Lots of people hate Valentine’s Day. That’s fair — it’s not really a holiday in which all of us can share. So it’s cool that “Community” gave us an episode filled with ghosts and deception and daddy issues instead of candy-colored love stuff. “Paranormal Parentage” is, as a result, way more fun than lamenting any lack of a love life.

Granted, this particular episode of “Community” was originally meant as a Halloween episode. But the shifting of the show to midseason meant that we all get to pretend that costumes and ghosts are appropriate in February. And why not? It’s hardly the weirdest thing “Community” has asked us to believe in.

The plot

Everyone starts the episode in costume, ready to go to Vicki’s Halloween party. They are:

  • Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown): Princess Leia, part of a group costume with her husband (Han Solo) and kids (two Storm Troopers and an Ewok)
  • Troy (Donald Glover): A tiger. It’s cute.
  • Britta (Gillian Jacobs): A ham? I couldn’t tell you why.
  • Jeff (Joel McHale): A boxer
  • Annie (Alison Brie): Supposedly Jeff’s “ring girl,” Annie is instead the “Ring” girl, complete with the creepy ghost motions. This may be the most terrifying costume I’ve ever seen on a TV comedy, by the way.
  • Dean Pelton (Jim Rash): Jeff’s ring girl
  • Abed (Danny Pudi): ???

Pierce (Chevy Chase) is neither in costume nor present. That’s because Vicki doesn’t like him. But that is hardly going to stop Pierce from getting in on the action — he somehow locked himself in a panic room and needs help escaping.

Thus, the whole group ends up in Pierce’s oddly decorated and dark mansion. They split up in search of the panic-room combination, in the process discovering secret passages, walls from which hands emerge, surveillance rooms, ghostly reflections and hidden daddy issues.

There are a lot of the daddy issues.

Of course, in the end, it’s Pierce that’s behind everything… Or is he? Abed saw a shadowy figure watching Pierce sleep. Could the ghost of the elder Hawthorne still be around?


As it turns out, Pierce’s ghost is none other than his half-brother, Gilbert (Giancarlo Esposito). Since Gilbert technically owns the whole Hawthorne fortune now, the house is his. He just stopped by to drop off the deed for Pierce. That was six weeks earlier. Ever since then, Gilbert has been secretly doing chores because he’s lonely and stuff.

Fortunately, Pierce is lonely too and the brothers get to be roommates!


A few notes on the past and the future…

At the end of the episode, Jeff dials the number for his father. I guess that’s how Daddy Winger will enter the picture.

Shirley’s Princess Leia costume comes from a place of love. We asked Yvette Nicole Brown about it and found out that this was no accidental choice: “I’m such a “Star Wars” geek that that was awesome,” Brown confirmed. “There’s something that I did. When Princess Leia is talking to R2-D2, she’s sending the message to Obi-Wan, she kinds of looks around and bends down and kind of pushes it. I did that at a certain point in the episode. I don’t think it made it in, but that was my little nod to, ‘Hey geeks! Come on nerds! We know what this is!’ It was great.”

Even though Gilbert is now Pierce’s roommate, we may not see too much of him this season. Esposito (who is understandably busy with his many other acting jobs) wouldn’t confirm a season 4 return but did say he’d be happy to return someday for “another little love-fest.”

Britta’s request to Troy about learning more on “Inspector Spacetime” is important — after all, the group is going to a convention in the next episode!

And a few more highlights

  • Annie watching “Cougar Town” reruns is now Abed’s third-favorite show — continuity FTW!!!
  • June 30, 1989: The theatrical release of “Do the Right Thing” and the not-coincidental installation of Pierce’s panic room
  • Britta’s happy ham dance
  • Pierce’s “special gym” (“secret dogs!”) and Shirley’s hope that no one notices she knows exactly what it is
  • “I remember when this show was about community college.” — Abed

Did you have a favorite part of “Paranormal Parentage”? Catch the homages in the episode? Can you identify Abed’s costume? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Posted by:Laurel Brown