‘Community’ Movie Parody Episodes, Ranked
Dan Harmon’s Community spanned six seasons — and might just get that coveted movie — that were packed and stacked with meta jokes, Ken Jeong and spoofs so pitch-perfect they just might outshine the originals.
While Community parodied everything from TV shows to commercials to even corporate brands…
…let’s focus on the movies and genres that weren’t merely lampooned in passing but were sent up for an entire episode. Because let’s face it: Listing every single parody scene would take as long as it’s taking to get that movie.
‘Critical Film Studies,’ a Parody of ‘My Dinner with Andre’
Spoofing the 1981 dramedy classic, Abed tricks Jeff into having dinner with him for his birthday, then drops a long-winding story about the time he pooped himself on the set of his favorite show, Cougar Town. The parody tale — that supposedly cures Abed of his pop-culture obsession (it doesn't) — has an extra layer to it since actor Danny Pudi did, in fact, have a background appearance in Cougar Town.
‘English as a Second Language,’ a Parody of ‘Good Will Hunting’
This episode lampoons the Matt Damon/Ben Affleck movie about a boy genius janitor who gets discovered by a professor and lured into a world of math and psychoanalysis. The premise is flipped here, with Troy’s plumbing skills being discovered by a Greendale janitor.
‘Basic Rocket Science,’ a parody of ‘Apollo 13’
It’s the one where the study group gets towed away inside a nightmarish KFC space-flight simulator. It’s got everything: Abed channeling Gary Sinise’s character from Apollo 13, Kentucky Fried Chicken jokes and an entire sequence involving “space madness.”
‘Introduction to Statistics,’ a Parody of ‘The Dark Knight’
A lot happens in the show’s first Halloween episode. Pierce unknowingly takes drugs and trips his face off while wearing a Beastmaster costume, Shirley destroys a professor’s car because she’s mad at her husband for cheating on her (those two things are barely related) and Señor Chang gives Jeff terrible advice on how to get laid… which actually works.
Of course, the character who nails the silly holiday where everyone dresses up and gets high on candy is Abed: The nerd of the study group who’s obsessed with filmmaking and role-playing (so, you know, go figure). Abed attends the Halloween party as Batman, specifically from The Dark Knight, and spends most of the episode imitating Christopher Nolan’s dialogue, only making it funnier.
‘Contemporary American Poultry,’ a Parody of Mob Movies (Pick One)
What starts off as Jeff and the gang scheming on skimming Greendale cafeteria’s highly popular chicken fingers soon turns into an elaborate operation that parodies every mafia movie from Goodfellas to Mean Street. It’s not subtle — there’s a short reenactment of the final scene in The Godfather with the kissing hand and the closing door. It would’ve been one of the best episodes the show’s ever done if not for that weird Sixteen Candles ending.
‘Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,’ a Parody of Political Thrillers and Conspiracies Movies
Taking the beats from movies like National Treasure, The Manchurian Candidate and Enemy of the State, this episode features a conspiracy setup so wild that people have made charts just to follow what the heck’s going on here. The show ends with a standoff that gave us all whiplash on the first viewing — in the best possible way.
‘Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps,’ a Parody of Horror Films
Britta proposes that each member of the group tell a horror story for Halloween because she believes that someone among them is a psychopath. This, of course, is all according to some psych tests she didn’t process properly because the show decided to make her a ditzy blonde. Anyway, each character takes on a genre that fits their personality:
- Annie tells a Twilight-like vampire story.
- Troy goes for body horror.
- Britta does a lame Hookman horror.
- Shirley goes full Rapture.
- Pierce makes up a sleazy home-invasion horror.
- Abed tries to fix plot holes in every horror slasher movie ever.
The real question here is which of these stories is the best, and the answer is quite emphatically Shirley’s. Because she’s terrible at it.
‘For A Few Paintballs More,’ a Parody of ‘Star Wars’
Concluding the paintball two-parter that started off with “A Fistful of Paintballs,” the second round saw the show go full Star Wars. It’s got the text scroll opening, Abed as Han Solo, Annie as Princess Leia, Stormtroopers and multiple quotes and reenactments taken from George Lucas’ space opera. We even got Darth Vader in an ice cream cone suit.
‘Epidemiology,’ a Parody of Zombie Movies
Another Halloween episode, another banger of a movie spoof. This time, the show took on a subgenre because you can’t be a spoofing sitcom if you don’t parody modern cinema’s biggest horror moneymaker: zombie flicks. The episode’s clever twist on a zombie outbreak — contaminated military rations (taco meat) Dean Pelton bought at a surplus store — made it fresh, and the dressed-up “zombies” seemed less undead and more like they were all tripping on bath salts (as so many movie zombies do). It should also be pointed out that no zombie flick has ever featured this many ABBA songs.
‘Documentary Filmmaking: Redux,’ a Parody of ‘Hearts of Darkness’
By now, even your four-year-old knows that the filming of Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 war drama, Apocalypse Now, was as chaotic as Coppola’s beard back then. It was so bad that the behind-the-scenes drama was turned into a documentary called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. It’s this documentary that Community copies, as Dean Pelton loses his marbles trying to direct a simple college TV commercial that ends up looking like the set of, well, Apocalypse Now.
‘Modern Warfare,’ a Parody of Action Classics
“Tell the drama club their tears will be real today!” — Jeff Winger.
The first paintball episode set a high standard, with the show spoofing Die Hard, Rambo, Scarface, The Matrix, Terminator, Predator, Battle Royale and almost every other major action movie from the 20th century. It’s one of the best episodes of the series and also the one where Chang starts going absolutely nuts.
‘Pillows and Blankets,’ a Parody of Ken Burns’ War Documentaries
This epic, tightly-written parody involves student shenanigans no college would ever allow, lest they want to be notoriously shut down. “Pillows and Blankets” tells the tale of the time Abed and Troy got into a tiff over how to build the best fort (one was Team Pillows, the other was a Blankie guy). The saga is narrated and composed along the lines of Burns’ iconic documentaries, with the rostrum camera effect deployed throughout the episode, while the classic wartime violin accompanies the dramatic telling (cue Keith David’s voice) “of Greendale's infamous Pillows and Blankets War.”
‘Basic Intergluteal Numismatics,’ a Parody of ‘Zodiac’
One of my personal favorites (along with every paintball episode) is the one involving the “Ass Crack Bandit” — a college perp who assaults Greendale professors and students by unexpectedly dropping a quarter down their butt cracks. While the premise is comical, the episode’s tone plays it super straight, using David Fincher’s film style and plots from Zodiac to spoof crime mysteries. Not only that, but the show also lampoons a whole string of whodunits (Scream, Seven, I Know What You Did Last Summer) for good measure, making this episode a solid parody all around.
‘A Fistful of Paintballs,’ a Parody of Spaghetti Westerns
This exquisite two-part paintball episode starts off with the members of the gang vying for the ultimate prize of becoming paintball champion (and supposedly winning some money) by spoofing Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy and also so many other Westerns. Jeff is dressed like Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven, and Troy looks like Sheriff Bart from Blazing Saddles. The character introductions are great, the score has that Spaghetti Western sass and Shirley as a version of Father Guido Sarducci is incredible. The opening alone is better than most other shows’ entire parody episodes.