Twist endings can be a lot of fun when done well, but as more and more movies and shows try to shock their audiences out of complacency with a well-timed "Aha!" moment, good twists become harder to come by. People start to expect the surprise, and nothing kills a reveal faster than a prepared observer; after all, there are only so many tricks a story can pull and still be consistent.
The end of 'Conspiracy Theories and Soft Defenses' worked because it never really wanted to catch us off guard. The climax, a series of increasingly ludicrous fake-outs, got laughs because it was ridiculous, and, by the end, managed to mock the idea of of the twist-ending without completely denying its charms. Once again, 'Community' walked the fine line between self-conscious parody and realistic characters, and once again, it nailed the balance perfectly. After an intermittently bumpy start, the show is on the kind of sophomore season run that guarantees its spot in all kinds of year-end top 10 lists.
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