Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 10 Stages of Being a "Community" Contrarian

The Community season five finale airs tonight. In its honor (and reflecting my own well-documented tendency to disagree with the prevailing opinions about this season's episodes), I present the 10 stages of being a Community contrarian. These will be my last words ever on the subject of this show.

1. Write a blog post about season five's first two episodes in which you reiterate your opinion that season four was actually a perfectly decent season of TV, and express concern that season five is going to do many of the same things the worst parts of season four did (namely, trying to hard to reassure fans that the show is still the same old Community via a series of increasingly strained concept episodes and repetitive storylines involving certain characters). At the same time, express cautious optimism about the season ahead, excitement about the prospect of Jeff as a teacher, and the hope that the show will largely be able to avoid these traps.

2. Have that optimism validated the following week with an inspired, laugh-out-loud funny, and ultimately very emotional David Fincher parody that ranks as one the show's all time greats. Sure, the following week's (which everyone else universally adores) is a little bit of a retread, but it's still funny and resonant in all the ways the best Community episodes are. This is working.

3. Wait... no it's not. Think to yourself that Donald Glover deserved better than a grating hodgepodge of "Modern Warfare" and "Virtual Systems Analysis" elements (only one that's not as funny as the former nor as insightful, complex, or subtle in its depiction of Abed as the latter). Discover after watching it that almost everyone else loved it.

4. Seek allies. Discover that there are a few people on Twitter who largely agree with you that the season has been a decidedly mixed bag. Weep with gratitude. Enjoy the next two episodes immensely, finding their more restrained, character-based humor reminiscent of season four's best episode, "Herstory of Dance" (as well as season one episodes like "Romantic Expressionism").

5. Watch the Meow-Meow Beanz episode. Compare it to season four's infamous finale in its loud, forced, and overly chaotic attempts at humor, and note that it's another example of the show rehashing older concepts. Try to get other people to see this. Fail.

6. Absolutely adore the season's ninth episode. Witness most of the rest of the TV-watching world view it as one of the season's lesser efforts. See at least one person argue that the freaking Meow-Meow Beanz episode was better. Remind yourself that it's okay to have different opin.... GAH, WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?

7. Watch G.I. Joe episode, otherwise known as "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas: The Return", except centered around a mid-life crisis for Jeff that feels contrived as a reason for the show to do this episode. (Instead of, you know, feeling like an organic story arising from Abed's worldview and emotions.) Feel pretty certain that said episode would have been eviscerated had it aired in season four, though obviously no one can prove this one way or another.

8. Assert that, overall, Parks and Recreation is still better, even though it's having a bit of a down year.

9. Make jokes on Twitter about disagreeing with the consensus on an episode that didn't air this week. Try to decide whether this is acceptance, or simply the bizarre and incoherent words that result from your gradual alienation from everyone around you regarding this show.

10. Write blog post on the first nine stages. Declare it to be your last word on the subject, even though we all know it won't be.

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