'Community' goes 'Pulp Fiction': Check out the big brain on Jeff!

Community

Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

It makes total sense that Abed is a fan of Quentin Tarantino. Both have minds that are essentially Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouses filled with pop culture ephemera, both make references within references within references, and both can be extremely awkward when faced with the prospect of a normal, straightforward conversation. All of which is why dedicating an entire episode of Community to just making Pulp Fiction jokes would make complete sense and would probably be totally fantastic. But the writers on Community are too clever for that, and as the show progressed, the bespoke suits and gunplay of Pulp Fiction somehow morphed into the beige jackets and wordplay of My Dinner With Andre, combining one of the coolest movies of all time what is likely one of the least cool. (With the exception, of course, of the My Dinner With Andre action figures.)

And by the end, as Andre‘s twinkly score and Jeff’s Wallace Shawn-style narration played over everyone re-enacting scenes from Pulp, it was weirdly the best possible homage to Tarantino: Mixing references to two completely different movies into something new and awesome instead of just straight-up cribbing. Add to that the fact that they didn’t shy away from showing how Abed’s quirks, while often fun (like the beginning of a game of Risk), can also end up being angering and friendship-damaging (like the end of a game of Risk), and that’s why Community is one of the smartest shows on TV.

Of course, it was also really funny, especially Troy’s adorable jealousy of Jeff and Abed, Pierce getting stuck as the gimp, and the constant gentle mocking of Cougar Town. Abed’s description of his experience on the set of the ABC show—which is as much about surface and sass as Community is about pop culture deep cuts and surprising pathos— was downright hilarious. Are there any fans of Community who are also fans of Cougar Town? I imagine they might be a rare breed, but what did you think? How about everyone else? Any super-fans of My Dinner With Andre call the twist early on with Jeff’s voice-over and Abed’s Dad-cardigan? And finally, did you find yourself humming “Miserlou” at any point during the episode?

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Richard

    Best episode of the season!

    • lefty

      I am a fan of both Community and Cougar Town…I appreciate the back-and-forth the two shows have done.

      • Mike

        I’m also a fan of both, and don’t really get the “rare breed” speculation.

        I am totally going to be looking for “Abed” in the background of all future Cougar Town episodes this season.

      • K

        Agreed! I would like to see CT reciprocate next season by having them fill up Big Carl with some of Troy’s No No Juice!

      • Mike

        K, that’s brilliant!!

      • Flyer

        I’m a fan of both as well. I don’t get why liking one would preclude an appreciation for the other.

      • Dube

        I’m also a fan of both CT and Community, and love the mutual admiration that goes on between them. I am always in awe of the creativity of the staff there @ Community and I’m also a supporter of “no-no” juice in Big Carl…

      • pff

        I absolutely love both these shows! To suggest that it’s improbable, Keith, shows that you probably haven’t seen Cougar Town- it’s closer in spirit to Community than pretty much anything else on TV.

      • Sweety

        I am a fan of both Community and Cougar town and was so excited to see Abed in thr season finale of Cougar Town

      • Patricio

        I loved this. Two of my favorite cuenrrt shows Community being my absolute favorite; Cougar Town being somewhere in the Solid B’ range.And how great was it to have Scrubs’ Ted show up in Hawaii? Just a cross-over-ganza going on last night.

    • LOL

      I just want about 30 minutes with Britta in her Mia Wallace get up.

    • Sarah

      Fan of both awesome shows!

  • Rebecca

    I’ve never seen all of Pulp Fiction or any of My Dinner With Andre but it was a fantastic episode anyway. Danny Pudi’s acting was excellent and it was nice to see Jeff open up and show his insecurities.

  • Joan

    Huge fan of My Dinner with Andre…I was sucked in by the Pulp Fiction party, but as soon as Jeff entered the restaurant I was shaking with joy! And Abed as Andre was dead on. Community keeps proving that they are definitely the best show on television

    • c

      I just saw “My Dinner with Andre” a couple months ago. When Abed starting talking, I knew what was going on. I thought it was great.

  • Geronimo

    Community again proved why it is the best sitcom, and arguably best show, on network television.

    Have watched Cougar Town, but not claim to be a fan. But I suspect the folks at Cougar Town do not mind being tweaked by Community.

  • Beast_Man

    So glad this show was renewed. Kudos NBC. This is the smartest comedy on TV. Danny Pudi’s acting was fantastic and as usual Joel Mchale was awesome!

  • bluebonnetbelle

    I love both shows, and I am one of many people in my circle of friends who are devoted to both. I thought it was a great episode but all the talk of Cougar Town made me miss it all the more.

    • JackJack

      I love both shows too!!! Bummer that Cougar Town is on hiatus though while this episode came out! Wish I had understood/knew the Dinner with Andre references/homage before the waiter told Jeff. I know I should watch the movie now but it just looks…..I wouldn’t be able to stay awake I guess.
      This was an AWESOME episode though. Loved it. Also loved Troy and Abed running at the end. Awesome.

    • Kate

      Add me to the list who love both!!! I love that the writers on the shows are friends. Reading their twitters the last couple days have been hilarious since fans have pointed that Community probably just did more promotion for Cougar Town than ABC did all season!

    • dcmom

      Another fan of both!

    • Sara

      Me too! Both shows are good.

      • Kate

        Me three! Love both shows.

        I wasn’t a big fan of either movie but the homages were fun.

      • Kate #2

        Kate directly above and Kate a few above – different Kates! Sorry Kate #1.

      • Kates O’Plenty

        I think it’s safe to say Kates Love Community and Cougartown!

    • Stacy

      This writer clearly does not watch CT to think it would be impossible to like both. The shows actually have a lot in common and it’s not odd at all that so many people like both.

  • ggny

    why would Community fans that are Cougar Town fans be a rare breed? they are both VERY similar shows…Both are about a Quirky Group of Friends, Both have a huge ego leader of the group, Both have a set of Interracial best friends, Both have strong females in the group, Both have weird guy that pops in on the group…I really dont see why Community fans wouldnt be Cougar Town fans expect the name Cougar Town might turn away some Community fans

    • Anne

      Right there with you. Both shows crack me up and are smart about how they send up pop culture.

    • edh

      Agreed.

    • Mae

      yup. i love both shows!

    • Elmo

      Interracial? I’ve only seen a couple episodes of Cougar Town and don’t remember seeing anyone who wasn’t as white as Casper.

      • Ann

        If I had to guess they are referring to the fact that Andy is hispanic.

      • Sara

        Also, Travis has a black roommate in college who’s gotten integrated into the group a bit recently.

    • Jeff

      Dude, come on. Sure there are a lot of surface similarities like that, but the two shows COULD NOT BE more different in style, tone, and I’ll be willing to bet, audiences. Both are completely valid and enjoyable forms of entertainment, but they come from two COMPLETELY different places of comedy, and just basic television structures. I mean, how many sitcoms can we say feature “a quirky group of friends” and have one you could call “the weird guy”? My guest would be almost ALL OF THEM…

    • LisaP

      i love both shows too (although i love cougartown MUCH more). i don’t understand why this would be rare either.

  • Tess

    I like both. I didn’t know it was not common to like both Cougar Town and Community. Although now that I think about it, I can’t think of any of my friends/family that watch both, beides myself. Yay to being a rare breed!

    • Brady

      I think anyone who watches both Cougar Town and Community has exceptionally good taste!

      • Mike

        Agreed.

  • CTC for the win!

    I am a fan of Cougar Town and Community. I don’t think we are really a rare breed; both shows are about a close group of friends, some awesome self-referential humor, and are generally wonderful. And, as a fan of both, I have always loved Abed’s love for/spot on commentary on Cougar Town, and this week was no exception

  • G.R.

    I went into it expecting just a goof on ‘Pulp Fiction’ — the ‘My Dinner With Andre’ homage was a pleasant surprise (I was initially thrown by Jeff’s opening narration, but it dawned on me as Abed was telling his story), and beautifully executed.

  • jt

    This show continues to amaze. And I’m digging Joel’s new hair style. Super cool.

    • lefty

      I hate his new hair. Thank god he’s gone back to gelling it up on The Soup…Community can’t be far behind.

      • Mike

        I assumed he/the makeup & hair dept were doing it on purpose, as a way to keep Jeff and Joel separate.

        (And count me as another who loves Community and Cougar Town.)

      • B

        Apparently you’re not the only one. Someone asked Dan about it somewhere and he said it goes back the way it usually is, so it must have just have been for the episode or something. I didn’t know people paid so much attention to that hair!

  • ST

    I’ve never seen Pulp Fiction or My Dinner with Andre but I really liked this episode. I like how it touched on Abed’s quirkiness and Jeff’s personality “issues” as well. Great acting and as always, I love the Troy and Abed moment at the end. So glad this show is renewed for a third season!!

    • K

      I love how even if I’m not familiar with the material they are spoofing, I can still really enjoy it. I’m sure it’s even more fun for those who are familiar with it, but I like that it doesn’t exclude those who aren’t. I know not a thing about D&D and it was easily one of my favorite episodes.

    • Nikhil

      adorable! and I remember plyaing with those things! they stop the door from slamming into the wall! I had one growing up in my room… needles to say my bro still put a hole in my wall!

  • Monty

    Count me as a fan of both as well. I seem to remember there being more than a few jokes back and forth between these shows and their creators…Dan Harmon is great, and so is Bill Lawrence.

  • Kate

    I have been kind of thinking that the writers of Community have been trying to reference one current show a week (this week, Cougar Town – just so they could make fun of its name while treating it like a cute little sister) last week it was Bones. What I kept wondering, was that actually just Danny Purdi as opposed to Danny Purdi playing Abed during that speech? I didn’t so much laugh as be memerized. I like also how it was sort of a nod to something that people probably kind of noticed – as fun and sweet and Abed and Troy are, the two who brought the group together were Jeff and Abed.

    • Other Kate

      Dan Harmon and the guy who created Bones (can’t think of his name right now) had a twitter war/bromance going at the beginning of the year since they were in the same time slot. The Bones guy even sent Dan’s mom Bones swag when she said she would watch Bones live and DVR Community and then used her picture as his twitter background. As for Cougar Town, I guess there are writers from both shows that used to work on Scrubs together. I’m not huge on twitter but it has been fun to watch it unfold.

    • Mike

      Kate, there have been a couple of Cougar Town references previously; there’s a bit of back-and-forth between Dan Harmon and Bill Lawrence, as Cougar Town has also given a shout out to Community in a previous episode. I expect CT will return the favor once again. Maybe we’ll actually see “Abed” in the background of a scene (which “Courteney nailed” of course).

  • K

    i watch both too! love all types of funny

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