A quick scout through the paintball photosphere will bring up dozens and dozens of listings for a show called ‘Community’…and no doubt a few mentions of that bloke that splayed Sawyer in Lost. Though it doesn’t air terrestrially over here yet, Community is an American comedy series on NBC that centres around a character called Jeff Winger as he experiences life at a typical community college.
What’s this got to do with paintball? Well the show revolves around a backbone of surreal humour (a little like Scrubs) and last year they launched an episode called ‘Modern Warfare’ which sees the college’s innocent paintball competition turn into a Tarantinoesque ‘paintball bath’ of hi-tech battles scenes, bullet-time cinematography and cliché after cliché – all which is totally excellent.
The episode rips off scenes from everything from Battle Royale to (Bedlam Favourite) Die Hard, and even opens in homage to some of the best zombie movies. The protagonist, Jeff, goes for a quick nap and then wakes up in a decimated paintball apocalypse, where the college is little more than a paint-splattered, eerily quiet war zone. The prize for the winning student? Priority registration for next year’s semester.
The episode received rave reviews from critics and online community members alike, prompting Community writers to hit their desks to pen a worthy sequel. The outcome was the hilarious “Fistful of Paintballs”, a true homage to Spaghetti Western movies and, as everyone predicted, it featured an awesome cameo from Lost’s Josh Holloway, playing a lone assassin who shows up at Greendale Community College to help one team achieve victory over their fellow students.
Why isn’t this on U.K. television yet?