Let’s just get this out of the way straight away, Dear Reader. Yes, it felt a little weird to see a Halloween episode of Community air on Valentine’s Day. Of course, this is due to the well-documented delays of Season 4, so I’m not going to get into that much, just enough to say that this is what’s happened, but we still ahve our beloved Community, so let’s just smile, and hope that they don’t delay it again. Good.
So here we have Paranormal Parentage, the second episode of Season 4, and another Halloween episode for the show. Halloween episodes have been there in every single season (after Introduction to Statistics in Season 1, Epidemiology in Season 2, and Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps in Season 3), and they’re a tradition that Community fans love, so in a post Dan Harmon era, it would have been a tall order to throw this together. So how did they do? We’ll get to that, be patient.
The study group plans to go (without Pierce) to a cool Halloween party. They’re dressed up, ready to go, and of course the Dean even has a costume ready, as you can see in the pic above, but he always has a costume ready, so no surprises there. The plans are forgotten, however, when they receive a call from Pierce who has locked himself in his panic room in his mansion, and the group has to go get him out. Hijinks ensue.
As we’ve come to expect from Halloween episodes of Community, the costumes were terrific, and kept in line with tradition. Jeff wore something to make him look hot, Britta wore something silly, Troy and Abed continued their boyish ways (Calvin and Hobbes!), and Shirley as Princess Leia was, well, pretty cool. The standout costume for me was Annie as the girl from The Ring (although, since Jeff was dressed, as a boxer, he intended for Annie to come dressed as his “ring” girl). The costume was very accurate, and someehow still quite sexy.
The episode played as an homage to Scooby-Doo, and for the most part, it worked. The paranormal stuff was handled really well, and the Scooby-Doo style explanations for them were clever. Even the fake-out over who was responsible for everything was very good. What I didn’t like entirely, though, were the ways that the characters reacted to what was going on around them. I understand that this is a Scooby-Doo homage, and the characters were acting the way they would act if they were on that show, but they’re not. They’re on Community. Even in their zombie episode, the brilliant Epidemiology, the characters still remained grounded, despite the insanity surrounding them. I feel Paranormal Parentage missed the mark with that. There was too much over the top screaming, and a scene where Troy had something coming out of a wall behind him, and misinterpreting what Annie and Shirley were telling him, was completely mishandled.
At least we got a little bit of material to satisfy our Valentine’s Day needs. The relationship between Troy and Britta is slowly developing, and there was a lot of talk about that here. They are overplaying Troy’s child-like manner a little bit, I think, but it did give us some funny looks into what sex for Troy and Britta would be like, with Britta’s past exploration and Troy’s innocence. And it looks like we may finally be seeing Jeff’s father on the show! So the future is looking rather bright for the show, I just hope they know what they’re doing.
All in all, a decent episode, but one that I feel could have been much better with a bit more careful handling. It looks like the new showrunners are still finding their feet, so let’s hope they get there.
3 out of 5