14 February, 2013

Review - COMMUNITY 4.02: 'Paranormal Parentage'


Written by the beautiful and talented Megan Ganz, this episode takes us into Pierce's universe, and his mansion of horror, like something right out of Scooby-Doo.

Some time ago, THE BIG BANG THEORY did an episode where one character discovers the college paper of his girlfriend and realizes it is a C- paper, so he fixes it into an A+ paper (more or less). And that's what I am beginning to see with this season of COMMUNITY. Without Dan Harmon, these writers have been delivering a lot of C- episodes, but Dan was the brilliant boyfriend who made them into A+ material.

Sure, this was an improvement over last week's but only in the characters feeling like themselves (unlike last week). Unfortunately, it's just not that funny.

Granted, the scenes with Troy and Shirley were laugh-out-loud hilarious. The funniest being when Shirley realized she was more knowledgeable about sexual deviant behavior than innocent babe-in-the-woods Troy.

There were also a few classic Jeff and Britta moments but only in setting. Execution wise there was something missing. The new EP's attempt to inject more relationship related material into the show just isn't working that well. I don't care about Jeff's dad, though Joel McHale did a fine job trying to sell Jeff's emotions. I also don't care about Pierce's daddy issues (feels old now). It all seems like things Dan Harmon would have spent less time on and more time on making the show funnier. Edgier. Cooler.

The attempts to go geek, like the map of the mansion with each member of the group identified by board player pieces felt like the fan-fiction version of something Harmon would have done better. Even Abed finding a secret observation room didn't work all that well as a classic meta-moment. It was amusing at times but, again, felt mostly like fan-fiction with Abed saying lines someone thought he would say, if that someone wasn't the person who gave that character life.

The appearance of Pierce's half-brother, Gilbert, was welcomed but then felt flat at the end like any plot point in a show like HAPPY ENDINGS (from where these show runners came). I am starting to see a lot of similarities between this season and HAPPY ENDINGS in general actually. I like that show. I sometimes love that show. But I never care about the plot. I usually have to be reminded of whatever happened in each episode after watching them. There is a reason why HAPPY ENDINGS doesn't have a convention. Or crazed fans following their show runner around the country.

It's funny. It's just not epic funny. Or epic. At all.

If I had to rate this episode, and since Dan Harmon is a god, I'd give it:

72 - (50 Harmon boyfriend points) 
= 22 out of 100

If even Megan Ganz can't make this show work like it did a year ago, then we may be in trouble. And yes, this week's score is lower than last week's even though I said I liked it more. That's because last week I should have given the episode a 66 (-50) = 16. I do appreciate that the actors are still trying to give us the characters we know and love. If only the writers were as well. If only the show runners weren't making expensive fan-fiction.

26 comments:

  1. I agree that the Troy and Shirley were funny. Joel McHale at those moments was good too. I forgot the Happy Endings people took over. Definitely see some similarities.

    Also, side note, speaking about Happy Endings. ABC has moved it to Fridays starting in March. So... yeah.

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    1. Happy Birthday Magnus! This is your, what, second or third time turning 26? ;)

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    2. Only my second time turning 26. :)

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    3. The second time is almost as good as the first. I wouldn't know though. Btw, hope you're not too drunk. lol

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    4. My first 26th birthday was the last birthday I celebrated with a girl I was with for 5-years.

      This time, I spent it with my bro, eating, drinking, and playing video games.

      So... much... better.

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    5. That certainly sounds like a good time. I do that everyday with my bro. Minus the drinking. Glad to hear you passed the day well. :)

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  2. That was much better than last week's episode. The characters felt very much like their old selves for the most part, but I agree that it wasn't all that funny. Mind you, this also happened every now and then during the Harmon years, so I didn't feel his absence except for a teeny tiny detail: Abed. I don't think the writers have found their groove with him yet and that's a shame, because Abed is one of my favorite characters. That doesn't mean he was always likable with Harmon, but he understood Abed and he made his headspace accessible to us, while keeping him real. Abed still feels like a character in fanfiction saying "cool, coolcoolcool", where it doesn't belong, but saying it anyway, because that's the character's trademark. I hope this changes soon and I can enjoy his scenes again.

    Jeff and Britta were my least favorite part of the episode, together with Pierce and Esposito, because their daddy issues and Jeff's angst are freaking boring. Psychologist Britta is becoming really annoying, I wish they toned down that aspect of her character.

    Troy and Shirley were the best, particularly Shirley. This is where the new guys might be doing better than Harmon did. I never felt he wrote her character that well, which I've always thought a shame, because Yvette is wonderful. We'll see how it goes, because it's still early days, but I'm cautiously optimistic. I don't think the new Community will reach the heights Harmon was capable of, but I hope it keeps improving.

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    1. When Dan Harmon wasn't funny, he was brilliant.

      These cats are missing the brilliance.

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  3. The episode was okay but something is still missing.

    And happy birthday Magnus! How old are you now?

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  4. 1.1 in 18-48. hmmmmmmm, the beginning of the end perhaps?

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    1. 18-49 and I would say this is the beginning of the end if not for Sony's history of giving things away for practically nothing just to reach syndication numbers.

      I could see 13 episode 5th season on Fridays. Though, it will only happen if Sony and NBC are both desperate.

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  5. Maybe its time to just get over the fact that Harmon was fired and start reviewing this show objectively? It's hardly as if Harmon was a god, it took more than half the first season before he really found his footing and I never found the early episodes of the later seasons (barring Remedial Chaos Theory) being fantastic. I'd say the new showrunners deserve some time to get in to it and you stop punishing the new episodes just because Harmon isn't behind it all. If it were never announced that Harmon had been fired until after this season had aired I don't think anyone would have noticed the difference, not this early at least.

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXGjRkjAXrM

      In season 1 Dan Harmon was in the early stages of having it out with NBC and Sony about who controls the show. If you listen to what he says then you will realise that any issues you had with those run of episodes (which I liked) were not down to him but suits. Once he got control it was lift off baby.....painball! chicken fingers! pens! Halloween! claymation! AWESOMENESS!

      Dan Harmon is a god...plain and simple. I mean the genius that goes in the Law and Order parody was breathtaking as was Remedia Chaos Theory and the Documentary Filming Redux and Pillows and Blankett War....You have no comprehension of just how much Dan Harmon faught day and night to get us this epicness. Just wait 3 or 4 more episodes of mediocrity and then you will understand that these show runners should have just stayed as yes men in their own mediocre world wherever that is or was.

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    2. My Dinner with Andre! Paintball 2! Clip Show from season 2 that was so fucking EPIC! Ugh....whatever.

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    3. 1) I will never get over Macho Grande nor Dan Harmon being fired from the show he created and made great.

      2) I am being objective. The show isn't remotely as good as it was in seasons 2 and 3.

      3) Your attempts to minimize Dan Harmon's brilliance are noted and dismissed.

      4) Dan Harmon IS definitely god.

      5) Only an idiot or a tasteless twat wouldn't have noticed something was wrong if no one had announced Dan wasn't on the show. All you have to do is go through my reviews from season 3 to see that I noted when the show wasn't up to snuff.

      6) I am very objective. I have been trashed in any number of reviews for any number of shows for being too harsh or too fanboyish for the same episode. I don't pick sides. I go with what I think is good. And there is no denying the show was vastly superior (at least so far) with Dan Harmon at the helm.

      5)

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    4. I have no idea how that 5) got in there. I don't remember typing that.

      Granted, I'm drunk.

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    5. 6) You are being objective, you drunken bastard. You are being drunk and objective. Point #5 is correct.

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    6. HAHA I'm not drunk and I just realized that I didn't even notice that extra "5)" at the end that you were referencing in your "drunk" statement hahaha. Whoops. Let me change my earlier comment to say:

      "The FIRST point #5 is correct."

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  6. Yes, yes, yes, annnnd ... yes. Troy and Shirley, yes. Jeff's dad storyline, check. Pierce's dad storyline, check. The only thing I slightly disagree with is that I actually still feel like some of the characters are *teeny* bit off ... but it was much better than last week on that front. I'd probably give this episode like a 55 or 60 even not counting the automatic 50 point deduction rule. And I'd give last week's ep like a 20.

    Watching the show actually makes me depressed at times now, like I used to sing along with the theme song every week cause it's so catchy, but this week, singing with the song actually made me feel sad hahah. It's just a shell of its former self ... sniffle sniffle.

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    1. Yes! You just nailed it! I used to get so happy when I heard the theme song. This week it didn't.

      Sigh. And to think, critics who have seen next week's episode all seem to be in agreement that it is fuckin' awful.

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    2. At least they kept Dan Harmon in the title credits....but maybe that is a ploy to dupe fans to think he is still involved somehow so all is cool.

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    3. Dan Harmon created the show so he has to be in the credits. He owns 10% of it. Meaning he will make tons of money once the show goes into syndication. And that is the ONLY reason I want to see a 5th season. So Dan can make silly tons of money.

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    4. Hahaha so it wasn't just me with the song. Depressing. :-( As is this: "And to think, critics who have seen next week's episode all seem to be in agreement that it is fuckin' awful." Uggh!!

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  7. Totally agree with you, anyone who has been paying attention to the show at all could tell that there is something off, even if they didn't know about the whole Dan Harmon thing. This episode could have been so much better, they could have done some great things with Abed at the video room, or the whole scooby doo theme, but no, they chose Pierce's daddy issues over it and it felt forced. It was a bit better than the first, and yes there is an adaptation phase, but I'm not getting my hopes too high for the rest of the season. We'll see.

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    1. Yeah... fanboys will excuse anything. It's something that only promotes half-assed work. Unearned positivity has never made someone regain talent.

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