The 50 Greatest Community Movie References

American Psycho

Episode: Season 3, Episode 12: Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts

Reference: For reasons best left unexplained, Pierce walks into the library one day with one hell of a makeover – hair slicked back, pinstripe shirt and dressed in suspenders, it’s not long before Troy makes the obvious American Psycho comparison, asking why he “looks like a wealthy murderer”.

When Harry Met Sally

Episode: Season 3, Episode 15: Origins of Vampire Mythology

Reference: Jeff’s sculpted torso – and the effect it tends to have on Greendale’s female (and Dean-related) populace – is one of Community’s best running gags.

It’s a physical attraction summed up rather succinctly in one throwaway When Harry Met Sally -aping comment in Season 3 – when Jeff changes his shirt in the hallway, Annie’s more than a little agog, sparking one passing student to mutter “I’ll have what she’s having…”, an echo of WHMS’s infamous fake orgasm diner scene.

The Hunger Games

Episode: Season 4, Episode 1: The Hunger Deans

Reference: The clue’s in the title, really. When too many students sign up to the ‘History of Ice Cream’ class (why, WHY isn’t that a class in real life?!), the Dean decides there’s only one way to settle the enrolment – with a series of naff, budget Hunger Games -style rounds of elimination. Unsurprisingly, he deems it…. The Hunger Deans!


Episode: Season 2, Episode 6: Epidemiology

Reference: The zombie Halloween episode rears its pop-culture baiting head again, working in a satisfying and utterly silly Aliens nod in its zombie-thwacking finale.

Abed and Troy rock up to the party dressed as an Alien and Ripley wielding a Power Loader respectively – it’s a move that pays off at the end, as Troy uses the exoskeleton to batter his way through the crowd of zombies and win the day.

John Woo

Episode: Season 1, Episode 23: Modern Warfare

Reference: In an episode stuffed with action movie homages, it’s hard not to spot the John Woo love. Dual golden guns? Check. Excessive slo-mo? Check. Chang’s ridiculously stylised entrance? Check.

Zombie Black Victim Trope

Episode: Season 2, Episode 6: Epidemiology

References: Horror fans will understand the long-running, ridiculous trope that often finds black characters failing to survive a zombie apocalypse – unsurprisingly, when the gang find themselves overrun by kind-of zombies, it’s something Troy and Abed face head-on.

“Be the first black man to make it to the end”, Abed encourages Troy in a play on the classic horror thing, and just like Duane Jones in Romero’s classic Night of The Living Dead, he almost makes it to the end before being bitten.

Thankfully he’s managed to find the thermostat in time to turn it down and save everyone.

Good work, Troy.

The Human Centipede

Episode: Season 3, Episode 5: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps

Reference: Britta’s trying to work out which of the group scored highest on her psychopath psychology test.

In doing so, she demands they all tell a spooky story so she can ascertain which is the craziest. Troy, not really helping his case, begins telling a story that is unerringly, graphically similar to everyone’s beloved face-to-bum-body-horror The Human Centipede .

The Shawshank Redemption

Episode: Season 4, Episode 5: Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations

Reference: Shirley isn’t the first character you’d think of when it comes to an oppressive, captivity-enforcing overlord, but in Season 4’s Thanksgiving episode, half the group find themselves invited over to Shirley’s for dinner – and unable to escape.

Having willingly locked themselves in the garage, Abed swiftly assumes a Morgan Freeman-style narration detailing their escape plans, becomes the man who ‘can get you things’, and creates a tunnel out to the real world (which he covers with a poster).

Ocean’s Eleven

Episode: Season 3, Episode 21: The First Chang Dynasty

Reference: The Dean has been kidnapped and replaced by a very rubbish dopple/deannle-gander.

With Chang on the verge of taking complete dictatorial control of the school, and the college board as feckless as they come, it’s up to the gang to stage an elaborate heist to break the Dean out of captivity and save the day.

It’s a ridiculously OTT, multi-faceted plan that calls upon each of the gang to bust out their best disguises/moves to win the day.

It’s as shameless an Ocean’s Eleven rip-off as it gets.


Episode: Season 1, Episode 23: Modern Warfare

Reference: The moment in which Jeff shoots up the Dean’s office in retribution for his arch manipulation is a direct nod to First Blood: Part 2 ‘s Sly mega-carnage.

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