Movies - TV
Breaking Down The 12 Best Pop Culture Homages In Community
In Season 1 Episode 21, “Community” deftly references "Goodfellas" and other mafia movies. The episode deconstructs the power dynamics and jealousy within friend groups while the show finds its voice as a skilled vehicle for homages and trope send-ups.
Action Movies
The first paintball episode, "Modern Warfare," is a desolation of post-apocalyptic movies, mimicking the stylized gunplay of John Woo, with homages to "Die Hard" and "The Terminator." Even today, this remains a stylistically bold sitcom episode, and back in 2010 when it first aired, this kind of thing was basically unheard of, especially on network TV.
Good Will Hunting
The episode "English as a Second Language" parodies “Good Will Hunting” as Troy is a Will Hunting-esque savant for plumbing. Not only is it a watershed episode that deepens Abed’s understanding of those around him, but T it's the smaller uses of pop culture references like this that make "Community" special.
Apollo 13
Transforming a 22-minute sitcom episode into a space survival thriller à la "Apollo 13" and “The Right Stuff” seems like the kind of thing that could never work. However, in "Basic Rocket Science," we see what both this show and that genre have in common is their reliance on a group of individuals coming together to grow as people and overcome adversity.
Embracing an art form and style used primarily for children's entertainment allows "Community" to be emotionally at its most simple and elemental. While it mines some comedy from the style, really, this homage is purely for enriching character. It's raw, honest emotion presented as sweetly as possible and one of the show's unequivocal triumphs.