Now that Community has taken on the Law & Order franchise (and done so brilliantly!), I couldn't help but stop and think about what other television tropes or genre or format homages I'd love to see the show take on, you know, assuming they get the chance with a fourth season. Personally, I think this show is really firing on all cylinders during these overly ambitious and stylized episodes because in them they are proving they can walk the walk, not just talk the talk when it comes to pop culture references. If you want to be a writer in Hollywood today, you pretty much have to have a couple of spec scripts to show around to agents, managers, and showrunners that you hope will staff you. It is proof you can adapt to different voices and further shape already created characters. What Community does when it takes on an homage is turn that notion on its head, though. The writers may adapt the Greendale world to another one that came before it-- whether it be Apollo 13 (Kentucky Fried Space Bus, anyone!?) or My Dinner With Andre or even Law & Order-- but even while plunking their very specific players into this other place, they continue to further their individual emotional growth and development, as well as their relationships within the group. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that writers' room!
Danny Pudi already pitched (at least to me) the idea of Community taking on film noir and/or a "backwards" episode ala Memento, and I have to admit, I love both of those ideas so much I'm kind of pissed I didn't think of them first! I also still love Dan Harmon's jokey pitch about an episode entirely focused on Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), to get insight into him, that starts with the study group making big plans, then the Dean enters with a crazy announcement, and we follow him the rest of the day, utilizing the tag at the end of the show to regroup with the study group and hear them all talk about the big changes that went awry. But what else, dear Community fans, what else? I sound off on my wishlist, and you should, too, in the comments below!
- The CW's Supernatural - Strictly thinking of Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Pudi) here, I just think it would be fascinating to watch the study group deal with some spooky goings-on in Greendale. They dabbled in the surreal when a meat-born parasite took over at a Halloween party, turning the campus into zombies, and Troy has hinted at a fascination with ghost stories before. How fun would it be if he thought the ghost of Starburns, for example, was lurking, and he and Abed went "hunting" ala Sam and Dean Winchester!? I guess that would make Jeff (Joel McHale) the Bobby of the situation, always looking out for the boys with love though outwardly begrudging helping... This also works for any incarnation of Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures or even Ghostfacers.
- A '20s, '60s, and/or '80s period piece - Any time characters get to play in another time period, there is always a lot of fun to be had with wardrobe and props and hair and make-up, but the further back in time we go here, the more Pierce (Chevy Chase) may seem relevant and fitting in the times. Watching everyone else react to how in the zeitgeist he would be would surely provide insane entertainment. But even if they "only" flashed back to a few decades ago,
- Another musical - I loved the glee themed holiday episode, and I want to see them do it again! Only this time, a little more widely accessible by not having it match to particular religious holiday. Perhaps it could even be paired with:
- A modern day fairytale - To give credit where credit's due, it was Yvette Nicole Brown who first implanted this idea in my mind when she was talking about Shirley's idea of romance during an interview. I guess they kind of already dove into this world when they tackled Dungeons & Dragons, so thematically, maybe what I'm really asking for here is a soap opera. Just think of the hilarity that can ensue watching a character like Britta (Gillian Jacobs) be fit into the mold of a daytime melodrama?
- Or even a primetime one. Like Dallas. Come on, "Who Shot Pierce Hawthorne?" writes itself! Get Sony on the phone!
- The Ocean's Franchise (but leaning closet to Ocean's Eleven because the other two went off the rails) - I just think it would be fun to see the study group in a genuine caper. I'm not saying I want them to completely rip-off the heist idea, but I wouldn't be opposed to Pierce pulling an Carl Reiner and faking a heart attack as a diversion-- only to realize this time he didn't fake it after all. Besides, this would provide a ton of "all together" scenes, which I know are beasts to film but make the fans so happy. And I'd like to see an unlikely leader emerge so Jeff doesn't get lumped into the handsome Clooney role by default.
- A LIVE episode - Talk about being a beast to film! But I think a lot of fun could be had here with the improv and stand-up backgrounds of Rash, Glover, and McHale, and Chase's general "I don't understand what's going on here" nature. Much like how 30 Rock utilized funny doppelgangers for the tightest change-overs, Community could have a lot of fun with finding "bizzaro" versions of their players. J.P. Manoux already appeared as a Moby impersonator when the group worked the bar mitzvah, but he's a great Dean Pelton-a-like, as well! I don't really have an idea (yet ;) ) for the plot of one like this; I just think it would be a crazy good time. And I'm sure Harmon could have a lot of fun poking at the holes in the traditional sitcom structure they'd have to borrow for sets and correct technical specs for a live show.