In an episode titled “Paranormal Parentage,” the gang is all dressed up for a Halloween party. I love Shirley dressed as a plump-but-beautiful Princess Leia, but the best gag of the night goes to Jeff, dressed as a boxer, and Annie dressed as the girl from The Ring, rather than Jeff’s sexy ring girl.
The entire episode was a mash-up of the classic Saturday-morning cartoon, Scooby Doo, complete with the old bookend lever that makes the bookcase do a one-eighty, making the person standing there, Abed in this instance, seemingly disappear.
Anyway, the episode was a homage to every cheap “Halloween in a haunted mansion” movie ever made thanks to Pierce. Just as the gang was getting ready to go to the party, Pierce calls Troy claiming to be stuck inside the panic room inside his palatial mansion and needs the gang to come get him out.
Jeff, of course, has it sniffed out as a ruse and isn’t buying any of it, but reluctantly heads to Pierce’s mansion just so he can call his bluff.
Pierce’s behavior is completely understandable. His very rich father, with who he’s lived his entire life, recently passed and as a result Pierce has become a bit eccentric. It was a ruse to get everyone to his house on Halloween, and all the fake scary stuff was, well, fake scary stuff.
However, it was a great way for the writers to pair up the gang, a la Scooby Doo, to roam around a house that appears to be larger than Rhode Island. Jeff and Britta found themselves together, exploring the mansion looking for Pierce’s red notebook, which could be in his library or his room. It’s got the magic code that will let him escape his panic room.
I did like that Pierce’s “daddy issues” were the perfect setup for Britta to help Jeff—in a manner of speaking—deal with his very same issues. Of course Jeff is having no part of it, listing the myriad ways his situation with his father, who was never there for him, was completely different from Pierce’s situation with his father, who was never absent.
He did, however, divulge to Britta that he’d been in possession of his father’s phone number for three weeks but hadn’t, for whatever reason, dialed the number. And Jeff says he doesn’t have daddy issues? LOL! What? It’s a sitcom. I can laugh of I want to.
Too bad the show is so short. Nothing worse than raising a great issue that needs exploring –even within a network sitcom—and only having 22 minutes with which to work. And speaking of the show being so short, before I’d sat down to get comfy, the episode was over, and it was a really fun episode.
In the end, after Abed shows a surveillance video with a mysterious ghost-like apparition roaming the house, we discover Pierce’s half-brother, Gilbert (Giancarlo Esposito), has been secretly living in the house for the past six weeks, mainly because he doesn’t know what else to do because the old man kicked the bucket. Touching, right? I thought so.
In the final scene, Jeff does what we knew he’d do when he pulled out the slip of paper with his dad’s phone number written on it: he calls his dad. As the phone rings the scene fades to black and the end credits roll.
A very fun episode, as mentioned above, but too damned short! My kingdom for an hour, right?
Stephanie is a writer for the official Cable TV blog.