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Community’s Law & Order homage is one of their very best

On the National Broadcasting Company, the people are entertained by two separate yet equally important groups: the fake police, who start the parody episode, and the fake district attorneys, who finish the parody episode. These are their stories. Slight spoilers may be within.

- Season 3, Episode 17 - "Basic Lupine Urology"

Come on, is there anyone out there that doesn’t like a good police procedural once in a while? And let’s face it — Law & Order was the standard for crime shows back in the day. I spent many a lunch in college watching the Jerry Orbach-era seasons. While there were certainly some great actors on the show and tough ethical questions were often made by the end of a storyline, they certainly found a pattern that worked within the 20 years it was on TV — that pattern created some very silly and easily parroted tropes that have become staples of the police procedural genre. So now that I’ve previewed “Basic Lupine Urology” (the title a sly tip of the hat to Law & Order creator Dick Wolf) I can honestly say it’s Community‘s most perfect homage yet.

Getting back to the Biology class for the first time since the hiatus, the gang’s science project has been smashed — literally smashed …  it’s a yam — and Annie suspects foul play. The group naturally takes on different Law & Order roles to solve the mystery. The episode starts off strong, with a cold open of the janitor first shooting the shit before finding the sweet potato’s lifeless body in the biology lab and a side-splittingly accurate credits. I had to rewind the recording to catch all the little easter eggs because I was laughing so hard.

The whole cast is spot-on with their impersonations/homages to the iconic performances from that show. Yvette Nicole Brown‘s Shirley, who giddily admits to being a huge crime show fan while she was at home with her children, is kind of incredible as S. Epatha Merkerson‘s smart and straightforward police lieutenant. The same goes for Donald Glover, who is channeling Jesse L. Martin like crazy, even down to the leather coat (Community‘s costume department is kind of incredible). Danny Pudi is a little more of a combination of a few different cop characters from the show, but the Inspector Spacetime badge is a great touch (again, kudos to the costume department). And Allison Brie really nailed it in her performance as every female assistant DA that show ever had. Oh, and there’s an awesome cameo from a longstanding Law & Order actor, but I’m not going to tell you who!

Megan Ganz and the entire writing team did such an excellent job blocking out the show’s very specific format within a half-hour comedy. There are so many moments used in the show that you can recognize from watching Law & Order for years, like the lawyers talking about the case while paying a hotdog vendor with construction work noises in the background … or the late night Chinese food while working on the case … or witnesses that continue their regular activities while being questioned. That’s right, when you’re questioned by the police about a crime, you never, ever stop what you’re doing! You keep arranging those files!

Most importantly, this played like a Law & Order episode because there was an actual mystery to be solved! I figured out who did it early in the episode, but I’ll admit that I didn’t quite know why. Because it’s such an awesome homage to a show that has a widespread fanbase, I’d highly suggest forcing your families to watch this episode to lure them into the awesomeness of Community through a show they already know they like. And just to bring things back to normal, the ending credits has your soon-to-be favorite Dean Pelton moment yet, so that’s a plus.

Now, the rumor is that this episode will reveal who has died at Greendale Community College. Why is it still a rumor? … Because they censored the preview! That’s right, when the big reveal is made, the preview video faded to black and told me to tune in on Thursday to learn what happens. A little heartbreaking, I admit, but we’re close to the truth now. I can almost taste it. Of course, thanks to the comment discussion from my screenshot post last month, I already have a good idea who will die, but stay tuned to this post after the episode’s premiere where I’ll comment on the outcome.

UPDATE: It’s official … Star-burns is dead. He died in his meth lab, which was what I had guessed would be his fate considering it was a plot point of the episode. And next week’s episode centers around everyone dealing with the loss, which makes me wonder how many of them will call him Eric Alex. Also, now that the episode has aired, enjoy these spoiler-laden quotes:

“Greendale Community College is represented by two separate yet equally important types of people. The goofballs that run around stirring up trouble and the eggheads that make a big deal out of it. These are their stories.” — Episode Opening

“You’re telling me after all this our suspect’s gonna slip away on the technicality that we’re not police!” — Abed

“Don’t be like me. A man’s got to have a code. I can only assume there’s a female equivalent of that … a codette or something.” — Jeff

“Boiling water is the icicle stabbing of yam killing!” — Jeff

Photo Credit: NBC

10 Responses to “Community’s Law & Order homage is one of their very best”

April 25, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Really looking forward to this. Thanks for the preview.

April 26, 2012 at 8:34 PM


(tho i dont think they quite nailed the classic L & O ending)

April 26, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Eric? Starburn’s name is Alex.

April 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Who the heck is Alex?

(also, fixed)

April 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM

I know, An … I know. *pat pat*

April 28, 2012 at 12:19 AM

I thought the episode was beyond average, but that’s just me.

But I have to ask, who was the Law and Order cameo you’re referring to?

April 28, 2012 at 12:35 AM

It was Leslie Hendrix, who played one of the main medical examiners on most of the Law and Order series. She was the one who dissected the yam.

April 28, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Ah. Yeah, I guess needing to have watched the show is a prerequisite for catching a cameo.

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