“Community” hypocrisy
2 mins read

“Community” hypocrisy

I’ve been watching “Community” with my roommate, suffering through this tiresomely “self aware” show. Yes, I know the show is 10 years old but I don’t like it, and now you have to know about it!

For those late to the party, “Community” is a show about a community college. This show seems to always shock me into watching it at some kind of meta-level. Every line seems to have a cynical overcalculated quality: smart but stupid, woke but mean, passive-aggressive but chill, tolerant but meticulously politically correct, etc.

The main character, Jeff, navigates another infuriating balance-binary: immature but mature. I feel like I’m not watching art, I’m watching unsubtle propaganda about how to obey the social norms of 21st century America. Sometimes the writing can be bold with the older cast members but mostly that is presented as inappropriate and weird. “Community” jokes mostly go something like this:

“Faux pas with racist overtones.”

“Uh, we like, don’t do that here.”

(The audience is meant to laugh at this point!)

A lot of this comes from Chevy Chase’s character, but he refuses to play the debased boomer that his lines depict, and so a lot of his delivery falls flat. He seems unwilling to totally offer up his dignity. Boomer solidarity, or boomer pride?

Listen reader, if I wanted cringey content, why should I watch this sitcom? It tries to represent itself as containing cringe but not being cringe itself. Maybe so, but there are whole subreddits dedicated to real, authentic cringe out in the wild. I much prefer that!

The writers seem to essentially believe in masculinity but also that they need to pretend not to. Hence the lead man Jeff of “Community” is an improbable lothario.

The way the female lead, Britta, is written in relation to Jeff rubs me the wrong way: he appreciates the radical ex-anarchist but he (Jeff, the writers, whoever) fundamentally knows better than her, actually “understands” the world, but is sensitive enough to appreciate her radical critiques too. This is why he is “right” for her. Yuck! This father-knows-best type made “cool” and wrapped in “sexy” just doesn’t do it for me.

Ultimately, I find myself annoyed because the show wants to have its cake and eat it too. The result is a finished product that is fundamentally “safe.”