Community Review: The Mother of All Parodies

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Now this feels more like Community of yesteryear. Or, rather, last year.

Much like the stellar D&D episode, they can't really go wrong when they stick the dysfunctional seven in a room together and just let the cameras roll. Amping it up a notch with another parody only makes it that much stronger.

Paradigms of Human Memory Scene

To date, Community has parodied films, theme episodes and even claymation holiday classics. It only makes sense that Community would parody one of the age-old classic sitcom staples: the flashback episode. But they didn't stop there. They used that device as a means to make the mother of all parodies: the self-parody.

Even though I've felt like it has missed the mark a lot in its second season, what really keeps me tuning in week after week is the impeccable use of meta. With this episode, though, they piled the meta references onto a large, hydraulic pedestal, shone a huge LED spotlight on them before loading them into a giant circus cannon and shooting them directly through the television screen into the faces of all its roughly four million viewers.

And in case you don't understand what "meta" means, Jeff Winger provided the best description of it I've heard yet when telling Abed to "stop taking everything we do and shoving it up its own ass."

The Study Group Group (hey if Cougar Town can have the Cul-De-Sac Crew…) is always finding themselves in an endless cycle of combative situations where they fight and make up, often culminating in Jeff having to make some grandiose speech pulling the group back together. To parody that in a series of mega-meta "flashbacks" made this episode one of Community's most inventive.

Particularly so when you factor in the mocking use of musical montages, which proved you can make even exchanging money in front of a vending machine look sentimental enough if you set it to a Sarah MacLachlan-type lullaby.

A tongue-in-cheek lament of the failed NBC series The Cape didn't hurt either.

The return of Annie's Boobs, the harkening back to the bottle, Claymation and Halloween episodes, and even the little frog sombrero Britta used in season one as part of a lame practical joke were all fun little memory jogs. But the best moments came from the footage of events we never saw before including the ghost town, the haunted mansion, Jeff and Troy in a haircutting class, a run in with some type of drug cartel and even the septet all lying on the floor of a room in straight jackets.

My favorite moment was showing the group filling in for the glee club doing a hilarious riff on the Fox hit series featuring Annie and Troy singing nonsense to a song that sounds eerily Journey-esque when Shirley breaks through in a Mercedes-style solo. (I kinda wish we could have seen an entire Glee-skewering episode, personally.) Though, sadly, it was a negative memory for most of the group, as they had to fill in due to the eradication of the glee club in an ill-fated bus crash. (If only a similar fate would fictitiously overtake the kids on the referent series!)

I have to throw in a shout out, too, to the montage of costumed entrances by Dean Pelton. The Catwoman and Gone With The Wind get ups were pretty hysterical, as was his animated vengeance on the Study Group Group in the epilogue.

While I didn't necessarily laugh out loud a lot, there was much to enjoy about "Paradigms of Human Memory." Anything in particular stand out for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (67 Votes)

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


No, it isn't a nickname, it absolutely was granted at beginning. Which transpired to be on November 20, 1866, in Midville, Ohio. Of course, it truly is misspelled, but that also happened at beginning. Kenesaw Mountain Landis was named in honor of his father, Dr. Abraham Landis, who was wounded on the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, within the Civil War. The senior Landis suggested the name and also the misspelling just arrived with it. The title implies largeness, but Landis wasn't a substantial man, apart from, when it arrived to his personal special brand name of integrity; that he was filled with.

Canadian mike

oh and by the way during the Caesar salad fight, Britta can be overhead telling Perice: "We need more people like Ralph Nader, he was promoting automotive safety...." lol

Canadian mike

I love the campfire scene, where the dean is just sitting there quietly with a disappointed face, while the rest of the gang argue.


This episode was sheer genius! An entire episode filled with so many off-the-wall parodies of flash backs the audience never saw. The number of situations just blew me away. The Glee parody, the Jeff/Annie & Abed/Pierce YouTube-style fan video montages, and the machine gun unloading of parodies during Jeff's final speech were my favorites. But to be honest, there were just too many insane moments to even count this time around. And I kid you all not, but the weekend before this episode aired, I was in the supermarket with my girlfriend, picked up a pack of Hubba Bubba gum, and told her of my surprise that they still make it. A reaction similar to what Chang had when he was going through Annie's Boob's stash. This show is totally in my brain! I continue to love this show, and am so happy that NBC did the right thing and renewed it for a third season.


Pretty awesome. The fighting/breaking up/getting back together should be done with now.


Lucas Corso say it all !


Great episode. Maybe the single best TV comedy episode I've seen in a long time. Even when Community misses the mark, it's still good. When it hits the mark, like last night, it's remarkable.

Canadian mike

@Eric Hochberger The Dean was there, because it was a flashback connected to the "burned-down habitat for Humanity" flashback. They were all wearing the same cloth, maybe it was camp/build-a-house retreat lol


Definitely a return to the glory days of Community! A flashback episode with clips from episodes that were never made!? Who else would be clever enough to do this? Loved it! And I agree with you Jeffrey, bring on the Glee parody episode! But I disagree on not a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. There were plenty of times I had to rewind to catch stuff I was laughing over. Just one question for everyone, why was the Dean on the camping adventure?? And did anyone else notice Chang looking in on the group in the diorama? The mother of all meta jokes this week!

Canadian mike

Thank you Community for making me love life during exams :) This came as no surprise to me, as I always knew, that Community will always deliver, even if they have to air one or two horrible filler(non-epic/parody) episode. Community coupled with 30 Rock and Parks & Rec, has and still is the best comedy block of past year or two.

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Community Season 2 Episode 21 Quotes

I can't believe our assignment is to make a diorama of us making our nineteenth diorama.


We wanted to get him a sawed off shotgun, but those are expensive already.