's one reason why Annie has written 'you are a lying junkie' on a banana.
- Genre Savvy: Troy and even Abed know that being rejected would only send Britta even more over the edge.
- Annie also demonstrates this as a former addict, she is Genre Savvy to all the tricks Britta tries to pull to get her phone. Even when she nearly tricks her with the sister act, she had already switched numbers so she wouldn't be able to text/call Blade either way. She is rather Genre Blind however to the fact that trying to get her to hate Blade would only make her more infatuated.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Jeff wins a bunch of stuffed animals and gives them to Shirley. Subverted, however, in that Shirley just wants to move on from the duck shooting booth, but Jeff won't give up until he knows Blade's secret.
- Going Cold Turkey: What Britta wants to do in regards to Blade. She even gets locked in Annie's room.
- Good Times Montage: Between Pierce and Chang. After Chang leaves, Pierce remembers it in black and white.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Blade also works for the Pawnee Sewer Department.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- This exchange between Britta and Shirley:
Britta: I need to be reminded he is the worst man on earth, because if he comes through town and calls me I will be there in five minutes.
Shirley: I don't understand...
Britta: Oh, Andre much?
Shirley: [Humbled] Okay, I understand.
- Pierce also gets a certain amount of group-mileage by calling Britta up on making a snide comment about Troy and Abed's being nerds, pointing out that someone who once willingly dated a man called 'Blade' is hardly in a position to be lording it over others:
Britta: Well, "nerd" alert.
Pierce: Well, "ex-boyfriend named 'Blade'" alert.
Shirley: Ha-ha! [High-fives Pierce] Her love life makes Pierce seem with-it.
- As Annie's enjoying an eyeful of Jeff's bare chest:
Woman offscreen: I'll have what she's having.
Annie: Hey, grow up, lady!
- Informed Flaw: Blade is apparently a humongous douche if you're in a relationship with him, but in what little we see of him at the carnival he comes off as quite affable, laid-back and pleasant. This is lampshaded by Shirley, who points out that his laid-back attitude and ability to let things slide without getting riled about them is probably what attracts people to him in the first place. Also played with when we learn that he's brain damaged and has no ability to feel shame or remorse, which likely causes both his engagingly laid-back surface demeanor and the Jerkass behaviour that lies beneath it.
- It should be noted that most of what we hear about Blade's flaws comes from Britta herself.
- Insistent Terminology: Fantastic.
- Laugh with Me: Non-villainous example -- when Jeff wonders how many women he's affected in the same way that Blade has affected Britta, Britta laughs derisively. Jeff and Annie join in, but Jeff's is clearly forced in a way that reads "Yeah, sure, I was just joking there,", while Annie's forced laugh clearly suggests that she's trying (and failing) to casually convey an attitude of "No, Jeff's never affected me that way, no siree bob."
- Looking for Love In All the Wrong Places: Britta, much to the amusement of the rest of the study group. She has "the King Arthur of bad taste in boyfriends."
- Meaningful Echo: Played with for laughs; Shirley, taken with Blade's cool and laidback nature, almost instantly adopts his phrase "That won't change how mustard tastes," to try and persuade Jeff to drop his insistent quest to discover where Blade's cool comes from. Jeff, however, isn't impressed:
- Mr. Fanservice: Alright, be honest now; hands up how many of you ladies (and gentlemen) enjoyed the scene where Jeff changes his shirt? That particular sequence was so blatant that it verges into Lampshade Hanging.
- Ms. Fanservice: Of course, Annie isn't a slouch this episode either with that low cut a shirt.
- No Matter How Much I Beg: The Britta/Annie storyline is a variation on this plot.
- Noodle Incident: Troy's text message plays with this, leaning towards an inversion; we see Troy write, send and delete the message, and we see other characters' reactions to it, but we never find out precisely what it was he said.
- Running Gag
- "Dean, why are you here?" "Okay, ouch!"
- Now that this is the third episode after Asian Population Studies ("He has albums and a landline") and Intro To Political Science ("I live with that dude. He has night terrors and a rotary phone."), I think it's safe to say that describing someone's age by phone technology has become a running gag in the show when Troy says, "She was born in the 80s. She still uses her phone as a phone."
- Sassy Secretary: Natalie will not be making you a scotch and soda.
- Serious Business: Britta's lust for Blade is treated as something between a heroin addiction and a vampire's lust for blood.
- Ship Sinking: Jeff/Britta would seem to have received another nail in the coffin, with Jeff upon being confronted explicitly denying that he's in love with Britta and jealous of Blade because of her continued attraction to him. He is, in fact, jealous of Blade's ability to somehow make people not give a crap about the fact that he's a self-centred douchebag.
- Ship Tease:
- Troy / Britta. We don't see what's on Troy's text message from 'Blade', but it's very nice, very complimentary and clearly heartfelt; he's deeply hurt when Britta rejects it as a sign that Blade is a 'loser', and Annie is obviously moved by it when she reads it. Britta's obviously touched when she learns Troy actually sent it as well.
- In keeping with the ongoing Jeff and Annie of it all, Jeff and Annie share rather meaningful glances at each other at the end of the episode. And, of course, Annie takes the opportunity to enjoy the view of Jeff without a shirt on.
- Shirtless Scene: Jeff decides a shirt change is in order in the middle of the school day. Annie isn't one to complain.
- Shout-Out: During Jeff's shirtless scene, a woman calls out "I'll have what she's having."
- Skewed Priorities: Troy and Abed seem far more disturbed by having their viewing of Blade interrupted than by the whole Britta/Blade mess.
- Stand Up Comedy: In The Tag Abed does this in the study room dressed like Jerry Seinfeld in front of a fake brick wall to Jeff, Troy and Dean Pelton. His jokes are specific only about his and Troy's living habits and their apartment so only Troy laughs.
- Take That: Some have interpreted Pierce's "I need a friend" storyline as being a take that at Chevy Chase's real life issues with his character not getting enough stories.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Shirley leaves Jeff at the shooting gallery and isn't seen for the rest of the episode.
- What the Hell, Hero?: We don't learn what was on Troy's text message to Britta, but he is clearly hurt when Britta, believing it to be from Blade, dismisses it as a sign that Blade is a 'loser'. When Annie finally reads the message, she's obviously deeply moved and, although she doesn't mention Troy, angrily lays into Britta for her priorities concerning men and how fucked-up this suggests she is.
- Who Names Their Kid "Blade"?