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You are making me do work for my fake conspiracy class!
In reviewing Jeff's class schedule, Dean Pelton notices Jeff signed up for an independent study class that doesn't actually exist, with a professor who doesn't exist. When called on it, Jeff tries to prove its existence to both the Dean and Annie, and it's corroborated by Professor Professorson, Jeff's conspiracy professor. Only one problem: Jeff's never seen this man before in his life. So why did he back up Jeff's story? To find out, Jeff and Annie will have to chase this tangled conspiracy all the way to Greendale's night school.
Back at Abed's dorm, Troy and Abed make a blanket fort that gets out of control.
The Community episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: Professor Professorson is played by Kevin Corrigan. Kevin also played Sam Weiss in the TV series Fringe, which for anyone unfamiliar with the show is currently being driven by a conspiracy theory in the plot (and has been for its entirety); the character, Sam Weiss, is a part of it.
- Adult Child: Troy and Abed create a "blanket fort for men"
- An Aesop: Almost everyone has an aesop to teach someone else, resulting in the Gambit Pileup.
Jeff: A very familiar feeling is starting to come over me — I feel like someone is trying to teach me something.
- Amateur Sleuth: Annie draws a reluctant Jeff into her investigation of Professor Professorson
Jeff: Dammit, Annie... You're going to Nancy Screw me out of my credit!
- Author Avatar: In-universe - Dean Dangerous, the hero of Dean Pelton's "Time Desk."
- Beware the Nice Ones: Annie, although it's really all part of the conspiracy she and Jeff concocted.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The sex club, in which Britta enjoys a martini.
- Call Back: One of the courses on the Night School curriculum is Theoretical Phys-Ed, a Call Back to a course mentioned in the earlier episode Basic Rocket Science
- Troy and Abed's fort includes a Memorial to Pierce's mother.
- Chase Scene: Includes examples of Excuse Me, Coming Through and Mobstacle Course in the form of a Latvian Independence Parade... all within the confines of a blanket fort.
Troy: Don't look at me. They had the proper permits!
- Chekhov's Gun: The Dean's book, "Dean Dangerous".
- Conspiracy Theorist
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: The end Gambit Pileup sequence where Annie shoots Garrity, the Dean shoots Annie, Jeff shoots the Dean, Annie shoots Jeff, and Officer Cackowski shoots Garrity
- Drama Club: Sean Garrity is the drama professor, and is drawn into the ruse because he offered to pay Dean Pelton in acting.
- External Combustion: Parodied by playing it entirely straight, but for the fact that it's a tiny electric car in Annie's diorama.
Jeff: Looks like someone sent us a message. A tiny, thoroughly underwhelming message.
- Fun with Subtitles: Abed speaks a bit of subtitled Polish. Troy fails at imitating it and the subtitles are nonsense.
- Gambit Pileup: Played up ad absurdum.
- Annie and Dean Pelton were trying to teach Jeff a lesson about laziness.
- While Jeff and Pelton conspired to teach Annie a lesson about friendship (and not trying to fix people).
- While Jeff and Annie were teaching Pelton that if you conspire with everyone you're really just doing random crap.
- While the drama professor and security guard were teaching them all not to play with prop guns.
- And that's why you don't try to teach people lessons!
- A God Am I: One of Jeff's theories for how a professor he made up could appear out of nowhere before him, Annie and the Dean: "I've ignored the signs for too long."
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Dean Pelton is writing a time travel novel, The Chronicles of Dean Dangerous. From what we hear of it, it's made of this trope.
- High School Hustler: Jeff making up an imaginary class to get unearned credits would make Ferris Bueller proud. But he's put to shame by "Professor Professorson"'s fake class, teacher, and entire night school... Or he would have been if any of that were true.
- Hipsters: Troy and Abed destroy their fort once fort-building goes mainstream.
- Homoerotic Dream: Dean Pelton apparently has some bizarre ones about Jeff
Dean Pelton: I have always dreamt of playing Charades with you, Jeffrey, just not like this. And not on dry land.
- Hypocritical Humor: The cop who decides to give a lesson about the dangers of using fake guns...with a fake gun.
- Also Britta, who sneers at Troy and Abed's invitation to join them in their blanket fort... only to be later seen hanging out in said blanket fort (albeit in a rather strange and pretentious part of it) once it's grown in size and popularity.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Dean Pelton
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Dean Pelton's reason for conspiring with anyone who offers
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue:
Britta: (sarcastically) Who wants to hang out in a blanket fort with grown men in tiny Underoos?
- Informed Judaism: Professor Professorson "My family name was Professorberg but we changed it when we were fleeing from the Nazis." Although actually his real name is Sean Garrity
- Insult Backfire: The Dean is oddly proud of being too stupid to plan a gambit.
- Invented Individual: Professor Professorson. Played straight, subverted, deconstructed, and, as this is Community, ending with a convoluted nested series of ploys to teach the characters a lesson.
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks: In-universe example: when their blanket fort makes the newspapers and inspires similar blanket forts in campuses across the country, Troy and Abed decide it must be destroyed.
- Large Ham: Professor Professorson / Woolley / Garrity, when revealing his true scheme. Then again, to be fair to the guy look at the dialogue he's been given, all taken from Dean Pelton's unpublished novel:
Figments! Puffs of hot air, from the lips of a ghost and the shadow of a unicorn's dream.
Jeff: Annie took to deception like Abed took to Cougar Town.
- Logic Bomb: A dioramarama including a diorama about a world without dioramas.
- Love Confession: Annie to Jeff.
- Mad Libs Catchphrase: "Would that this desk were a time desk," later changed by the Dean to "Would that this hoodie were a time hoodie."
- Real Joke Name: Played with using "Professor Professorson.
Dean Pelton: (disbelievingly) Your real name is Professor Professorson?
- Of course, it does in fact turn out to be a made up name.
- Pro Bono Barter: Professor Garrity offered to pay back the Dean in acting for scraping his car.
- Repeat Cut: For...a slot car sparking a bit.
- Rule of Funny: * Beyond the Impossible: Troy and Abed's fort. It has a memorial wing dedicated to Pierce's mother, a Turkish District, a weird sex club, and ...
Jeff: What the hell is this?
- Sarcasm Mode: As with anything, Annie demonstrates that when she wants to be sarcastic, she's a complete overachiever:
Jeff: Do me a favor; be very un-Annie and blow it off too.
- Ship Tease: Jeff/Annie the tackle, Annie's confession, and the very end when the Fluffytown starts to collapse.
- Shocking Swerve: About five in the space of two minutes.
- Shout-Out: "Well guess what! Annie's got a gun!"
- Significant Reference Date: November 18, 2010 (Latvian Independence Day).
- So Bad It's Good: Jeff predicts that the Dean's book will fit this trope.
Jeff: That's going to be the worst book I'll ever read cover to cover.
- Something Only They Would Say: Jeff recognises that only the Dean could possibly have written Garrity's ridiculous lines.
- Strange Minds Think Alike:
Abed: Wanna build a cardboard submarine?
- Stalker Shrine: Or scrapbook, as it were
- There Are No Coincidences
- Troubled Fetal Position: Dean Pelton, in the study room. by the end of the fake shootout
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The car bomb.
- The chase scene through Troy and Abed's fort.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: The Dean just can't take it.