“We’re together. That makes this the perfect timeline.”
Two years ago my friend Tevy changed my life when he handed me the DVD of the first season of Community and said “Kim, I don’t know why you aren’t watching this show but you should be.” Now, some people (though I doubt anyone who reads this blog) may think it is silly of me to say that a television show changed my life. But it’s true. Community unleashed the fangirl in me that had clearly been dying to get out, and I don’t regret letting her out for a SECOND. She’s a big reason this blog even EXISTS.
I have loved a lot of shows in my lifetime. The X-Files. Friends. Lost. How I Met Your Mother. Grey’s Anatomy. But little did I know what kind of love affair would launch when I started Community. I devoured practically two seasons in a weekend (the first episode I ever watched live was Season Two’s “Applied Anthropology and Culinary Arts”). I found things in each member of the Greendale Seven that I loved and related to. Annie’s driven nature and competitiveness. Britta’s needless defiance and desire to do the right thing, even if she is the worst at it. Shirley’s desire to reinvent herself. Troy’s innocence and joy in everything he does. The way Abed sees everything through a pop culture lens because that’s how he relates to the world. Jeff’s struggle between being the man he thinks he wants to be and the man he actually IS. And even Pierce. Pierce just wants to belong and feel relevant. In fact, that is the common thread between all the members of the study group. Community is at its heart a show about finding where you belong and finding people who love you, no matter how weird or damaged you are. Isn’t that the very thing that all of us as Human Beings want? To know that we are not alone in this world?
I may have been late to the Community party, but once I was there, I was all in. I didn’t shut up about the show. I wanted EVERYONE to know what I had discovered: that something about this strange little study group at the world’s wackiest Community college was incredibly special. Sure, the show was hysterical, but underneath the metaness and movie parodies there beat a giant heart. I will never understand why some people don’t SEE THAT when they watch the show.
“Some flies are too awesome for the wall.”
I’ve done crazy things in the name of Community. The day after the hiatus was announced I tracked down emails of people at NBC and sent impassioned pleas for my show and why it deserved to stay on the air. I’ve tweeted advertisers. I’ve had people I know in real life unfollow me on Twitter because I just ranted too damn much about it (#sorrynotsorry). I’ve gone to flash mobs in Rockefeller Center where I have played “At Least It Was Here” on a kazoo. I’ve waited outside a comedy club in the middle of winter for a chance to meet Joel McHale (which paid off in spades, as my two friends and I were the only ones who waited for him, and he stood and talked to us for a good ten minutes). I’ve subsequently given him a “Most Handsome Young Man” trophy that had notes from fans all over the world on it that he called, in the most loving way possible, “wonderful and creepy” (and I choose to believe that he has this trophy proudly displayed somewhere. Don’t anyone tell me anything different). I’ve participated in the “It’s Not a Pen, It’s an Award” fan awards where we got engraved pens to the cast and crew. I’ve defended Community on a panel for Vulture that turned into a meet cute to end all meet cutes. And I have played a (tiny) part in making the pipe dream of CommuniCon become a reality.
Why do I do it? I do it to thank the people who work on the show. I want them to know that I appreciate what they do and the joy that it has brought to my life. So I will say it again. THANK YOU. Thank you Dan Harmon for creating this world. Thank you to Andy Bobrow, Megan Ganz, Tim Saccardo, Annie Mebane, Steve Basilone, Chris McKenna and the rest of the writing staff for your words. And thank you to Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong and Chevy Chase for bringing Greendale to life. I love you all more than words can say.
In the most non creepy way that is.
“You’ve just stopped being a study group. You’ve become something unstoppable. I hereby pronounce you a Community.”
Before Community, I had always been hesitant to jump headfirst into fandom. Sure, I had read more than my fair share of X-Files fan fic (WHO HADN’T) but I never really interacted that much with fans on the internet. That all changed the moment Community got put on hiatus in its third season. As awful as that was, I think it was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to the Community fandom because it truly united us. Community fans are special. They are passionate. They are wee bit insane. To quote Abed, “they like liking things.” And I love them.
There is an instant kinship when you meet a Community fan because you know that they KNOW. They KNOW how special this show is. I went to a “Greendale Pep Rally” at the Paley Center last year, and the second my friend Michelle and I walked into the lobby, we felt it. We were among our people. I felt the same way the day I found the Community fandom on Twitter. These people knew what it was like to be in the trenches screaming about the Nielsen Ratings and the way NBC and Sony handled the show. They knew the same outrage that I did when Community was continually passed over during awards season. THEY KNEW. They knew what it was like to tweet your fingers off for a chance to win a Timeline Hoodie. They too had stayed up all night voting in online polls so our show can win. These were the people who would help keep #sixseasonsandweloveyouDanHarmon trending for an entire weekend when he was fired (THIS MUST BE HOW BABY FELT WHEN SHE WAS PUT IN A CORNER). These were the people who would freaking live tweet imaginary episodes on October 19th when NBC postponed the 4th season premiere. These were my PEOPLE.
While I love any and all Community fans, there is a cluster of them that have become incredibly special to me. You guys know who you are. We became a community of our own and it’s now about SO MUCH MORE than just the show. Community is what brought us together. And yes, we still live tweet the show and break down every tiny moment of it. We still rant and rant on twitter when we feel like our show has been wronged. But we’ve also seen each other through pregnancies and births. We’ve supported each other through natural disasters, health crises, moving across the country, and school/work drama. We’ve flailed over the excitement of new dating relationships and been there to trash exes when they do one of our friends wrong. We’ve fallen in love with other TV shows together (I still blame/thank the Community fandom for introducing me to Doctor Who). And most importantly, we’ve come together over our love of cake. We’ve become the study group. And to quote Jeff Winger “If I can’t say it today, when can I say it? I love you guys.”
So here we are. We’ve made it through the Darkest timeline. Tonight the 4th season FINALLY premieres (That’s October 19th!). It’s a new era for Community, as it enters its first Harmon-less season. It’s going to be different, but different can still be good. I have SO MUCH faith in our writing team and our cast. They know the world that Dan created so well, and I know they will preserve his vision for it. I can’t wait to see what madness they have in store for us. And while I will NEVER stop fighting for our six seasons and a movie, these could be the last 13 episodes we get of Community. I plan on savoring them.
Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to fly across the country to attend the first annual CommuniCon where I will spend a weekend with Community fans from all over the country. I’m finally going to meet so many of these wonderful people who I have talked with on Twitter and e-mail. There will be laughter. There will be tears. There will be hugs. There will be flaililng. And there will be no-no juice. I can’t wait.