Community, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design": fake guns, blanket forts, and Dean Danger

Quick Take: Community, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"
"If you conspire with every person who approaches you, you're not even really conspiring with anyone, you're just doing random crap." - Annie


Review: Community, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"
(S0209) I thought Community started its second season somewhat slowly (I couldn't stand the space episode which everybody seemed to love), but it's definitely on a streak of great episodes which continued with "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Decoration." It was a major contrast to last week's bottle episode, but it had two hilarious plotlines and is immensely quotable.

It all starts when Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) notices an odd entry on Jeff's schedule. The Dean claims, to Annie's shock, that Jeff (who, by the way, is going with some sick stubble!) completely invented a class (Conspiracy Theories in American History) and a teacher (Professor Professorson). This would force the Dean to conduct a strenuous audit of the entire school, which would be very time-consuming ("Good-bye writing in Starbucks until a certain Persian barista asks me about my novel!"). Jeff gets the Dean and Annie to come with him to look at the classroom where he claims he took this Conspiracy Theories class, but it turns out to just be a broom closet. However, as the Dean is about to leave to commence his unfortunate audit, Professor Professorson (Kevin Corrigan of Superbad and Big Fan in an awesome guest role) shows up, telling the Dean that they've probably never met because he teaches primarily in the night school. The Dean, happy to be proven wrong, sets off to continue writing Chapter One of Time Desk: The Adventures of Dean Dangerous (Jeff: "That will be the worst book I ever read cover to cover").  But not all is right, at least with Annie. Jeff admits he's actually never met the shady Professor before, and while he just wants to get lunch, Annie wants to snoop more.

Meanwhile, Troy and Abed, while at a sleepover, created a simple blanket fort. It was Troy's idea originally to make it bigger, but the real expansion begins when Abed's dorky friend Pablo sees it and wants in. The fort continues to grow until it covers their entire floor (and Leonard joins in with blankets he stole from his son). There's some pretty funny stuff here, and it gets better later on, but I just had to give some back story here.

Back to the main storyline: the stakes are raised when, after Annie discovers that Professor Professorson's name is actually Professor Wooley, Jeff gets a threatening phone call about how "things will get explosive." Jeff sees Annie fiddling with her alternative energy project for the marvelously-named Bio-Diorama-Rama and dives to get her out of the way of the explosion which turns out to be no more than a few underwhelming sparks. This scare only inspires Annie to go even deeper into her investigation, so she and Jeff are actually going to check out the night school and get to the bottom of the whole mystery. They catch Professor Wooley in the hallway and he, knowing they want answers, runs away. This begins an epic chase through Greendale, including through the now-gigantic and citylike blanket fort (it has its own civil rights museum!), and this scene was hilarious. It was a brilliant parody of the standard chase scene. They eventually catch Professor Professorson/Wooley (who it turns out is also the drama professor Sean Garretty). The professor explains that he entirely invented night school because he, just like Jeff, wanted to get an easy free credit. Now that Jeff has this relatability with the professor, they decide to scare the dean away from the scent by using fake guns from the drama department.

This brings on the climactic scene in which we learn that basically everybody was conspiring somehow with everybody else and everybody is fake-shot by their co-conspirators. The dean shoots Annie to teach Jeff about academic honesty, Jeff shoots the dean to teach Annie about friendship, and Annie shoots Jeff to teach the dean not to conspire with anybody he can (Annie: "If you conspire with every person who approaches you, you're not even really conspiring with anyone, you're just doing random crap.") and the dean's high-pitched wail is hilarious. And then of course there's one more conspiracy: an actor shoots Professor Garretty to teach all of them to not use fake guns.

All that was left after that was an amusing end bumper where, after reading about their blanket fort in the school newpaper, Troy and Abed fear that they've gotten too mainstream so they execute "Protocol Omega", which is to pull a couple strategically-placed cords to cause the entire fort to collapse, and looting to ensue (at least for Leonard). But the episode ends with them vowing to each other to go on to create a cardboard submarine.

So while this episode kept me laughing, there is a lot to digest. It's interesting that one week after the bottle episode -- which had every member of the gang so focused upon -- this week Britta, Pierce, and Shirley were barely in the episode. I also wonder about that mysterious professor. What was his real name actually? And will he be back? I sure hope so, because Kevin Corrigan played that part excellently and he is a really fun character.

I said at the beginning of this getting-to-be-pretty-long review that this episode was really quotable, so I'll end with some extra quotes from it:

  • Professor Professorson: "My family name was Professorberg but we changed it when we were fleeing from the Nazis."
  • Jeff (after discovering that Professor Professorson is actually real): "My latest theory? Maybe I'm a god. I've ignored the signs for far too long."
  • Abed: "You shouldn't be in here, Leonard. You already have three farting strikes against you."
  • Jeff: "Did you just mispronounce etcetera?", Professor Wooley: "My latin class was fake!"
  • Jeff: "He has defrauded your school to the tune of dozens of credits per year, and nearly twice as many dollars!"
  • Some of the night school courses were pretty funny. Here are the names of some of them: History of Something, Learning!, Introduction to Basics, Principles of Intermediate, Studyology, Class 101, Theoretical Phys Ed, Math 1-2-3, Simplified Chinese, Reading?, Nominal Ascertainment, Canned Response Awareness.
  • Video: Community, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design"
    Check out the zany action in full from Hulu, while available: 

    By Reuben J. Cohen

    About the author

    Writing for this site is one of the biggest honors of my life because they have such high standards. Speaking of standards, my own blog has none, but you can read it at I'm also on Twitter, @reubenco.

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