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

Introduction To Statistics

Harmonious Claptrap

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.”

Law and Order: Basic Lupine Urology

Basic Lupine Urology

Harmonious Claptrap

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

A Fistful Of Paintballs

Harmonious Claptrap

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

Epidemiology

Harmonious Claptrap

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

Documentary Filmmaking Redux

Harmonious Claptrap

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

Basic Intergluteal Numismatics

Harmonious Claptrap

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.

Ken Burns Docs: Pillows and Blankets

Pillows and Blankets

Harmonious Claptrap

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.

Star Wars: For A Few Paintballs More

Star Wars: For A Few Paintballs More

Harmonious Claptrap

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.

Horror Movies: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps

 Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps

Harmonious Claptrap

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

The First Chang Dynasty

Harmonious Claptrap

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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