Jumping on the Bandwagon: Community


by Noor Alnaqeeb (@nooralnaqeeb)

No spoilers.

Okay, even I admit I’m extremely late to join the Community party, but another week has passed and two more seasons were watched. I had always been told by my friends to watch Community but as the seasons went on I heard about it less and less. Tweets flooded my news feed as new episodes came out with a general air of disappointment. Having caught a few glimpses of these so-called “disappointing” episodes I didn’t quite understand why they thought the show had let them down. That is, until I watched season one.

Season One of Community is golden. But it sets itself up for failure, as the insanely gratifying season the show gave us can never come close to outdoing itself. Now, if you’re a film fan, you will love the juicy pop cultural references and the promise that with every new episode is the possibility of a myriad of new ’80s hidden treasures. If you know nothing about film, then you’re kind of stuck in a strange world where the characters in Community seem to constantly find themselves in bizarre situations quoting people you’ve never heard of. Even so, everyone finds common ground on trying to understand the dynamic of “the study group”.

Community finds itself with three females and four males; Brita, Shirley, Annie, Jeff, Pearce, Troy and Abed. The series does not give you the ‘la-de-da everybody loves each other’ dynamic; quite contrastingly every episode seems to focus on the flaw or flaws of a singular member of the group and the characters’ quest to either accept or correct that flaw. I won’t spoil anything but it becomes quite clear (and repetitive at times). Although the emotional development and depth of character plotlines isn’t particularly stimulating, the series makes up for it with episodes such as ‘Modern Warfare’ and ‘Epidemiology’. The series coordinators have a deep, deep well of resources that make every episode an introduction to a specific genre brought to life by Brita, the feminist with more self-consciousness than she’d care to let on, Annie the organized, but a tad crazy A-student, Shirley the mommy of the group, Jeff the Brita male-equivalent, Pierce the equivalent-to-none (this man is insane), Troy the athlete and Abed the aspiring filmmaker. One really attractive aspect of the series, as an analytical watcher, is that the writers throw in self-deprecating jokes about the series drawing attention to the predictability to plot structure but saying, “Hey, we don’t care, it still works and it’s still awesome”.

And with every series we watch, we try and figure out which character we would be. But I think Community teaches us in a very ‘The Breakfast Club’-esque manner that ‘in the simplest terms, and the most convenient definitions’, ‘each one of us is a brain and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal’. Except, instead of being in detention on Saturday, the cast of Community are in a study group, every single day.

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