Am I in trouble if I tell everyone that I don’t like Community? I know it’s supposed to be hilarious and all the kids like it and there was an uproar when it didn’t get renewed, but really? I think it’s terrible.
I’ve tried watching Community. My friends said it was great and everyone on the Internet seemed to agree. Well, the problem is that most of my friends are idiots and everyone on the Internet also likes The Big Bang Theory, and I’m sorry, but I don’t see what’s so funny about a grown man with a lisp saying “BAZINGA.” Or maybe I just resent someone attempting to aggressively sell me on a catchphrase. Whatever.
But I tried to watch Community because I was aware that it was a thing. Kind of like 90210, American Idol, or Lost. I either didn’t like or got tired of those shows very quickly, but I tried watching them because they were part of everyone else’s dialogue. And it’s not that I automatically do everything that everyone else does, I just think it’s important to be a part of the dialogue. To understand the references. Because there is no worse person at the party than the person who doesn’t understand the references.
Mike and I were talking about this last week. He said that he and Abbi had sort of watched Glee, not because it’s a great show (it’s not) or because they’re both into musical theater (they are, but I like them anyway), but because it was a part of the dialogue. It was a thing. They stopped watching it for their own reasons, and although I couldn’t weigh in on the merits or shortcomings of Glee (dialogue or no dialogue, I am not watching that shit), their watching it made sense to me.
When I was a kid without cable, I thought I was being really lame by coming home from school and watching syndicated episodes of Saved By the Bell, Growing Pains, and Full House. I thought that watching the same dorky movies like The Neverending Story, Labyrinth, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure over and over again wasn’t something I should admit in public. But it turns out that I knew what I was doing, because those references are the ones people make. Well, those references are the ones the people who I want to be friends with make, because it’s really important to me that someone knows about the pilot of Saved By the Bell being called Good Morning Miss Bliss and is concerned about whatever happened to the kid who played Zack’s 8th grade best friend Mikey (since we already know what happened to Boner Stabone, I mean). As stupid as it is sometimes, pop culture is important. Obscure pop-culture references are gold. They would be that way even if VH1 had no say in the matter.
I also know what it’s like to be the kind of
person nerd who quotes Back to the Future and Ghostbusters on a regular basis only to receive blank stares in return. “Hey Courtney, your cat reminds me of Doc Brown” should not earn a polite smile, especially because Courtney is one of my favorite fellow nerds. This is why I’m so glad that my calling Mike’s daughter “Gozer” was well-received. Not everyone can appreciate it when you refer to their child as a Mesopotamian demon minion (I also alter referred to her — jokingly! — as an alcoholic with a gambling addiction), but luckily, I have the best kinds of friends.
That said, I still don’t like Community. I really did try. With the exception of Squidbillies, I like almost everything Dave tells me to like. I can’t thank him enough for making me watch one and a half seasons of Arrested Development in one evening. But even with Dave’s recommendation, Joel McHale, and Chevy Chase (sir, your face, I just can’t with it), I couldn’t stomach Community. It’s so preciously quirky, all hamfisted and wide-eyed with jokes that aren’t so much funny as they are clumsy observational failings at being wry. I don’t care about missing the references or not being part of the dialogue anymore, and I’ve come to realize that the people making so many Community references have terrible senses of humor to start with. Except Dave. At least not when he laughs about what I have to say.