"Community" Halloween episodes may be the best thing about the holiday. While it seems impossible that the show could top last year's zombie episode, Dan Harmon's done it again. With all the referential spookiness you could want, this year's Halloween "Community" not only excavates all the stereotypes of the season, but also serves to show us why we love each of these characters, and what it is specifically about each of them that makes them necessary for this comedic formula to work out. The recap:
According to the anonymous psych tests Britta administered a while back, someone in the "Community" group has HOMICIDAL TENDENCIES. To figure it out, everyone sits down and tells their best scary story.
"Trick-or-Dean! I had the lights rigged to flicker because it's Halloween," says Dean in drag.
Britta starts things off with her story. Britta and Jeff are making out in a car when a hook-handed monster kills her. Even the radio talks the way Britta does.
Abed doesn't care about the characters and thinks they "lack common sense and basic survival instinct."
Abed's tale: A log cabin where Britta is turned on by his logic. "I'm comforted by your shiny hair facial symmetry," he tells her, before noting that he has just brushed his teeth and thus it is an optimal time to kiss.
They turn on the radio which plays 80s elevator music. Abed hums the entire song.
Rather than check out the possibility of a murderer on the loose, the two stand back to back holding knives, waiting. Waiting.
Harmon uses Abed's ultra-logical brain and rapid speaking style to pick apart the nonsensical aspects of the horror plot. It works.
Annie's got a scarier story. It's basically “Twilight” done as historical romance, with Jeff as the tortured vampire who wants to be bad.
"Be gone innocent one!" says Jeff. He pulls vampire Britta (a "drained and tainted bitch dog") from the closet to drain her. But wait -- "Teach me to read!" he says. Annie does. Jeff-Vampire quotes "King Lear."
But Jeff is overcome by bloodlust.
"Resist your craving! Pick up a good book and read!" Annie cries out. Then she turns into a werewolf and attacks.
Back in the study room, Annie describes the evisceration, with her destroying Jeff "like a gerbil shredding a Quaker Oats box," preserving his optic nerve so he can see his partially digested flesh in her stomach. That's our Annie: Disturbingly gory, preciously romantic.
"Why does Annie get to be good at everything!" Troy says. His turn.
Abed and Troy are captured by evil scientist Troy which gives them ESP and mind powers. They smack him with a pan then cut a ham sandwich and float the halves over to their mouths.
Now, Pierce will go under the knife. When he wakes, his butt is sewn to his chest, giving him boobs he can touch all day. But ... his hands have been reversed with his feet!
"No! No! No! Nooooooooo!" he says. We're treated to Troy acting out the feet-hands, before Pierce cuts in.
In a tricked out 70s cabin, Pierce as Magnum drinks expensive post-coital brandy when Troy and Abed come in for a home invasion. Magnum beats em up! Then he pulls down his zipper and what's inside punches out Abed.
"I'm ready for my birthday spanking," says Pierce to his harem.
"That wasn't even a ghost story. That was like an episode of some show we're too young to have heard of," says Troy.
If Troy makes us go, "Awww," Pierce makes us go, "Huh?" and "Ugh!"
Shirley hates the violence. She wants one about good and evil.
In a grungy room, all the kids drink beer and then pour a bottle of marijuana on their faces, squirming. Outside, swarms of locusts and frogs descend. "It's like New York out there," says Britta.
All the good people have been raptured up to heaven. So the Devil, aka the Dean, enters dressed in more drag. There's pilates in hell! Pilates, a demon that eats your genitals.
Shirley-angel ("our friend we used to pick on for being Christian") comes in and stops the mayhem. She can't save them, though, she just wanted to say goodbye on her way to Abraham's bosom. Re-enter Dean with chainsaw screaming, "Gay marriiiaage!"
The party disbands when Britta forces them to stay so they can figure out who the homicidal maniac is. Britta's turn: All of the "Community" gang are murdered one by one by a masked figure (Britta is reading "Warren Pece" at the time).
The gang turns on her, taking up their weapons -- Shirley has a broken bottle of glass, Troy has pencil hands, Annie has a knife, Pierce has a fire extinguisher.
Jeff decides to get things under control by telling his own story. It's Christmas and everything is nice when a murderer bursts in -- But it's only Chang, who kills because he's sad and afraid. Everyone hugs.
"Why are you always so determined to relax and have us put down our weapons!" says Troy.
The psych tests come back after Britta re-runs them (she put them in backwards the first time). They're all insane, except for one.
"If one of us isn't crazy, we should probably know who they are," says Troy.
"Or we could hold onto the comforting notion that one of us might be sane," says Shirley.
Could be an epitaph for this show.