Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm probably one of the few people who didn't really like the Halloween episode of 'Community' last week. I found a lot of "Epidemiology" funny, but I didn't find it very believable and that put me off from fully enjoying it. One of my friends pointed out that it was a lot like the episodes about the paintball war and the space simulator. And I admit that it was, in that they all employed heavy doses of this thing called "meta humor" in their respective parodies of movies and other TV shows. But at least "Modern Warfare" and "Basic Rocket Science" had a foundation in reality, even if it was a bit absurd. With "Epidemiology", I didn't accept the splainin that toxic taco meat could turn people into zombies, which could be then be cured by lowering the room temperature. It felt more like it belonged in an episode of 'Fringe'.

In a way, that bothered me. After all, I'm the guy who says most TV shows should exist within each other's premise - that 'Sesame Street' and 'NYPD Blue' should be able to do crossover episodes, for example. On paper, I can probably sell that concept. (At least I try.) When it's actually played out, sometimes it just doesn't appear feasible.
I think it could have worked, though. It just needed more work on the script for those bookends to the zombie problem. How people turned into zombies, and how to cure the problem, both needed more thought put into them to make possible the "willing suspension of disbelief".

For instance.....

Why was this toxic taco meat, which apparently had been purposely manufactured by the military*, available to the general public at a military surplus store? (At least that detail helped - it could have been just a regular COSTCO-type of store, like the Work Bench as seen in 'Reaper' or the Mega-Mart in 'Monk')?
If they instead wrote it up as a mistake in shipping - that it was meant for a local military installation to be used in testing for its possible warfare applications - then I could have accepted how the situation began, and why the military was quick to jump in to contain the problem. (Or as quickly as possible.... Really? Six hours to reach Greendale Community College? The only reason I could see for taking so long would be that there were other outbreaks in the area to be contained and their personnel resources were spread thin.)
Better yet, it could have been revealed that it had all been deliberate. That it had been a covert operation to study the effects of "Classified: Phoenix" in an enclosed environment that served as a good substitute for the general populace - like a small community college.
And as for the cure that the study group came up with? Basically, every one of the regulars is stupid in their own way (not that it detracts from the enjoyment of their situations as it might in some other show). So it would have been unlikely for them to come up with anything more grandiose and complicated; it's not like any of them could have competed with Dr. Walter Bishop. But making the room temperature colder just didn't seem believable as a "cure" for the zombie effect. It would have been better to make it a means to retard the advancement of the disease, until the scientists brought in by the military could employ the antidote that they came up with back at the lab.
And how was dosing the victims to make them forget going to help with the scars left by the bite marks? I was once bitten by a rabid lesbian at my old job and I'm still carrying the scar from that on my leg - but that's probably more from the burning of the tissue by the ER doctor at Bellevue. (Like the cop who brought me there, the doctor kept saying "I'd rather have been bitten by a dog." And as I told them, she wasn't that good looking, so in a way I was.)

But, all of that is just Toobworld Wish-Craft. The episode has aired and must be accepted into the mosaic that is the TV Universe. There have been plenty of other episodes from other shows which have made far less sense and which are accepted as having happened. And I'm glad that it did because it can play into the last piece I have in mind for this Zombie Thursday here at Inner Toob......
'Better Off Ted'

*It could be that the military wasn't involved - at first - but only called in to handle the situation once the outbreaks began. (This couldn't have been the first case.) And Homeland Security was monitoring all phone calls in the area, if not the entire country, for any mention of the code number for the product once the outbreaks began.

If anything, I think the toxic taco meat (I just like saying that in my head!) was developed by Veridian Dynamic.......

No comments: