From “The Dark Knight” to “Doctor Who,” the cult favorite comedy “Community” has paid homage to dozens of genre franchises. Now the embattled NBC sitcom is taking on “The Hunger Games.”
A new trailer (watch it above) for the show’s fourth season borrows fiery imagery from the film adaptation and book covers of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling young adult trilogy. It’s “the Hunger Deans,” announces Jim Rash’s dress-wearing character Dean Pelton as he rides into the cafeteria on a chariot pulled by shirtless men clad in pink-and-white unicorn headpieces.
It appears the dean will force the show’s anti-hero Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) to compete in “35 tests of strength and agility” in an event that resembles an episode of “American Gladiators.”
Other pop culture shout-outs we spotted in the season 4 trailer include “Star Wars,” with Yvette Nicole Brown’s character Shirley rocking the Princess Leia white dress and cinnamon-bun hair; “50 Shades of Grey,” as Troy (Donald Glover) discovers what seems to be a secret sex lair; “Doctor Who,” as Abed (Danny Pudi) and several other characters attend an “Inspector Spacetime” convention; and “The Ring,” with a bewigged Britta (Gillian Jacobs) crawling contortedly across the floor.
The trailer, which runs just under two minutes, also features several scenes with Chevy Chase, who plays the group’s bigoted, curmudgeonly frenemy Pierce Hawthorne. Chase left the show last fall, midway through filming the upcoming season.
His departure followed a very public feud with the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, who was fired last spring.
The fourth season is being overseen by writers David Guarascio and Moses Port, and devoted fans — many of whom are loyal to Harmon’s vision for the series — will be tuning in to find out if the show’s unique brand of clever humor can continue without Harmon.
“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.”
The Season 4 premiere airs Thursday.
Did we miss any homages in the trailer? Let us know in the comments.
— Noelene Clark
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