Community Review: House on Haunted Hill

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A Halloween episode on Valentine's Day? How wacky! What will those kooky Community writers think of next, am I right, guys??

The Gang's Halloween Surprise

I kid, I kid. "Paranormal Parentage" was certainly not intended to air on National "Overpriced Dinner At The Only Place Where I Could Get A Reservation, Sorry" Day; its scheduling was yet another victim of the show's protracted battles over this past year. And its airing today is yet another reminder of the off-screen drama haunting this new season, of the big black cloud hanging over the heads of the Greendale Seven.

The Halloween episode is one of Community's great traditions, and for the committed fan of the first three seasons, "Paranormal Parentage" was a bit of a miss - though there were some classic Community quotes and zingers afoot (and who could resist that painting of Chevy Chase riding a tiger?). Jeff and Britta's repartee was a bit less sparky that it has been in the past, Shirley's confessions of her hell-raising past was a little less clever and Annie's The Ring joke was Scary Movie-level cheesy, and felt wildly out of place.

But this episode wasn't about pleasing the old fans. For all the ink that's been spilled analyzing fan reaction to the "new" Community, the clear purpose of Community Season 4 is to draw in new viewers, viewers who were put off by the (mostly fun, but occasionally totally oppressive) in-joke-filled, call-back-stuffed nature of the "old" Community.

And in fulfilling that purpose, this half hour furthered the Troy-and-Britta subplot, and just generally introduced new viewers to who these people are and what they're about.

Is Community a machine that can bear this kind of smoothing of its rough edges? That remains to be seen. Though I've been a devoted fan of Community since it first aired, I don't think the show was perfect in its previous incarnation, and I don't think it must inevitably flounder in creator Dan Harmon's absence. I'll be interested to see where it goes and how it tries to balance the things that make Community unique with the kinds of plots that are more accessible to new viewers.

But I do hope the new show runners are careful. Community is a delicate ecosystem, and if they upset the balance too much - too many pop culture parodies done for their own sake, too many silly gags, too many easy emotional explanations - we could have a less-funny knock-off of How I Met Your Mother or Happy Endings on our hands. In which case, I will be polishing the floors of my own panic room...

Did you enjoy the stroll through Pierce's haunted mansion? What did you think about him asking Gilbert to live with him? And was that thing with the wall a reference to The Frighteners?


Editor Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (65 Votes)

That episode wasn't over the top. It was just lame. Dan Harmon wouldn't have let that episode happen. What was with all the wish-wash moments. They were so out of place in that episode. It's like they're trying to make it more like other shows, and that's killing it. They're killing my baby!!!


I had no interest in this particular episode becuase it was a halloween episdode in the middle of Febuary. as for the chaacter, I think Gilbert should so move in.


Have to agree with RajBauer, kinda seems like the reviewer is trying too hard to appeal to the masses that are still really hurt about Dan Harmon (we would all rather he be involved but this is the hand we've been dealt..) and judging the show too much purely because it's Harmon-less. I've seen every single Community episode and have loved these 2 season 4 episodes. Not the best, but perfectly in line with what Community has always delivered.


Totally disagree, as a devoted community fan since it first aired, I thought for the most part they really delivered a fantastic halloween episode. And if you look back at season 2, it was heavily parody filled thats why I preferred the first season, but you can judge this new season by 1 episode. You say you wont judge it but that is exactly what you did. Community has always had over the top halloween episodes (the first seasons being the least) so this actually fit in pretty well with the past 3.

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Community Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Pierce: If you knew what spooked me, you'd probably call me crazy and old.
Jeff: No one's going to call you, Pierce.

I remember when this show was about community college.