If ever there was a cult show, it would be Community. A deeply loved show about a dysfunctional study group who have wacky misadventures and postmodern musings about everything, even postmodern musings. A show so deconstructionist it deconstructs deconstruction. Sadly, not a show which did well on normal television (stupid ratings!) but very well with its fan base. More than just this, Community is an epic testament to geekyness in all its forms.
Community has affectionate parodies of many different Geek Icons. A paintball two parter starts as a wild west adventure, then becomes a Star Wars parody in full force. The characters play DnD twice, and each time the players cause even more chaos. George Takei narrates a Halloween special about zombies because well, he’s George Takei. The characters make a low-budget spoof of Guardians of the Galaxy. Abed Nadir, the film enthusiast, often dresses up as Batman and hilariously pretends to be him.
Not only does Community have many glorious shout-outs, it gives a very accurate portrayal of what being a geek can be like. This show isn’t just about how happy and fun the randomness is. Like everything else it touches, it deconstructs the fantasy of an ideal nerd life. We have Abed, the socially impaired geek who has issues not seeing life through the lenses of genre conventions and is socially withdrawn. Troy is a man who hides his geekyness, until embracing it ends up making him his best friend for life. Neil is a suicidal depressed geek. All of these people face real problems that real people, geek or not, face.
This show doesn’t pull any punches, nor does it say geekyness is a bad thing. It shows that underneath, geeks are real people too. Also, that embracing yourself in a positive, realistic light, you are best able to live in a community. True coexistence is when everyone is honest about who they are and accept each other, but this cannot really happen unless people are honest with themselves first. It shows that being a geek is something to be proud of, even if no one around you agrees.
Unlike many geeks, I never felt the pain in school of being mocked for my nerdyness, but I was homeschooled also. In college, I was quick to surround myself with many intelligent, geeky friends. I guess I was lucky. But also I knew that the things I liked were cool whether other people agreed or not. And it extends beyond just the things I liked. Every one of us has no need to apologize for who we are or the things we like to anyone. Community is about how people form communities not because of how good, smart, or talented they are, but because they are willing to be themselves and accept each other where they are in life.
Community is an icon to everything geeky, not only because it calls back on many of our honored stories, but it also speaks of what our lives can be. It’s already lived on to the six seasons. I have full faith that somehow, Dan Harmon will have the movie made also. After that, maybe another season would be nice, but that’s because I tend to hate endings.
Have any of you seen Community? What are your thoughts on it? Do you agree that it is has a lot of important things to say about and for geeks? The comment section is your place to shine.