15 Times 'Community' Paid Homage To Other Shows & Movies
Community's biggest selling point is its commitment to referencing other popular media as often as possible. Never before had a sitcom paid homage to other shows and movies so regularly and effectively. Here are 15 examples of Community's parody episodes that Weird Al would be jealous of.
The Dark Knight: Introduction To Statistics
One of the earliest references comes in the form of Abed taking on the mantle of Batman from The Dark Night in the very first Halloween episode, “Introduction to Statistics.” Abed’s voice-over monologue to wrap up the episode is the perfect bow on the gift that is this early episode. “I don't sleep. I don’t blink. Am I a bird? No, I’m a bat. I am Batman. Or am I? Yes, I am Batman.”
Related: The Dark Knight For $20 (VIDEO)
Law and Order: Basic Lupine Urology
When the study group’s yam is murdered by an unknown assailant, the gang must slide into a Law & Order style investigation to bring the murderer to justice. Shirley, Troy, and Abed steal the episode as a police chief and her wise-cracking detectives. Not to mention that adding Michael Kenneth Williams to the episode shot the realism into the next universe.
Spaghetti Westerns: A Fistful Of Paintballs
In what is without a doubt the best paintball two-part episode, the first half follows the cinematography, editing and costuming of a classic Spaghetti Western, like A Fistful Of Dollars as the name implies. The episode completely revamped and improved the paintball idea despite having to live up to its already fantastic predecessor from the season before.
Zombie Movies: Epidemiology
Due to some bad “taco meat” from the army surplus store, all the attendants at the Greendale Halloween party are tragically turned into zombies. This episode had it all; Cool zombie Jeff, the conception of Shirly and Chang’s possible love child, and Troy as a sexy Dracula. If only curing real zombies was as easy as turning the temperature down.
Hearts of Darkness: Documentary Filmmaking Redux
Abed and Luis Guzmán spell it out pretty clearly in the episode both saying, “Ever seen Hearts of Darkness? Way better than Apocalypse Now." Just like the documentary created by Eleanor Coppola which documented her husband’s descent into madness trying to complete Apocalypse Now, Abed follows Dean Pelton as he attempts to make the greatest commercial possible for the one and only Luis Guzmán.
Zodiac: Basic Intergluteal Numismatics
The ass crack bandit was a menace hiding in Greendale’s shadows. Coining people’s cracks to the dulcet tones of Shirley’s sons singing “Creep” by Radiohead. In this super green color-corrected episode of Community, Annie and Jeff work together to bring the Ass Crack Bandit to justice with beats similar to Zodiac and slasher films. The episode leaves it up to the audience to realize who the true Ass Crack Bandit is, even if that means it’s multiple people.
Mafia Movies: Contemporary American Poultry
My favorite episode of the first season has to be “Contemporary American Poultry,” when Abed turns a fry cook job into becoming the king of a school-wide illegal chicken tender trade. This homage to Goodfellas and movies like it introduces Abed’s skill of replicating films and is the first appearance of Annie’s Boobs the monkey.
Ken Burns Docs: Pillows and Blankets
This was the very first episode of Community I ever saw when my high school English teacher watched it the night before and determined it was necessary to share with the class. I haven’t looked back since. “Pillows and Blankets” shows how perfect a Community homage can be with its set design and touching story about friendship. This parody is complete with a Keith David voice-over, who joins the cast later in season 6.
G.I. Joe: G.I. Jeff
“G.I. Jeff” was an entirely animated episode in the sixth season as a direct parody of G.I. Joe, initially lampooning the fact that no one is ever killed on the original show. The show gets even more complicated when it turns out the cartoon is just an alternate universe barricaded by another alternate universe of just toy commercials. Thankfully Jeff wakes up before we have to dissect it any further.
Conspiracy Movies: Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design
“Conspiracy Theories And Interior Design” sees Jeff and Annie uncover a massive conspiracy theory surrounding one Professor Professorson. This episode is also home to the scene where everybody shoots each other at the end to prove the dangers of disloyalty.
Star Wars: For A Few Paintballs More
Abed: “It seems we’ve left the western motif and are entering more of a Star Wars area.”
This follow-up to “A Fistful Of Paintballs” lets us see Abed as Han Solo and stormtroopers invade the school, not to mention the dean of City College dons his amazing Darth Vader ice cream helmet.
Glee: Regional Holiday Music
Dean Pelton: “Greendale is an all-inclusive school. Why don’t we let Britta sing her awkward song?”
This parody of Glee was Community’s token musical episode (every sitcom’s gotta have one). The best thing about this episode was that it was like watching Glee without having to actually watch Glee.
Christmas Movies: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas
Community paid homage to the old Rankin/Bass films like Rudolph: The Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Year Without A Santa Clause in “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.” The episode dove into the inner machinations of Abed’s mind, and also pulled inspiration from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory with its death outro songs.
Horror Movies: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps
Dan Harmon explored the clichés of horror movies by having each character in the group create their own spooky story, complete with cutaways. Their rankings in order from best to worst are: 1. Shirley, 2. Troy, 3. Pierce, 4. Annie, 5. Abed, 6. Britta. Jeff’s doesn’t count because it’s a resolution to the episode, no further questions, thank you.
Oceans 11: The First Chang Dynasty
Pierce: “Oceans 11, baby!”
The study group pulls the ultimate heist to dethrone supreme leader Chang at his “Birthday Changstravaganza.” They have to improvise near the end when they wanted their real plan to look like it failed but it really worked but their real plan really failed.
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Top Image: Harmonious Claptrap