Laszlo sees the shadier side of his friend Shawn, who turns out to be a degenerate gambler who loses his entire savings at the casino. Rather than making the money back in some kind of Ocean’s Twelve heist, which we are vaguely led to believe, the vampires do something unexpected. They steal the scam from a different movie: Let’s Do It Again (1975). To paraphrase The Simpsons’ Abe Simpson talking about a sting he stole from The Sting II: the film stars Bill Cosby, so no one will ever admit seeing it. Without giving too much away, it involves boxing, betting and hypnosis. Also unexpectedly, the idea comes from Guillermo.
The vampires make an almost feeble effort to reach out to Guillermo. As Colin says, companies he works at do it all the time. They treat their employees like family so they are more motivated to ignore their real families. The restaurant scene where the vampires try to feign interest in Guillermo’s interests is short of agonizing. He squirms deliciously under questioning which gets more and more intrusive, inappropriate and embarrassing. His best retort comes after Nadja asks if he has a “chubby” girlfriend he’s hiding somewhere. Guillermo wants to know why she’d have to be chubby.
Vampires need to travel with the dirt of their ancestral lands. Much is made of this as Nadja, Laszlo and Nandor are packing it up, and spreading it out on the beds in their hotels. This tradition, or curse, goes back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, who had boxes of earth dragged in from Transylvania to Whitby Abbey. It cost a fortune then, as procured by the vampire genre’s original familiar Jonathan Harker, and it runs into a small fortune in “The Casino,” as Guillermo is sent on a journey to the four corners of a round world on a quest to claim the dirt of each of master’s birth lands. Adding to the joke is the idea Guillermo could just have taken a ride to the house on Staten Island in a fraction of the time. This is never mentioned, as it would never occur to any of the vampires, which only enhances the inherent absentmindedness of the immortal characters.
The three bloodsucking vampires experience a harrowing close call when they are deprived of their dirt. They lose the powers of transformation and hypnotic influence, leaving poor Nadja to her natural charms, which boil down to baseless threats uttered from various prone positions. It’s almost sad and pathetic, but it seems to work for her. Hopefully this is a one-off problem and she doesn’t come to find being pitiful is one of her superpowers.
Colin only watches the 24-hour advertorial channel which explains the features of the luxury hotel on a constant loop. This is mildly annoying to the vampires around him, and must provide sustenance, but Colin really seems to be enjoying the show. This works when he’s so involved in the in-house mini-program he doesn’t notice his roommates’ native soil being vacuumed away by the cleaning crew. But it makes you wonder if, as Colin approaches his hundredth birthday, he needs to get out more.
The problem with energy vampires, as a comedic concept, is finding new ways to make boring things interesting. And here we see it played out from the innermost being of the character. Colin is interested in boring things. He doesn’t even achieve a level of ennui, the suggestion every improv comic dreads when asking the audience for an emotion to play. On one hand, you might think Colin has achieved a level of Zen which is rare and possibly enviable. On the other hand, Buddha appreciated a good joke. He’s always grinning. Colin is barely able to register a smirk.