Friday, February 22, 2013

COMMUNITY Attends an Inspector Spacetime Convention

It was the next logical step, really.  Once again, the NBC sitcom Community graced us with their show-within-a-show Doctor Who parody Inspector Spacetime in last night's episode, "Conventions of Space and Time," and even acknowledged Doctor Who's 50th anniversary in the process.

It seems diehard Inspector Spacetime fans Troy Barnes and Abed Nadir are going to their first InSpecTiCon, the 49th Annual Inspector Spacetime Convention.  Troy shows his secret girlfriend Britta Perry a classic black-and-white episode featuring the First Inspector and Constable Edmund kicking around a pair of Blorgons.  "We can go anywhere in any time in the universe," remarks the First Inspector, "but it will probably be London during the Blitz."  Britta, however, remains unimpressed.  "Oh, wow..." she says to Troy, "...There are fifty years of these, hunh?"

Troy and Abed, bringing along their Greendale study group friends, finally arrive at InSpecTiCon.  We see dozens of Inspector Spacetime fans milling about, cosplaying in all sorts of strange gear, and there are a number of background posters revealing more of the Inspector's enemies, such as immortal automatons The Pharoahbots and Baron Von Morbidor, the dungeon demon of Halog.  Britta is surprised to learn that there was a female Inspector, Inspector Minerva, but Abed explains "And everyone hates her.  Not because they're sexist, but because she sucks."

The first thing Troy and Abed do is look for the Gluon Chamber photo booth line.  Britta and Annie Edison look puzzled, so Troy quickly explains.  "It's a photo where two people are fused together like the Inspector and Reggie were bonded for eternity in Episode 704."  The line is ridiculously long, but Toby Weeks (played by Little Britain's Matt Lucas), Abed's friend from England who is "arguably the biggest Inspector Spacetime fan in the world," suggests an alternative plan.  He offers Abed a ticket to the sold-out panel "Which Inspector would win in a fight in space and which Inspector would win in a fight in time?"

Meanwhile, traditional group leader Jeff Winger discovers that he bears a striking resemblance to one of Inspector Spacetime's supervillains, Thoraxis the Man-Tiss of Thallidum.  An attractive female fan named Lauren (played by Battlestar Galactica actress Tricia Helfer) mistakes him for Nigel Cuthbertson, the actor who played Thoraxis, and even tries to get him to say Thoraxis' catchphrase "Bow before Thoraxis!"

Group members Shirley Bennett and Pierce Hawthorne are swiftly brought into a focus test group to gauge their reactions to an American version of Inspector Spacetime, a nod to one of Doctor Who fans' biggest fears.  After viewing the initial pilot, Shirley thinks it was pretty good while the older, grumpier Pierce says that he was confused.  When asked what confused him, Pierce replies, "The time travel mostly.  Also the space travel."  Shirley informs the focus group researchers, "I am friends with a couple of huge Inspector Spacetime fans and I think what they like about the show is that it's smart, complicated and doesn't talk down to its audience, so if you'd like to make a good American version, you should stay true to that."  Pierce, however, has his own suggestion.  "Instead of this Constable, what about a blonde with long legs and a tennis racket?"

As part of his attempts to separate Abed from Troy, Toby later offers Abed a ticket to the 50th Anniversary Inspector Spacetime convention in London.  Abed becomes suspicious, observing that Toby is dressed as the Third Inspector, "who was famous for trying to strangle the actor who plays Constable Dudley because they were both pursuing Linda McCartney."  He then suggests to Toby that he should try to get along with Troy.  "Maybe all relationships are made up of logical Inspectors and emotional Constables...and we need both to make space and time a better place."

Later on in the closing credits sequence, we get to see the final American version of Inspector Spacetime and none other than 90210 actor Luke Perry steps out into San Francisco in the 1960s.  "Here we are," he remarks in a solid American accent, "the 1960s, the greatest, grooviest period in the entire history of the entire universe.  I'm lucky, I get to visit places like this because I can travel through time...and space...but not both at once.  Do you know why that is, Ensign?"

Perry's fellow 90210 star Jennie Garth emerges with a tennis racket that lights up and her blond hair flowing.  "Because, Inspector Spacetime," she replies, "our minds would be blown with the spacetime confusion."

"That's right.  And now I must sleep with the sexiest woman here, who is also my grandmother, or I will cease to exist."

"How do you know I'm not your grandmother?"

The Inspector smiles flirtatiously.  "There's only one way to find out..."

So yeah, if there was any thought of an American version of Doctor Who, I think this pretty much kills that horrible idea once and for all.

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