Posted by: pop-break | February 15, 2013

Study Group: Community, ‘Paranormal Parentage’

in a special Community review, daniel cohen and logan j. fowler have differing views on last night’s episode…

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Plot: When Pierce (Chevy Chase) locks himself in the panic room of his mansion, the gang heads over to help him out. But as they look for the lock codes, everybody gets the increasing suspicion the house is haunted by Pierce’s late father Cornelius.

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It pains me that in my first Community review, I have to write about the worst episode of the entire series. This is flat, uninteresting, and worst of all, not funny, which is something I never thought I would say about Community.

First of all, the Halloween theme just felt strange. It’s February. And yes, I know this was beyond the control of the writers as they didn’t know a delay was coming. But couldn’t they have edited some kind of Abed line where he makes reference to this? I used to feel strange when the Simpsons did a ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episode a week after Halloween, so this really didn’t jive with me.

But this episode put a bad taste in my mouth from the very opening scene. The dialogue was flat as hell, and the cast didn’t even look like they wanted to be there. Danny Pudi was especially lackluster coming off a strong Abed episode from the previous week. His long running joke of hoping he can find a TV so he can watch re-runs of Cougar Town were really lazy. Yea…Abed likes Cougar Town. Really? We went back to that well.

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Britta also has some misfires as she keeps making reference to the fact that she’s going to psychoanalyze the shit out of Pierce’s daddy issues. Gillian Jacobs tries her best, but the writing just wasn’t there as it usually is with Britta’s bad puns. She spends a lot of time with Jeff (Joel McHale) who was way too Jeff in this episode. It seemed like all his dialogue was about him getting mad at the gang for buying into Pierce’s lies, or that he doesn’t care about his estranged dad. There’s no clever lead in to any of this, it’s the same old tricks.

I’ve been wanting to go to Pierce’s mansion for a long time throughout the series, and for the most part, it was fine. But if the writers were really hitting their Community stride, this could have been so much more. You’re in Pierce’s mansion, and the best you can do is a secret bookcase that Abed finds which leads into a surveillance room…eh. Not only were the gimmicks in the mansion underwhelming, but the haunted house plot played like a boring run of the mill scary movie with lame jump scares. Uh-oh, a shadow that could be a ghost runs by. Ohhhhhhhhh, look at the creepy guys popping out of the wall with no face. This is Community…come on!

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Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Annie (Alison Brie) were complete wastes, and the only time I chuckled were a couple solid lines from Troy (Donald Glover). Also, only one scene for Dean Pelton (Jim Rash)! Don’t do that again.

There’s no getting around it – the first two episodes this season has me worried. But I’m not going to do the gut fan reaction of ‘No more Dan Harmon, now the show sucks!’ The writer of tonight’s episode was Megan Ganz, who wrote such Community classics as ‘Documentary Filmmaking: Redux’ and ‘Cooperative Calligraphy’ when Annie’s pen gets stolen, so maybe this was just a misfire. But the fact I only had one real chuckle is not encouraging for my favorite comedy.

Rating: 4.5 out of 10 (Bad)

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Yesterday was February 14th, but do not adjust your televisions; last night, the Halloween episode aired for Community Season 4, being dubbed “Valloween.” I’m kind of honored to be reviewing this episode, as the holiday themed episodes for the show (most notably Halloween) have always been among the best. The second episode of this season was not the best centering on costumes, ghosts, goblins, Dean drag changes, so forth and so on, but it was an entertaining adventure nonetheless. 



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The episodes invents have Pierce (Chevy Chase) locking himself in his panic room via accident, and the study group have to go break him out. There they encounter haunts in Pierce’s mansion and that’s practically the gist of the episode. The group sports some notable costume, including Troy (Danny Glover) as Hobbes and Abed (Danny Pudi) as Calvin of the comic strip fame, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as Princess Leia, Jeff (Joel McHale) as a boxer with Annie (Allison Brie) was supposed to be his “ring girl” but ended up being the girl from The Ring and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) as…a ham piece? 

My gripes with this episode basically are as follows; I do not like the Britta/Troy coupling. I think it feels forced somewhat and here it’s worse than the first episode of the season. The chemistry feels fake to me. It’s sad that I know Chevy Chase will be leaving the show in due time and yet they still don’t accept Pierce as part of the group even though it’s been like three seasons already. Jeff still is pompous and while he continues to pulls in the jokes his ability to stay stunted in personal growth bothers me, even though towards the end of the episode this seems like it might be alternating. I’d like to continue down that road, more “New Jeff,” if you will. 

I still adore the Troy and Abed bromance, and to his credit, Troy pulled in the biggest laughs of the latest Halloween episode. His reactions/emotions are priceless as they ever will be. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Also a cameo by a member of one of my favorite AMC shows made me squeal with glee. I will not spoil it for you, of course. 

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I was questioned by a friend a few days ago as if I was just really glad to have Community back and that’s why I enjoyed the episode, or I sincerely enjoyed the episode based on its own merits. This past week serves as evidence that I will religiously watch the show no matter what, and Paranormal Parentage, while not standing toe to toe with previous episodes in the Halloween Community canon, still managed to get many chuckles out of me. Despite the flaws that I spoke about, the fourth season seems to be progressing and earning its way back into my heart after such a long delay. 

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Responses

  1. If Dan’s review is the first one, then I agree with him. I thought this episode was really boring and not funny at all. I was really disappointed and kicking myself for not tuning into Big Bang Theory instead. Last week’s was better.

    I’m still hanging on though. Here’s hope the new writers kick it out of the park next week?


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