Community: Paranormal Parentage

"I remember when this was a show about a Community College."

Due to NBC decision to delay Community by several months, all the show's holiday episodes are now airing at the wrong time of year. So we're getting the annual Halloween episode in February, on Valentine's Day of all days. Was this a big deal? Not really. I was far more worried by how boring this episode was.

Community has never lets us down when it comes to its Halloween episodes. Even "Introduction to Statistics", the show's weakest Halloween episode, is worthy of classic status due to Abed's Batman. But even with someone as reliable as Megan Ganz on scripting duties, I'm sorry to report that 'Paranormal Parentage' has finally ended the show's Halloween winning streak.

After tackling zombie films and horror anthologies, this was Community's take on haunted house stories like The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill and various episodes of Scooby Doo. While the character interaction was as strong as ever, the whole haunted house plotline failed to deliver when it came to major laughs. There were some great moments (the discovering of Pierce's S&M room gave Donald Glover some great lines to play with), but they were few and far between. Is this due to Dan Harmon's absence in the writer's room? Or is it simply because the new showrunners are still finding their voice? Seasons of Community usually do take a few episodes to really get going. So if things haven't improved by at least episode five we'll know we're in trouble.

My favourite part of the episode was any scene where Jeff and Britta were bantering. The majority of the quotes section is made of their interactions. I may not ship them as a couple, but I always enjoy seeing Jeff and Britta banter. Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs have great chemistry, but that is true of all the cast (more or less). After her screw up with Abed last week, it was nice to see Britta get in the therapist zone to get Jeff to admit his daddy issues.

Less enjoyable was any scene with Pierce in it. Despite showing a tiniest sign of change in the season three finale, Pierce is as Pierce as ever. In fact he may be worse. He seems to have reverted to season two mode, punishing the group because he feels excluded from their activities. And why bother to bring back Giancarlo Esposito as Gilbert if you are going to give him nothing to do? I know he's on staff now at NBC, and therefore easier to get hold off, but that is no excuse for wasting such a fantastic actor in such a way.

Notes and Quotes

--It appears the Norwegian Troll had a twin. Be afraid, Troy, be very afraid (but for the love of God, don't try and eat it).

--I don't care what I have to do or who I have to kill, I will have this portrait:

--I am slightly disappointed we didn't get to see Andre as Han Solo.

--The Dean's creepiness continues. Now it appears he has hacked Jeff's phone. But, to be fair, he does look fantastic in his costume.

--Britta wins the award for most adorable costume. Glad to see she is still using Halloween as an excuse not to dress up like a slut. Annie gets the runner-up prize for her freaky deaky Ring girl.

--I find it very telling that Jeff chose a costume that required him and Annie to look sexy and wear very little clothing.

Britta: "Help me heal your heart hole!"
Jeff: "Never!"

Britta: "And that's why we leave the couples costumes to the couples, she said wisely."
Jeff: "You should probably warn your boyfriend's boyfriend."

Britta: "Oh man, this is what the zone feels like. Analyse this!"

Troy: "No sweat, Boba Fett."

Britta: "I'll check the night stand."
Jeff: "I'll check... my messages."

Annie: “If this is supposed to be like that part in that movie that’s like this, I would like to remind you that I don’t watch scary movies, and therefore cannot appreciate the homage.”

Troy: "You won’t tell me. Pierce won’t tell me. I have no idea what to Google. I’ll never know!"

Britta: "Oh my god! Pierce is dead!"
Shirley: "Cornelius killed him?!"
Troy: "I broke the remote! Do you think it is expensive?!"

Britta: "Denial is the first step to acceptance."
Jeff: "That can't be right."
Britta: "Says the denyist."
Jeff: "Not a word."

Britta: "Oh my god, Pierce keeps his dad's bow-tie by his bed. Yeesh. Table for Ziggy Freud, party of--"
Jeff: "Britta, stop answering phones."

Two out of four secret dogs.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


Juliette said...

I liked this one a lot - I'm a sucker for haunted house stories, and for Megan Ganz episodes! And for anything that implies Jeff and Annie are practically an unofficial couple already.

sunbunny said...

Not bad. Not great, you know, but not bad. They kept the Abed/Troy couple costume runner, the Britta in something unsexy runner, and the Jeff in something sexy runner. But where was Shirley's unwittingly ambiguous costume? C'mon, guys.

celticmarc said...

Post Harmon, prise deux. I found it rather cute and I smiled a few times. Not as incisive as Harmon-time. Definitely some diluted orange juice. And better than last week's epy.

But I've missed this show so much that I'll keep my fingers crossed until the end of the season.

Juliette, I was thinking about you the whole time as I was watching Suburgatory this past Wednesday !

celticmarc said...

OMG Mark !!!!

You used the SAME pictures of a certain nameless web side's review of the same show !!!!

Nick said...

Just wanted to add that I absolutely adored Abed and Troy's costume. Poor Britta though.

Episode was a little meh, though. :(

Heather1 said...

It is true that seasons of Community can take some time to get going... but I'm worried. I hadn't watched any old episodes for awhile. So, after watching this and the first episode, I went back to some old favourites (even some that weren't favourites). And I found myself laughing out loud, remembering how great the show was. I really think that something may be lost.

Kathy said...

I liked this episode better than the season premiere. At least, there were good character actions that brought the funny back. But, I do agree that this is easily the weakest Halloween episode.

I do think that something feels not quite right about this season, though. I think I'm missing Dan Harmon.

Aine and Erika said...

I usually love it when tv shows go into the characters' tragic backstories. But with this episode of Community, I was actually a little annoyed. I feel like they're putting Jeff's dad back in for better ratings. Oh, well, still love this show, and have high hopes for this season!

ChrisB said...

Great review, Mark. You mentioned all the issues I had with this episode. Certainly not the worst episode of all time, but the worst Halloween.

I didn't laugh out loud at all, but I certainly smiled a few times. I enjoyed Troy and the swing and, like Juliette, I wondered if we are meant to begin seeing Jeff and Annie as a couple.