Community Recap: Pillows vs. Blankets

Photo: Michael Desmond/NBCUniversal, Inc.
Episode Title
Digital Exploration of Interior Design

Subway does not mess around. Remember when Chuck was in danger of being canceled until Subway stepped in and sponsored a bunch of episodes? Not only did characters start visiting the “restaurant” more often so they could understand what dog taint smells like, but they also took to describing their sandwiches in ornate detail. I remember once there was an entire B-story about Big Mike’s immaculately constructed sandwich, and how the shenanigans at the Buy More were getting in the way of him eating it. It was a regular Dagwood Bumstead moment, I’ll tell ya.

So I’m not sure what was going on with Community, but this week saw the conclusion of the failed Shirley-Pierce business venture from two weeks ago (because of some episode-shuffling), and now there’s a shining Subway on the Greendale campus. And I do mean shining — it glimmered behind the Dean as he tried and failed to cut the red ribbon, popping with bright colors and a glow that made it look unnatural. You know, like a piece of Subway turkey. Clearly, most of Subway’s Community money went to the Subway-cinematography department.

And just to be extra ironic and stuff — at least I hope so — “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” included a character named Subway (played by Keith from Scrubs), a corpo-humanoid who gave up his identity to be the living embodiment of Subway. See, according to the Greendale bylaws, with which the Dean is not familiar, no business can exist on the campus unless 51 percent is owned by a student. So Subway created this “corporations as people” guy to get around that mandate, and forced him to abandon whatever life he had before. The non-Subway portions of that life, at least.

The problem was that, apparently, Subway was the kind of crunchy, well-read do-gooder that Britta would love. Plus, Shirley and Pierce, determined to take down the evil corporation that shattered their dream, enlisted (okay, forced) Britta to seduce Subway and learn his dirty secrets. At first Britta was offended — Shirley and Pierce clearly do not think highly of her … womanly instincts; Pierce called it whoresmanship, then had the decency to correct himself and say whoreswomanship because he thought it was the nineties. Point being, this blatant disregard for Britta’s well-being would have made a great column for “Britta Unfiltered.” But then she got to know Subway, learned of his fondness for 1984 and complete lack of penis fly trap. Soon she and Subway were sneaking off into Abed’s pillow fort for a forbidden tryst, Shirley and Pierce taping the whole thing via a hidden lipstick microphone. The Subway manager found out, replaced the cool guy with a much lamer corporate shill, and Britta once again watched love walk out the door of a Subway. Well, at least that’s how it’s going to happen from here on out. EAT FRESH.

Meanwhile, Troy and Abed’s love affair was falling apart, too. Last week we saw Evil Abed planting a wedge between the two best friends, and this week that demon took the form of John Goodman with a beard and a ponytail (“I’m going through some stuff.”) Still determined to get Troy into the Air Conditioning Repair Annex, he wedged himself between Troy and Abed — who had previously hatched a plan to build a pillow fort while their apartment was being sprayed — by encouraging Troy to go with a blanket fort instead. That way, he said, Troy could wow the Guinness Book of World Records folks Abed wasn’t interested in impressing. No longer would Troy be the Constable Reggie to Abed’s Inspector Spacetime. However heartbroken I was watching Troy tell Abed off last week, that heartbreak was intensified a hundred pillows over watching the two face off in the study room. Their enemy forts couldn’t grow any larger without one destroying the other. This season of Community seems hell-bent on pushing its long-standing relationships to the breaking point; Abed and Troy have been a staple since the first season, but rather than rest on that laurel, “Interior Design” turned them against one another, asking us to choose a side. And it’s hard, because Abed had Magnitude, who literally doubled his vocabulary by adding “sir” and “captain” to his verbal repertoire. Not even that laurel was rested on.

Though if there’s one thing Community can be counted on every fourth episode or so, it’s unwarranted tension between Jeff and Annie. They circled one another again last night, when upon learning all Greendale students received lockers during orientation, Jeff opened his to find a hate note written by Kim. Just then, some kid walked by, informing Jeff that Kim died two weeks ago, leaving Jeff without someone to accept his apology. Annie, who suddenly took an interest in Jeff’s psychological growth this season (seems like she and Britta trade off), encouraged him to apologize anyway; after all, she said, the apology should be for your benefit, not just the other person. It was sort of weird advice, the kind of thing Trudy from Mad Men might say and not Annie. But Jeff was not in a state to argue, so he headed to Kim’s locker to voice what was in his heart. And Kim heard, because she wasn’t dead, and she wasn’t a “she” — it was that dude from earlier, whom Jeff had overlooked because he had a girl’s name.

Annie flipped out. She helped Jeff when she thought he was doing right by another woman, but wasn’t ready to help him make nice with another guy. She apologized in the next scene, though, so Annie could come off as totally nuts, instead of just a little nuts. Maybe the sleeping in a classroom was getting to her; maybe she dipped into Pierce’s ink supply. Or maybe she was steeling herself emotionally for the upcoming pillows vs. blankets war. Most likely though, someone destroyed her Subway sandwich.