30 Days of Television: Day 12…
AN EPISODE I’VE WATCHED MORE THAN FIVE TIMES
Community - Virtual Systems Analysis. I’m a tv addict, so this question is pretty much “an episode of a show you like”. I decided though, that I’d pick something that I’ve watched over and over recently, and considering that this episode aired maybe six months ago, I decided it warranted a post.
Abed: We’re inside a locker. It’s where I spent a lot of time in junior high.
Annie: You think this is where we’d put you? You know that’s absurd, right?
Abed: I’m not stupid. You can see I’ve increased the square footage. It’s a metaphorical locker; it’s a place where people like me get put when everyone’s finally fed up with us.
Annie: Abed, that’s so maudlin. If you start turning into a vampire-
Abed: I’ve run the simulations, Annie. I don’t get married, I don’t invent a billion dollar website that helps people have sex. I don’t get into Sundance, Slamdance, or Dancepants—Troy invents Dancepants in 2012; don’t tell him, he needs to stumble onto it.
Annie: Alright, listen: The scenarios you’re running are like… Great Science Fiction. They’re impressive and detailed, and insightful. But they’re not accurate for crap! Science Fiction never has been. Look at 2001. Did we have a space odyssey? No. We got snowboarding in the Olympics and we over-validated Carson Daly…My point is, your simulations are nothing more than anxieties. You’re afraid you don’t fit in, you’re afraid you’ll be alone. Great news, you share that with all of us, so you’ll never be alone. And you’ll always fit in.
This episode is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on television, and I find that a lot of people just don’t agree. As a geeky, pop-culture driven introvert, it’s incredibly rare to see yourself represented on television in any way. Introverts just don’t exist on tv. Even the boys on the Big Bang Theory are extroverted geeks. Abed is wary and untrusting. He is observant and anxious. He feels that his friends will abandon him as soon as they find something better. He makes detailed predictions in his head, and is terrified about what might happen if they come true, and he’s pretty sure that at some point, people are going to work out that he’s not quite right and then they’ll be done with him.
I see so much of myself in Abed, and so much of Abed in me, and I think that’s why I love this episode so much, and that’s why it breaks my heart so much. I also think that’s why there’s such a divide on this episode. People either love it, or they think it’s a disaster, and I’d wager that’s entirely based on their basic personality type. Introverts can appreciate extroverts - because they’re the majority, and they’re all over the television. Extroverts just can’t comprehend introverts - and that’s not a criticism, it’s just an observation.
All that aside, I love the display of acting in this episode. I love the tiny nuances that each actor employs to pull off the ‘version’ of their character that appears in this episode. Joel McHale playing Abed playing Jeff - and you can tell - he’s just not quite his normal self, it’s some superb acting and it deserves proper praise.
It is a superb piece of television.
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