The television king of genre pastiche Community is set to return to air in the U.S. with not just a bang, but a hunger. A Hunger Games in fact.
The show regularly includes references to films, with Abed regularly impersonating a particularly gravely Dark Knight, Doctor Who (sorry, Inspector Spacetime) and Dungeons & Dragons, in an episode that surprisingly contained the series' best sex scene to date. Now, the sitcom is taking on the Hunger Games film franchise in its first episode for the year.
I remember when this show was about a community college.
The trailer for the show’s fourth season, which can be seen above, clearly riffs on the graphic style of the film and book marketing for Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult trilogy. Once “the Hunger Deans” are announced with traditional subtelty by Jim Rash’s dress-wearing Dean Pelton astride a chariot pulled by shirtless pink-and-white unicorn headpiece wearing men, the theme is clear, yet it wouldn't appear to be the only franchise getting a look in.
Star Wars, 50 Shades of Grey, The Ring and Alice in Wonderland would all seem to be making thematic appearances in the extended trailer, which runs just under two minutes.
The trailer also features a number of appearances by Chevy Chase as Pierce Hawthorne, though there is no hint to that character's exit yet, as Chase departed the show midway through filming this fourth season.
Chase engaged in a public feud with Community creator Dan Harmon, who also left the show between seasons. Writers David Guarascio and Moses Port are now running the show, which has led to broad speculation that the show will take on a more traditional sitcom style.
The trailer, in which the dean pits student against student in “35 tests of strength and agility” that look more like It's A Knockout than a deadly battle, to win a coveted place in the History of Ice Cream class, would certainly seem a strong hint to fans that the core aspects of the series - the satire, wit and parody - are still front and centre.
There is even the same meta-comedy, with Abed pronouncing "I remember when this show was about a community college."
“If people love it, then I’ll be able to safely watch it with an open, friendly heart, because the whole point is whatever makes the audience happy,” Harmon said last summer. “If they say it’s good, it’s good, and I can watch it and even say it’s good.”
Community Season 4 premieres on Thursday in North America and broadcasts on Go! in Australia.