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