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Community: They’ve Given us Zombies, People!

Clearly in honor of this here blog coming back from the dead, last night’s Community Halloween episode was all about zombies.

With Ophelia’s permission, I’m going to be doing weekly recaps of Community. [permission granted! ~ed] The reason for this is twofold: I think the show is funny and will be fun to write about, AND not enough people are watching it! If I can get just a few of you to start tuning in, I’ll feel better. (Also, if they don’t get cancelled this season, I’ll know it’s because of me.) Anyway, this recap will have some background info for the newbies, but starting next week it’s just going to be straight recapping (and less linkage). You have six days to add this to your DVR list and get in on the fun.

OK, the premise is that grade-A hottie Joel McHale plays lawyer Jeff Winger, whose fraudulent academic credentials are discovered, who then has to repeat college and law school. He enrolls in a local community college and befriends a loose band of misfits in the form of a study group (a rundown of the characters can be found elsewhere) including Chevy Chase. The show has relied pretty heavily on Jeff’s hotness as a plot point, but the other hallmarks of the humor of Community are meta pop-culture references and over-the-top plots. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to see their commitment to continuity; it’s rare that they waste or drop plot points from previous shows.

Case in point, this week’s Halloween episode. We jump right in to the Greendale Community College’s annual Halloween party. Britta, in a carryover from last season, is wearing a furry full-body costume in protest of women’s slutty Halloween getups, and calls out Jeff on always needing to look hot. Troy and Abed, the show’s true BFF/bromance couple, show up in an adorably nerdy Alien costume. After a couple of cute girls are unimpressed, Troy decides to take Jeff’s advice and switch to a hotter (read: shirtless) costume. Pierce, dressed appropriately as Captain Kirk, starts to feel sick after eating the Army ration food that the Dean served at the party. It becomes clear that the food was a military experiment that’s turning everyone into zombies.

After the lightning-fast setup, the show quickly becomes a parody of zombie movies. A quick rundown of the horror movie tropes:

The study group is slow to understand what’s happening to the people around them
The Dean traps them with infected zombies under quarantine
Jeff comments on the unnecessarily long amount of time until help can arrive
Abed apologizes for being the “we’ve got company” guy
The survivors barricade in the study room, and subsequently discover that members of the group have been bitten
Shirley trips and falls while being chased
Shirley and Prof. Chang pair off for Survivor Sex
Troy, Abed and Jeff end up in a creepy, dark basement
Cat scare! (This actually made me laugh for about 10 minutes, and I kept rewinding it to watch it again and again. So far the individual clip isn’t online, but if you got to the full episode, the fun starts around 13:30)
Shocking death of (main character) Jeff
Troy’s claustrophobia-inducing climb through a tiny window in an attempt to be the “first black guy to make it to the end”
Abed’s sacrifice and Troy’s scream of “no!”
Troy appealing to Zombie Abed’s humanity, only to be bitten
Troy’s hero crawl to the thermostat to save the day

I was relieved that they didn’t go with “it was all a dream” at the end, but rather stuck to their slightly-hyper-reality roots. This episode, like handful of previous over-the-top episodes, didn’t do much to advance any of the characters, but that wasn’t really the point. I wanted a ridiculous Halloween episode, and Community delivered. Frankly, the Office’s Halloween show that came on after was not only disappointing as a whole by comparison, but even the “Guy In Lady Gaga Drag Making a Poker Face Joke” was not nearly as funny.

WATCH COMMUNITY. And come back next Friday for some hot recap action.

Photo credits: communitynbc.com and eonline.com

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