In his office, Dean Pelton notices something in a printout of Jeff's schedule for the fall semester. Meanwhile in Group Study Room F, Annie is showing off her latest diorama to the group. After her presentation is done, Troy confirms with Abed that their sleepover is still on. After Troy suggests build a blanket fort Dean Pelton arrives. He informs Jeff he will not be receiving credit for the class, "Conspiracy Theories in US History" since it's a fake. Jeff claims it does exist as he's been having weekly meetings with a "Professor Professorson". The Dean demands proof which Jeff intends to lead him to with Annie tagging along. In Abed's dorm room, Troy and Abed decide to expand the pillow fort they just built.
Annie's latest diorama: "Alternative Energy for a Brighter Tomorrow".
Meanwhile, Jeff leads Annie and Pelton to Professorson's office which turns out to be a closet. Jeff theorizes the missing office is a test, a conspiracy he has to unravel. Annie and Pelton scoff at this but are surprised by the appearance of a man claiming to be Professorson. He confirms that Jeff was right, and this was his final exam. A look at his Greendale faculty I.D. badge satisfies Pelton's skepticism. Once Pelton apologizes and leaves Jeff confides to Annie that he did fake the class and that he's never seen "Professorson" before. Annie then wonders who "Professorson" really is but finds that Jeff doesn’t care as long as he gets his grade.
The original blanket fort.
Back in Abed's dorm, Pavel stops by and is impressed when he sees Troy and Abed's blanket fort. They let him join when they find out he has a lot of sheets they can use to expand the blanket fort. In the study room, Jeff goes to help Annie move her diorama after receiving multiple texts from her. It turns out she had an ulterior motive for summoning him as she presents to Jeff a Greendale faculty directory with a picture of the mysterious Professor. The directory reveals he is listed as "Professor Woolley".
Professor Professorson is actually Professor Woolley.
While looking over her diorama, Annie notices the motorized part isn't working properly and struggles to get it started. Jeff receives a call on his cell phone from an anonymous caller who threatens that if he and Annie don't stop snooping, things "might get explosive." Jeff realizes the diorama has been sabotaged and tackles Annie to the ground. The tiny car in the diorama "explodes," showering the project with sparks. The underwhelming message encourages Jeff to help Annie in her investigation. Meanwhile, with the help of other students, Troy and Abed's blanket fort has expanded past the dorm rooms into the school's hallways. That evening, Jeff and Annie go to night school looking for Professor Woolley's class.
A tiny, underwhelming message.
Looking over a course listing, they notice all the classes have odd names. Professor Woolley appears and is surprised to see them. When confronted by Jeff and Annie, he claims to be teaching a math class. He offers to take them to it but suddenly runs away, resulting in a chase. Woolley enters a section of Troy and Abed's blanket fort with Jeff and Annie in pursuit. While making their way through a maze of blankets, they come across Troy and Abed. They assist them in navigating the fort and tracking down the professor. Although briefly distracted by Leonard and Britta, they managed to catch up to the professor. Jeff tackles him and demands he explain what's going on. Woolley brings them to a room filled with computer printers spilling out pages of printouts.
He explains that this is what night school really is: fake classes backed up by fake documentation from the printers. He was once a student like Jeff and created a course to get free credit, but he didn't stop at just one class and eventually created more. He then created fake students and teachers as well to continue perpetrating the fraud. Jeff is skeptical of his grand admission and reveals suspicions along with "Woolley"'s actual identity: He's actually Professor Sean Garrity, the drama teacher. Jeff discovered this fact after seeing a flyer from the drama department on the way over. Garrity is relieved the deception is over and confirms Jeff's suspicions that the entire charade was Dean Pelton's idea. Jeff then comes up with an idea of his own which worries Annie.
Professor Woolley's true identity is revealed.
Later, Dean Pelton is summoned by Jeff and Annie to the study room; when he arrives, he finds Garrity there as well. Jeff tells Pelton about the fake night school classes Garrity was responsible for, but the Dean is willing to give him a second chance. Annie is less forgiving: she pulls out a gun and shoots Garrity. She goes into a rant about dishonesty but is cut off when the Dean pulls out a gun and shoots her. Jeff tells him they staged this and that Annie was using a prop gun. He pulls out a gun of his own and shoots the Dean. Annie then stops pretending to be dead and is hysterical. Jeff thought Pelton had killed her, but she responds she was in on it from the start to teach Jeff a lesson about academic fraud.
Pelton pulls out his own gun and shoots Annie.
Jeff reveals he knew that all along and helps Pelton up who had been faking his death too. Jeff knew the Dean was too stupid to think up such an elaborate scheme on his own, and the two of them devised their own plan to teach Annie a lesson about friendship. Angered at having been deceived, Annie pulls yet another gun out and points it at him. Jeff backs away slowly and wonders where she got the weapon considering the drama department only had three prop guns. Annie simply replies that she lives in a bad neighborhood and goes on to vent about how Jeff has continually treated her poorly. She ignores his pleas to put down the gun and instead shoots Jeff multiple times in the chest. A distraught Dean wonders how Annie could have done this.
Annie shoots Jeff.
Annie throws the question back at him, asking how he could have conspired with her against Jeff in the first place. Sobbing, Pelton says he's confused and can't keep track of all the lies: he admits that he just agreed to team up with whoever had suggested it. Jeff springs back to life and admonishes the Dean for so easily selling out his original conspirator. Pelton tries to make excuses but is cut off when an exasperated Professor Garrity stops playing dead and tries to wrap things up. After he collects all the prop guns Officer Cackowski bursts into the study room. He tells the professor to drop his weapons. Before he can comply, Garrity is blown away by the officer's shotgun. Annie sobbingly tells Cackowski that the professor was holding prop guns.
Cackowski Shoots first and asks questions later.
Garrity then reveals he's still alive; he and Cackowski conspired to teach everyone a lesson that guns, even prop ones, aren't toys. The Dean is heavily traumatized by all the conspiracies; however, he's still lucid enough to deny Jeff his fake class credit when asked about it. Later in Troy and Abed's blanket fort, the study group meets, and Jeff praises Annie's acting skills in their ruse. Pavel arrives and shows Troy and Abed the latest issue of the school newspaper. The headline reads that the blanket fort craze has spread to other college campuses. Now that it's become mainstream, Troy and Abed decide to destroy their fort by initiating a self-destruct mechanism. The fort comes tumbling down, upsetting all the inhabitants while Leonard starts looting during the chaos.
Troy and Abed complete each other's sentences and decide to write a screenplay together.
Troy and Abed are in sync.
The Conspiracies Unraveled
Below is a chart that lays out the twists and turns of the various conspiracies shown in this episode.
The Conspirators The beginning: Dean Pelton discovers Jeff has a fake class. He tells Annie who comes up with a plan to teach Jeff a lesson about academic fraud. Garrity is brought in to masquerade as Professorson.
Jeff Despite the elaborate deception, Jeff figures out he is being taught a lesson.
Jeff and Annie He realizes that Annie was behind the plot and convinces her to turn against Pelton and teach the Dean a lesson about trying to teach Jeff a lesson.
Garrity and Cackowski Meanwhile, Garrity forms his own conspiracy with Officer Cackowski.
Jeff and Dean Pelton In order to further his plan, he meets up with Pelton and forms a fake partnership with him ostensibly to teach Annie a lesson for coming up with the original conspiracy.
Annie and Dean Pelton Dean Pelton shoots Annie further their plan. Jeff pretends to be shocked and reveals that Annie and him staged this confrontation to teach him a lesson.
Jeff, Annie, Pelton and Garrity In the study room, all the conspiracies come to a head. Annie shoots "Professor Wooley" furthering her original plan with the Dean and Garrity.
Jeff and Dean Pelton Jeff then pulls out a gun and shoots Pelton. Annie stops pretending to be dead and acts shocked at Jeff's actions. Pelton then reveals he is still alive. He and Jeff then reveal their complicity.
Jeff and Annie Annie continues her and Jeff's plan by pulling out a gun and shooting him with it.
Garrity and Cackowski The end: Garrity and Cackowski reveal the final conspiracy and teach the others the lesson that prop guns are not toys.
Jeff and Annie The Dean is distraught until Annie and Jeff reveal their deception.
Jeff says, "We should grab lunch. I just saw Fat Neil heading to the cafeteria with that look in his eye." The mention of Neil's character acts as foreshadowing to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in which we find out that Jeff created the name.
Googly eyes: Jeff and Annie exchange meaningful glances in two scenes.
Discontinuity: When Annie is going over the list of night classes, she says that Professor Huyuck teaches "History of Something". When the actual list is shown onscreen it reads that Professor Bradford teaches "History of Something", while Professor Huyuck teaches "Learning!".
Theoretical Phys-Ed: The night school classes are completely nonsensical. While they turn out to be fake, they are still fitting enough for Greendale for Jeff to not dismiss them immediately.
Name that tune/Off Broadway: Annie's line, "Annie's got a gun!" is probably a reference to either the Aerosmith song Janie's Got a Gun or the 1946 musical Annie Get Your Gun. Or possibly both.
Product placement: Dean Pelton writes his novel at Starbucks to impress a barista.
Troy tells Britta to enjoy eating fiber and watching The Mentalist.
Jeff says Annie took to deception like Abed took to Cougar Town.
Use your allusion:
Professor "Professorson" tells Jeff to "read chapters 10-12 of Douglas". This is possibly a reference to Dr. Karen M. Douglas, a Reader in Psychology at the University of Kent, who has published multiple works about conspiracy theories.
Jeff worries that Annie will Nancy-screw him out of his credit.
Britta's weird club in the blanket fort is an allusion to the private club from Eyes Wide Shut.
Cackowski asking Garrity about plans for breakfast is a reference to Pulp Fiction, when Mr. Wolf invites Raquel for breakfast leaving John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson's characters hanging.
Well read: Professor Garrity's theater department recently performed an adaptation of Macbeth.
Current events: When the study group chases Professor Sean Garrity into the blanket fort, they are held up by the Latvian Independence Day Parade. The episode originally aired on November 18, 2010, which is actually Latvian Independence Day.
A Community fan called westwingwolfcreated a fanvid based on this episode called "Community Promo-Film Noir". Series creator Dan Harmon praised the video and tweeted it to cast and crew on his Twitter account. The online Entertainment Weekly site would later embed the video in an article for the upcoming Christmas episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas". The article with the video attached can be seen here.
At the time of the episode's release, the episode was sometimes referred to by another title, "Conspiracy Theories and Soft Defenses".
“Agnes, cancel my appointments.”— Dean Pelton
“What appointments?"”— Agnes
“Wishful thinking.”— Dean Pelton
“A blanket fort? Wow.”— Britta
“You can come hang out in it with us later if you want.”— Abed
“Thanks, but I think I'll find something more grown up to do.”— Britta
“Enjoy eating fiber and watching The Mentalist.'”— Troy
“The ultimate Jeff Winger blow off class: The one that doesn't exist.”— Britta
“I have always dreamt of playing charades with you, Jeffrey. Just not like this. And not on dry land.”— Dean Pelton
“Jeff, you made up a professor and he just appeared out of thin air. You're not the least bit curious how that happened?”— Annie
“My latest theory: maybe I'm God. I've denied the signs for too long.”— Jeff
“But Jeff, I only did it because I love you!”— Annie
“When you love someone, you have to take them as they are. People aren't play things, Annie.”— Jeff
“After we kissed, I waited all summer to see you. You buried me like a shameful secret. What's the matter, Jeff? Afraid crazy Annie would go crazy for you? Well, guess what. Annie's got a gun.”— Annie
“Fact: in 100% of all fake gun related shootings, the victim is always the one with the fake gun.”— Officer Cackowski