Film and TV

Community: "Basic Lupine Urology"

I made no secret of the fact I didn't think the Ken Burnsian thingy a couple weeks ago was all that special, but everything about last night's Law & Order parody ("Basic Lupine Urology"), from the camera work to the pre-credits bon mot to desperate earnestness of the "legal" team to the tragic all worked perfectly.

Then again, spoofing L&O is pretty easy, isn't it? Haven't most of us passively seen at least 50 episodes just by virtue of the TV being on during a marathon on USA? You still have to give props to writer Megan Ganz and director Rob Schrab (Scud: The Disposable Assassin represent!) for creating such a dead-on homage.

And two of my favorite entertainment Michaels -- Williams and Ironside -- as well? Hold my calls.

Rather than dupe the music exactly, Community got its own variation of the classic L&O theme. It was familiar, yet less affecting (sort of like the one for Criminal Intent). This follows the horrifying discovery of the study group's yam ("Pam," because it rhymed) smashed on the floor of the biology lab.

The group soon get their assignments. Troy and Abed get the detective roles made famous by Briscoe and Logan. No, Briscoe and Curtis. No, wait, Briscoe and Green. I've got it, Green and Fontana. Oh, the hell with it. Their trail starts with Pierce, who admits to lying about watering the yam, but puts them on the trail of Todd. True, Todd was in a competing yam group, but insists their yam was fine when he left the Biology room. Further investigation (following a run-through of various supporting characters) leads to Star-Burns.

Star-Burns's alibi centers on his stealing Biology materiel for a meth lab, though he insists he had nothing to do with Pam's demise. Shirley (scarily accurate in the S. Epatha Merkerson role) observes Tory and Abed's interrogation through the aquarium glass ("I can both see and hear you"). Star-Burns eventually puts them back on Todd, and Jeff is in the process of conducting his opening...speech in Professor Kane's class when Todd's former commander, Lt. Colonel Archwood (Michael fucking Ironside), interrupts. Kane agrees to hear the case in class, saying, "A man's gotta have a code."

Shit, I miss Omar.

The trial scene...well, it's a trial scene. Jeff and Annie take on the ADA tasks, with Professor Kane acting as judge. Archwood does his best to discredit Star-Burns, but Annie destroys Todd on the stand in a series of hilarious and quickly withdrawn personal attacks. However, Jeff doesn't buy it, unveiling the real culprit (Fat Neil) in hilariously typical Law & Order witness-stand breakdown fashion. Short version: He did it for love.

Finally, in a completely Law & Orderly ending, Kane gets a call informing him Star-Burns was killed. Fade to black.

Like I said, I haven't been entirely on board with the latest episodes, but "Basic Lupine Urology" was a fantastic effort. Though if I may be permitted a bit of heresy, they should feel free to dial the Annie back next week. I kind of felt bad for Gillian Jacobs, as Britta's psychology background was rendered hilariously irrelevant this week.

Real Life Law & Order Cameo:

That was totally Leslie Hendrix (Dr. Elizabeth Rodgers) as the ME conducting the autopsy on Pam the Yam.

Random Out-of-Context Quotes:

"I can also help! As a Psych major I *DUN DUN*"

"That doesn't make sense: You don't 'order ketchup.' IT'S A CONDIMENT."

"I'm inclined to agree with the man in uniform." "Shocker."

"Is that why you hit your wife? Withdrawn. Is that why you drink and pop pills? Withdrawn. Are you a virgin? Withdrawn."

"I boiled the yams. Vicki's yam never sprouted and I didn't want her to fail so I threw off the grading curve so she wouldn't have to go to summer school and we could finally have sex in my parents' cabin!"

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar