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November 22, 2012 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Chevy Chase exits "Community" with two fourth-season episodes to spare.
posted by Iris Gambol (149 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Anyone surprised? With all the fans, and seemingly the cast, constantly talking about what a dick I am, I would have quit too. Especially if I really was a dick.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:05 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


There were several episodes in the third season where Pierce would pop in about a third of the way through and I'd honestly find myself thinking, "Oh, right, Chevy Chase is still on this show. Huh." One of the rare times when "My character had nowhere to go" seemed to be the opinion of everyone involved, rather than just a way for an actor to be all actor-y about leaving in a snit.
posted by Etrigan at 8:07 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to admit, I didn't mind Chevy on Community, which may be a tribute to how great Community is. Was.

Nevertheless, Pierce was an essential component of the ensemble, if ever the one who was always a bit on the outside.

Mind you, with two episodes left in season four, and a season five *highly* doubtful, I'm not sure what the real impact of all this is. We'll see -- but my apprehension grows.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:12 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Storming out two episodes from the end when it barely matters anymore but you just have to have your high profile tantrum moment before it's over is like the Chevy Chasiest thing ever.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:13 PM on November 22, 2012 [51 favorites]


(I would seriously find religion if his place were taken by Bill Murray.)
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:17 PM on November 22, 2012 [91 favorites]


Pierce is a supporting character in an ensemble led by Joel McHale

Led by who?
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 8:18 PM on November 22, 2012 [18 favorites]


The guy really didn't like playing a bigot, can't blame him.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:20 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


i only really know Chevy Chase from those Vacation movies, and his character always seemed to be a laid back, nice guy; maybe a bit naive but good-hearted.

So I always envisioned the actor himself to be that way.

Obviously there are two sides to every story, but it always saddens me to find out that the person playing a character whose personality I like isn't like that character at all.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:21 PM on November 22, 2012


Obviously there are two sides to every story
Case in point, see P.o.B.'s comment right above my first one.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:23 PM on November 22, 2012


I hope they come up with a suitably meta, 'two Darrins' way to deal with his disappearance - Richard Gere shows up as Pierce or something.
posted by Flashman at 8:23 PM on November 22, 2012 [8 favorites]



That sucks. He was amazing in the Dungeons and Dragons episode. Best episode of television ever, after the WKRP thanksgiving episode.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:28 PM on November 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have been crowing with delight over this news for two days. Good fucking riddance.
posted by elizardbits at 8:34 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm grateful he threw himself into the villain role in the D&D episode. Totally fun. And there's a thick vein of references to mine for his departure.

Two Darrens.
Two Beckys. (Roseanne)
Fight Club, Durden reveal.
Mulholland Falls.
Vertigo.
Bobby and Dallas.
Black Like Me. (Pierce was prolly just another Dean outfit, Dean-de-dean-dean.)
posted by massless at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kinda of a strange post to see on metafilter. (Disclaimer, I don't watch the show, and don't really care for Chevy Chase.) [...] so... what's the point of this single-link posting? Seems like a non-story to me.

I use my turn to feel sorry for you.
posted by fleacircus at 8:39 PM on November 22, 2012 [83 favorites]


They should put together a show consisting Solely of dick actors. Do a 30 minute sitcom, and film the production as well, and air it as a 1h reality show.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:40 PM on November 22, 2012 [11 favorites]


They should put together a show consisting Solely of dick actors. Do a 30 minute sitcom, and film the production as well, and air it as a 1h reality show.

Cough cough
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:47 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did I miss the thing that said Chase is a bad man and I am supposed to hate him? Or maybe someone can fill me in on why he's the bad guy here.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:50 PM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Cough cough

Pretty close. But I am thinking have them believe the sitcom is legit and the behind the scenes stuff is for DVD extras. Air the sitcom scenes with the drama that surrounds them. Larry sanders style, but real.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:51 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did I miss the thing that said Chase is a bad man and I am supposed to hate him? Or maybe someone can fill me in on why he's the bad guy here.

Here ya go.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:55 PM on November 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


He’s Not Chevy, He’s an Asshole: A History of Chevy Chase’s Horrific Behavior
posted by the_artificer at 8:55 PM on November 22, 2012 [20 favorites]


Jinx
posted by the_artificer at 8:55 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mothers, don't name your children after car companies.
posted by hellojed at 8:58 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


P.o.B.: "Did I miss the thing that said Chase is a bad man and I am supposed to hate him? Or maybe someone can fill me in on why he's the bad guy here."

I don't have a horse in this race, as I don't watch the show, but you don't even have to read anything but the main link from the post. This is a quote from Chevy Chase in the article - apparently he said this a while ago, while he was still a part of the cast:

“It was a big mistake! I just sort of hung around because I have three daughters and a wife, and I figured out I might as well make some bread, every week, so I can take care of them in the way they want … The hours are hideous, and it’s still a sitcom on television, which is probably the lowest form of television.”

I mean, geez. Not really the nicest thing to say about your job and the people you work with. The lowest form of television?
posted by koeselitz at 8:59 PM on November 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I still remember the few surreal life episodes I watched where I think vanilla ice picked up Gary Coleman when he was 'leading' a challenge. It made Gary so mad, as it should have.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:00 PM on November 22, 2012


He’s Not Chevy, He’s an Asshole: A History of Chevy Chase’s Horrific Behavior

Wow. I'd missed most of that. So he's the anti-Bill Murray.

Haven't caught any post-Harmon episodes. If this thing isn't going to go past season 4, I take it the consensus is that they aren't any good, or the series just ran out of steam or what?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:00 PM on November 22, 2012


If you feel like you are wasting your time by being on Community, one of the best shows out there, then you are a fucking moron. Straight up. Woe unto Chevy.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:01 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Donald Glover had a twitter that was shit pierce or chevy said. You had to guess which one said it. It was really difficult.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:01 PM on November 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


The consensus is that it doesn't get enough viewers. That's why it will probably end after 4. People who love it love it, but the show isn't for the average 2.5 Men Fan, so it's not a hit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:02 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The whole cast, and the writers were doing that #pierceorchevy hashtag. One of them was "can I put my arm around you, or are you a lesbian". If Chase knew WTF twitter was he probably would have quit then, if he is the dick people say he is.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:11 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


...and Chevy Chase doesn't have to hang around doing the lowest form of television, because everything he touches is pure gold.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:16 PM on November 22, 2012


The guy really didn't like playing a bigot, can't blame him.

Having just read all this, and remembering moments like the improv writer helping Pierce for Kickpuncher ("He really likes gay jokes"), I'm kinda thinking what probably irritated Chevy the most were how on the nose his character and criticisms of him were.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:17 PM on November 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hey,Im not defending the guy, I think he probably is a dick and a bigot.I just think they handled whatever conflict there may have been in a pretty shitty way. NB I like the show, am not a hater, etc etc.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:20 PM on November 22, 2012


Oh man, I'd love it if they could pull a sort of Chef-on-South-Park on him or something - use a Chevy body double, never show his face, and overdub all of his lines using pre-recorded material. In fact, just make an entire episode out of all the Two Darrens type material (you forgot 2 Aunt Viv's) they can find.
posted by maryr at 9:21 PM on November 22, 2012 [9 favorites]


Chevy went on to claim he invented every funny thing that ever happened in the history of not just comedy, but also the known world...

Baby Boomer Santa: Thank you for everything...

You’re welcome! You’re welcome for everything in the world...

posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:22 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Haven't caught any post-Harmon episodes. If this thing isn't going to go past season 4, I take it the consensus is that they aren't any good, or the series just ran out of steam or what?

Season 4 has not aired yet. I am a big fan, but I have to admit that I have literally no expectation that season 4 will have anything redeeming about it at all.
posted by ndfine at 9:22 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now what's all this fuss about cheddar cheese leaving the community? Just because some people are lactose-intolerant doesn't mean they have to ruin it for everybody else. Can't they just pick around it on the hors d'oeuvres tray?
posted by Spatch at 9:26 PM on November 22, 2012 [16 favorites]


This show is, as Chase more or less said, a shitty, mediocre sitcom. Who cares?

I do. :)

Community has brilliant moments. There's a fascinating level of pop culture and meta commentary in the show which I haven't seen matched in any other sitcom. The writers have done some very intricate things with continuity and sight gags as well. Easter eggs that carry across seasons, and other shows.

Spoilers:

They had three different characters in three different, unrelated scenes across three seasons say, "Beetlejuice." And then this happened.

They had a couple show up in the background of a season one episode... and the following season show her pregnant in the background. Eventually, one of the main characters delivers her baby. Again, entirely in the background.

There's more. The show's pages on TV Tropes are extensive. Like this. They discuss various call-backs to other episodes and other movies, shows, books, etc.,, what's happening in the background of scenes and tropes that are being consciously invoked by the script -- not just inadvertently.
posted by zarq at 9:26 PM on November 22, 2012 [54 favorites]


They can just cut Chevy out of Season 4 completely and fill the time with this.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:29 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're cuter with clothes on.
posted by Mezentian at 9:31 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


He owned a really obnoxious bird at one point too.
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on November 22, 2012


In other news, what's Steve Guttenburg doing? He could replace Pierce.
posted by Mezentian at 9:32 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the safe bet is to say, now right now Steve Guteenburg is lifting.
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


My dream is that Bill Murray comes on for just one episode, solely to prove that he can be funnier in five minutes than Chase was in almost four seasons. The odds are better than even that he could do it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:36 PM on November 22, 2012 [24 favorites]


but you don't even have to read anything but the main link from the post.

Is that all it takes for you to hate on someone? Wow. So, yeah, I read the link. Crazy, right? Anyway, I even clicked through to the other articles where it talked about how he was really unhappy with his character, and didn't like it because of all the racism. I don't know maybe he is uncomfortable with it being too on the nose or whatever, but for a guy who supposedly marched in the civil rights movement that would be kind of a weird turnabout. The guy went from making large sums of money in movies to doing a bit part he doesn't like in the first place, yeah I can't really blame him for calling it like he sees it. Sitcoms can be great, and they can be pure shit so it's hard for me to disagree with what he's saying. Besides all that, apparently the cast agreed with Chase about his spat with Harmon. He's obviously earned the moniker of Offensive Asshole, but I'm not so sure if I can ride this hate train. I think he's funny, but I don't plan on becoming his pal anytime soon. My feelings towards Chase has not been swayed by all of this. I will still watch Community, and I will still enjoy his movies.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:48 PM on November 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


And then this happened yt .

Then what happened? That clip just has the three namechecks.
posted by kenko at 9:53 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hear he snapped and launched the tirade, airing his frustration and suggesting that the way things with Pierce are going, he may next be asked to call Troy (Glover) or Shirley (Brown) the N-word. I hear the outburst upset the cast. Chase later apologized.

So he didn't actually call anyone anything?
posted by kenko at 9:54 PM on November 22, 2012


Dude made Christmas Vacation.

I guess I'm just saying I hope it works out.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:55 PM on November 22, 2012


Damn, seems like there may be two sides to this story.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:57 PM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


Proof that this is not the darkest timeline.
posted by tzikeh at 10:01 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Then what happened? That clip just has the three namechecks.

Check the clip again, at the exact moment the third Beetlejuice is uttered Beetlejuice himself is summoned (well strolls really) into the background of the scene.
posted by Jezztek at 10:05 PM on November 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


Dude made Christmas Vacation.
I guess I'm just saying I hope it works out.


Without him, things got darker.
And by darker I mean worse.
posted by Mezentian at 10:05 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I just discovered Chase was in Hotel Hell Vacation in 2010. Sure, it's a short film but.... I had no idea.
I liked Vacation.
European Vacation less.
And it just got worse from there.
posted by Mezentian at 10:11 PM on November 22, 2012


Will he be back for the movie?
posted by mediated self at 10:23 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since this is a thread full of Community fans, can I ask where I should start to get into it cause I watched the first ...five? Episodes if season one and went " oh, not for me." Does it change?
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 PM on November 22, 2012


That's the guy that punched Cheri Oteri in the head, right?

Yeah. He's an ass.
posted by glaucon at 10:25 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Whelk - it definitely changes. I'll look up the name of the episode, but I marathonned Season 1, and was like, okay, okay, okay, ... OH.

Fellow Human Beings, help me out - it's the episode in S1 where the gang thinks there's a girl who really likes Abed and keeps trying to get him to talk to her, starting with "be yourself" and ending up with "no, don't be yourself" regarding how to approach her.

After that, I was like, okay, this show is doing something interesting. And then it got exponentially better liek woah.
posted by tzikeh at 10:28 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


Since this is a thread full of Community fans, can I ask where I should start to get into it cause I watched the first ...five? Episodes if season one and went " oh, not for me." Does it change?

Later episodes all exist in a comedy paradox where each episode is the best you've ever seen. Repeatedly.

Roughly a few episodes past where you stopped into season 3.

As a dude who loves and seems to write about pop culture, you probably owe it to yourself to watch them just to see the best clip show ever created.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:30 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


And then this happened yt .

That is funny, but I utterly refuse to believe it was planned from the beginning.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:39 PM on November 22, 2012


[A couple of comments deleted. If you don't care about the show there's no need to comment to say that -- just go check out another post you care more about. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 10:40 PM on November 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Whelk, I had kind of a lukewarm reaction at first and then things just sort of start gelling and I think you really should just watch from the beginning rather than hunt for the rosetta stone episode. I really felt like for five or six episodes I was like, "I don't get the fuss (and Chevy Chase's character isn't funny at all)," and then gradually or suddenly it was, "Wait this is the best thing ever."
posted by neuromodulator at 10:43 PM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Whelk: "Since this is a thread full of Community fans, can I ask where I should start to get into it cause I watched the first ...five? Episodes if season one and went " oh, not for me." Does it change?"

I'd start back up at S1E7 "Introduction to Statistics." It's the show's first Halloween episode.
posted by Dr. Zira at 10:44 PM on November 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


To me, the turning point of the show was the seventh episode of the first season "Introduction to Statistics." That was the one with the Halloween party...
posted by MegoSteve at 10:46 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you really should just watch from the beginning rather than hunt for the rosetta stone episode.

Oh, yes -- I hope I didn't sound like I was saying "skip to this episode." Just load in some alcohol and snacks and power through. It sneaks up on you--and there are moments in early episodes that hint at just how great the show will become.
posted by tzikeh at 10:49 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mostly it doesn't really add anything to the conversation when people are talking about a thing and someone is mainly adding "well, *I* don't like it."
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:51 PM on November 22, 2012


adamschneider: That is funny, but I utterly refuse to believe it was planned from the beginning.

Then you refuse to believe the truth.
posted by tzikeh at 10:52 PM on November 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you're not getting it, I'd look up the Dungeons & Dragons episode to see how a sitcom can be one of the best things you've ever seen, and then go back to season 1's "Environmental Science."

And, sure, maybe he was really offended by the bigotry in his character. That was never his complaint beforehand, and while he may have marched in the civil rights movement he has been a notable bigot in other ways, but sure.

I just find it more likely that since, as we know, everyone who has ever worked with him thinks he's a colossal asshole (well that's not fair - I don't know what Beverly D'Angelo and Paul Simon have to say about him) and this is the longest he's ever had to spend on a single project and his character exhibits traits famously attributed to Chase himself, albeit with a redemptive pattern, and everyone there has grown to hate him as well, maybe he was throwing a tantrum, just maybe, and making a weak claim at the high ground that gained no traction because he's an impotent dick.

Maybe.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:54 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


"The short list of people I wanted to see about playing Pierce: Fred Willard, John Cleese, Patrick Stewart." - Dan Harmon

sigh
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:55 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's funny. I was saying to a couple of fans in my family that I find I don't really care to watch season 1 anymore after season 2 and the first half of 3. It's not that it's not good, exactly. I think it's doing a lot of character building work and setting up humour to follow when those characters are established. (There are a few standout season 1 episodes, but I think the problem there is that I watched them to death)

"The short list of people I wanted to see about playing Pierce: Fred Willard, John Cleese, Patrick Stewart." - Dan Harmon

See, I can play the "replace Chevy" game until I think about the Dungeons and Dragons episode. That was perfect.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:58 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


But for season 2 they should have used Diana Muldaur. After that you'd take whatever the hell you could get.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:00 PM on November 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


what about Fletch
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:08 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe.

Right, maybe. I guess for me I'd rather not start throwing around stuff like "he's a racist because he plays one on TV" simply on the basis of maybe.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:11 PM on November 22, 2012


what about Fletch

Which one?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:14 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dan Harmon's a douche. End of story. It's just "Chevy Chase is a douche" has more legs.
posted by phaedon at 11:15 PM on November 22, 2012


Yes. 25 years worth of more legs.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:17 PM on November 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


The episode (paintball wars?) where they parodied as many other movies as they could was what made me go "No.. they can't be doing that... oh my god, they are.. *SQUEEE*", especially the bit at the end in the Dean's office remaking the scene from Die Hard.

My only Black Friday online purchase has been the first three seasons on DVD, from Amazon, for $35. My love for Community is the ONLY redeeming thing I got out of a bad relationship about a year and a half ago.
posted by mrbill at 11:17 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yes. 25 years worth of more legs.

And Dan Harmon gets a pass because Community is a geek darling. We'll see how he does at CBS.
posted by phaedon at 11:25 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I imagine he'll still fight like hell with the network and production company in order to get his way, and probably get low ratings. I'm not saying Harmon's not an asshole to work with, but there's a hell of a lot of ink written about both him and Chase, and the people they work with tend to be very loyal to Harmon, and regard Chase as absolutely toxic. There's a difference.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:28 PM on November 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think you're confusing co-worker loyalty (and it goes without saying network loyalty - I mean as far as they are concerned, fuck Community) with fan loyalty, which I readily admit Harmon has in spades. By the way, he is no longer running Community.
posted by phaedon at 11:36 PM on November 22, 2012


Yeah, I'm pretty well aware that he's no longer running Community. Obviously NBC and Sony didn't like him. The cast and writers' room seemed to, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:44 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


i only really know Chevy Chase from those Vacation movies, and his character always seemed to be a laid back, nice guy; maybe a bit naive but good-hearted.

Say what?? I like the movies as well but got a totally different impression of the character, one of a raging psychopath who just manages to keep it boiling under the surface of his happy family provider exterior.
posted by mannequito at 12:29 AM on November 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


The "N-word" accusation that seems destined to follow Chase wherever he goes is seriously annoying. His point was that Harmon was turning Chase's character into a broad-stroked caricature of a racist. If you can simplify his argument to "N-word-laden tirade," then you're doing the exact same thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:35 AM on November 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


mannequito: "Say what?? I like the movies as well but got a totally different impression of the character, one of a raging psychopath who just manages to keep it boiling under the surface of his happy family provider exterior."

Agreed. That link to the Chevy Chase voicemail needs a trigger warning for reminding me of my father-in-law. I'm going to have nightmares tonight.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:37 AM on November 23, 2012


The whole cast, and the writers were doing that #pierceorchevy hashtag.

That seems kinda dickish. And more to the point, non-productive. You don't like the guy, so you provoke him?
posted by outlier at 12:47 AM on November 23, 2012


I didn't mean to suggest that Chase is a racist. I think it's entirely possible (and consistent with what I've read) that he would take objection to being reduced to a racist while simultaneously bristling at somewhat more acceptable old school prejudices (women, homosexuals) not being something to laugh with but (at best) laugh at.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:52 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice to see Chevy Chase still doing the fall, but as metaphor only. I guess the old guy is worried about breaking his hip.
posted by three blind mice at 12:54 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just think Chevy Chase the actor just doesn't make up for Chevy Chase the asshole. In a perfect world, he'd charm the shit out of us in something new and we'd all lay our real-world grievances to rest. See: Alec Baldwin.
posted by phaedon at 12:56 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I dunno, he's frustrated that the show plays out like a regular sitcom: problem arises, we all learn something, and in the end we all stay loving friends and are overcome by warm-fuzzies. He's right, the standard sitcom format is pretty low (although not the lowest, I would argue). So that criticism seems pretty fair to me -- it's the one grating aspect of Community that I could really do without (I like Community in spite of it's shitty standard sitcom-ness). And when it comes to his "racially charged tirade" he was complaining that the bigotedness of his character was going too far for his own comfort. Shitty choice of words, and a petulant outburst, but to twist that into him being a bigot himself is far-fetched. And when he trashes the show, he still mentions that he loves the cast. That he chose to leave the show when the departure has very little impact on the show itself and the castmembers involved casts him in a positive light in my opinion. He might be an asshole for all sorts of other reasons, but nothing in this story makes him look like an asshole to me.
posted by molecicco at 1:56 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Re: where to start. I remember that I didn't start getting really into it until about episode 7. I don't recall episode 7 being that awesome, just that starting from around there I went from "meh I guess i'll check this out" to "must watch every episode NOW"
posted by Solon and Thanks at 3:26 AM on November 23, 2012


Disclaimer, I don't watch the show

Clearly, you're streets behind.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:44 AM on November 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


I have literally no expectation that season 4 will have anything redeeming about it at all.
Two words: Megan Ganz. In the two seasons that she's been there, she's written the bottle episode, the mockumentary episode, the Hearts of Darkness episode, and the Law & Order episode (and those are only the ones her name was name on — she was at least in the room for the rest). Those episodes alone should be reason enough, but Ganz was also basically the Riker to Harmon's Picard (how was Remedial Chaos Theory born? A text conversation between the two of them). Outside of Dan Harmon, it feels like she's the one that's closest to the show. If it had been up to me, she'd be in charge of the creative direction of the show post-Harmon (and maybe — I hope! — she is; we don't know much about how the show's been run this season). I Believe In Megan Ganz.

Please don't get me wrong, I really, really, really like Dan Harmon. I was colossally bummed when the hammer came down and he was out. Like, more than I thought I could be about someone I'd never met leaving a TV show. That's how into this show I was and am (I suspect the people in this thread are the same way — Harmon himself has talked about the kinds of people that like Community and how, especially in the third season, he started catering to those kinds of fans more and more). On every level, Community is Dan Harmon's baby, so I don't have particularly high expectations for the show without him either. High hopes? Sure, because I want the show to be good. Duh-doy. High expectations, though? Nope. This will probably end badly.

However, literally no redeeming qualities? C'mon. There are a bunch of smart, funny, and talented people still at that show, and they have 13 chances to do some great work. I highly doubt that they'll come out 0 for 13.

(OK, this ended up being a few more than two words.)
posted by scottjacksonx at 3:54 AM on November 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


Give the guy a break; he's had chronic back pain for 3 decades now and is a recovering drug addict.
posted by Renoroc at 5:24 AM on November 23, 2012


Whelk, check the first paintball episode "Modern Warfare" at the end of season one. That was when things started taking off.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:01 AM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


My first episode was about half-way through the first season. My reaction was something like "What the -- oh my -- just happened -- must watch EVERYthing."

------

My favorite waiting-for-episode-4 moment:

I am a nontraditional student, in a program specifically for nontraditional student (i.e., you have to be 21 to be in the program instead of the regular undergrad program, don't have to be full time, etc).

In my recently formed student group for our program, we were out one night talking about the formation of the group. It started with a several people in the program who had a Spanish class together and who had a study group together, and who were sick of there being no student group for us and decided to start one. I asked, "so who's Jeff," and the guy pointed. The "Jeff" of the group was lounging off to the side on a couch with his foot up, looking at his phone.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:20 AM on November 23, 2012 [18 favorites]


Mothers, don't name your children after car companies.
His given name is Cornelius.
posted by dfan at 6:58 AM on November 23, 2012


I'm Chevy Chase, and you're not.
posted by stormpooper at 7:19 AM on November 23, 2012


Halfway through S1 is fine - or as many are saying, Episode 7 - but do not start with "Modern Warfare" (S1 finale paintball). Unless you have gotten to know the characters beforehand, it's not nearly as funny, and a lot of what makes that episode great will be lost on you.
posted by tzikeh at 7:25 AM on November 23, 2012


His point was that Harmon was turning Chase's character into a broad-stroked caricature of a racist.

Wasn't that after Harmon had been canned?
posted by kenko at 8:38 AM on November 23, 2012


It appears that the #pierceorchevy tweets have been scrubbed.
posted by mecran01 at 9:29 AM on November 23, 2012


Reading that Gawker piece I came away feeling Chase has been compensating for feeling insecure for... well most of his life. Not a diagnosis, just an opinion, but constantly insulting people seems a pretty classic insecure behavior.
posted by edgeways at 9:30 AM on November 23, 2012


I'm surprised that everyone immediately jumps to the idea that they'll pull in another actor to replace Chase as Pierce. I think they'll kill him off. I'd like to see the Pierce memorial episode--I think that could lead to some real gold.
posted by dlugoczaj at 10:03 AM on November 23, 2012


Still liking the idea of having Dan Harmon play Pierce for the last two episodes.
posted by mecran01 at 10:13 AM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has anyone else ever seen Chevy Chase talk about his depression on This Emotional Life on PBS. I felt like I better understood why he's so out of step with the world.

I read an article where he said he told Alison Brie she should do TV and should be doing movies instead, and Brie was like, "But I am in movies. I just did a movie."

Chevy just clings to a past idea of how things worked.
posted by discopolo at 10:31 AM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


The group absent Pierce requires a new outcast, and last time, Winger discovered to his dismay that it was him. Clearly this is the opportunity Chang has been waiting for, to finally be a (barely tolerated) member of the group.

Or they could just bring back Jack Black. His girth to hip flexibility ratio is mesmerizing.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:33 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


They can't kill Pierce off; they'd filmed the finale before Chase quit (they shoot out of order), and he's in it.

It'll be interesting to see what they do with the two episodes he's not in. I have high hopes that they'll be either really, really creative, or just completely ignore the fact that he's even missing.
posted by tzikeh at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2012


Chevy just clings to a past idea of how things worked.

That's probably a good point. And it is helpful for me to realize that, in Chase's mind, TV acting is still at about the same level of respect as it was in the '70s and '80s, as opposed to now. Like, this is a guy who very famously alienated everyone around him by taking his opportunity to jump from TV to Film when he had it, and now that distinction doesn't mean anything anymore. I still think he's a crank and a jerk, but coming from the perspective where even taking the gig must have involved a lot of crow-eating in his own mind, this has probably been fairly hellish for him psychologically, and I can see where quitting might have been a mad grab at some remaining dignity for him.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:19 PM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, he gave a fine turn in Hot Tub Time Machine. A fine turn.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:24 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Count me among the few people bummed out about this. Not as bummed as when Harmon left, but still. I always liked Chase's contribution to the show and found Pierce to be a pretty great character. I think his performance in the D&D episode, as others have mentioned, is one of the finest moments in career. I'm sure the cast and crew aren't too upset about him being gone, and I probably wouldn't be either. Still, I think that his real-life dickishness was part of what made the show as a whole work, and I hope that if the show goes on they find a way to replace what he brought to it.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:05 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mothers, don't name your children after car companies.

Hey, Ford Prefect is a perfectly hoopy frood. That guy really knows where his towel is.
posted by maryr at 1:10 PM on November 23, 2012 [21 favorites]


Hell, as long as I'm feeling a lot more generous to Chevy Chase than I was last night, I think he added a LOT to the show. Interestingly, considering his lifetime career as a comedian, I never found him all that funny, but I think he could nail the dramatic aspects batter than probably anyone else in the cast.

I think, despite the on-peper similarities between Chase and Pierce, the character might not have been in his comedic sweet-spot, really. All of his funniest performances have always had a sort of breathless energy to them, either from ludicrous smug confidence (i.e. Weekend Update or Fletch or just bubbling mania (i.e. the Vacation movies, most notably Christmas Vacation, the best of that lot.) You can see that come through at times, like when he's sitting atop a bookcase hoarding flu-shots screaming, "I'LL BE A LIVING GOD!" or doing a bit of subdued slapstick with the malfunctioning soft-serv machine or, well, the entirety of the D&D episode. You can see what made him a star come out in those moments.

But Pierce is a largely defeated character, which isn't in Chase's wheelhouse as much. Dramatically, however, he inhabited the character through and through, most notably in "Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking," which he (and everyone else, really) knocked right out of the park. The moment when he quietly admits that Annie's gift had no ulterior motives behind it - he just wanted to give her an heirloom tiara because she's his "favorite" and she assumed, understandably, that is was an act of sadistic psychological torture - is maybe the most beautiful and tragic moment in the series (well, that and the BrittaBot song.)

In that vein, I'm still pissed at him for walking out on the final shot in Season 3. On paper it seemed really cheesy, but it seems like it was how Pierce's arc was supposed to reach some sort of conclusion, not just over the episode but the series as a whole, and whatever he thought about the writing I bet he could have nailed it. But he didn't, so we'll never know.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:31 PM on November 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


I always want Chevy to redeem himself because my dad looks so much like him and is such a nice guy.
posted by klangklangston at 2:23 PM on November 23, 2012


Christmas Vacation is part of our annual stack of holiday DVDs. I think Clark W. Griswold might be Chase's best work. The sheer unbridled enthusiasm of the character, masking of course the deep worry underneath, smacks of most of my adult life. We try our damnedest to put on the good show, to make the holiday work and under it all we're worried about spending too much, putting up with hideous family, competing with the neighbors, etc. It never loses a laugh or a been-there-done-that nod every season.

[The rest of our holiday DVDs is a fiendish mixture of Light and Darkness: The Ref, The Homecoming, Bad Santa, and The Family Stone.]
posted by Ber at 2:35 PM on November 23, 2012


I always want Chevy to redeem himself because my dad looks so much like him and is such a nice guy.

Though not for the same reason, I feel like a part of me roots for Chevy Chase because i feel like he just needs to just relax and stop taking himself so seriously. I want him to be more like Betty White.

But of course, it's unfair to just demand he be a different person. I just have a hard time empathizing because i cant understand why he wouldn't want to just go with the flow, enjoy himself, and stop making life hard for himself.

But depression is a hell of a beast to fight, so I guess hoping that he can get the opportunity to just relax and be happy for this portion of his career is just a way of wishing him well when I think of how hard things must be for him to always end up acting that way.
posted by discopolo at 3:00 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So I'd never really noticed Community until this thread, and I just went and got the whole thing. All I can say after ep 2 is, if it actually gets better in ep 7, it will be straight crack for me, because I love it.

But man, Chevy Chase reminds me of my dad, and not in a good way. Kinda triggery, to be honest. "What, you think I'm garbage?" Yeesh. Shivers down my spine.
posted by Michael Roberts at 3:15 PM on November 23, 2012


Chevy said that the sitcom is the lowest form of entertainment out there. Hello? Caddyshack 2? Nothing But Trouble? One of these programs he despises.

Just to give you an idea of Chase's career (as ranked by the members of IMDB):

(9.63) - "Community: Modern Warfare (#1.23)" (2010)
(9.50) - "Community: Remedial Chaos Theory (#3.4)" (2011)
(9.38) - "Community: A Fistful of Paintballs (#2.23)" (2011)
(9.28) - "Chuck: Chuck Versus the Ring (#2.22)" (2009)
(9.25) - "Community: Digital Estate Planning (#3.20)" (2012)
(9.17) - "Community: For a Few Paintballs More (#2.24)" (2011)
(9.15) - "Community: Basic Lupine Urology (#3.17)" (2012)
(9.08) - "Community: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (#2.14)" (2011)
(9.03) - "Chuck: Chuck Versus the Colonel (#2.21)" (2009)
(9.01) - "Community: Curriculum Unavailable (#3.19)" (2012)
(8.96) - "Community: Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design (#2.9)" (2010)
(8.90) - "Community: The First Chang Dynasty (#3.21)" (2012)
(8.89) - "Community: Pillows and Blankets (#3.14)" (2012)
(8.81) - "Community: Introduction to Finality (#3.22)" (2012)
(8.78) - "Community: Epidemiology (#2.6)" (2010)
(8.74) - "Chuck: Chuck Versus the Dream Job (#2.19)" (2009)
(8.67) - "Community: Contemporary American Poultry (#1.21)" (2010)
(8.67) - "Community: Paradigms of Human Memory (#2.21)" (2011)
(8.66) - "Community: Physical Education (#1.17)" (2010)
(8.65) - "Community: Documentary Filmmaking: Redux (#3.8)" (2011)
(8.59) - "Community: Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas (#2.11)" (2010)
(8.57) - "Community: Critical Film Studies (#2.19)" (2011)
(8.56) - "Community: Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps (#3.5)" (2011)
(8.55) - "Community: Cooperative Calligraphy (#2.8)" (2010)
(8.49) - "Community: Regional Holiday Music (#3.10)" (2011)
(8.48) - "Community: Introduction to Statistics (#1.7)" (2009)
(8.46) - "Community: Basic Rocket Science (#2.4)" (2010)
(8.46) - "Community: Virtual Systems Analysis (#3.16)" (2012)
(8.37) - "Community: Debate 109 (#1.9)" (2009)
(8.36) - "Community: Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism (#3.9)" (2011)
(8.27) - "Community: Anthropology 101 (#2.1)" (2010)
(8.27) - "Community: Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking (#2.16)" (2011)
(8.27) - "Community: Studies in Modern Movement (#3.7)" (2011)
(8.27) - "Community: Origins of Vampire Mythology (#3.15)" (2012)
(8.19) - "Community: Aerodynamics of Gender (#2.7)" (2010)
(8.18) - "Family Guy: Blue Harvest (#6.1)" (2007)
(8.17) - "Community: Communication Studies (#1.16)" (2010)
(8.17) - "Community: Intro to Political Science (#2.17)" (2011)
(8.17) - "Community: Accounting for Lawyers (#2.2)" (2010)
(8.17) - "Community: Digital Exploration of Interior Design (#3.13)" (2012)
(8.09) - "Community: Mixology Certification (#2.10)" (2010)
(8.09) - "Community: Pascal's Triangle Revisited (#1.25)" (2010)
(8.08) - "Community: Beginner Pottery (#1.19)" (2010)
(8.08) - "Community: The Science of Illusion (#1.20)" (2010)
(8.08) - "Community: Early 21st Century Romanticism (#2.15)" (2011)
(8.07) - "Community: Course Listing Unavailable (#3.18)" (2012)
(8.01) - "Community: Biology 101 (#3.1)" (2011)
(8.00) - "Community: Environmental Science (#1.10)" (2009)
(8.00) - "Community: Comparative Religion (#1.12)" (2009)
(8.00) - "Community: The Art of Discourse (#1.22)" (2010)
(8.00) - "Community: Geography of Global Conflict (#3.2)" (2011)
(8.00) - "Community: Contemporary Impressionists (#3.12)" (2012)
(7.99) - "Community: The Psychology of Letting Go (#2.3)" (2010)
(7.92) - "Community: Introduction to Film (#1.3)" (2009)
(7.91) - "Community: Investigative Journalism (#1.13)" (2010)
(7.90) - "Community: Romantic Expressionism (#1.15)" (2010)
(7.90) - "Community: Basic Genealogy (#1.18)" (2010)
(7.90) - "Community: English as a Second Language (#1.24)" (2010)
(7.90) - "Community: Asian Population Studies (#2.12)" (2011)
(7.83) - "Community: Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts (#3.11)" (2012)
(7.82) - "Community: Social Psychology (#1.4)" (2009)
(7.82) - "Community: Home Economics (#1.8)" (2009)
(7.80) - "Community: Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts (#2.22)" (2011)
(7.74) - "Community: Spanish 101 (#1.2)" (2009)
(7.73) - "Community: Advanced Criminal Law (#1.5)" (2009)
(7.72) - "Community: Politics of Human Sexuality (#1.11)" (2009)
(7.72) - "Community: Interpretive Dance (#1.14)" (2010)
(7.72) - "Community: Celebrity Pharmacology 212 (#2.13)" (2011)
(7.72) - "Community: Advanced Gay (#3.6)" (2011)
(7.72) - "Community: Competitive Ecology (#3.3)" (2011)
(7.66) - "Community: Pilot (#1.1)" (2009)
(7.64) - "Community: Football, Feminism and You (#1.6)" (2009)
(7.63) - "Saturday Night Live: Richard Pryor/Gil Scott-Heron (#1.7)" (1975)
(7.62) - "Community: Competitive Wine Tasting (#2.20)" (2011)

And then you have one of his movies.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:16 PM on November 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hmm. Ok, obviously IMDB members love Community. I mean Fletch should be up there somewhere. I've said for awhile now that I tend to think of the D&D episode as a career high (or thereabouts) for CC, but I don't consider his parts in many of these episodes as all that distinguished. I mean, Remedial Chaos Theory. Brilliant episode, obviously. But CC's part in it? Ok, I guess. Man does know how to wield a troll.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:22 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


if it actually gets better in ep 7, it will be straight crack for me

it will be straight crack for you
posted by neuromodulator at 6:11 PM on November 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


I find it very hard to take any ratings from IMDB seriously when people will rate movies by their trailers.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:56 PM on November 23, 2012


I find it very hard to take any ratings from IMDB seriously when people will rate movies by their trailers.

No, I think it is very cool how now and again the BEST MOVIE EVAR is something that will not be released for two weeks. And the "Memorable Quotes" page for the movie will be absolutely every word from the trailer, painstakingly transcribed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:38 PM on November 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


One of the strange things about the D&D episode is that, in allowing Pierce to be just totally the villain, and giving him a target like Fat Neil, just about everything he does becomes funny just through sheer audacity. Like, let's take something not very fresh or funny (obesity) then make the subject suicidal over that facet of himself, then make everybody like Neil and cheer for his redemption. Suddenly, adding Chevy Chase saying the worst shit imaginable to this character becomes hilarious. Lines that have no business being funny, like, "I've got some fat news for you, Fat Neil," or, "for my turn, I rape the Duquesne family" become amazing. Maybe they should have let Pierce be more of an outright villain more often.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:02 PM on November 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


"I rape the Duquesne family" is terrible comedy. "I rape the Duquesne family. Again." is hilarious. But that's just me.

The fat lines, despite being the most integral to the plot, were the least funny to me. The look in Pierce's eyes when he boasts of winning Dungeons and Dragons - "and it was Advanced" - priceless.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:12 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see Chevy Chase I feel sad, because he has not aged well. It's shocking, really.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 AM on November 24, 2012


"...and it’s still a sitcom on television, which is probably the lowest form of television.”

This seems to ignore:

a) 12ish years of reality shows, and
b) 12ish years of single-camera, no-live-studio-audience, no-laugh-track sitcoms.
posted by nobody at 6:34 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see Chevy Chase I feel sad, because he has not aged well.

On the WTF podcast, McHale thought that Chase's frustrations come from his body not allowing him to do the physical comedy he was famous for in '70s.
posted by riruro at 11:13 AM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I still remain optimistic about season 4 despite Harmon and now Chase leaving.
posted by arcticseal at 2:19 PM on November 24, 2012


Had to look up one of my favorite moments from the D&D Episode: "Scream what I told you to scream!" The almost orgasmic look on Pierce's face is awesome.

Also: Did you hear about the time NBC tried to kill Community’s D&D episode?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:12 PM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I "met" Chevy Chase way back when as an extra on "Man of the House." As such, I can't say whether he really is an asshole or not in person.
posted by porpoise at 8:34 PM on November 24, 2012


Individual episode rating on IMDB is a pretty great example of self-selection if anyone ever needs one.
posted by smackfu at 4:13 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Metafilter, thank you for getting me hooked on this series. I watched season one in two days.

I think I share Chase's view of sitcoms being pretty low. The scripts are clever, but the characters are like automata; they tend not to grow. And if you're playing a character like Pierce, you're going to need a real humbleness, a mercinary outlook, or some side project with depth to remain happy.
posted by zippy at 5:39 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just gave this show another shot because of you guys. Started where I left off: Episode 4 - Social Psychology.

Let's just say that it's a testament to how much I trust you all that I'm going to skip right to Episode 7 and give it yet another chance.
posted by ODiV at 8:35 PM on November 25, 2012


The "N-word" accusation that seems destined to follow Chase wherever he goes is seriously annoying. His point was that Harmon was turning Chase's character into a broad-stroked caricature of a racist. If you can simplify his argument to "N-word-laden tirade," then you're doing the exact same thing.

Quoted for Truth.

The fact that he used the word for "the-word-that-must-not-be-used" in a rant against his character becoming a racist stereotype because that bothered him.... that just isn't something I put up there with Don Imus*, Jesse James, Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, or Mel Gibson and their obviously blasé or downright racist attitudes.

Maybe I'm the outlier, or maybe not, but I've never really understood the desire to crucify, or acceptance thereof, anyone who uses the word even if they're actually standing up for equality and facing down what they see as a continuation of bigotry in the world today.**

* Yes yes, Imus used another, different slur but that still has the same impact and his tone is just as reprehensible as if he'd uttered "that-which-musn't-be-uttered" and I was really glad that he got as much negative press as he did, I figured it'd blow right over because it wasn't *that* word.

** All that said, I'm not actually a Chase fan-boi nor I didn't dig too deeply into his credentials or past so if he really does have a spotted history or skeletons in his closet regarding racial stuff then that means he probably isn't the snow white angel I'm portraying/imagining him as. But as it stands now, based upon what I've seen, he's actually more awesome in my book.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:37 PM on November 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I only made it about half way through episode 7. Clearly some shows aren't for everyone.
posted by ODiV at 10:57 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


RolandOfEld: I agree with you that even though Chevy Chase is well, in general kind of a cranky ass who is generally rude to everyone as far as I can tell, he probably isn't racist. I do appreciate that he didn't like his character being so racist. I wasn't thrilled with that either.

Buuuuuuut.... in our culture, especially if you're white, people absolutely lose their shit if you say the n-word, for any reason, even if you aren't trying to insult someone by bringing it up. You can't even use this word that sounds like it but doesn't mean the same thing without massive drama erupting. It is taken as insulting all black people, no matter what the context, because it came out of a white person's mouth. Even when trying to make a point about not wanting to say it, he shouldn't have said it and it offended the shit out of people that he did.

(note: I don't get the whole double standard/reclaiming the n-word/why anyone at all would want to keep it for any reason thing for black people either, but we already had that argument around here and don't need to have it again.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:47 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


ODiV: "Clearly some shows aren't for everyone."

It's an acquired taste, I agree.

I feel the same way about most sitcoms. Don't really get the humor of The Office or 30 Rock, for example.
posted by zarq at 7:25 AM on November 26, 2012


It is kind of funny that old automatically equals racist, but then you look back at him in a movie like Caddyshack and that young guy certainly doesn't seem like he should be a racist...
posted by smackfu at 8:23 AM on November 26, 2012


For those wondering about where to start: Last time this happened in-thread (understandably! The show does get way better than its beginning!), I suggested Season Two, Episode Eight: Cooperative Calligraphy. It establishes the basic premises of the show and the characters, and is probably the best introduction to the overall feel of the thing. If you like that episode, go back to the beginning of Season Two and watch straight through. At some point before the finale of Season Two, go back and watch Modern Warfare, which is the paintball episode that gives you the necessary setup for the paintball episode that ends Season Two.

I don't recommend starting with Season One at all, to be honest; I thought a lot of it was real bad, and only watched it after Season Two because I had then grown to love the show so much that I was desperate for any more I could get.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:03 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, season 1, episode 7 is one of my faves.

Ok, here's the thing about Chevy and issues re: racism. I completely agree that it appears as though he's a sexist asshole, but not a racist. Thing is, the man is an actor. Why in the world would you have a problem with your character being written with a certain unpleasant slant unless you were already identifying with him on a personal level?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2012


Why in the world would you have a problem with your character being written with a certain unpleasant slant unless you were already identifying with him on a personal level?

I read this as (emphasis and substitutions mine, obviously) "Why would an actor have a problem with their role being a racist one unless that actor already sympathizes with the character's beliefs?"

Maybe I'm reading into your phrasing wrong here but I can completely understand and relate to an actor having a problem playing a certain type of character and not necessarily because they have a closet sympathy for that role. It's not as if he's 2 years into playing the role of King Lear and he's all of a sudden wanting to take the role in some avant-garde direction; it's a sitcom where a given role can be as fluid as the creative talent surrounding that role wants it to be. That, to me, makes it such that I can easily understand him being concerned at a perceived shift in the character from crotchety and ignorant into actively racist. This goes quadruple if he's already the type to be a defender of civil rights (versus tactical career preservation being the motivating factor).

I know a lot of my friends that studied aerospace engineering but wouldn't ever take a job designing missiles for the DoD, despite the great pay, security, benefits that come with said jobs. I'm actually in the same boat and had a really tough time co-oping at a paper mill as a mechanical engineering undergrad and could never see myself taking certain roles in certain industries for personal reasons, payment be damned. Yes, that's because I harbor sympathies for the environment and social justice but that doesn't mean I'm silly for having studied engineering or for not supporting any and all permutations/jobs that may be encompassed by that field.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:20 PM on November 26, 2012


jenfullmoon: “Buuuuuuut.... in our culture, especially if you're white, people absolutely lose their shit if you say the n-word, for any reason, even if you aren't trying to insult someone by bringing it up. You can't even use this word that sounds like it but doesn't mean the same thing without massive drama erupting. It is taken as insulting all black people, no matter what the context, because it came out of a white person's mouth. Even when trying to make a point about not wanting to say it, he shouldn't have said it and it offended the shit out of people that he did.”

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but if there's anything I lose my shit over, it's misinformed bullshit like this. This is not happening. Everyone always links to that Wikipedia article. Nobody ever actually reads it. Please do. Particularly the part about David Howard, and how he felt about what happened.

It's like Frank Zappa said: "I'm not black, but there's a whole lots of times I wish I could say I'm not white." This is one of those times. There is absolutely no sense in which we white people have to walk on eggshells. Society sometimes asks that we take into account the feelings of others before we speak – the horror! We haven't had to do that for hundreds of years. How dare the world expect us to do it now?
posted by koeselitz at 11:28 PM on November 26, 2012


From wiki section on David Howard incident:

Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP, deplored the offense that had been taken at Howard's use of the word. "You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people's lack of understanding", he said. "David Howard should not have quit. Mayor Williams should bring him back — and order dictionaries issued to all staff who need them."[4]

Bond also said, "Seems to me the mayor has been niggardly in his judgment on the issue" and that as a nation the US has a "hair-trigger sensibility" on race that can be tripped by both real and false grievances.[5]


Yep, I can get on board with pretty much all of that. In light of the above, I can't help but wonder how Mr. Bond would feel about the current events in question.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:39 PM on November 26, 2012


Nobody got fired. Howard resigned. And he refused to take his job back when it was almost forced on him, because he said he'd learned a valuable lesson.

Seriously, people don't seem capable of reading.
posted by koeselitz at 11:47 PM on November 26, 2012


(Sorry if that sounds harsh; the point is that any illusion that David Howard or anybody else has been victimized for being a white person who said the word "niggardly" is just that – an illusion.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:49 PM on November 26, 2012


(Aaaaand when you say "sorry if this is harsh" twice in one thread, you've officially earned yourself a timeout from it. Done here.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:53 PM on November 26, 2012


Seriously, people don't seem capable of reading.

(Sorry if that sounds harsh; the point is that any illusion that David Howard or anybody else has been victimized for being a white person who said the word "niggardly" is just that – an illusion.)

I dunno, I think when jenfullmoon referenced the "massive drama erupting" that was a result of the use of the word... that's a pretty fair reading and the rest of the bit isn't out in left field either. I will agree that if people want to beat upon their breast saying "look at how wronged this white person is" that there are much better and more cogent hills to die on. But I'll not venture to say more about someone else's intent, too much of that on my part already.

I just see that it's obviously a complex issue and something that can be read a lot of different ways, as we see even within that single wikipedia section you've mentioned where the then president of the NAACP took a bit of a contrasting view to Mr. Howard by saying that Mr. Howard shouldn't have resigned in the first place and that he should be rehired. Like I said, it'd be pretty insightful to see where he would stand on the current lexicology (or linguistic?) dust up.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:09 AM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read this as (emphasis and substitutions mine, obviously) "Why would an actor have a problem with their role being a racist one unless that actor already sympathizes with the character's beliefs?"

Good re-wording, and interesting observations following. I guess I tend to see the role of an actor as somewhat different since it's his job to pretend to be something he isn't. I can relate very well to not wanting to use my skills to do harm, and I guess I can see an actor applying the same principle but it still seems a little odd. Clearly the harm here is not spreading racism, since Pierce's views are anything but endorsed; ageism, maybe?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:04 AM on November 27, 2012


Clearly the harm here is not spreading racism, since Pierce's views are anything but endorsed; ageism, maybe?

Ah, that's our disconnect then because I actually do see Chase being concerned that his character would be spreading racism if certain roads were taken by the writing/directing staff. What's to say that someone who is neutral, ignorant, or just oblivious regarding race issues and also really enjoys the character and mannerisms of Pierce doesn't take some racist viewpoints and jokes to heart? I understand that the moral of the show isn't to promote racist views and that Pierce is, in various ways, the foil for some of the more conservative viewpoints of Shirley and the other characters but, honestly, I can't help but feel that a lot of the Community viewership may not be as observant as the people discussing the issues here on Metafilter.

The harm I see is the risk of Pierce's character having a negative impact on some portion of the audience. I'm not for censoring the show or mandating that characters like Pierce be abolished, that'd be silly... but I do see merit in Chase standing up to the writers for his beliefs as well as his option to pull the eject lever if he feels like it.

Thanks for the evenhanded reply, I always get nervous when I don't quite get what someone is saying in a venue/discussion like this.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:36 AM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


From watching a number of S1 episodes with commentary, I get the impression that Chase really wants/wanted his character to be cool. The way the cast and crew described it was that he wanted to be more Fletch than an aging, racist Clark Griswold. Which, of course, worked perfectly in the show because Pierce also desperately wants to be cool. I think perhaps he just got sick of being the butt of the joke and the asshole of the group/show.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:44 PM on November 28, 2012


> if it actually gets better in ep 7, it will be straight crack for me

it will be straight crack for you


It was, in fact, straight crack for me. Cool cool cool.
posted by Michael Roberts at 4:29 PM on December 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


In terms of the racism issue - there has been plenty of racism in the show. The only Eastern European I noticed on the entire show was a one-episode war criminal in Season Two. German night in Season One is accompanied by "nobody is interested in German culture" and "the winner gets Poland", although that was mitigated by the foosball Germans in Season Three, who were German but normal people. Normal for Community, anyway, and really hilarious, "If only zere were a word for the pleasure I feel watching someone else suffer." Hahaha!

I don't think anybody could honestly argue that Pierce's character makes racism seem more acceptable, and in fact you see that Pierce is making progress over the course of the show - especially in light of his father, and in his true joy in discovering he has a brother - he has no problems at all with the brother being half black; he's just delighted to have found family.

So as much as I like Pierce as a character, I really think the analysis that Chevy Chase is just an asshole is correct. Chase wanted Pierce to get more respect, and that just wasn't what his character was about - except in the Griswold sense of respect, where we accept his human flaws as what they are and respect him for his progress.
posted by Michael Roberts at 1:26 AM on December 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


there has been plenty of racism in the show....German night in Season One is accompanied by "nobody is interested in German culture" and "the winner gets Poland"

You know who else thought "German" was a race?
posted by zippy at 7:05 PM on December 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


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