Mark Lee and Matthew Wrather recap the Dan Harmon-powered return of Community, Season 5 episode 1, “Repilot,” and episode 2, “Introduction to Teaching.”
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What did you think of these episodes? Sound off in the comments below.
While I understand the desire to avoid all the meta talk around Harmon, I think it’s also indicative that OTI has chosen to start recapping Community with his return, and not last year’s season. Community is only worth talking about again because he’s back. I can’t think of any other comedy so tightly bound to a creator who is not also the star. This is another way in which Community is like the prestige dramas — Harmon is the Simon/Gilligan/Chase of half-hour comedy.
Watched this on youtube but I wanted to comment here. Yes! Finally you are recapping a show I watch.
I thought the “gas leak year” bits you referenced was a really interesting and emblematic example of Community deliberately relating to its wider community in a way that other shows have done unintentionally. You could almost hear Harmon saying “OK, twitter/tumblr/etc. fans. Here’s the cute phrase that you’re going to use to refer to that season from here on out.”
Compare this Harmonian interplay with the fans with some examples from Joss Whedon. A lot of Firefly fan jargon comes from the show itself–fans are “Browncoats” taking a term for the Independents in the show (whether the term’s fascist overtones are deliberate is not 100% clear). Mal is lovingly called “Captain Tightpants” by fans, referring to an offhanded quip by Kaylee in one episode. Going deeper in history, there is a period known to some fans in the second season of Angel called the “beige Angel,” where Angel starts acting kinda dark but not the capital-D Dark that he turns into his evil-Vampire self Angellus. The “beige” qualifier comes from a throwaway joke from the then-unnamed character Lorne who says that Angel is going to a dark place, but that weirdly his aura is “kinda beige.”
There is no sense, either intrinsic to the episodes or from later comments from the creators, that these jokes were put into the shows in order to give the audience jargon to use. There may be examples of deliberately planting terms for fans to use or certainly making use of things that originated in fandom on a show (The term “Scooby gang” for Buffy’s gang has a ring to me of originating from or for fans, though my Buffy memory doesn’t go nearly deep enough to know.)
Communty shows an awareness not only of the things fans have done, but a sort of meta-awareness that an oddity like the 4th season is something the fans will come up with a nickname for and a willingness to shape that dialog. The artistic project we call “Community” includes the whole discourse and not just 22 minutes of jokes.