Community: Paranormal Parentage Season 4 Episode 2 Review

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Ah, Halloween.  That special time of year when people dress up in costume and–wait.  Isn’t today Valentine’s Day?  With Community‘s delayed start date some of the holidays got shifted around, but they were still able to produce a decent trick-or-treat.

The episode begins with everyone arriving in the study room in their respective costumes.  I love that each costume brilliantly reflects the character who’s wearing it.  Jeff dresses as a wrestler so he can show off his abs.  Britta, once again going against the female sexy costume stereotype, dresses as a ham.  Shirley dresses as princess Leia because it was part of a group costume with her family.  Annie was supposed to be Jeff’s ring girl but, misunderstanding his texts, dresses as the girl from The Ring.  And of course, besties Abed and Troy dress as Calvin and Hobbes.  Perfect.

The plot of tonight’s spooky shenanigans centered around the gang heading over to Pierce’s mansion.  It turns out the old guy locked himself in his panic room by accident and forgot the key code.  The gang pairs off to find the code, a la a classic Scooby Doo episode, and each encounters their own Halloween scares.  It seems Pierce locked himself in because he’s been seeing the ghost of his dead father.  At first no one believes him, but after seeing classic horror movie tropes like hands coming out of the wall and a doorknob that twists by itself, they all run for cover.

The plot in this episode was very engaging.  It’s always great whenever the gang is separated off so they can deal with their individual issues.  New revelations were uncovered such as Jeff having tracked down his estranged father’s cell phone number, and Troy worrying he might be too inexperienced for Britta.  It was all very entertaining, but unfortunately not as funny as I would have hoped.  There were some good jokes–especially one involving an “indoor swing” Shirley and Troy come upon–but too many of them fell flat.  Community still has the same feel as it did before it switched showrunners, but its humor doesn’t seem to be as sharp.

Still, the character development made it worth while.  It turns out Pierce was playing a prank on everyone.  The gang also discoveres that his half-brother Gilbert (Hi Giancarlo Esposito! …God, I miss Breaking Bad) had been secretly living in the house and taking care of things.  The episode ends with everything wrapped in a nice little bow.  Pierce invites Gilbert to live with him.  Britta gives Troy the implication that she doesn’t mind going slow.  Abed gets to watch the Cougar Town “Hallo-wine” episode.  But wait! What’s this?  In an ending shot, we see Jeff sitting alone, dialing his father’s number into his phone.  Then he hits send.

A major plot point in Community is Jeff’s lack of a relationship with his father and how it’s shaped him into the man he is today.  With this cliffhanger ending, I was left with excitement as to what exactly will happen next.  Will there be a teary reunion? Not likely.  But hopefully Community will return next week with an episode full of great ideas and fresh humor.  Until then, happy “Valloween” everyone!  Grade: B

By Mike Papirmeister

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