Community fans rejoice: it’s Thursday.
I sometimes sit around and think about Community when it’s not on. Whether or not that’s a “good” thing is beyond me. I am the kind of person who walks around confronting his own split personalities—one loves sitcoms and one hates that I love them.
And one laughs at the fact that these other two are bitching at each other, but I digress…
I can’t get enough Community lately, and I feel bad that I only recently “discovered” the three-year-old show. I would have liked to have been on the ride since the beginning, but that’s one of the great things about television these days: syndication isn’t the only way to catch up.
When Hulu and Community teamed up after Community was temporarily benched, people like me were suddenly able to jump into the show from the beginning and catch up lightning-quick, even figuring out things like #coolcoolcool and #sixseasonsandamovie.
One of the interesting things, though, is how this sort of entire-catalog-convenience is necessary for a show like Community. Jason Mittel, in “Narrative Complexity in Contemporary American Television,” talks about the change toward complex narratives being presented in today’s popular culture (go read the entire article here—fascinating stuff). Shows like Lost are incomprehensible if shown out of sequence. The X-Files, with its interspersed mythology, still had numerous stand alone episodes that were just about the thing-at-that-time.
Community, much like Arrested Development before it, positions episodes upon the assumption that all others before it were watched. A fleeting joke might reference something from six episodes ago, and if you hadn’t watched that episode, the joke becomes a non-joke, falling on the floor like a cold Subway sandwich (#eatfresh).
Gawker even talked at length about how and why Community is so popular on the internet, saying, “Community, which devoted an entire episode to a Dungeons and Dragons session uses geek culture as a means to explore its characters.” (full article here) Community utilizes the geekish and dorky, not as ornamentation, but as a real and integral part of its story-telling. Additionally, I’d argue that it shows, whereas The Big Bang Theory (it’s Thursday night rival) tells.
For me, a novice Twitterer, I’ve found incredible joy with the Community community. Brittabot (
@BrittaBot311) and Evil Troy and Abed ( @EvilTroyAndAbed) are two of my favorite people (or three… I just don’t know) on Twitter. The fact that their identities are linked to the show, and the fact that they usually make my Thursday Twitter-strolls so entertaining, is a testament to Community’s quality and the reciprocal nature of the show’s fans. If I were to jump on Twitter and shout about how much I love Friends, I doubt that I would consistently have people give a flying shit, which would probably make me give up rather quickly.
That’s the difference maker. Real fans, true fans, will fight tooth and nail for something that they believe in. (Hulu’s best in show, anyone?) It’s what any content creator would want. Fans who geek out on the minutiae of the worlds you create. Fans smart enough to understand how important it is to actually tweet to advertisers who support your content. And while I hate product placement, I understand that having a Subway stand in Greendale is not the worst thing in the world. No fourth season? Yup, that would be the worst.
Additionally, a show as meta as Community really needs a Twitter community around it. It helps to play with the fundamentally flawed nature of reality that we experience on a daily basis. Abed, who at first seems to be the most flawed character of the bunch, has been shown to have qualities that we all probably strive for (dedication, intuition, keen skills of observation), and yet paradoxically, he’s the one that everyone else (except for Troy) considers most out of touch with reality. And that’s what a social network really is: a concocted and artificial reality. Is it more real than television? More real than real-life?
I’m not sure. I think I might have to ask Brittabot and Evil Troy and Abed.
Cool cool cool.