The Community crew has really been holding out on us! Sure, we’ve seen an adventure or two (zombiepocalypses, paintball wars) over the years, but this Thursday’s installment (NBC, 8/7c) presents Greendale in a whole new light — one alternately featuring ghosts, glee clubs, and a great love (or loathing) of something called The Cape. As “clip” shows go, this episode is rather epic, boasting some 78 separate (and brand-new) scenes. I’m here to dish on 12 of the standouts. Plus, find out what the cast and creators have to say about the laborious undertaking.
The Return of Annie’s Boobs | Troy’s vent-dwelling monkey comes out to play — and in no way was that a euphemism. The notorious pen thief, Annie’s Boobs, makes a rare return to the study room to set in motion this week’s trip down memory lane.
A Rousing Glee Club Performance | I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but wait ’til you hear the pipes on Alison Brie (Annie), Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) and Donald Glover (Troy). Gushes the lovely Miss Brown, “This might be my favorite episode, it’s so great. You will learn something about everyone that you did not already know. And pay attention to the flashbacks — look at the walls and everything because it’s a full-immersion experience.” Adds Joel McHale, “This whole episode is joke-heavy in that there are so many scenes, you have to hit it and move on. It has the pace of that movie Run Lola Run. You will not be able to catch your breath.”
A Zombie-tastic Flashback | It’s brief, but fun.
More Stop-Motion Antics | Also brief, but even more fun — probably because I’m a sucker for animated Abed.
A Never-Before-Seen St. Patrick’s Day Adventure | Turns out, the one holiday Community seemingly overlooked this season wasn’t overlooked at all. There will be talk of leprechauns and lots of green hats. “This could be our silliest episode yet,” Danny Pudi reveals. “There are a lot of costumes — and why not? It definitely had the most bits-per-minute — BPM, a new term I just coined — out of anything we’ve done.”
An Unexpected Love Affair Is Revealed | A secret season-long hookup will come to light, and the manner in which said affair is outed will be awesome. Also, look for “one shot that will be provocative,” McHale advises. “You’ll know exactly what it is when you see it.”
A Tribute-Slash-Trashing of NBC’s The Cape | Abed loves The Cape. Jeff does not. This will be a (hilarious) point of contention for the two throughout the time-hopping half-hour.
A Love Song Montage for Three Separate Greendale Pairs | Actual couples need not apply for this honor. It’s like showrunner Dan Harmon and his gangbusters team of writers decided to pay homage to all of those fan-shipper videos on YouTube. Three times. And it’s absolutely brilliant, ripe with slow-motion glances and an accompanying song fans will no doubt appreciate.
A Greased-Up Chang | The wonder that is Ken Jeong continues to wow the Community crowd with his complete willingness to do, well, anything in the name of a good laugh. “This episode has some of the funniest visuals we’ve ever seen for Chang,” Jeong tells me. And having previewed the episode, I can confirm. “It gives me chills just thinking it,” Jeong says of the joke-dense episode. “It is one of the most ambitiously [written], pure effing funny scripts I’ve read. Period. TV or otherwise.”
Six Separate Dean Pelton Costume Swaps | Not to be outdone by Chang, his rival Greendale outcast, the Dean will pop up several times in a plethora of his always eccentric costumes. (Side note: This might be my favorite moment in the entire episode.) “There a lot of midriff, very sexy,” Jim Rash promises with a laugh. “And there will be a ton of very great screensaver moments for everyone.”
A Paranormal Sighting | The ghost of one of the study group members makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it guest appearance during one of their never-before-seen field trips.
An Episode-Ending Tag Unlike Any We’ve Seen in Community‘s Nearly 50-Episode History | Set your DVRs accordingly — or hey, just watch the show live!
Mind you, these are just 12 of the 78 separate scenes that make up Community‘s latest innovative outing. I offer a tip of the hat to Dan Harmon — who, in a rare moment of actually accepting a compliment from me, says, “I’m pretty proud of it. It’s a way to once again subvert the medium of the sitcom, particularly the clip show, while still respecting it.”
Don’t miss another artfully genre-bending installment of NBC’s Community Thursday at 8 pm.