2.9 Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design
After last week’s emotional rollercoaster of an episode, Community ratchets up the tension yet again with its latest offering, Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design, a tale of intrigue, fake identities and a pillow fort.
Taking on that most manly of genres, the conspiracy/action movie, the Community gang – specifically Jeff and Annie – find themselves embroiled in a life lesson cleverly disguised as a conspiracy that goes “all the way to slightly below the middle…”
For reasons that remain glaringly obvious, the bag of smarm that is Jeff Winger still can’t quite bring himself to do the very small amount of work required to pass his classes at Greendale, and has taken to faking up courses.
In this case, a bogus “conspiracy theories in history” class proves his almost-undoing. Caught in his lie by the Dean and Annie, they decide to teach Winger a lesson – and it would have worked had Jeff not remembered that he is, in fact, the smartest guy in a three mile radius, and easily turns the tables on his tormentors. Even the combined neuroses of both Pelton and Annie are no match for Winger’s inherent sense of drama and the steadfast belief that no one teaches Jeff Winger a lesson. Oh, the irony.
Still, it’s a great excuse for much dramatic hand wringing, fake deaths, a superb cameo from Kevin Corrigan, who spends several minutes doing a credible impression of early Christopher Walken, and an accidental declaration of love… That one will have consequences.
While Jeff and Annie spend the day Pelican Briefing the Dean, Troy and Abed decide to build a pillow fort. So far, so Troy and Abed – activities just childish enough to be amusing, and just the right side of sad have definitely become their trademark. So when the fort becomes a fleece-covered shantytown, populated by what appears to be the entire student body, and where the amusing/sad pair is in charge, it’s to be expected – is there anything that’s more opposed to manly mystery solving than a pillow fort?
Two more disparate storylines you’ll never see, but such is the genius of the Community writing team that the runaway fort ends up playing a vital role in solving said manly mystery. The fort is a roaring success, and somehow manages to encompass both the dorm and the actual campus – a sprawling pillow metropolis, complete with religious festivals and freaky clubs.
When it’s time for the inevitable chase sequence, it takes place in the fort – on hands and knees through Fluffytown – and even has room for those chase staples, traffic, inconvenient parades, and the freaky part of town that no one mentions again.
Even if the homage-of-the-week formula that season two is employing with alarming regularity is a tad on the predictable side, when the writing is this joyful, any predictability is easily forgiven. And I think we can all agree on the important lesson here – pillow forts rock!
What’s not so easily forgiven, however, and you’ll have to excuse the broken record, is the continued lack of ex-Señor Chang. Surely Chang was made for Winger-targeted conspiracies? Whatever the reason for the Changless run, let’s hope it ends sooner rather than later.
And with all the action, amazingly, Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design was almost entirely Pierce-free – a turn of events that goes some way to making up for the lack of Jeong.
While episode nine may not have hit the dizzy heights of some of the genius season one episodes – as a maturing show, it’s inevitable that some elements will change – it’s still as sharp as ever, and once again hit all the right homage buttons, particularly in the soundtrack department.
Once again, the orchestral beats are timed to perfection and beautifully arranged. Any show paying this much attention to its soundtrack is a show approaching the top of its game, making Community a pleasure to watch – even without Señor Chang…
Read our review of episode 8, Cooperative Calligraphy, here.
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