Zombies and ABBA and Dragon-Turtles, Oh My!

When Community is at its best it is almost a magical experience and Epidemiology from Episode 6 Season 2 is utterly enchanting. The episode is able to blend humor with horror at the same time advancing character development all in the span of 22 minutes. Epidemiology is one of my favorite Halloween specials and here’s why:

Costumes: In most other series’ Halloween episodes, writers throw characters into crazy Halloween costumes for an easy laugh. The Fresh Prince’s Carlton dressing as Macaulay Culkin and Kevin from The Office dressing as Michael Moore come to mind. While hilarious, it makes me wonder why the characters chose those specific costumes. Community never has me questioning its characters costume choices. Of course Jeff chose to be “accidentally handsome” as David Beckham. If the situation arose where he didn’t want to be dressed up anymore, he would simply toss away his soccer ball and strut around in his $6,000 suit. Britta tries to be fierce and unsexy as a T-Rex, but instead is darling and helpless, looking more like a “Dragon Turtle”. Is she really that disappointed that she must rely on Jeff to feed her because her mighty claws are too short to reach her mouth? Annie (as usual) treads a fine line between naughty and innocent as Little Red Riding Hood. Shirley’s Glenda the Good Witch costume is again “unwittingly ambiguous” just as her good intentions often are. Troy and Abed start off as Ripley and The Alien but Troy changes into “a sexy Dracula” which brings their friendship into question and is the set up for a solid Troy character arc, but more on that later. My favorite costume of the episode goes to Chang dressed as Peggy Fleming who gleefully corrects assumptions that he is Kristi Yamaguchi or Michelle Kwan by proclaiming “you have just been proven racist by the racist prover.” Continue reading

Email Roundtable #4 – Candy Corn Edition

Kerri: There are a couple of Halloween episodes of television shows that made a pretty big impression on me when I was a kid.

Katie: A Halloween themed episode is almost certain to tickle my delight bone.

Jane: Up there on my list is the Community Halloween special where everybody is turned into Zombies. Although zombies aren’t my thing, I will watch a zombie apocalypse scored by ABBA songs any day!

Kerri: That Community episode is stellar, Jane, one of the more creative Halloween episodes I have seen in recent years

One of mine is the pretty much universally hated Halloween episode of My So-Called Life where Claire Danes meets a hot boy ghost! It was basically the exact opposite of the rest of the series, which, generally, is incredibly realistic. But I enjoyed it as a kid because I loved ghost stories and I also loved that the little sister, Danielle, dresses up as her older sister, Angela, for Halloween. That is something I remember doing myself, not for Halloween mind you…

Although, I think that what I like most about that episode is what I like about most Halloween episodes: Characters that you know well are allowed to act like completely different people. In fact, that’s what I like about Halloween the day too!

And obviously the “Treehouse of Horror” Simpsons episodes are also a childhood favourite. There is an awful lot you can do in an animated series that you can’t really do in a live action show. Basically, the rest of the series is forgotten for these episodes and the Simpson family and other folks in Springfield just play the parts of classic horror characters. My favourite: “The Shinning”.

Katie: The best Halloween episode, in my opinion, is from Season 2 of The Office (US). Michael was supposed to fire an employee by the end of the month but he left it until Halloween day. Then over the course of the episode he fires 3 or 4 unsuccessfully and 1 successfully.

Throughout the episode, Michael is such a dick but it’s only because he cares about everyone so much. He doesn’t want to fire anyone. The moment at the end of the episode when Michael is alone in his house, handing out candy to trick-or-treats is devastating. Continue reading