On Tuesday May 24 the Other Worlds Austin Staff meeting was interrupted by an unknown force that possessed OWA Director of Operations, Courtney Hazlett. After all the shaking and slobbering, Courtney jumped on top of the conference room table and paced around staring down each team member. She moved like she was a marionette with its strings tangled and spoke in mumblecore. Luckily, Jordan Brown had her Duplass Mumble What? Translator App on her phone.
Courtney came to and the team huddled around Jordan's phone as the app filtered out all of the bullshit. They gasped in unison as the results flashed on the screen. HUMANITY ENDS ON JUNE 23rd 2016.
But who sent the message and how are they planning to end humanity?
Worry not our fellow humans, the Other Worlds Austin team is on the case and we have already captured the usual suspects. Cthulhu, an out of control AI, and many others are currently being interrogated. We will post the interrogation logs to our blog in the hope that you can help us figure out who plans on ending humanity on the same night as the Other Worlds Austin 9 pm screening of PRISONER X at Flix Brewhouse (see the trailer and buy tickets here).
Case: 06232016 Humanity's End
Suspect Number 5: Abed Nadir
OWA Interrogator: Film Colossus co-founder, Chris Lambert
Interrogation Setting: Greendale Community College
Chris has arrived on the Greendale Community College campus. People throw a football. An old man, wearing a backpack, pulls a banana from a trash can, peels it, and eats it. Chris has no idea where he’ll find Abed, and the delicacy of the interrogation means he can’t afford to ask around or else word might reach Abed. If Abed flees, humanity may have no way of figuring out who is on the brink of destroying the world. That’s when Chris feels three taps on his shoulder. When he turns, Chris comes face to face with Abed. “I hear,” Abed says, leaning close, “you’re looking for me.”
CL: Do you know who sent the message on Tuesday, May 24th, saying “Humanity ends on June 23rd, 2016?”
Abed: You shouldn’t be doing this, not here. You’re breaking from the formula. Every previous interview had been in the Other Worlds Austin interrogation room and with something clearly SciFi related. There’s an established order and you’ve broken it.
CL: Does it look like I give a damn?! Humanity may be coming to an end, and you’re telling me about formula.
Abed: But without rules, without structure, without familiar tropes and elements, what do we have? There’d be chaos. We couldn’t rely on anyone or anything. You came to me because you know I filter everything through a meta-context. That’s my defining character trait. And the meta-character always has some sort of clue that helps the main characters solve the mystery. That’s a formula you relied upon. What would have happened if you had shown up and I had been the lovable fool? Or the sarcastic unbeliever? Or the old, comedic lunatic? Or anyone other than myself? What would you have done then?
CL: I’d definitely have picked a different character to interrogate. Like the Predator from PREDATOR. Or Neo from THE MATRIX.
Abed: Don’t you see. They’re formulas as well. You’d be relying on them being them. You can’t escape the formula. Every person is a formula. Every life is a formula. Every world is a formula. If you break the formula then nothing is recognizable. Not you. Not me. Not your home, your city. Your family, friends.
CL: But isn’t change what makes life exciting? Sure, it can be scary. But if the formula never changed then everything would be the same, all the time, for forever. We’d never have anything new. We’d never make new friends. There’d be no surprise. Everything would become so familiar that it would lose any and all appeal. Life would become... hollow.
Abed: Or would it become perfect? Why do things have to change? Why do people have to change? Why do they have to leave? They don’t have to leave, but they do. [Abed tilts his head. He stares at the ground. Then he levels his head, blinks multiple times.] It’s awful.
CL: You miss Troy.
Abed: He was my best friend. [Abed’s hands go into motion. One darts ahead of him, smacking the air twice, as though he were playing patty cake. The other hand beats on his chest, twice. He smiles, then frowns, and his hands fall to his sides.]
CL: Have you ever read Slaughterhouse-Five?
Abed: We never had an episode that mentioned Kurt Vonnegut, so no.
CL: Well there’s a passage about time. It has to do with the Tralfmadorians, an alien race that picks up the main character, Billy Pilgrim. Billy tells the reader about how the Tralfmadorians see time. There’s no past, present, or future. They’re all the same thing. Every moment in time exists at the same time. So while Troy isn’t here with us in this moment, you’re with him in another moment. Part of you always exists in that moment, with Troy. Just as part of you always exists in this moment, with me. This means we’re never truly alive or dead. We just are in the time that we are. I’ve always thought that was really—
Together: Beautiful. [Their hands go into motion. Each right hand darts ahead, spanning the distance between them, smacking together, once, twice. At the same time, their left hands beat on their chests.]
Abed: Is this where you kill me?
CL: Why would I kill you?
Abed: Well, you didn’t rule out that I’m a suspect. And the other interrogations all ended with the OWA people killing the suspects. I do have an evil version. Even though that evil version reformed, evil versions are always prone to making a comeback. They did make a FIGHT CLUB 2.
CL: Oh god, let’s not talk about that.
Abed: Before you kill me, can you do me one favor?
CL: What’s that?
Abed: Are Danny Pudi and Donald Glover friends in real life?
CL: They’re best friends. They hang out all the time. And, guess what? They even do the handshake.
Abed: [Tears run down Abed’s cheeks. He smiles, closing his eyes]. Okay, I’m ready.
After a few seconds, Abed hears a familiar voice say, “You guys aren’t going to believe this, but the rest of the group… is here...” Abed’s in Greendale’s library. Study room F. Sitting at the table, a pencil in his hand. Across from him are two women, one younger, one in her thirties. To his right, a rich, intense looking older man says, “Are you the board certified tutor?” The voice is familiar. The entire sequence is like deja vu. “That means you do my homework, right Seacrest?” asks a young guy, around Abed’s age, wearing a letterman’s jacket. And then it clicks, and Abed smiles.
Back at OWA headquarters, there’s a crackle, a sizzle, a blue light that rends space and time. Out of this light steps Chris Lambert. Jordan Brown and Bears Fonte are waiting.
CL: It wasn’t him.
JB: And did you…
CL: No. I couldn’t.
JB: I’m actually okay with that. I love COMMUNITY.
BF: Is it that good? I hear it’s really formulaic?
CL: You know... that’s not always a bad thing.