'Community' recap: Zombies!
Oct. 31 is fast approaching, and you know what that means -– the obligatory Halloween episode (complete with Halloween credits). Last year, “Community” celebrated the Day of the Dead. This year? It’s the night of the living dead. So grab your giant hamster costume, be sure to try some of the dean’s delicious Halloween Hash and crank up the ABBA. It’s going to be a ghoulish night, with Sulu (George Takei) at the helm.
Over at party central, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) is poker face for Lady Gaga; Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale) are mocking each other’s costumes: Britta’s a little T-Rex (or is that a dragon turtle?) and Jeff’s bending it like Beckham in a $6,000 suit (non-costume No. 2); Annie (Alison Brie) is Little Red Riding Hood; Pierce (Chevy Chase) is Captain Kirk; there’s the tag team of a costume-shifting Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) as a very convincing Alien; and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) … once again leaves everybody guessing. This year, she’s “a beloved character from our childhood” (Miss Piggy? Glinda?). And then there’s Señor Chang (Ken Jeong): Peggy Fleming at the 1968 Winter Olympics? Inspired. Truly inspired. Give the man a gold medal. Oh wait, he's already got one.
Suddenly, Pierce and a whole lot of others aren’t looking so hot. In fact, you could say they’re looking an awful lot like they just stalked out of the video for “Thriller.” Enter Troy and Abed: “Holy crap! Leonard’s a zombie!” Leave it to the Comic-Con nerds to cause a zombie riot -– and is there any better soundtrack for a riot than “Dancing Queen”?
Meanwhile, our Greendalers aren’t having the time of their lives. They’ve barricaded themselves in the study room, safe for the moment from zombies. Or are they? A desperate plan is hatched -– lower the thermostat and the chomp-happy zombies will go back to being normal Greendale students. They make a run for it, saluting a few classic genre plot points along the way, plus a nod to a memorable scene in "The Empire Strikes Back.” Confession time: I'm not a horror fan -- too much of a scaredy-cat. I did catch some of the references, but what did I miss?
In the end, Troy (“Prepare to meet the power of imagination!”) saves the day, the Men in Black show up and monkey with people’s memories (a mass rufie?) and Jeff is still cool, even as a zombie.
In the glut of Halloween episodes I’ve watched in the last week, this one stands out. Zombies, ABBA and Peggy Fleming: How can you go wrong?
Extra credit: There might’ve been a memory wipe, but Troy’s got proof on his cellphone, courtesy of a breathless, bragging Chang: “Shirley and I totally did it.”
-- Alison Dingeldein
Photo: Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and Jeff (Joel McHale) with a Peggy Fleminged Señor Chang (Ken Jeong). Credit: Justin Lubin / NBC