Community: Epidemiology

“Troy, make me proud. Be the first black man to make it to the end.”

Darkness falls across the land (which is generally what happens when the sun goes down). The midnight hour is close at hand (goodie, bedtime). Creatures crawl in search of blood (actually more of an disorganised shuffle). To terrorize y'alls neighborhood (or more accurately the school library). And those whoever shall be found (zombies are like tracker dogs, or Mounties), without the soul for getting down (Britta), must stand and face the hounds of hell (well, that's a nice way to talk about the student body), and rot inside a corpse's shell (there are worse ways to spend Halloween). The foulest stench is in the air (that's what happens when you buy food from an army surplus store). The funk of forty thousand years (which sounds a lot like ABBA's greatest hits). And grizzly ghouls from every tomb (we call him Pierce), are closing in to seal your doom. And though you fight to stay alive (and keep your expensive suit clean), your body starts to shiver (which turns out to actually a good thing). For no mere mortal can resist the evil of the Community Halloween Special!

Bwahahahhahhahahah!!!!!

As you might have guessed, it is Halloween at Greendale Community College. So what better time for a zombie episode? Not many sitcoms could get away with doing a zombie episode. In fact, not many sitcoms would ever even consider doing a zombie episode to begin with. And even if they did, I seriously doubt any of them could make a zombie episode as brilliantly as this show. Because not only is Community the type of show that is willing to do a zombie episode, Community is the only show that would do a zombie episode with the Mamma Mia soundtrack. Zombies and ABBA. That alone is worthy of a four. That isn't comedy gold, that is comedy platinum.

Brilliant is a word that gets thrown around a lot. Not literally, because that would be ridiculous (albeit funny to watch). But I think this is one case when the use of the word is entirely justified. 'Epidemiology' is just about everything I love about this show. I say just about because there wasn't any serious Jeff/Annie sparkage, but I'm fine with that.

I love how it deliberately plays with our expectations. Since he is the star and de facto leader of the group, you figure that Jeff will be the one to save the day, but he's Samuel L. Jacksoned early on. Instead it is Troy who saves the day and learns a valuable lesson along the way: if you want to survive a zombie attack don't be Jeff. If you want to pick up hotties at a party, by all means, be like Jeff. But if you want to make it to the end, don't be like the guy who gets attacked by a horde of zombies because he didn't want to risk ruining his $6,000 suit.

To defeat the zombies and save the school, Troy has to learn to be himself. Not the high school jock who dresses up as a Cool sexy Dracula. No, Troy needs to be the geek he truly is. The geek who found his soul mate in Abed. Even zombieness can't keep them apart. Which brings me to another thing I love about this episode. Even when infected, everyone continues to behave as the normally do (Jeff, still cool as a zombie, is constantly texting, Annie studies, Troy and Abed hang out together), only with the odd moment of human flesh eating.

I could sit here all day blabbering on and on about what I love about this episode, but you have lives and I've got stuff, so I'll hand you over to my friend and colleague, the amazing, the wonderful, the talented Miss Josie Kafka!

Josie Says

This is a wonderful episode that--like the paintball episodes--plays with our knowledge of how a particular film genre works, and then adapts it for a sitcom format in a way that isn't disrespectful of the original genre, but isn't just imitation, either. They even threw in the inappropriate and ill-timed sexual escapades that mark any decent action film. Although, of course, the first rule of billiedoux.com is that we don't talk about Chang. Or about Fight Club, but that's okay since it's less relevant here.

Notes and Quotes

-- Dan Harmon paid for the special Halloween opening credits himself because it wasn't in the budget.

-- ABBA are featured throughout the episode: "Waterloo", "SOS", "Dancing Queen", "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", "Mamma Mia" and "Fernando". I'm not a fan, but I do have a soft spot for 'SOS'.

-- I can't decide whose costume I liked the most. I love Tory and Abed's Aliens combo, but I also liked the Dean's Lady Gaga (despite my intense disliking for all things Gaga).

-- The Wilhelm Scream is heard after Troy punches a zombie in a wizard costume.

-- Just what the hell was the deal with that cat?

Troy: “I'm trying something different. Now, I'm a sexy Dracula.”
Abed: “So what you really mean is that you're a vampire.”
Troy: “I don't need to know what kind of Dracula I am to know I'm a Dracula. Nerd.”

Annie (on Pierce): “He's acting like the impression of him we do behind his back.”

Rich: “I thought I might be special.”
Britta: “Special? You're not special! I'm special! I was bitten ten minutes ago and I'm fiiinnnneeee.”

Jeff: “You know, let's not keep going. Because there's an insane cat down here!”
Troy: “But what about the zombies?”
Jeff: “Back burner, Troy! This cat must be dealt with!”

Troy: "I love you."
Abed: "I know."

Four out of four Power Loaders.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

3 comments:

celticmarc said...

Ahhhhh

The one with the zombies.

A major moment of LMAO. And a great ep.

Cool cool cool.

Juliette said...

Just when you thought the ep couldn't get more perfect, you get,

'What is up with that cat?!'

One of the first Community clips my brother showed me when he was trying to get me into the show.

Also, 'I love you,' 'I know.' Awesome.

ChrisB said...

The Dean as Lady Gaga, ABBA and Troy saving the day. What else do you need out of life? Although I am not a huge fan of zombies, this made me laugh -- a lot.