Skip

The fan-flattering hall-of-mirrors
March 28, 2011 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Was the latest episode of Community making fun of its fans? (spoilers in this link and others)

The episode, Critical Film Studies (Youtube), supposedly a Pulp Fiction episode, actually was a parody of My Dinner With Andre. But who was this bait-and-switch supposed to fool, and who was the butt of the joke in Abed's Cougar Town story...the other show, obsessive fans in general, or the viewers themselves?

Hollywood.com liked it.
The AV Club loved it.
Paste Magazine was confused by it.


Community Previously
PS: My Dinner with Andre is on Youtube in its entirety.
posted by Potomac Avenue (237 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
No, the last episode of Community was hilarious.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:32 AM on March 28, 2011 [28 favorites]


Nah, it was awesome. I wish I knew My Dinner better, would have enjoyed it all the more.
posted by bowline at 11:34 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Part of my enjoyment of that show is simply seeing how the writers and actors skillfully bend the sitcom format out of shape. And do so in pretty charming ways.
posted by chasing at 11:35 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now that that's settled, anyone know if the Hostess at the restaurant in the very beginning was actually Maria de Medeiros or just some girl who was supposed to look like her?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2011


The writers of Community need to venture outside and interact with a human being or two.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I been rather cold towards Community, but gave it a shot again last week. Really enjoyed it. It felt very meta - an extended comment about fandom on a show with a dedicated fanbase - and that was what made it fun.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:37 AM on March 28, 2011


You know what's really hilarious, though? Watching anything else but "Outsourced."
posted by chasing at 11:38 AM on March 28, 2011 [24 favorites]


Cripes, that first link sure is a condescending look at an array of lazy stereotypes.

(I thought the episode was sort of middling, but absolutely worth the investment of 22 minutes for Danny Pudi's amazing version of Abed acting like "real people")
posted by Greg Nog at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Huh. That epidose was directed by Richard "Moss from IT Crowd" Ayoade.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


I love "Community," but I love "Cougar Town" even more. It's one of the best shows on TV, with one of the worst names. The first 6 episodes were horrendous, but then the writers and directors realized they were the people who had made "Scrubs" so awesome, and dropped the cougar aspect entirely (apart from a joke recurring character who appears for <30sec an episode). And from what I can tell on Twitter, the production teams for both shows have an affectionate rivalry going on, which one of them--so far, at least--made into an actual episode.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


That episode was made of AWESOME - I was shocked at how good it was as it rolled on.

I recognized the Andre reference about halfway through the 'pooped my pants' story and nearly lost my mind. Fucking genius. Obtuse, narrow, dated references, a does of good-luck-reaching-non-TV-nerds and fucking genius.
posted by victors at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was just about to say that (Moss). As much as I ignore modern sitcoms, there are some very clever people masquerading as sitcom people on Community.
posted by cavalier at 11:43 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


/does/dose/
posted by victors at 11:43 AM on March 28, 2011


Now that that's settled, anyone know if the Hostess at the restaurant in the very beginning was actually Maria de Medeiros or just some girl who was supposed to look like her?

She actually looks like that all the time. I don't know her name, but I've seen her perform a lot- she's very active in improv comedy in Los Angeles (as most of the minor characters in Community are.)
I can say she is very funny. This is her group, Trophy Wife.
posted by joechip at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to say: I think that post misses the point of the episode entirely. Beyond entirely. Abed has been presented all along as a guy who lives inside a world of television and movie references. The reason for the Cougar Town story (in addition to being a funny story) is not to mock fans of Community; it is Abed presenting a story to Jeff that explains how Abed could be suddenly snapped out of his movie-TV obsessions (which Jeff believes, until he figures out it's all just a big sendup of My Dinner With Andre). What they're playing with in the story is how much Jeff is tempted to believe Abed could suddenly become someone else much easier to relate to. The sadness comes from Jeff realizing that Abed is still himself and still can't really break out of movies and TV. The Cougar Town story is just Abed's fake-sincere story of how he figured out he doesn't live in the TV. It was actually pretty poignant, to me. (Not that part, but later.)

In other words: Yes, the episode presents Abed, who's written as living and relating to other people solely through television and movies, as an obsessive to a problematic degree. That doesn't mean everyone who likes Community is being made fun of. Community has never suggested that Abed represents all fans, or the show's fans. Abed is Abed, and his extreme reactions and attachments to pop culture are specific to him.

Finally, I'd be surprised if this show, which has had to struggle to stay on the air, is writing episodes in order to to make fun of its relatively small but very enthusiastic fan base.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:45 AM on March 28, 2011 [24 favorites]


I was up late on Thursday night watching the entirety of My Dinner with Andre on youtube because of this episode. Amazing, awkward, hilarious... Community is the best show on tv and this shows why.

The linked article is a joke, though. He complains about a show having relatable characters who change over the course of time? At that point, the rest of his points are either invalid or hideously suspect.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 AM on March 28, 2011


Was the latest episode of Community making fun of its fans?

And would that be a bad thing? I think the fans of Community (and I count myself amongst them) understand the meta-ness of it all and can appreciate why being poked with the geeky stick every now and again is a good thing.

For instance, I knew within about two seconds the show was going to be something different than normal when I realized that it was being shot with a different film stock than it typically is.

This made the subsequent comments about people who invest too much time in their movies and TV way, way funnier to me.
posted by quin at 11:48 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


For me, Community works best when it is centered unreflexively on the very architecture its title invokes—a community of television characters living, for the most part obliviously, in the limbo world of a sitcom. The more Community becomes “Community,” on the other hand, a show that gazes deep into its own navel about the conventions of television and other popular forms, the more it begins to make my skin crawl. Even more so when I imagine the legions of “pop connoisseurs” who watch the show and think they are especially clever in that they and they alone have somehow miraculously come to understand how television “really works.” As with irony in general, I think Community appeals primarily to those who fantasize there are other people out there who do not “get” the references, or who might think the show is “too weird” and “quirky” because they simply don’t understand how it’s playing with the conventions of the form (a stock character I like to call the “hypothetical idiot”--and yes, I am aware that my own image of Community's audience replicates this strategy once again). It’s the same type of contempt film snobs (myself included) used to have for people who thought Sirk films were racist or sexist—the poor, poor ignorant fools.

Emphases mine; it's almost like someone was tasked with writing an essay that would demonstrate the way the word "hipster" works without actually invoking the word itself.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:49 AM on March 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


This guy seems to think Community would be a better show if it weren't so arch, so meta. To me, that's the only thing that really sets Community apart. What would be the point of Community if it were just another comfortable sitcom? I wouldn't watch it.

Then again, this guy apparently hated the Fat Neil episode, so there's just no accounting, I guess.
posted by gurple at 11:50 AM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was up late on Thursday night watching the entirety of My Dinner with Andre on youtube because of this episode.

I will support any sitcom which can cause this to happen.
posted by hippybear at 11:50 AM on March 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


You know what's really hilarious, though? Watching anything else but "Outsourced"

Clearly you have not seen "Perfect Couples."
posted by maryr at 11:52 AM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


We immediately started calling wine No-No Juice at my house.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2011 [27 favorites]


I like overthinking the tv as much as the next guy, but can't get get our faux-outrage over something less inane?
posted by jenlovesponies at 11:53 AM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe the writers are first and foremost making fun of themselves. Maybe these writers grew up playing D&D, geeking out to Star Wars, and idolizing the lives of characters on their favorite shows and movies. Maybe they expect their fans to be smart enough to be able to self-reflect and laugh at their own imperfections and vulnerabilities.
posted by En0rm0 at 11:54 AM on March 28, 2011


The guy who wrote that blog post sure seems smart, but ultimately, he doesn't get it at all.

Community is one of my favorite TV shows. I love all of the references, but I don't love them because they're so smart. Come on, it's just movies and TV.

I mean, if you're smugly smiling to yourself because you recognized a My Dinner with Andre reference, you're kind of an idiot. Everyone has seen My Dinner with Andre. And everyone who's seen My Dinner with Andre recognized it as soon as they saw Abed's jacket. This isn't really high concept stuff.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:54 AM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Greg Nog, I may just be underthinking this, but I'm pretty sure that most o the author's descriptions of Community fans is really just projecting.

What he's really trying to say is that he loves the show, for all of those reasons, but he hates himself for it because he's a pretentious hipster prick.
posted by atbash at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


You know what's really hilarious, though? Watching anything else but "Outsourced"

Clearly you have not seen "Perfect Couples."

Both shows are ... okay. Outsourced still has its issues with falling back on how those silly brown people don't know what it is to live in the first world for laughs, but it's gotten a lot better than it started off being. Perfect Couples has moments, but honestly I've watched every episode and I couldn't tell you the names of any of the characters. It's still funny to watch, but I wouldn't miss it if it went away.

You want a show with nothing redeeming about it, look to Big Bang Theory or Shit My Dad Says.

posted by kafziel at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2011


We all agree that Community is a very meta-TV show, there's no doubt about it. Very self aware when it is playing with tropes.

I think this last episode may have been a meta-commentary on the show's meta-ness.

Anyways, if you were looking for a Pulp Fiction episode and were disappointed, clearly this is exactly how the gang felt dressed up and waiting for Abed in the diner - disappointed that they were not having a Pulp Fiction party.

And if you felt miffed once you saw it was a Dinner with Andre homage, then you must have felt just like Jeff did.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:56 AM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Community might be the only show I still watch. If they want to make fun of me I can handle it, after all, I did just spend several hours discussing Very Special Episodes of 80s sitcoms a couple weeks back.

They really need a Parks and Rec crossover where Tom Heverford and Magnitude hang out.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:57 AM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


We're going w/ MeFI threads to discuss episodes of a television show? You don't have a water cooler nearby or something?
posted by xmutex at 11:59 AM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone has seen My Dinner with Andre.

I don't think it's nearly as universal as you think it is.
posted by hippybear at 11:59 AM on March 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


I love "Community," but I love "Cougar Town" even more. It's one of the best shows on TV, with one of the worst names. The first 6 episodes were horrendous, but then the writers and directors realized they were the people who had made "Scrubs" so awesome, and dropped the cougar aspect entirely (apart from a joke recurring character who appears for <30sec an episode). And from what I can tell on Twitter, the production teams for both shows have an affectionate rivalry going on, which one of them--so far, at least--made into an actual episode.

This! A thousand times this! I like Community a lot, but I love Cougar Town. And I can't get anybody I know to watch it, despite the good reviews from folks like Sepinwall and the AV Club.

I couldn't believe the extended Cougar Town monologue (of course the point of it wasn't Cougar Town, but still). They've traded shout-outs in the past, but this was something else. Damn you, ABC, for this stupid extended hiatus. At least you've renewed it for next season though.
posted by kmz at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2011


You don't have a water cooler nearby or something?

Nope.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't have a water cooler nearby or something?

You don't have a flag button or something?
posted by kmz at 12:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


As a side note, I've heard they're re-releasing My Dinner with Andre in 3-D.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't like any of the people I work with and don't wish to discuss television with them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 PM on March 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Everyone has seen My Dinner with Andre.

I've never seen it. I'm not even sure if I'd ever heard of it before this episode. The title sounds vaguely familiar, but if someone asked me what it was about or who was in it, I'd have no clue.

I say this as a person with a higher-than-average level of media consumption.

I love Community, but this episode didn't do it for me. Probably because I don't get the My Dinner with Andre connection. Needs more paintball.
posted by phunniemee at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2011


I love Cougar Town. And I can't get anybody I know to watch it

Please recommend a good introductory episode! The extent of my knowledge of the show is basically saying "Welcome... TO COUGAR TOWN" in the voice of Hammond from Jurassic Park to my cats who generally do not react
posted by Greg Nog at 12:03 PM on March 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


Can't say I've been able to endure a complete viewing of Community. Or even ten minutes of it, frankly. Cougar Town, otoh, is pleasurable enough, in a Scrubs sort of way.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:04 PM on March 28, 2011


>>Everyone has seen My Dinner with Andre.

>I don't think it's nearly as universal as you think it is.


I see what you did there. I wonder if Wallace Shawn has gone a week without a Vizzini reference since 1987.
posted by gurple at 12:05 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Community is great fun but I wonder about how long a show this self-referential will last. Also, as much as I appreciate all the inside references to other pop culture film/television/internet, that can only last so long, there has to be substance underneath.
posted by Fizz at 12:06 PM on March 28, 2011


I don't like any of the people I work with and don't wish to discuss television with them.

Is that because of the sucking that is space vacuum or because they are mindless zombies?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was actually really excited about Outsourced. I'd never seen the movie, but I'd just gotten back from a trip to India and imagined something like an Indian reimagining of The Office. I watched the first 20 minutes - diarrhea was a big plot point, if memory serves. A few weeks ago, I decided to leave the TV on and see if Outsourced had improved. More wacky brown people and a white guy with diarrhea.

Both it and Perfect Couples seem to have producer disease. Producers looked at shows like The Office and 30 Rock and thought the winning formula was "widescreen + no laugh track." They didn't notice the real ingredients - talented writers, undiluted perspective, funny actors.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoever wrote this episode deserves and award, and not an Emmy. A real award of some sort.
posted by dortmunder at 12:08 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't like any of the people I work with and don't wish to discuss television with them.

Right? Because every time I go down this path I end up having to be pulled off some stupid asshole who thinks that the Tenth Doctor was somehow better than the Ninth? Now the 11th I grant you, but Nine? No fucking way, and that's when the staplers come out and the real blood fight begins.
posted by quin at 12:08 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


To put things another way, there are two aspects of Community which set it so far apart from everything else on tv right now. The first is it's balls-out willingness to play with narrative conventions, and somehow make everything fit into the same world. Shirley can get pregnant during a zombie apocalypse and have it be revealed during a self-aware "bottle episode" and it all works. The second aspect is that the show loves and cares about its characters and is willing to slow down on occasion for them. Mark my words, something very big is coming with Britta by the end of this season. There has to be.

Anyway, this writer thinks the show would be better if it dropped the narrative experimentation and if the characters didn't have arcs, or were less realistic or relatable... or something.

Essentially, the writer knows big words and doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [18 favorites]


Clearly you have not seen "Perfect Couples."

I'll stand up for "Perfect Couples". I think it is laugh out loud funny and am sorry it is being canceled. Took a few episode for me to connect but I think it is very entertaining. I realize that I'm in the minority here, but, hey, I'm a hipster, so it's a net win.
posted by josher71 at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2011


Staplers? Where do you work, HEAVEN? We have to fasten things with a mixture of our bitter tears and bile from a hog.
posted by Mister_A at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, I found the idea that Abed might be a FANTASTIC actor an interesting turn. He doesn't understand the emotions he's portraying, but he can replicate them perfectly. And I was glad to see the call back to the Christmas episode - that is, that Jeff would continue to be worried about Abed's claymation breakdown. I'd like to see more follow up of both that and the last episode. They've done very well following up on seemingly one-off jokes with Chevy Chase's character (Pierce breaking his legs; Pierce waking up stoned in a park --> his legs stayed broken through the bottle episode; next episode opened with Pierce having been found and brought to a hospital).
posted by maryr at 12:10 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Dammit, I WISH my coworkers would get in to discussing Community like this.)
posted by maryr at 12:11 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I ADORED this episode. And I say that being completely confused and restless until the reveal.

My knowledge of My Dinner With Andre consists entirely of knowing its basic premise and knowing that Corky St. Clair owned action figures. But when that waiter showed up, I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed...

It was SUCH an Abed moment. I couldn't stop myself. It was EXACTLY my kind of nerdiness -- the kind that nobody understands. Knowing that Abed can indulge this on his own, no matter how much everyone else sneers at him... I think I love him a little more each week. He's a better man than I would be if I were male.

Also, there's just something about Shirley with a big mustache.
posted by Madamina at 12:13 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like Community a lot, and I really like how they play with tropes. I didn't really care for last week's episode. I thought it fell flat.

I like Perfect Couples a lot. I think it's very funny. I hadn't heard that it's canceled. That's too bad.
posted by OmieWise at 12:13 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it just me or does it seem like Chevy Chase is only included in the show for contractual reasons and that the writers can't stand him?
posted by mecran01 at 12:14 PM on March 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


quin, I am 100% in agreement with you about the Doctors, just so's ya know.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:14 PM on March 28, 2011


The second aspect is that the show loves and cares about its characters and is willing to slow down on occasion for them.

Because Canon is like my all-time favorite hobby-horse to ride, I will further posit that the care for the characters is actually part of their larger care for the world they've built. The biggest thing that bothers me about most sitcoms is the need to always hit the reset button at the end. Community appeals to the same part of my brain that loves Deep Space Nine and Avatar: The Last Airbender. The writers are slowly building an actual narrative, with long-term cause and effect, rather than simply using a static structure on which they hang each week's individual 20-minute narrative.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:15 PM on March 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Dunno, this might be a waste of valuable Metafiltering, maybe we should go back to grappling with the big problems, afer all the US economy seems to be permenantly broken, we have an outright bamboozler in the white house, we have 3 ongoing wars and we still haven't figured out what the fuck beetroot is and why Australians eat it on hamburgers.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:15 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


D'oh!

I've heard of My Dinner with Andre in passing, but have never seen it. For years and years, I assumed that the titular 'Andre' was referring to Andre the Giant, and that the premise of the movie was something akin to 'Dinner with Schmucks'.

Is there a term for a cinematic mondegreen?
posted by chara at 12:17 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Community failing at something would still be massively more compelling than most television shows. People are stating lots of the reasons. But it's mostly because the writers clearly care, and clearly try. If you aren't incredibly careful, television production and advertising revenues and studio beauracracy will grind every TV show down into catchphrases and a half men the way it happened to Ricky Gervais' fictional show on Extras. Community spend an entire season mocking their audience and they'd still have more respect for them than most sitcoms.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:18 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need this discussion of Community right now precisely because the rest of the world is falling apart.

Also, from what I can tell, our discussions of World Problems haven't changed a thing.
posted by mecran01 at 12:18 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


The way I see it, Ad hominem, this post serves as a valuable honeypot that keeps me from going into political threads to be all, "REGARDING GITMO, IT'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN EXPEDIENCY AND JUSTICE IN THE SAME WAY THAT IT'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN PORTRAYING TROY AS CHARMINGLY NAIVE AND DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED"
posted by Greg Nog at 12:19 PM on March 28, 2011 [16 favorites]


First to declare my biases: haven't seen the episode yet, slowly warming to Community.

Alright. So sweet mushroom gravy, there's turgid writing, and then there's pop commentary, and then there's like the full text of your mobile phone contract, and then there's metatextual pop commentary by academics posting oversight-free to their blogs.

This for example?

a habit/technique that seems to have particularly angered Southpark’s arbiters of “proper” satire, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who in their own bit of comedy-war intertextuality, attributed the writing of Family Guy to listless manatees randomly assembling Proppian gag balls in a swimming pool

I think the only more lifeless way to describe that (superlative) South Park scene would be to actually go back in time and shoot Trey and Matt dead. With lead slugs dug out of an ancient grave. While reciting the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Backed by a Grateful Dead medley. On the shores of the Dead Sea.

And this?

it even allowed for the critical recuperation of Star Wars, not as an embarrassingly slavish adaptation of Joseph Campbell’s ahistorical humanism, but as a sly “wink” to The Searchers and the regressive pleasures of the matinee serial.

Man would I love - by which I mean I would rather take those bullets for Trey and Matt and be done with it - to hear the full unpacking of this little gem. The "ahistorical humanism" part especially. I mean, given that Campbell's chosen and clearly delineated subject is folklore. Which is of course by its very nature ahistorical, in the sense of having rarely if ever been written down at the time it was first culturally relevant. And being by nature mutable. And multivalent. And open to interpretation not only by its observers but by its participants.

But then maybe I'm asking too much of something called "Ludic Despair."
posted by gompa at 12:20 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Actually, I found the idea that Abed might be a FANTASTIC actor an interesting turn.

This is actually sort of a callback to the episode where everyone wants him to talk to this one girl, and he demonstrates his ability to be smooth by hitting on Annie by impersonating Don Draper. (the DVD commentary on this was brilliant; Danny Pudi, the actor that plays Abed was apparently very nervous about 1.) trying to impersonate John Hamm and 2.) trying to do it in front of Alison Brie who was on Mad Men with Hamm, and worked his ass off to get it right.)
posted by quin at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


I loved Troy huddled in the bathroom singing the Reading Rainbow theme.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


maybe we should go back to grappling with the big problems

Penis size vs. geography?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:21 PM on March 28, 2011


Cougar Town is really good, you guys. But here's the thing:

Whenever I watch Community, it's fairly early in the evening. Maybe I'm eating dinner after putting the kids to bed or after a day at work that went long enough that I didn't get home in time to put the kids to bed. I'm still awake and I can pay attention and really enjoy it. It's a very good show. Not the best show ever and not nearly as good as its fans would have you believe. But it's a very good show.

But when I watch Cougar Town, it's generally quite a bit later than when I watch Community. I really ought to get to bed; maybe I had a long day at work and I'm ready to collapse. And Cougar Town is just funny enough to, you know, actually be funny, while not requiring me to really think about it and, I don't know, write a blog post or something just to fully internalize the episode, or something.

Comedy should make the viewer feel at least a little uncomfortable. Generally, liking Community makes me feel like I'm a bit too much of a hipster. Liking Cougar Town makes me feel a little stupid and embarrassed to tell anyone. For that reason, I think Cougar Town is the superior show, notwithstanding the fact that it is not nearly as smart or well-crafted as Community. But Community's My Dinner With Andre episode changed that dynamic - it went out of its way to tell Community's own viewers that they are just as stupid as Cougar Town's fans - if not stupider because of their overthinking and fawning. So, in that moment, Community became a better show than Cougar Town. Why? Because it made self-aware viewers embarrassed to like it. Awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 12:22 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Community spend an entire season mocking their audience and they'd still have more respect for them than most sitcoms.
posted by haveanicesummer


That should read- "Community could spend and entire..."
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:24 PM on March 28, 2011


Please recommend a good introductory episode!

Oof, that's hard to say... a lot of the charm is watching the characters interact and grow and change from the beginning, and that includes the first eps of the series when the cougar aspect was still a big part. The Thanksgiving ep (number 9, Here Comes My Girl) from the first season is generally well-regarded though, and you can catch up from the beginning if it piques your interest. The Halloween ep from season 2 (number 6, You Don't Know How It Feels) is also great, but might be too far along as an intro ep.

Because every time I go down this path I end up having to be pulled off some stupid asshole who thinks that the Tenth Doctor was somehow better than the Ninth? Now the 11th I grant you, but Nine? No fucking way

Wait wait wait. Are you implying Tennant was better than Matt Smith? Ten had his moments, but some of those moments were moments of cringe. Watching Eleven on the other hand has been pure joy. 11 vs 9 would be tough though. Ecclestone was so bloody fantastic. Though a lot of my memories of his season is now tainted by RTD's ridiculous obsession with Rose. WE GET IT RUSSELL, ROSE IS PERFECT AND THE DOCTOR WILL ALWAYS PINE AFTER HER. Way to ruin a great character. See also: William the Bloody.

*unholsters my Swingline, ready for all comers*
posted by kmz at 12:28 PM on March 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


I liked it, loved it, and was confused by it.

Needs more paintball.

It's all downhill from here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:29 PM on March 28, 2011


I love Community easily my favorite TV show on right now. I don't think they were mocking their audience at all, I think that the writers know who the audience is and who watches the show and writes the show for the fans. There are certain shows where the characters feel forced to stay in their one vain and not be able to leave that area. Like how Abad played somebody not using pop culture references at ever instance or Jeff showing an emotional side and showing what his life is like while he is normally closed off. I think it also showed in my favorite episode "Contemporary American Poultry".
posted by lilkeith07 at 12:31 PM on March 28, 2011


I loved Troy huddled in the bathroom singing the Reading Rainbow theme.

I'll see your brilliant moment of comedic perfection and raise you with Annie charging in to chloroform the janitor. I laughed so hard I think I broke something in my brain.
posted by quin at 12:31 PM on March 28, 2011 [13 favorites]


Ten had his moments, but some of those moments were moments of cringe.

You take that back. Right now.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:32 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm with kmz. I hadn't realized how sick I was of Ten until Eleven showed up. David who?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:34 PM on March 28, 2011


Is it just me or does it seem like Chevy Chase is only included in the show for contractual reasons and that the writers can't stand him?

I get the impression, though I have very little to back this up, that much of what has happened to Pierce is based on things Chevy himself has done. Especially the episode where Annie put on the drug awareness play.
posted by drezdn at 12:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've heard of My Dinner with Andre in passing, but have never seen it. For years and years, I assumed that the titular 'Andre' was referring to Andre the Giant, and that the premise of the movie was something akin to 'Dinner with Schmucks'.

I shit you not, I thought this exact same thing. Chara, you are not alone.
posted by zerbinetta at 12:38 PM on March 28, 2011


Abed has a posse.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:39 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did someone once do a Dinner with Andre the Giant sketch?
posted by drezdn at 12:40 PM on March 28, 2011


And oh, the Cougar Town producers do know it's a horrible title. They thought about retitling the show after the first season, but apparently decided it would be too risky. Instead, they've been putting in-jokes on the title card (in place of where it used to say "Welcome to" above the Cougar Town sign):

1. (Still)
2. Welcome To
3. Badly Titled
4. Not What the Show Is
5. 100% Cougar Free
6. Titles Are Hard
7. Modern
8. It's Okay To Watch A Show Called
9. Regretfully, We Give You
10. All I Want For Christmas Is A New Title
11. New Year's Resolutions: Embrace Our Stupid Title & Lose Six Pounds [title] (We Love it!)
12. Starting To Own It
13. Do We Have To Do This Joke Forever?
14. (See You Soon) [title] (Stay In Touch @VDoozer, @KBiegel or @CougarTownRoom)
posted by kmz at 12:40 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


i enjoy the show, but find it wildly uneven. this last episode is no different: as a mash-up, it failed. but there were some brilliant moments. and yeah - shirley with a mustache... oh, man - that had me on the floor, i was laughing so hard. so it is always worth watching.

as for the tenth doctor, all my friends shout me down when i say i prefer the 9th. they rather harshly insist tennant was the best doctor evar and that i am somehow deeply flawed for thinking otherwise. of course, the 4th doctor is the paradigm.
posted by lapolla at 12:43 PM on March 28, 2011


Everyone has seen My Dinner with Andre.

11 vs 9 would be tough though. Ecclestone was so bloody fantastic.

You guys are both trolling, right?
posted by reductiondesign at 12:44 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen this episode yet - but you mean to tell me there's one that's even more enjoyable than the paintball one?

"No way.. they're not parodying... OMG.. Does he have a... YES! LOVE THIS!" (while watching the end)
posted by mrbill at 12:45 PM on March 28, 2011


Yeah, re-reading quin's assessment of the Doctors I take back my agreement. Th proper order of excellence is:

11
9
10

With 11 and 9 neck-and-neck, and 10 losing ground mostly because the writing in his seasons was so often so awful.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:48 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


oh, and - i LOVE LOVE LOVE danny pudi.

guess i'll have to try watching cougartown. (no joke, the title put me off so much, i've never even given it a try.)

i do love parks and recreation! but i think tom haverford would spend his time fawning over jeff, not magnitude, Ad hominem.
posted by lapolla at 12:50 PM on March 28, 2011


Is it just me or does it seem like Chevy Chase is only included in the show for contractual reasons and that the writers can't stand him?

I'm pretty sure you've just described most of Chevy Chase's career.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:55 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


He was a great Andre Gregory. I mean, seriously great.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:57 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Abed as Don Draper.

If you don't love this, you are not a good human being.
posted by auto-correct at 1:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


11
9
10


This is actually exactly what I was going for, but my inability to articulate myself (I blame a well placed staple) manifested and screwed me over.

11 is fantastic. Seriously, as far as I'm concerned he's reinvented the character in a way that outshines everyone else (except 9, who's rage is still a source on inspiration.) and yeah, 10 is quite good, but he got saddled with a lot of bad writing, though some of the best episodes have still been his (Blink, comes to mind.)

Smith's 11 benefits from Moffat all the time, and Karen Gillian who is exactly the kind of mostly non-romantic companion that the show has needed. (Tate was also very good in this role, but I think that Gillian with her foil of Rory works better).

Anyhow /derail

You know what this thread needs? More love for Don Glover. This last season they seem to have put him more in the background, which is probably because if they didn't it would quickly become the Abed and Troy show.
posted by quin at 1:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don Glover can wring deep, deep laughs out of lines that might bring a chuckle from anyone else.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:03 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Don Glover can wring deep, deep laughs out of lines that might bring a chuckle from anyone else.

Yes. I often find myself yelling "Kettle corn? That's a fun-time snack!" for no reason.
posted by jbickers at 1:04 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I would watch the shit out of Troy and Abed in the Morning!
posted by kmz at 1:05 PM on March 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


More love for Don Glover.

He also raps as Childish Gambino. I like it a bunch.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think we can probably expect a lot more Troy next season (yay! it got renewed!) as Dan Harmon & co. figure out what kind of an arc he can go on. I have no doubt that they are thanking the stars every night that they have someone as awesome as Dan Glover to work with.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2011


Don Glover, I mean.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:06 PM on March 28, 2011


mrbill - I wouldn't go that far. That's still one of the best half hours of television I have ever seen.

RE: Chevy - In the behind the scenes clips on Hulu, the rest of the cast doesn’t seem all that fond of Chevy either. For example, they showed that in this episode, most of the work was done by Chevy’s body double. Even Joel McHale who is ostensibly the show's star and is slightly less enthusiastic than say, anything with Danny Pudi and Allison Brie hanging out, seems to enjoy talking about the show and his castmates... except Chevy.

Re totally off topic Doctors: I assume that Doctor Who is like MST3K. Whether you're a Mike or a Joel fan all depends on who you saw first.
posted by maryr at 1:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Troy and Abed are the best reason to watch the show. I like Annie a lot, too.

I used to like all of the teachers, back when they were cast as occasional, sparingly used foils for the main group. But their increased inclusion and fleshing-out is less then great.
posted by oddman at 1:09 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh and as long as I'm jumping around on the rails, for anyone who isn't aware of it; Don Glover's movie The Mystery Team is magnificent. If you like the things that make him funny as Troy, you will probably enjoy the hell out of it.
posted by quin at 1:10 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whether you're a Mike or a Joel fan all depends on who you saw first.

Yes it is very much like that.

That being said, TOM BAKER!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:12 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


set phasers to LOVE ME
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also this sketch seems like it is going to be stupid and low-brow at first but actually causes me to lose breathing abilities due to its humor.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:16 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


And while we're on Donald Glover, "Mixology Certification" was one of the best and most underrated eps this show has done.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:28 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now that that's settled, anyone know if the Hostess at the restaurant in the very beginning was actually Maria de Medeiros or just some girl who was supposed to look like her?

Do you mean her, Potomac?

Not Maria. Actually that's my awesome friend Jill Alexander. I don't believe she's meant to look like Maria.
posted by incessant at 1:30 PM on March 28, 2011


Community is downright awesome, and it's painful that i have a friend who LOVES Outsourced, but refuses to watch Community. (We both watched the Outsourced movie together and it was actually much better than the show, but that's another story.) He also has dreams of being a screenwriter. You have no idea how much that depresses me that i can't seem to get him to watch it.

I honestly tried watching Cougar Town, sometime in the first season, and it just grated on me. So much that i've been surprised that people still talk about it, and not as a punchline.
posted by usagizero at 1:31 PM on March 28, 2011


Oh my god, did I just flashback to my semiotics in cinema class? Congratulations Jeffrey Sconce, you have bored me to tears in your self absorbed "essay" about a clever self aware TV show.

Maybe you need to get a life. One that does not involve parsing a COMMUNITY episode as if it were the lost testament of Judas.

There could be a good discussion about how Community has bent the rules of sitcoms over the last few years, but this isn't it.
posted by cjets at 1:35 PM on March 28, 2011


Don Glover, I mean.

Who are you calling a dong lover?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Re: Chevy, yeah it seems like Chevy's there expecting to be fawned over as the comedy legend and the writers are clearly now making fun of him as that senile guy who won't go away but expects insane amounts of attention (I mean... it was his arc this season). I hope that they aren't as mean to him as the writers were to Valerie's character on the Comeback... He seems mostly harmless. Also see Bill Murray's take on Chevy.

Alot of what's awesome about the characters is... restraint. Annie and Shirley's characters are blowing up from restraint, and its amazing when they get to release it.

also... no-no juice.
posted by stratastar at 1:37 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mark my words, something very big is coming with Britta by the end of this season.

Community is Gilllian Jacobs first comedic roll, and with her Juilliard background she can do bleak drama really well. I'd hate to see Community get too serious, but it could be amazing to take this ostensibly fun and silly show and let one of the characters have a really dark moment of some kind.

Not unlike what they did on How I Met Your Mother perhaps?

I watch too much TV.
posted by quin at 1:42 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The main link in this post is written by someone who doesn't love Community, trying to convince me not to love community. As an added bonus, he totally doesn't get it. Community's audience understands that creating a fan group on Facebook makes us vectors for corporate culture; we do it anyway "simply to express our love for the show." Yes, we are Abed, but we're cool with that, because Abed is awesome.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:43 PM on March 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry, the best Community episode ever was "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design." Because not only was the blanket fort B-plot silly, random, and awesome, but the A plot was the only time a sitcom has ever made me believe, even for a second, that the characters might have ACTUALLY SHOT SOMEONE. Because that's how committed this show is. "Wait, did they just -- no, they couldn't have -- but they might have ..."

I watched that episode three times. THREE TIMES!

Advanced D&D is a close second, that cracked my shit up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:44 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Annie and Shirley's characters are blowing up from restraint, and its amazing when they get to release it.

Annie's scream during Jeff's "proposal" to Britta in the season 2 opener is something I had to watch over and over again just to see if it would ever stop being funny. It did not.

Community is Gilllian Jacobs first comedic roll, and with her Juilliard background she can do bleak drama really well.

Definitely, and by this point I think we've just reached saturation with the amount of hostility the world spits at her in her attempts to do something nice. Something's gotta give.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:46 PM on March 28, 2011


Annie's scream during Jeff's "proposal" to Britta in the season 2 opener is something I had to watch over and over again just to see if it would ever stop being funny. It did not.

Omigod that angry double-dare-you chicken-run awkward kiss that Jeff and Britta had in that episode was easily the greatest thing ever.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:55 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


But there are dark moments in the show, ALL THE TIME. That the show has deep sadness rolling right under the surface that is its best part, (I think one of the currents underneath the show is that when they graduate they really will be pulled apart, Jeff mentioned this in the first episode).

Now I'm into undergrad beanplate mode: I forgot about the bond that Jeff and Britta had in the first season, they really pulled away from each other since boning haven't they?

And I don't know if it was a throw-away line, but was Abed's remark about the only girl he ever loved falling in love with his best friend about the librarian chick choosing Troy?
posted by stratastar at 1:56 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Agreed, Navelgazer. I think the writers underlined the global antipathy towards Britta with her treatment in the diner this last episode. Annie coming out and saying "Nobody likes Britta" was as overt foreshadowing as I've ever seen on the show.

I came to Community late, prompted by the orgasmic reaction on my twitter feed to the AD&D episode, but once I started watching it I was hooked. And I've had My Dinner with Andre sitting in my queue for the longest time and this episode was what prompted me to finally watch it.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:57 PM on March 28, 2011


For post-er(rrrr until youtube pulls it)

Annie's scream during Jeff's "proposal" to Britta in the season 2 opener is something I had to watch over and over again just to see if it would ever stop being funny. It did not.

Omigod that angry double-dare-you chicken-run awkward kiss that Jeff and Britta had in that episode was easily the greatest thing ever.

posted by stratastar at 2:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Knowing the references deeply helps with Community. Owning My Dinner With Andre and accidentally watching it the day before this episode aired increased my enjoyment a lot. It's funny for a casual viewer, but for a fan of the reference, it's *very* funny.
posted by acheekymonkey at 2:07 PM on March 28, 2011


And I don't know if it was a throw-away line, but was Abed's remark about the only girl he ever loved falling in love with his best friend about the librarian chick choosing Troy?

I don't think so... he has that secret service agent, after all.
posted by maryr at 2:16 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did someone once do a Dinner with Andre the Giant sketch?

Andy Kaufman made My Breakfast with Blassie, a parody of My Dinner with Andre that co-starred the legendary wrestling villain Freddie Blassie. It's available in its entirety on youtube (here's part one of six).
posted by turaho at 2:17 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not unlike what they did on How I Met Your Mother perhaps?

Oh man, HIMYM has been hitting it out of the park lately. There's a specific moment in the latest episode with Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow acting their hearts out that got me super choked up. I am slightly worried about the 2 year pickup, because I don't want them to X-Files/Lostify themselves.

I watch too much TV.

I watch way too many sitcoms. But I really do think we're in a golden age of TV comedy. Community, Parks & Rec, Cougar Town, and HIMYM (after a lackluster 5th season) are all in top form. 30 Rock and The Office still have occasional brilliant episodes in the middle of general declines. Modern Family is solid, and I know lots of people love shows like Raising Hope, Archer, etc.
posted by kmz at 2:20 PM on March 28, 2011


Archer, etc.

No, we will not start talking about Archer. Because if you think I can go off topic in a conversation about Community, you have no idea how hard I will derail to talk about Archer.

"That's a lot of scalps!"
posted by quin at 2:25 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't believe she's meant to look like Maria.

That seems unbelievable but maybe it was just synchronicity.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:28 PM on March 28, 2011


Yeah, just synchronicity. They were in the world Abed had created at that point, not the one Jeff had made.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:30 PM on March 28, 2011


Re totally off topic Doctors: I assume that Doctor Who is like MST3K. Whether you're a Mike or a Joel fan all depends on who you saw first.

No way, it's about the Mads. Joels and Mikes come and go, but there will only ever be one TV's Frank.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:45 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought this was going to be about Britta spoiling 'Catfish'.

I love me some Community. It's the first Comedy in recent memory that I've felt emotionally attached to while being impressed with it's creativity. I care about these characters. That they can do that while existing in a magical version of reality is an achievement.

I found out that a good friends girlfriend thinks the show is shit. I will not be discussing the show with her because Im afraid I might call her rude names.

Also: No love for the Dean? I laugh at everything he says. 'Would that this hoodie were a time hoodie!'
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 2:50 PM on March 28, 2011


No, we will not start talking about Archer. Because if you think I can go off topic in a conversation about Community, you have no idea how hard I will derail to talk about Archer.

Really? Because this week's episode was fucking amazing.

RAMPAGE!!!!!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


... still in the room...
posted by Navelgazer at 2:51 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish I appreciated Archer the way it seems everyone else does. It is ok, but doesn't inspire me to watch it on purpose.
posted by josher71 at 2:53 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we talking about Archer? Wow, that show came out of nowhere and made me love it. I watched it while sick in hospital and frequently had to bite my tongue to stop from bellowing with laughter and waking my room mates. Amazed that the second season has kept up the quality. The writing and delivery is superb.

'Thats how you get ants!'
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 2:54 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


RAMPAGE!!!!!

Damn you.

Wait, wait, I had something for that...
posted by quin at 2:55 PM on March 28, 2011


So are these shows good in the same way that 30 Rock used to be good?
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:58 PM on March 28, 2011


Oh we're talking about Archer now? Archer is the most amazing thing ever, it actually made me go back and get Frisky Dingo, which is less amazing, but, oh good, Archer? *sploosh*
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:01 PM on March 28, 2011


Better, Dahlia. At least, Community is. And Parks and Rec, not counting the first season when it tried to be The Office.
posted by maryr at 3:01 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It appears I have some pretending-to-go-to-the-DVD-store to do, in that case. One tacit recommendation is all it takes for me to break the law!
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:02 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mentioning funny shows and no one has mentioned Bob's Burgers? The last two episodes have been inspired.
posted by drezdn at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2011


I strongly suspect that part of the appeal of Archer for me is that it much of its voice cast is straight from Arrested Development, and while the characters are different, the dynamics the actors developed together is really apparent.

Well, that and a bunch of writers that can put phrases together that get into your head and just live there.

At this point saying "Yup!" in just the right way can basically break me.
posted by quin at 3:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem I have with Bob's Burgers is that that guy on the screen, despite sounding exactly like him, clearly isn't Archer!
posted by quin at 3:07 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


So are these shows good in the same way that 30 Rock used to be good?

YuUP!
posted by stratastar at 3:13 PM on March 28, 2011


So ... umm ... anybody else like Adventure Time?
posted by Afroblanco at 3:14 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


So ... umm ... anybody else like Adventure Time?

Yeah, but I don't have the energy to talk much about it: feeling a little chubby-tired.
posted by Theodore Sign at 3:20 PM on March 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never seen adventure time and people keep gushing to me about it... must rectify this.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:29 PM on March 28, 2011


While we're at it, can anyone explain to me why I should watch Cougar Town? Because all I hear about the plot of it now is "people sit around and drink wine and talk in a cul-de-sac," which makes me think, "uh, why is it such a big deal then?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:50 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cougar Town is decent, and it's better than its name would suggest, but it's just a regular sitcom. It's a little better than, I don't know, Everybody Loves Raymond for example. I don't know what is up with internet people.
posted by furiousthought at 3:58 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm stunned to find myself enjoying Perfect Couples, and I think I can chalk it up to the cast. Funny actors can overcome so-so writing.

The premiere episode of Bob's Burgers had me on the floor, but it's been downhill since.

But Community is my favorite show on TV and not just because of my crush on Gillian Jacobs. It's one brave show, and it gets away with it.
posted by evilcolonel at 4:05 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cougar Town is very clever and well-written and acted but essentially meaningless and vapid. That is fine of course, everything doesn't have to be heady or edgy, but the characters just don't have the depth of say, Malcolm In The Middle or Scrubs or HIMYM, three other shows that it resembles in terms of cheesy wackiness. It's more on the level of Will And Grace or Drew Carey where its eternally likable but fundamentally unmoving.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:06 PM on March 28, 2011


I'm glad perfect couples got canceled even though I enjoyed it because it means there's more room for the League which is exactly the same except with Football sometimes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:07 PM on March 28, 2011


I knew it was a My Dinner with Andre spoof right off the bat--i.e. Jeff's internal monologue. Abed's sweater sealed it.

I've seen My Dinner with Andre exactly once.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:07 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad perfect couples got canceled even though I enjoyed it because it means there's more room for the League which is exactly the same except with Football sometimes.

It's getting replaced by The Paul Reiser Show.

Thanks, America.
posted by kafziel at 4:08 PM on March 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's more on the level of Will And Grace or Drew Carey where its eternally likable but fundamentally unmoving.

Will And Grace! That is exactly Cougar Town's quality level. Not awful! But not cult comedy status either.

"The Paul Reiser Show." Fuuuuuuck.
posted by furiousthought at 4:19 PM on March 28, 2011


If Abed starts quoting Archer I think I'll explode.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:24 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can we all agree with the fact that Perfect Couples > anything Paul Reiser does?
posted by josher71 at 4:32 PM on March 28, 2011


Can we all agree with the fact that Perfect Couples > anything Paul Reiser does?

I'll put that on a certificate suitable for framing.
posted by evilcolonel at 4:36 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno. Paul Reiser was a pretty reprehensible bad guy in Aliens.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Despite all of the problems that Perfect Couples has, it doesn't deserve that.
posted by kafziel at 4:45 PM on March 28, 2011


I liked Perfect Couples, watched it every week, and we're a N***son family. Still not enough to save it, I guess.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It appears I have some pretending-to-go-to-the-DVD-store to do, in that case. One tacit recommendation is all it takes for me to break the law!

Go forth and binsearch, my child, with my blessings.

My wife and I started watching Community last week (the only reason it even showed up on our radar was the hoopla over the D&D episode). We've been watching three to five eps per night since, and are already feeling sad that soon we'll be into 'one ep per week' territory. We both matriculated through a community college (TAFE, in Australia), and this is exactly what it was like (and probably still is like at the Uni of Canberra :P). We can't get over how consistently fantastic it is, even when it slows down for a little moralising or to beat you around the head with some weepy sentimentality.

I'm off for a baggle and some special drink.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:00 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked Archer better when it was Sealab 2021.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I love Community but there are lots of things I don't like about it - the happy endings, Senor Chang, and Britta, to name a few. When someone makes a perfect television show, I hope they never make me watch it.
posted by doublehappy at 5:17 PM on March 28, 2011


I liked Archer better when it was Sealab 2021.

Not. Even.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 5:18 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked Archer better when it was Sealab 2021.

Oh yeah? Well...

Wait, I had something for that.

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:19 PM on March 28, 2011


Can we all agree with the fact that Perfect Couples > anything Paul Reiser does?

Nope. Even Mad About You was at least ten times better than that tripe.

And, yeah, Aliens.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:24 PM on March 28, 2011


Nope. Even Mad About You was at least ten times better than that tripe.

We must agree to disagree, I'm afraid.
posted by josher71 at 5:42 PM on March 28, 2011


I mean, even My Two Dads has a leg up. It's that awful.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:46 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Greg Evigan is no Hayes Macarthur.
posted by josher71 at 5:50 PM on March 28, 2011


AzzaMcKazza: I love me some Community. It's the first Comedy in recent memory that I've felt emotionally attached to while being impressed with it's creativity. I care about these characters. That they can do that while existing in a magical version of reality is an achievement.
Agreed, I adore Community more than any show around right now, and almost as much as I did Arrested Development. Which of course made this most recent episode fantastic, since the reality is, as the Onion AV Club article notes, we do form our relationships and interactions based on things like movie quotes. How many people between the ages of say 25-40 recite lines from AD or "The Big Lebowski" in lieu of genuinely meaningful conversation?
posted by hincandenza at 6:18 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stick with references from Family Guy, actually talking about the plot of a show is too intimate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:23 PM on March 28, 2011


Community is definitely one of my favorite shows out there, and I have to say it was refreshing to see so many fans of the show also love Archer, because I've been trying to get people I know who love Community to watch the damn thing and they just won't listen.
posted by nightchrome at 6:28 PM on March 28, 2011


I listen, you just watch so much crap I have to filter everything :)
posted by lundman at 6:29 PM on March 28, 2011


While we're at it, can anyone explain to me why I should watch Cougar Town?

The show alternates between being very sweet and very silly. I think it comes down to just liking the characters. It seems like they're having a lot of fun with each other, and that makes it fun to watch.

I can see where it would be hard for a casual viewer to come into the middle though. Running bits like penny can won't make any sense (not that it made any sense when they introduced the game either, but over time you just have to love that they love it do much).
posted by willnot at 7:05 PM on March 28, 2011


I've mentioned it before, but the ONLY thing I will ever thank my most recent ex-girlfriend for, is introducing me to Community.
posted by mrbill at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2011


Aside: I know 30 Rock is supposed to be on the decline but the scene with Tina Fey and Aaron Sorkin in last week's episode was fucking beautiful. The dig about Studio 60: priceless.

"Did we just walk in a circle?"
posted by dry white toast at 8:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think everybody here missed the (by far) most important thing in the episode: Alison Brie as Honey Bunny. Rrrrrowr!
posted by whuppy at 8:47 PM on March 28, 2011


People are either going to get enough of Community's references to enjoy it, or not watch. I'm rather amazed (and happy) that that appears to be a large enough base to keep it on the air...

11 - 9 - 10. Tennant suffered from mediocre writing, but also, I always wished that he'd have brought a bit more of the insanity of his "Viva Blackpool" character to the role. In contrast, my expectations for Smith were pretty low, and he knocked it out of the park...
posted by nonliteral at 9:19 PM on March 28, 2011


I know everyone here hates Outsourced, but I've been enjoying it a little. I'm impressed by a couple of the Indian actors and, unlike Perfect Couples, at least it is trying to do something new. (And it taught me about Holi, which I had never heard of.) Perfect Couples is like NBC looked around and felt that what the world was really missing was another show about five white financially-comfortable suburbanites plus Olivia Munn sometimes speaking Vietnamese. They drink wine and have misunderstandings. Will the attractive wife forgive the doofy husband? Stayed tuned!
posted by maryr at 9:19 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maryr, Outsourced makes me wince often, but I have to admit I have less trouble feeling empathy for / identifying with the characters on it than I do any of the cast of Perfect Couples.
posted by nonliteral at 9:21 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even more so when I imagine the legions of “pop connoisseurs” who watch the show and think they are especially clever in that they and they alone have somehow miraculously come to understand how television “really works.”
Ok, so the guy who prides himself on deconstructing television shows is pissed off that other people enjoy doing the same thing that he does.
Repeatedly invoking the “Kool-Aid” pitcher as a running gag, a la Family Guy, is a bit “on the nose,” a reference made for the sake of making a reference and one that is impossible to mistake (and a habit/technique that seems to have particularly angered Southpark’s arbiters of “proper” satire, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who in their own bit of comedy-war intertextuality, attributed the writing of Family Guy to listless manatees randomly assembling Proppian gag balls in a swimming pool).
This is a SINGLE SENTENCE. Seriously? What the hell is wrong with this guy?
posted by kdar at 9:24 PM on March 28, 2011


and I forgot to </blockquote> :(
posted by kdar at 9:25 PM on March 28, 2011


Okay, I'm going to be THAT guy: I LOVE Outsourced. The writing evinces clear affection for every. single. one of the characters. Last week's episode was a good example of that--it treats its characters with empathy and kindness, generally, though at first I had this knee-jerk "that's racist!" reaction. The more I watch, the more I'm convinced that's not the case. There was a subplot in last week's show which was all about Manmeet making a video for his American girlfriend about his life and it was all about embracing his adorable Indian self, essentially.

(The writer's approach to the ever-increasing depth of Madhuri's character is another good example of this.)

As for community, I've seen a handful of episodes. I loved the D&D ep, but the others I've seen, including this one, felt really sitcommy. But generally I have trouble with humor that's more about being referential than being . . . I don't know, something else. Something just always feels off about it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:38 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


But Perfect Couples is definitely a POS.

(Also, The Office has been kind of stinking up the place lately. Now that Michael has Holly, who the hell cares?)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:39 PM on March 28, 2011


I'm liking Outsourced too, don't know enough about India to know if I should be wincing or not but the charecters are fun and the writing is pretty good. Fish out of water is pretty cliche for comedy but at least it isn't smart wife/dumb husband.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:44 PM on March 28, 2011


Outsourced has gotten a lot better, but they still fall back on silly brown people too much. This most recent episode was mostly quite good, but they couldn't go an entire episode without Madhuri being amazed at the existence ice makers. "You make your own ice? Such opulence." Fuck you, writers.
posted by kafziel at 9:57 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't even remember that joke, though I can see how it would bother you. I was mostly taking note of how respectfully the writers portrayed Rajiv's complicated relationship with his father-in-law, or the way they've generally been pretty . . . completely unjudgey about either arranged marriages or the fact that most Indian young adults live with their parents, lately. I feel like it's grown well past its initial fish-out-of-water scenario and is much more character-based. The weak links in terms of character building are mostly the Western characters. Todd's grown on me, but I could do without Australian bimbo or that guy from the Drew Carey show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:06 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I enjoy Diedrich Bader's character, though that might just be that I enjoy Diedrich Bader's performance, as I do in all his performances.

And it's not just that one joke. It's that there's always That Joke. The rest of the episode was as good as the show's been, but it just feels like they really receptive to falling back on Those Silly Brown People as a joke. The fish out of water elements don't really feel fish out of water - they feel much more like "Why don't these silly brown people understand something as simple as X?" where X can be anything from refrigeration to mistletoe to Halloween to anything.

Also, last week's episode was significantly above par for the show. To tie this tangent back into the original topic a little bit, the entire Holi episode felt like a crappy knockoff of Modern Warfare.
posted by kafziel at 11:04 PM on March 28, 2011


When Jeff was doing a voice over at the beginning of the show I knew something was up. When he was standing by the bar and Abed walked up, with that jacket, with that tone, I think it took about 10 - 15 seconds to register. I saw My Dinner with Andre a few times over the last couple of years, a time when I was about to enter my Thirties and was looking for some kind of perspective on life. It's one thing to watch that movie as a gimmick but it's another to just take in all of the narratives that are given within it(I was listening to lots of Stan Brakhage lectures in a similar manner at the time). The tone Abed evinces seems to suggest that he has not given up parodies on culture but that he's given up parodies on so-called "popular" culture whilst he is still within the "homage" to MDWA. He has seen the light and it is both within and without. The concept of doing an "homage" to MDWA is one idea but in order for him to pull it off he must adapt an anecdote from his own life to match the tone of Andre Gregories'. This works in a dual function, allowing Abed to recreate the vibrancy of his chosen character and, at the same time, explain to his friend that he is turning his interests to more sophisticated cultural fair.

Anyway, Community is the only show that I watch when new episodes come on over terrestrial waves. And, Joel over Mike. and can't say anything bout the Dr.s but I remember an eppisode that had a Teddy Bear with claws that made a friend and i laugh for hours.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 11:41 PM on March 28, 2011


And it's not just that one joke. It's that there's always That Joke. The rest of the episode was as good as the show's been, but it just feels like they really receptive to falling back on Those Silly Brown People as a joke.

You really think, though? I generally get the sense that this is, at least, equally true to the approach the writers have to the Western characters in India. Todd was constantly muddling into cultural insensitivities, as is Charlie (though the only characters who ever seem to be really looked at as, perhaps, villainous are the corporate bigwigs). I think they've done a good job of having both sides begin to evolve toward understanding, though my biggest criticism would probably be that the actor who plays Todd, in his blandness, pretty much as a cluelessly bemused reaction to everything which kind of defeats the impact felt with any growth.

I think that kind of joke is generally kind of lazy, and definitely lame when viewed within the larger cultural context, but I just don't know if the show deserves the level of flack it gets overall for it.

I missed the Holi episode! That was my favorite part of the movie. Will have to watch it at work tomorrow . . .
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:48 PM on March 28, 2011


Speaking of Joel v. Mike....I just watched Red Dawn Rifftrax with Mike and Joel (McHale).

This was a ridiculously good combo.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:51 PM on March 28, 2011


Oh, and I'd heard of MDWA but I'd never heard of Cougar Town. When Abed is describing his experience I was envisioning a children's show of some type. I guess this goes along with the people who had dissimilar pre-envisionings of MDWA.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 12:42 AM on March 29, 2011


You really think, though? I generally get the sense that this is, at least, equally true to the approach the writers have to the Western characters in India. Todd was constantly muddling into cultural insensitivities, as is Charlie (though the only characters who ever seem to be really looked at as, perhaps, villainous are the corporate bigwigs). I think they've done a good job of having both sides begin to evolve toward understanding, though my biggest criticism would probably be that the actor who plays Todd, in his blandness, pretty much as a cluelessly bemused reaction to everything which kind of defeats the impact felt with any growth.

It's presented differently. When Todd doesn't understand some aspect of Indian culture, it's presented as weird brown people doing weird brown things - like the way Holi is explained. When the Indian characters don't understand something Todd is trying to explain, it's presented as Todd being all tongue-tied trying to get these weird brown people to understand something as simple and obvious as mistletoe. We as a western audience aren't seeing how our traditions are weird without the cultural trappings of our perspective, we are laughing because he is explaining it badly and they are misinterpreting his goofy explanation, not because of how weird it is. The joke is on Todd, in those bits. When it's an Indian custom, the joke is on India.

When
posted by kafziel at 1:28 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Community has been about mashing up references to multiple genres/movies/shows since almost the beginning. It's a show for TVTropes nerds.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:46 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


fwiw, MDWA was filmed at the jefferson hotel in richmond, VA -- home of the (fabulous ;) VCU rams (and fff!) -- also for a recent similar 'talky' movie, i'd recommend certified copy :P cheers!
posted by kliuless at 4:37 AM on March 29, 2011


I'm glad perfect couples got canceled even though I enjoyed it because it means there's more room for the League which is exactly the same except with Football sometimes.
...
It's getting replaced by The Paul Reiser Show.


Two things:

1) The League:

I loved the first season of the League, despite its occasional brief forays into "MAN WOMEN SURE ARE UNFUN HARPIES HUH", because when it wasn't casting masculinity as the binary opposite to femininity, it was actually damned smart and completely hilarious, and better than almost any other show I've seen at portraying the kind of friendship-circle where part of the love expressed is by viciously snapping at each other's throats like a group of sickly wolves.

And really, the characters themselves can be straight-up misogynists and I won't give a shit, any more than I give a shit that early in the series, Ruxin blithely bargains with another man's life in order to make a fantasy football deal. But it's a fine line between the characters being all "OH GOSH THE OL BALL AN CHAIN DOESNT WANT TO FUCK ME, HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS ONE" and the show itself lazily normalizing that line of thinking such that it basically becomes a slightly-edgier version of Everybody Loves Raymond. 'Cause, really, that's just boring; I've heard that joke before.

So anyway, having watched all of Season One and for the most part loving it, I felt like it was going in the latter direction in Season Two, and I pretty much lost interest after about three episodes. So the fact that it's getting cancelled doesn't bother me overly much.

2) Paul Reiser:

I liked Mad About You okay, I suppose (I was what, like ten or something?), but not enough to mount a spirited defense of it. And Paul Reiser, I always just kinda assumed he was a low-level generally-harmless kind of wry-married-life comedian, the equivalent of a can of soup with a few saltines on the side. Gets the job done, but you don't go out to an awesome restaurant and ask for a can of Campbell's soup, right? I mean, most of your friends can even make better soup in their own kitchens.

But then the other day, I'm listening to an episode of Never Not Funny, and someone (I believe Jimmy Pardo himself, if I'm recalling correctly) says that Paul Reiser is hands-down one of the funniest comedians he's ever met.

I was chopping some vegetables at the time, standing in my kitchen, and just kind of stopped and cocked my head to the side, staring at my computer speakers. Like, what? This is like someone saying "Oh, yeah, that Salieri, he was a REAL genius. He was easily the best composer of his time."

So now I simply don't know what to believe.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:11 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


I try not to be absolutist in my thinking, but whenever someone criticizes Community, it always strikes me in the same fashion as someone losing an argument, confused by all the big words saying "Stop trying to sound smart!"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:08 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I try not to be absolutist in my thinking, but whenever someone criticizes Community, it always strikes me in the same fashion as someone losing an argument, confused by all the big words saying "Stop trying to sound smart!"

Meh. You're free to think that, but generally I have no problem with smartypants humor. I think I'm realizing increasingly, though, that the modern sitcom thing where you're not really supposed to like anyone--that it bugs me. I'm down with old sitcoms like Taxi where emotion investment is important or newer ones like, say, Outsourced, where it is as well. Even Arrested Development lets you feel a bit tender for George Michael and Maeby. Out of the handful of Community episodes I've seen, my heartstrings have really only been tugged by Fat Neil (in the D&D) episode, and Troy, when he met Levar Burton. Something about it feels like watching a smarter version of Family Guy to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:29 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The joke is on Todd, in those bits. When it's an Indian custom, the joke is on India.

I'll end the epic Outsourced derail by just saying that I've really read the tone there differently--it's always been clear to me that the joke's on Todd when he doesn't get Indian customs (as Rajiv is usually quick to point out). I'm not sure, at least, that it's as clear-cut as you're presenting it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:31 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear author of the first article: Abed didn't shit his pants. Chad died. Dead people release their bowels. Chad shit his pants.
posted by Eideteker at 7:35 AM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I did this, too, thanks to conflating My Dinner with Andre and My Giant.

As for Doctor Ten, well, he's been the worst of the new bunch. He's the spiritual successor to Colin Baker's Six—the Doctor as egomaniac—with the difference being that Baker's Doctor was more uncompromising; he didn't demand that people also love him. For Tenn, it was not good enough for him to know he was the best. You also had to know it, and love him for it. The difference? I dunno, but I'd suspect that because 10 had lost everything in the Time War, he felt much emptier. Of course, much of 11's performance is grounded in humility. So for those who loved the big flashiness of 10, he's a bit of a let-down. But where Tennant's run was very much about a runaway Doctor (no Timelord Council to stick him on Earth for several series!), it was basically a prelude to 11's character development.
posted by Eideteker at 8:14 AM on March 29, 2011


Greg: RE: The League, it isn't canceled, and the end of the second season really picks up.

Phobs: RE: Outsourced vs Community... I felt the same way until I saw the Claymation Xmas episode which clued me into the real project of the show, making the world and the people in it both utterly wacky/self-referential but also emotionally relevant. It's like (forgive me) the way one of John Barth or DFW's (or Robert Crumb's or Fran Leibowitz's or Woody Allen's or Holden Caulfield's) recursively internally-dwelling and hyper-conscious voices somehow can become epically tragic or triumphant through the power of storytelling. It may not always work, but this is Harmon's mission--aside from just being funny--to portray the terror of clowns Lost in the Funhouse who can only briefly escape their tropes to have real human moments. This episode demonstrates this concept by flipping it on its head--briefly (whether true or not), Abed escapes the prison of being an ironic, self-aware character to become a stupid cheesy dude on a chipper normal sitcom. It would be better to be that kind of guy, but Abed can't really escape it, even when pretending he's just acting in a different frame of reference, that of a 1980s art film.

Abed's lack of emotional center is the emotional center of the show, a stand-in for the numbed wasteland of over-saturated over-thinking irony junkies who consume Community and the Thursday night lineup surrounding it...and like Abed our best chance for happiness is finding moments of real human interaction, not through being too dumb and beneath self-knowledge, nor by being smugly above it, but by strapping on the meta-masks and playing along with our friends as best we can, as pulpy and fictional as we gotta be to make that fleeting connection last. Must See TV? TGIF!

(But I don't really hate Outsourced because of those infantile caricatures they call characters. I hate it because it is painfully unfunny. :p )

Finally RE: Paul Reiser, his 80s standup is really really smart and poignant, if a bit dated. Mad About You was also really really good in a 90s pop-psych sort of way. I have doubts about this latest show, but it won't be horrible.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:19 AM on March 29, 2011 [7 favorites]


Community is generally funny, but it grates on me as well, so I for one can sympathize with the writer here. I think the characters of Troy and Abed are written well, but I don't really like either actor, or any of the actors (perhaps excepting John Oliver). I'd rather watch Bob's Burgers.

I watched the My Dinner with Andre with Abed episode on Hulu last night. It was clever and fun, but in the end it was pretty fluffy. Still not hooked.

I think it may because all the characters are too *nice* to each other. There's not much conflict, from what I've seen. It's all very trivial.

... also emotionally relevant

Yeah, that's where I disagree.

On the other hand, I concede big props for giving Andy Dick some work, so I'll likely continue to watch an episode occasionally.

The Office and 30 Rock (particularly) have been declining for a while. Parks and Rec seems also to be slipping (bring back Brandanowicz and Louis CK!) ...

Yet Archer endures.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:36 AM on March 29, 2011


I agree; the Paul Reiser show could be awesome, especially if it's about his character from the Aliens movies. But like, a sitcom about that guy, what his home life is like, with a daughter that doesn't respect him (can we get Winona Ryder, as like, the real-life Weyland/Bishop model for Call? and make her up like she's still 16?).

I want to like Archer, but I can't stand H. Jon Benjamin and his the-same-everywhere schtick. "Oh my god, I can't believe how wacky whatever you just said is! I'm going to respond with something even less based-in-reality because that's how my character copes with just how insane this all is! But I'm going to say it all jaded and cynical because I'm in love with the whole 90s's cynical detached slacker thing!" Or something. I don't really know how to describe it, I just know that it grates on me like John DiMaggio's "Hi, I'm John DiMaggio in everything I do" thing.
posted by Eideteker at 8:52 AM on March 29, 2011




I know I said I'd stop the Outsourced derail, but I was thinking about this in the shower: I think part of the potential in the show is that it doesn't make Todd a Michael Scott--we're not told to laugh at him because he's a complete stupid boor when it comes to cultural sensitivity. Sometimes he bumbles into insensitivities, but his general attitude seems to be one where he's open to learning about the culture. The Scott character is more like Charlie--not just insensitive but utterly irredeemable when it comes to these things. This would be, perhaps, morally more clearcut: don't be like this racist jerk. But there's less potential for character growth there and very little potential for having either the characters or the audience reach emotional understanding. We never quite look down on Todd even as he says some really face-palmy stuff, even as we know that Rajiv is often right about him. The benefit of this is that you get a show filled with weird little teaching moments about Indian culture. The biggest drawback is that it sometimes nears the line toward insensitivity, and that teaching moments aren't really funny generally, either.

But where Tennant's run was very much about a runaway Doctor (no Timelord Council to stick him on Earth for several series!), it was basically a prelude to 11's character development.

I love this. I think you're spot on.

Something I struggle with WRT the 9-love: I liked him well enough, but I really feel like the things people like about him as a character are projections of their hopes for the character (that he's some lost, tragic, lonely figure, etc.). There are hints of potential for those things, but he was so underdeveloped, and with us such a short time.

10 is sometimes fanficish, but the fact that he's completely scary at his core is what makes him a compelling character for me.

Abed's lack of emotional center is the emotional center of the show

Meh. I'll probably continue to try watching, and try to keep an open mind, but this kind of "they're empty but they're just like us!" thing is . . . meh. Maybe it'll grow on me, though. It's happened before. Generally, I want to be down with things that are so whole-heartedly embraced by nerd culture. But I don't always get Joss Whedon, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:07 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want to like Archer, but I can't stand H. Jon Benjamin and his the-same-everywhere schtick.

That's certainly a limiting factor, but Chris Parnell and his mom (from AD) are pretty funny too.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:23 AM on March 29, 2011


10 is sometimes fanficish, but the fact that he's completely scary at his core is what makes him a compelling character for me.

I started watching at 9, and I absolutely LOVED Eccleston. The Tennant episodes—despite some of the iffier writing and the Rose weirdness—are what really made me love the show.

We're on s05e04 right now; I'm digging Matt Smith so far. Maybe I'll like him more than Tennant, but he's going to have to knock it out of the park.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:39 AM on March 29, 2011


I want to like Archer, but I can't stand H. Jon Benjamin and his the-same-everywhere schtick. "Oh my god, I can't believe how wacky whatever you just said is! I'm going to respond with something even less based-in-reality because that's how my character copes with just how insane this all is! But I'm going to say it all jaded and cynical because I'm in love with the whole 90s's cynical detached slacker thing!" Or something.

The thing about H. Jon Benjamin's characters is that, as much as they're slackers, they're losers because of it. This is not a sign that he's "in love with the whole 90s's cynical detached slacker thing"--if anything, it's the opposite. No one idolizes Ben Katz or Coach McGuirk or Bob. These are all low status characters--the lowest there is.

His voice is just really well-suited to that kind of role, is all.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:12 AM on March 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is the first time in my MeFi history that I've felt this at odds with the prevailing opinion about things.
posted by josher71 at 10:14 AM on March 29, 2011


Coach McGurk is the greatest of anything ever.
posted by josher71 at 10:14 AM on March 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree, but he's, um, probably not someone you should look up to.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:20 AM on March 29, 2011


I had to freeze-frame that one episode from the Simpsons with the My Dinner with Andre video game Choose: Trenchant Insight, "Tell Me More", Bon Mot. I laughed like a braying donkey.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I'd heard of MDWA but I'd never heard of Cougar Town. When Abed is describing his experience I was envisioning a children's show of some type. I guess this goes along with the people who had dissimilar pre-envisionings of MDWA.

Actually, I've never seen MDWA (oddly enough) but once Winger caught on to it, it felt completely right.

Yet Archer endures.

The Duchess abides.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:46 AM on March 29, 2011


Wait - the Community finale's going to be an hour-long episode? Did I read that correctly, shakespeherian?

[runs to wikipedia]

And with that one actor that was super awesome in that one show??
posted by jabberjaw at 2:48 PM on March 29, 2011


One thing I'm learning from this thread is that even with DVR and Hulu and a million other ways to watch your favorite TV shows, what network and night a show is on still makes a difference. Regardless of which shows they like or dislike, everyone in this thread seems intimately familiar with NBC's thursday-night programming.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:50 PM on March 29, 2011


This thread smashes together far too many things I like... metafilter, community, archer, and dr who in the same place?

I was at a 4 day outdoor festival last weekend with a bunch of friends. The number of times someone yelled "THAT'S HOW YOU GET ANTS" might not be measurable with the currently available instruments.
posted by flaterik at 4:43 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


everyone in this thread seems intimately familiar with NBC's thursday-night programming.

It's Must See TV! You must see! It is the law!

They haven't used that slogan in years, but still.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:48 PM on March 29, 2011


"what network and night a show is on still makes a difference."

Hmmm I figured there was some correlation between particular days and downloaded torrents...

I have to say whenever anyone expresses the merest indifference about Community, I feel like pulling a Popeye and rolling up my sleeves/forearms: "Why I Oughta...!"
posted by stratastar at 8:13 PM on March 29, 2011


1. See, I think the most amazing thing about Community's homage to My Dinner with Andre was the fact a network sitcom did an homage to My Dinner with Andre! I mean, seriously? How did that even happen? (The bait and switch of it looking like a Pulp Fiction homage might have tricked the network, which is fun all by itself.)

2. 11, 10, 9.

3. Archer is, indeed, amazing! Danger Zone! Also, if we're talking obscure references, that show has them in spades. I mean, a reference to "Where the Red Fern Grows", Community wishes it was that obscure!

4. I agree that 30 Rock went off the rails in Season 4 (to the point where I gave up on it), I heard good things about recent episodes and enjoyed them to the point of watching the entire fifth season. Apart from Sorkin's cameo last week, the "Queen of Jordan" episode was pretty inspired and the recent one with Liz facing off with her pilot boyfriend (Matt Damon) on a grounded plane was brilliant.

5. Back to Community - I always felt like it might become my replacement for Arrested Development, but this show feels like it has surpassed that show now. Or, at least, I get more out of Community, whereas AD was clever - for sure - but I never really liked the characters. At least not in the way I feel great affection for Community's community.
posted by crossoverman at 4:05 AM on March 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


everyone in this thread seems intimately familiar with NBC's thursday-night programming.

The model still holding is that big movie ad spends come on Thursday to get suckers to pay $10 to see crap on Friday night.

So naturally stations are going to feature their strongest content on Thursday night. See: American Idol. (The downside being: hey, you've got some competition.)

And re "even with DVR and Hulu and a million other ways to watch your favorite TV shows," I think old E Unibus Pluram also still holds. People want to watch TV at the same time, even if they're strangers and not together. See: the Super Bowl.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:36 AM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The author of the first link responds to this thread. He's got some clarifications in there, and he also (rightly, IMHO) calls a few people out on their rather hyperbolic reactions to his blog post. (The author needs to "get a life?" Really, cjets? He should stop doing detailed analysis of film on his film-analysis-oriented blog?)
posted by whir at 12:07 PM on March 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh. Apparently we have some excellent flamers here. Who knew?

(Jeff Sconce, if you're reading this, it's always a bad idea to respond to your critics, especially if you don't know the mores of the community where you're being critiqued. It just makes you look defensive.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:13 PM on March 30, 2011


The post seems to be particularly unpopular among members of a gated Net community who call themselves the Metafiltered.

It's pronounced mefite FYI.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:19 PM on March 30, 2011


a gated Net community
...
relatively exclusive


I HAVE FIVE DOLLARS AN YOU DONT JEFFREY SCONCE

HOW U LIKE THAT
posted by Greg Nog at 12:20 PM on March 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, Mr. Sconce, you should come join us. We like talking at length about smart stuff, venting spleen and all. I actually think "the Metafiltered" would make an AWESOME username.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:26 PM on March 30, 2011


He's really upset about his piece being widely read and commented upon.
posted by anazgnos at 1:27 PM on March 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's really upset about his piece being widely read and commented upon.

Yeah, how much must that suck?


Also, Liz Lemon's Pilot boyfriend is named Carol Burnett. The first time I heard it and put two and two together I was like, "Wait, is that obscure and hilarious, or just obscure? Does what I take for granted now equal 'obscure'? When did that happen? Where's my teeth? What re those fucking kids doing on my lawn again."
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on March 30, 2011


"Excellent Flamers" is the Pansy Division record title that never was.
posted by josher71 at 2:25 PM on March 30, 2011


Not gated, moderated. Think of it like a public swimming pool. You pay your $5 to the Red Dept for your summer patch and their are lifeguards. Too much horsing around gets you warned, then kicked out. Adult Swim every other hour, lots of kids the rest of the time.
posted by maryr at 2:54 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Red = Rec.
posted by maryr at 2:55 PM on March 30, 2011


The title of Sconce's article was "Community to Fans: Get a "Meta" Life."

I figured he was actually addressing us, here, on Metafilter.

The gist of the critique by Sconce, although unnecessarily convoluted and kind-of insulting, was on the right track. Why can't a meta-sitcom that focuses on TV tropes also address its fans and criticize their fandom?

I always think about how Community took a dig at rival Big Bang Theory guised under an argument over Bare Naked Ladies. Why not their budding obsessive fandom as well?

Otherwise, does anybody know of anybody else that has been awesome enough to create that cute 30-minute movie about a "group of friends who love cheeseburgers, dancing, and the Bible"?
posted by jabberjaw at 3:13 PM on March 30, 2011


Also, Mr. Sconce, you should come join us.

This! We may disagree and argue sometimes but it's good to have another voice in the conversation.
posted by quin at 3:14 PM on March 30, 2011


I've been staying out of the fray somewhat because I don't actually watch Community, but I thought his post had a lot of good points that I was hoping the discussion would focus on more, like this:

Once an esoteric marker of high modernism, intertextuality quickly became the engine of “smart” television and popular culture, marking products as formally sophisticated and critically appreciated precisely because they understood the otherwise crappy components from which they were constructed

...and its subsequent evaluations of how various flavors of intertextuality are seen and aesthetically rated by the TV-watching public (the Family Guy bit). I think some people here read him as being snarky and condescending to the fanbase, but in his reading, it's the show itself that is doing that, which is an interesting deconstructionist take on it.
posted by whir at 4:05 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok now I feel bad, because its clear that most of us (raises hand) didn't do a full read of the original article, and the OP being framed in a way that was uh well... inflammatory, led to a discussion and insults that were... both unfair and fail to make us look like a favorable community to join / and or engage with. So having read it, I'm ready to engage (with at least a piece, there's alot of thought provoking stuff there). Gonna cross-post.

Dr. Sconce (I presume) is not really writing about Community itself, but more about the state of meta-ness in (high) popular culture and comedy having reached a position where it serves only to as back-patting to fans: instead of of being clever enough for the minority for being in on the joke, the writers have actually fed the meta-ness to us in such an easily digestible way that both takes the work and effort out of being a fan. By making it so easy for us to believe that we're smart for being fans of a show that we see as smart, and sees us as smart, its an easy way to build some hard-core fans. This is kinda an extension of the Patton Oswald theory about the Death of Geek Culture; only the work and fun of geek culture is being subverted into making us fans of the show; we're being used.

(ok tldrers, if anyone's left in this thread, feel free to skip down to the Community part) I'm gonna go on a parallel here to Family Guy a show whose humor is dismissed by "comedy nerds" for largely the same reasons. It doesn't build its comedy, but it actively uses the "secret" of good comedy and comedians in a way that many comedians find to be really distasteful, (like a magician giving away magic secrets), and forget that its popular!

I'm not a comedy nerd, but at least this is my theory of good comedy; comedy is built through repetition towards a common understanding. In the beginning of a comedy set, or show something simple and innocuous is mentioned in passing, forgotten, returned to, and used again for increasing laughs as you go: all good comedians do it especially comedians who have longer sets: watch Eddie Izzard, or Chris Rock, or Louis C.K is a a subtle master at this. There's a setup or multiple setups, repetition, return to setups and finally the use of the setups culminating in the final best closing jokes.

A good comedian literally has to DRAG the audience (dozens of people with their own languages, ways of thinking, concentration levels, and personal senses of humor) with them through, words, sentences, layers of stories and jokes until they're at the same place, getting them to the final joke.

Family Guy does this: but with complete randomness and 80s popular culture. In the first episode, the Kool-Aid man is introduced, and people remember him from their childhoods, and after repeated viewings; he becomes funny. Two seasons later, Family Guy brings back the Kool-Aid man, and you laugh. Because he's been etched in your brain, as being funny. Or Peter skinning his knee, or fighting a chicken. Family Guy is comedy-meta in a way that seems stupid, but is actually smart; it exposes the fact that comedy is actually kinda easy to do if you paint with the right numbers. This is my theory about why comedians hate it.

TLDRer's Return! Ok bringing this full circle back to Community: and the original blog post. Community is the same thing except with the Kool-Aid man, it breaks the wall between uses meta themes in a way that are obvious, and accessible. Everyone can look up My Dinner With Andre, watch it, and get the reference, it is back-patty, its smart, and its accessible, just like Family Guy, because who hasn't seen Kool-Aid commercials when they were kids, and who can't google up My Dinner With Andre, and watch it on youtube / netflix?

Only now, faux-film geekery is being used to easily build fans when you congratulate them on being so smart, or being in-on-it, rather than making them work, or actively KEEPING them from knowing the references. Oh Adorno and Guffman would be weeping. Weeping!

But there goes the gatekeepers of cool right? Sconce's secondary criticism about this is that NOW, its not enough to be IN on the primary source of the film-geekery, and now you need to follow the writers on Twitter to get the real-life story that the writers not making fun actually like Cougar Town. But really that ship has SAILED... you don't get to be the only guy with the record collection, or the obscure knowledge of that 80s show. Never mind that it was so fucking hard to be that guy 15 years ago. Everyone gets to be that guy now.

Community gets that and works with it. Those tropes and meta-narratives are kinda so up-front that its useless to complain about them being so primary to the characters; Its actually the internal lives of the characters that are not so obvious, and make the show worth watching.

And that's another post.
posted by stratastar at 10:03 PM on March 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok now I feel bad, because its clear that most of us (raises hand) didn't do a full read of the original article, and the OP being framed in a way that was uh well... inflammatory, led to a discussion and insults that were... both unfair and fail to make us look like a favorable community to join / and or engage with.

For the record, I read it, and was initally interested in Sconce's proposed theory of what the most recent episode was doing by way of conversation with its fans. But it was a terrible essay, and by the end, my posts were informed by the fact that it was by turns stupid (which whatevs, I can let go of stupid things I read pretty easily) and smugly mean-spirited (which I'm less inclined to forgive). It's not just that dude is wrong, it's that he uses his wrongness to shore up his prickishness.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, you can paint by numbers, and it is easy, but it is a shitty painting.
posted by josher71 at 8:47 AM on March 31, 2011


stratastar - Actually, my personal dislike of Family Guy comes from the long, violent fight numbers that leave, say, Brian screaming in agony and Stewie mercilessly continuing to beat him. For No. Goddamn. Reason. Not funny. I've seen some funny not-actually-funny violence (Boondock Saints' cat scene comes to mind. "Is it dead?") and yeah, maybe it was kind of funny once as a commentary on violence in popular culture, etc, etc, but one of those scenes made me stop watching the show for good. It's too much and it's actually more upsetting because there is no thematic or emotional buildup/release. (Before that I was already getting a bit irritated by the awkward pauses and stares. Yes, backlash from Freinds, break the mold, make the viewer uncomfortable. That was funny, kudos. But it's not 2005 anymore, move on to some new material.)

Community, of course, also faces the possibility that it will become an empty self-referential parody, no, parroting of 90s ephemera. But so far Dan Harmon and the writers have put real heart into each character* so that they aren't two-dimensional cartoons. And maybe Family Guy has not done this because it intends for the characters to stay 2D, who knows (better for syndication, I imagine). As a viewer, I have become emotionally invested (y'know, for a sitcom, grain of salt) in the fate of this increasingly-inaccurately-named study group. That's what good televisionwriting does, isn't it?

I'm not sure where I was going with this. I'd better stop now.

* OK, Chang has had the opposite, which comes off as just making him crazy to keep Ken Jeong on cast. I have some hopes for that - there was a throwaway line in the Drug Education episode where Shirley said something along the lines of "Chang, you did a nice thing there, that was kinda normal." and Chang said something like "Oh, you're sweet to say that, I'll tell Chang when he gets back." And Shirley realizes he is craaaaaaaazy. Between this and the Gollum stuff at the beginning of the season, I'm hoping we see Chang either get some help or at least have a more useful personality step up.
posted by maryr at 9:35 AM on March 31, 2011


Ok now I feel bad, because its clear that most of us (raises hand) didn't do a full read of the original article...

You're right. I re-read it, and he didn't mention Archer once.

Actually, my personal dislike of Family Guy comes from the long, violent fight numbers that leave, say, Brian screaming in agony and Stewie mercilessly continuing to beat him.

A lot of MacFarlane's humor lies in belaboring the joke. I happen to like it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:20 AM on March 31, 2011


I stopped watching Family Guy because I was beginning to feel like there were only ever the same three or four jokes, and I was tired of those jokes, and the show's conception as 2-D cartoon characters that you don't invest in meant that there was no non-joke reason to watch.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:27 AM on March 31, 2011


CHT - I didn't mind it so much until I watched my teenaged sister fall asleep to it. Then it bugged me how much it was desensitizing violence to no appreciable end.
posted by maryr at 10:28 AM on March 31, 2011


maryr - I've never minded cartoon violence. I've yet to drop a safe on someone.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:12 AM on March 31, 2011


But it's not cartoon violence. That's the "joke."
posted by roll truck roll at 11:13 AM on March 31, 2011


A lot of MacFarlane's humor lies in belaboring the joke.

I agree. "and that is why i killed myself chopped myself up and put myself in the garbage"

However, I also agree with maryr and roll truck roll. A lot of the violence (esp. Stewie on Brian) is of the gratuitous, desensitizing stuff, and it does turn lots of people off, including fans.

I prefer Cleveland.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:17 AM on March 31, 2011


rtr - It's executed more realistically than the usual rubber-body stuff, so yes, but it's still a pair of cartoon characters wailing on each other. I don't find that desensitizing, but YMMV.

mrgrimm - I haven't seen the show, maybe I'll give it a shot.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:22 AM on March 31, 2011


The humor comes from the violence being unexpectedly graphic when the standard complaint about cartoon violence is that it is unrealistically sanitized to the point where you can drop heavy objects on someone and they will be just fine.

Also, Family Guy enjoys trolling people and being offensive for the hell of it even when it isn't that funny.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2011


« Older The Lego Set of Civilization   |   “ATENEO ATENEO!” Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post