Episode 2 - Paranormal Parentage
17 February 2013
I thought this was a lot of fun. Once more you could see the far more direct and straight forward approach of the writers at work. Each character had an issue to deal with and by episodes end they were all concluded pleasantly.
The opening scene set the tone nicely. I really smiled at the dialogue as Shirley describes her family's Star Wars costumes and everyone saws "Aww" except for Abed and who concludes that "You don't have enough children." I thought that was brilliant, a believable response from someone whose only concern was that the Star Wars play time should be thorough. Similarly Troy says that he and Britta do "things" before realising that the word has a sexual connotation and trying to clarify the statement, failing and then simply repeating "things!" hoping no one can now follow what he was saying. Finally Jeff refuses to bow to the whims of Pierce's neediness before the Dean shows up dressed in a matching costume (with Jeff) and suddenly he has an excuse to avoid the Halloween party and go to Pierce's mansion.
I recounted that scene because it seemed to do what I begged Community to do for so long. Stick to a structure that makes sense and small character beats which we could follow instead of chasing references down a rabbit hole until nothing is left but nonsense. The rest of the episode followed that tenet too. The haunted house made reference to a number of horror films while keeping the character dynamics solid. I smiled at Jeff describing Pierce's father as older than "most bridges", or Pierce not sure if his fantasy woman should be a doctor or Troy seeing Pierce's sex dungeon and concluding that all the collars must be for "secret dogs!" Abed finding a set of TVs so that he could watch all the action seemed dead on and to actually see Jeff close to meeting his father suggests that we may actually get some closure on these characters.
The conclusion where Giancarlo Esposito returned to hug Pierce felt like a classic sit com ending. The ghostly apparition has an explanation and everyone can go home richer for the experience. I could get used to the new Community.
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