Trophy Wife’s “The Minutes,” a tribute to Scandal
After Diane was sent home from a PTA meeting, she dons a white robe, sipping a big (but not as big as Olivia’s) glass of red wine, and munching on baked cheese puffs (a tastier substitute to popcorn), while binge-watching Scandal. Diane even slips into Olivia’s coat to help clear Kate’s dilemma through secrets and blackmail.
Also includes: Shutter-click transitions, spying with a professional camera, scenes framed through glass panels, close-ups on file details, the wall of people
Psych’s “Dual Spires,” a tribute to Twin Peaks
When the Psych duo travel to the northwest town of Dual Spires for a cinnamon festival, they stumble upon the death of Paula Merral, an anagram for Laura Palmer. While solving the crime, they meet some familiar (to us, at least) faces, including Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson), and Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs). Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), who already played Father Peter Westley on the show, even returned, though with a sudden shock of white hair, just like on Twin Peaks. Naturally, there was cinnamon pie and apple cider at the Sawmill Diner, which really is no substitute for the cherry pie and damn fine coffee at Double R Diner.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, props, musical cues
Community’s “Basic Lupine Urology,” a tribute to Law & Order
This love letter, written out of cut-up newspapers, to the stand-alone Law & Order (no SVU or CI nonsense here) followed the same set-up. It begins with a shocking discovery: a yam was murdered in the biology lab. Shirley plays the captain role, and the first half has Troy and Abed as wise-cracking detectives solving the crime (the law), while in the second, Annie and Jeff play the will-they-won’t-they prosecutors litigating their project saboteur to get their well-earned A (the order). There was a nice The Wire reference, too, when Jeff tells Annie “a man’s got to have a code” in a sidebar with Judge Marshall Kane, played by Omar Little himself, Michael K. Williams.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, opening narration, location/date placards and chung-chungs as transitions, guest appearance from a Law & Order figure: Leslie Hendrix, who played a medical examiner
Felicity’s “Help for the Lovelorn,” a tribute to The Twilight Zone
The black and white episode inexplicably set the show in the 1950s (no real electronics!), where, in Felicity’s search for a cure for her Noel/Ben heartache (Team Noel here, by the way), she visits The Clinic, a strange medical center that promises “help for the lovelorn.” She undergoes a treatment that would, as she discovers through a trail of glass hearts in the mail, a man in the shadows that warns her against the clinic, and emotionless friends who had the procedure, remove her heart. Based on The Twilight Zone’s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” (J.J. Abrams’ favorite one), the episode then transitions into a different scenario, which was one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen: Felicity and her friends are trapped in a white boxed room with no apparent exit, where they are forced to confront the other’s philosophical dilemmas.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, opening and closing narration
Scrubs’ “My House,” a tribute to House
This episode of Scrubs collected some of the most bizarre symptoms in the show’s history, including a man who was bright orange, a callback to the pilot of House. After going off on a rant about the impossibilities of a doctor’s life being like House’s, Dr. Cox is stuck playing the main figure’s role (especially after he has to use a cane when a paint bucket drops on his foot and hobbles around), solving everyone’s problems through simple explanations.
Also includes: Stylized flashbacks
The X-Files’ “Sunshine Days,” a tribute to The Brady Bunch
Anthony Fogelman (played by Michael Emerson) loves The Brady Brunch so much, he changed his name to Oliver Martin in honor of the family’s unlucky jinx of a cousin. Using his supernatural powers, he creates the Brady house through his mind. The X-Files crew actually recreated the set for this episode, which was directed by Vince Gilligan.
Also includes: Someone whistling the theme song, blurred scenes from the show
Supernatural’s “Clap Your Hands if You Believe,” a tribute to The X-Files
Although Supernatural is somewhat similar to The X-Files, this particular episode deals with crop circles, abductions, UFOs, and abductions by creatures that turn out not to be aliens, but fairies.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits
Nadia Chaudhury is still waiting for a full-on Parenthood/Friday Night Lights homage.