I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I am a chronological girl. I have a very hard time with stories with weird timelines and I can’t do anything out of order. So if I want to reread the third Harry Potter or I’m going to dive back into Grey’s Anatomy after quitting in Season 7, I have to start at the beginning. I tell anybody I recommend Parks and Recreation to that they have to just get through Season One before they get to an excellent show, and I still make myself sit through it whenever I go to rewatch the show myself. And I will never be someone who watches Dr. Who since it’s virtually impossible to watch it all from the beginning.
But there are a few exceptions to this rule. I think there are a handful of shows, each with one magical episode that I will watch on its own at any time. How I Met Your Mother‘s “Slap Bet” is one of them. “The One With the Embryos” from Friends is another. “American Duos” from Psych. That one episode on Bones where Max is on trial. Glee‘s “Blame it on the Alcohol.” And from Community, it’s “Epidemiology.”
I do find it funny that this is my go-to Community episode, because in just about every other aspect of life, I don’t do zombies. Seriously, zombies are pretty much number one on Emmy’s List of Entertainment No-no’s (I should write up an actual list, shouldn’t I?). I don’t like them in a serious manner, I don’t like them in a humorous manner, I don’t like them in a workplace team building exercise where we plan our defense in the event of a zombie apocolypse (I know my worth, guys – I’m not good in a crisis and I don’t run very fast. I’ve made my peace with being the first sacrifice.) But for some reason, I’m okay with Community zombies.
I’m not sure what exactly it is about this episode. It’s not like it’s a particularly deep episode. Other than Troy ditching Abed and his joint Halloween costume to go shirtless as a “sexy Dracula” in order to seem cool and Abed not understanding why Troy might be reluctant to be labeled a nerd, there’s literally nothing about the episode that I could possibly reflect on. There are so many episodes better equipped for that kind of analysis. And yet this one stays my favorite.
Maybe it’s just because, while it’s not very deep, every single moment is spot-on hilarious.
Like the Study Group trying to figure out what Shirley is dressed as for Halloween (she is not Miss Piggy, I repeat, NOT Miss Piggy).
Or Jeff continuing his tradition of Halloween costumes that make him look effortlessly cool and sexy and also like he doesn’t care at all, whereas Britta goes out of her way to make sure she is NOT something sexy (because she’s a feminist, dammit!) and in the process makes the night so much harder for herself in her dragon-turtle gloves.
Or Rick throwing back to his excellence in pottery class by shouting “I thought I was special!” to explain him hiding his zombie bite from the others.
Or Abed and Troy’s Han Solo “I love you” as Troy attempts to be the first black man to make it to end.
Or the psychotic cat hiding in the basement.
And really, could there be a better soundtrack for a zombie attack at Greendale Community College than Abba’s Greatest Hits. No joke, the panicked party rioting to “Gimme a Man After Midnight” is nothing short of perfection.
Community is at its best when it takes well worn movie and tv tropes, gets them drunk, and then sees what happens (like mobster movies about chicken fingers or a Law & Order episode about yams or a Dungeons and Dragons epic fantasy quest). But this one takes the cake. It makes me actually like zombies for a minute! And maybe want to add the Eat, Pray, Love soundtrack to my workout mix.