‘Community’ Recap: Love Yourself (And Blade)

ALTPointless, toxic, unrequited love can make us do crazy things: From texting that one person we know we shouldn’t, to alienating good friends by our endless obsessing, to making those same friends turn off classic 1998 vampire action movies — chasing someone who doesn’t love us back unleashes our inner demons. And tonight, this happened to two beloved members of the study group: Jeff, and Britta.

No, tonight’s Community was not a high-budget, high-concept genre piece like last week’s war-doc “Pillows and Blankets.” But it did bring many laughs, forward development in several characters’ relationships, and a very positive message: Love yourself first, maaaan. 

Interestingly enough, the first bit in the episode (And the episode’s entire C-plot) was reminiscent of the unfortunate Community crisis that has been plaguing our nation for almost two weeks: Pierce (Or Chevy?) is a difficult human being, and he wondered why he didn’t have a best friend like Troy and Abed. He was sad. Thankfully, Dean Pelton arrived (In a sexy train conductor’s outfit, natch) with some good news — a carnival was heading to Greendale!

Now normally, a carnival is great news: You have weird animal smells, impossible rip-off games, fried food, and jenky rides for $10 a pop. But for Britta, this carnival would bring nothing but pain: Her ex-boyfriend, Blade, was one of its carneys. “Some things are funny because they make no sense,” Annie laughed, along with everybody else. “And that is not one of them.”

See, for Britta, Blade was one of those aforementioned pointless, unrequited lovers: And if he was back in town, her token willpower would crumble to pieces. Her solution was a seemingly simple one — one that has been used by countless men and women since texting was invented in the ’90s or something. She would spend the weekend with a trusted friend, Annie, who would guard her hidden cellphone with her life. (And remember — Annie owns a pistol.) “You are a pill-head,” Britta pointed out. “So think of Blade as Adderall.”

Of course, the name of Britta’s ex-lover meant much more to Troy and Abed. “His name is Blade,” Abed said. “Is that legal? Shouldn’t New Line Cinema be suing him?” (No.) And with that, the boys set out to watch the (fantastic) vampire kickboxing movie, Blade. The only problem was, Britta was staying the night — and hearing the word “Blade” every other second wasn’t helping her resolve. Once Troy revealed that Britta’s phone had been hidden in the refrigerator, she turned into a shrieking lunatic in dire need of a padded cell. “You’re the opposite of Batman!” she screamed as they forced her into Annie’s room. (“You don’t know what that means!” responded a clearly wounded Troy.)

Eventually, Britta turned to deception in order to get her dirty Blade fix. She toyed with Annie’s innocent emotions in order to get her phone back, but her plan backfired: Annie had switched Blade’s phone number with her own, so every steamy, emotional, and/or pathetic text was sent to Annie, Troy, Abed and the Dean (more on that later) in the next room. Annie replied like a typical, emotionally unavailable d-bag in order to ward off Britta’s crazy obsession, but Annie’s texts only made Britta want Blade more. According to Annie, Britta’s codependent, self-loathing texts were troubling. (“Are you mad at me now?” “Fine! I guess you don’t want to know our two-year-old!” — Ick.) According to Troy and Abed, the only thing that mattered was that Blade was no longer playing on their television. Britta’d it.

After some humiliating phone calls involving Annie’s man-voice and fake carnival sounds, Troy finally took action: He sent Britta a kind, affectionate text (that viewers were unfortunately not able to see) from “Blade”, knowing that Britta would then back off. “Britta likes guys who are mean to her,” he said. “She doesn’t like herself.”

Then things took an emotionally gratifying turn: Britta walked out of the room, perfectly pleasant and clearly over Blade. “It’s over now,” she said. “He’s a loser.” Troy, who undoubtably spilled his true feelings in the oh-so-secret text message, looked defeated. “Goodnight,” he said, as he sadly marched to his “bedroom.”

Meanwhile, Jeff set out to chase his own unrequited love: The love he didn’t have for himself. Did that make sense? Anyways, Jeff went to the carnival to see what it was about Blade that made him so irresistible to women. Shirley came too, but she just wanted to go on the rides. “He’s not as good looking as you,” Shirley said when they finally laid eyes on ladykiller Blade. “I wasn’t fishing for that,” Jeff replied. (Clearly, he was.)

But even though Jeff set out to see what it was about Blade that made him so irresistible, he walked away with much more. When Britta learned who she had actually been texting with, she ran for the door — only to meet Jeff, who was (hopefully) forever changed from the night’s encounter. See, Blade had finally let him in on his secret: He was brain damaged. A runaway carnival bolt had lodged into his brain, rendering him completely unable to experience shame. “He has nothing to prove or disprove, about himself or to himself,” Jeff said. And that’s what constantly going after unavailable people is all about — ego, self-hatred, and shame.

“We can’t keep going to each other until we learn to go to ourselves,” Jeff continued. “Stop making our hatred of ourselves someone else’s job, and just stop hating ourselves.” His message was received loud and clear by Britta, who took a second glance at “Blade’s” loving text, and then knowingly looked right at Troy — with a happy, healthy smile. Of course Annie and Jeff also made goggly eyes at each other, but that’s to be expected.

Over in C-plot land, Pierce decided to adopt Chang as his new best friend. Unfortunately, this was a painfully unfunny bit in an otherwise chock-full-of-smart-humor episode. They frolicked through the carnival to the beat of happy music, fought over nothing, and that was pretty much the end of it. Is this why Chase is so angry with Dan Harmon, or is Pierce being shuffled to the sidelines because fans (And, arguably, the cast and crew) want him there? Did he ever add much to the gang? Questions for the comments section, folks.

Oh, and it should also be noted that John Goodman’s Vice-Dean made a brief appearance, pressuring Pelton to lure Troy to the air-conditioning repair school. This didn’t really go anywhere, but it gave Pelton an excuse to crash the sleepover. “Dean, why are you here?” asked everybody. Good question.

Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna


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