Community: The Art of Discourse

“I don’t care if this gets dirty.”

The longest joke on Community is Chang. His very presence is meant to annoy. He is the Cliff Clavin, the George Costanza, the Turtle, the Johnny Drama of Community. The joke is that those shows likely didn’t mean to create horribly annoying characters. Community did it on purpose, and Chang’s unfunniness is mean to be unfunny.

The thing is, it’s not. There may be some people out there who find him funny, but Mark and I don’t—and we have the microphone. (You can have your own microphone in the comments.) The “it’s unfunny to a degree that it comes back around and is funny again” thing is an interesting statement about the nature of humor, but it’s annoying to sit through. Really, really annoying.

(Don’t worry—here comes the relevance.)

“The Art of Discourse” is the same joke as Chang, twice over. The high-schoolers, with their mimcry and schmitties and duhs are painfully unfunny. The joke is that Jeff and Britta are unable to see the teenagers for the losers they are, and descend to their level all too quickly. And then stay there for 12 minutes of “duhing” that, mercifully, we are not forced to see. But what we do see is incredibly painful to watch. I wound up pulling back from the screen, and nearly tore my own incisors out with my toes, just to experience some sort of cathartic purgation.

Pierce, too, is the guy we love to hate whose transgressions aren’t funny but are funny in their unfunniness. That’s mostly true, but he crosses the line in pantsing Shirley, and the group isn’t wrong about his unfunny, disrespectful racism, sexism, etc-ism. Unlike the terrible A-plot, the story of Pierce’s and Shirley’s reunion is rather touching, although Shirley is either a better person than I am, or a weaker one: at some point, a guy like Pierce should be cut out of the group, because he never grows as a person or even learns how to pronounce Abed’s name.

The saving grace of this episode of Abed’s college bucket list and the way he and Troy work through it with remarkable diligence. Abed said that college experiences never erupt spontaneously, but—from his perspective—the food fight did. From our perspective, however, even that food fight seems like an odd tweak on #21: “Ridiculous situation turns into heavy-handed drama for the sake of story.”

Mark Says...

I’ll be brief and repetitive, I really, really, really don't like this episode. It's the only Community episode that I really, really, really don't like. I don't like the Pierce/Shirley plot. Am indifferent to Troy and Abed's antics. And I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really don't like the A-plot with Jeff, Britta and those really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really annoying teenagers. They make me wish this was a slash flick so they could all be brutally, horribly murdered in really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really brutal and horrible ways.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Two? One? out of four fresh kittens.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

4 comments:

Matthew said...

We can argue the demerits of Chang whenever, but George Costanza, annoying? Really??

Josie Kafka said...

Hi Matthew,

That list in the first paragraph is a line from the episode (Abed's), not my personal list. I wouldn't have included Costanza.

celticmarc said...

ahhhhhhhh

the one with the DUH-teenagers. The best has yet to come......

DUH !

ChrisB said...

Guess you two didn't like this one? I did, although I didn't love it. I really enjoyed the bucket list and the methodical way Troy and Abed went about checking things off.

But finally, I have a very soft spot in my heart for Animal House (my mother went to college with the guy who wrote it and one of the characters is based on her), so the togas, the food fight and the bits at the end about where they all end up made me grin.