Saturday, 14 April 2012

COMMUNITY, 3.15 – "Origins of Vampire Mythology"

Saturday, 14 April 2012

I love the hardcore spoof episodes, but this season's been rather weighted one side with those, so it was nice to have a more regular episode—one that's still zany and full of clever jokes, but ultimately about the characters and their interactions. In "Origins of Vampire Mythology", a skeleton fell out of Britta's (Gillian Jacobs) closet in the shape of ex-boyfriend Blade (Kirk Fox), a carnival traveller whom she's always been infatuated with. The power Blade's very presence had over Britta tested Jeff's (Joel McHale) sense of masculinity, as he went to investigate this "rival" with Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), while Annie (Alison Brie) kept the sexually voracious Britta locked up for her own good. Meanwhile, these events simple inspired best-friends Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) to watch the "fantastic kickboxing vampire movie" Blade, and Pierce (Chevy Chase) made an unexpected connection to Chang (Ken Jeong).

I tend to like the episodes written by Dan Harmon, because you're getting the creator's voice piped directly into your mind—not that the writers' room necessarily dilutes things. Of particular merit was a return of the promising idea that Troy fancies Britta, but is tethered so firmly to his friendship with Abed that he's ill-equipped to do anything about it. Annie's attempts to keep "junkie" Britta away from Blade was also very amusing, especially when Britta seemingly tricked Annie into returning her phone for private medical reasons, only for Annie to reveal she'd changed Blade's number to her own and receiving a flurry of desperate text messages.

I was less enamoured with the Pierce/Chang subplot, and can't help feeling that Harmon is simply throwing Chase scraps without really wanting to give Pierce anything interesting to do. This all stems from the unfortunate knowledge we have that Harmon and Chase don't get along, and anecdotal evidence that Chase's relationship with the rest of Community's case isn't great. It's a shame this is perhaps impacting stories, with Chase kicked to the curb to work with Jeong (the one cast member who can tolerate him on-set?). The show could cope without Pierce, if Chase ever leaves, but I like Chase's performances when he's given good material, so from a fan perspective it's a shame real-life issues are impeding the show creatively.

Overall, "Origins of Vampire Mythology" was a good episode with plenty to recommend, although it was a shame the Jeff/Shirley investigation into Blade proved a big disappointment (especially seeing as those characters work surprisingly well together, perhaps because there's no sexual undercurrent), and the subplots didn't all hit their marks. But I found much to enjoy with the Britta/Annie and Troy/Abed sequences, and there was a superb postscript scene with Abed performing material of observational comedy specific to his home life with Troy.

Did you enjoy this one?

written by Dan Harmon / directed by Steven Tsuchida / 12 April 2012 / NBC