Halloween is not a holiday celebrated in my country. I’ve never gone trick or treating, or decorate my house with spooky things and, only at the occasional birthday party, have I ever been to a costume soirée. However, I have always found Halloween special to be the least stupid of them all. All the quirks that the occasion allows, lets for writers to run their characters through goofy scenarios that almost always succeed. Besides, the possibility of having a character’s personality translate into a costume is all the better.
Community is one show that has always had great creativity when it comes to this particular kind of episode, and has never been afraid to think outside the box for that matter. We’ve had Día de los Muertos, Zombie Apocalypse, Psycho Hunt and now Pierce’s Haunted Mansion. All of the episodes have had their highs and lows, and the zombie one even has become one of my favourite holiday episodes ever. Nevertheless, I found last year’s “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps” to be underwhelming if anything (it might just be my taste, since I believe everyone else loves it), and the same thing happened this year. Still, “Paranormal Parentage” wasn’t all that bad and I even enjoyed the most part of it. So, what was good and what was bad?
First off, the one thing I loved the most was that it felt like good old Community. Last week there was a distinct different feeling on the show, and it made me fear for what might happen to it. This week, though, I let out a big sigh of relief. The episode was Community, just not the best one. At least it had the comedy. I did laugh quite a few times, but it wasn’t witty enough.
Another good thing: The dialogue. Every character had great lines and with them great jokes. Even the thing I hated the most from last week, which was the way the Troy and Britta relationship seemed to be, last night made me root for them again. In that sense, I really liked the Valloween Special.
So, which were the bad bits? I think the episode fell flat halfway through. The beginning was pretty good, with lots of comedic moments and a good set up. We had brilliant costumes, creepy deans and Troy and Britta. Then, they arrived at the mansion and I quite frankly got bored. It was obvious that it was all Pierce’s prank the whole time, so I wasn’t interested in the story; there were some good jokes, but nothing too funny, and then the ending was dull.
The whole Pierce is faking stuff for us to appreciate him bit seemed like a bad déjà vu. We have already been through this on “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking”, besides the whole season 2 was about Pierce being that way. I know old dogs never change, but give us a break and find something else for Pierce to do than just be the bad guy within the group. I thought he would be a part of it by now, but it seems like they just don’t know what to do with him. Perhaps it’s good that Chevy left the show, then.
Also, the ending of the story seemed like an easy exit. Pierce’s brother being the weird spirit, I don’t know. I just didn’t care for it. They needed something goofier and more referential to give it the Community twist we usually love.
Still, one thing I found great about the episode was the handling of the characters. Britta and Tory’s relationship seems to be going to a good place that will lead Britta to be a less Brittad person, and Troy to become more of the adult he aspires to be. Shirley was just spot on funny. Jeff’s dad story is promising and was perhaps the narrative highlight of the whole thing. Annie has always seemed to be growing and turning into a more confident person with every episode (which I’m pretty sure has a great deal to do with how awesome an actress Alison Brie is). Finally, we’ve got Abed who to me seems like perhaps the most left behind. I’m not sure if has anything to do with Harmon leaving, maybe I’m just adding things up that don’t match, but it feels like the writers don’t know what to do with him this season. Last week it was insufferable to watch how the inside of his head is supposed to work and this week he was just flat. Hopefully they’ll find their ground with him soon cause the best character on TV needs to be the best written of them all.
So, all in all, what can I conclude from watching “Paranormal Parentage”? The show is coming back slow, but it’s getting there. Unlike what I assumed after last week, and what everyone is saying, it is still Community and is still great, it just has had trouble taking off. It’s understandable too, for a show to struggle when it goes through a showrunner change. I’m pretty sure it will consistently improve back to its awesomeness levels and we’ll be loving it even more by then. The only fear I still hold is the ratings. It looks like a lot of people gave up after last week’s nightmare, and so I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to encourage everyone to tell their friends who watch the show, how different this episode was from last week. That way, perhaps those who gave up, will give it another shot and we might get the opportunity to fight for a new season come the summer. Will you do it? Let me know in the comment section.
Luis Ruiz – @Not_reallyLuis