“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.
If you’re here with us amongst the living, you know that 30 Rock took its final bow on NBC Thursday night. Once upon a time, I had some crazy pie-in-the-sky dream of finding something original to write about it. Yeah, about that…
Best lines? Covered. Favorite episodes? Yep. Cameos? Minor characters? A ranking of Liz’s boyfriends? Yes, yes, and yes. The pop culture web community was all over this one like Tracy Jordan on a one-armed stripper.
But HoF cannot let this milestone pass without comment. So here is my own personal note of appreciation to the show that brought Liz Lemon, “Muffin Top” and the phrase, “Never go with a hippy to a second location” into my life. I owe it this much.
Thanks for everything, 30 Rock. But especially…
For filming in New York.
30 Rock was a show for, by, and about New York. Not fairtytale, Sex and the City New York. Real, weird, gross, callous, ugly, wonderful New York. And for we in the five boroughs, it was a good feeling to know that, on any given day, those pink signs might be posted around Rockefeller Center or Scott Adsit might be in front of you in line at Eataly.
For perfectly articulating my every hope for my future mate.
“I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching Lost. And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed, like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince. And I want him to genuinely like me, even when I’m old. And that’s what I want.” – Liz Lemon
For bringing Donald Glover into my life.
Without 30 Rock, I may never have seen Troy Barnes cry or gotten my white-girl-swag on to “Freaks and Geeks.”
For showing me that a little self-promotion never killed anyone.
Jenna’s relentless pursuit of relevance didn’t make her many friends; but frankly, friends aren’t really what she was looking for. Sure, she’s crass and shameless and selfish, but at least she’s honest about her priorities. Put in relief of Hollywood fakery and air kisses, Jenna’s steamrolling ambition is actually pretty refreshing.
For Liz and Jack’s friendship.
Shippers gotta ship, but Liz and Jack were just the ultimate BrOTP to me. (I just tracked the “Liz and Jack” Tumblr tag to find this gif, and had to frantically scroll through some Liz/Jack fic. I’m sorry, I just can’t. It’s too incestuous.) Their friendship brought depth to this cuckoo-bird, crazy-pants backstage farce, and reflected Alec’s IRL respect and love for Tina.
For paying Tracy Morgan to do 7 straight years of bizarro performance art.
What WAS the ratio of Morgan to Jordan in there? And also, who cares?
For the gift of Elizabeth Miervaldis “Liz” Lemon.
There’s a reason that even hot, non-socially awkward girls with a healthy relationship with food have been comparing themselves to Lemon since day one. Liz Lemon is me. Liz Lemon is you. Liz Lemon is all of us, and also better than all of us. She eats night cheese and sings about it. Oprah is her spiritual leader. She has an imaginary astronaut boyfriend named Mike Dexter. She once got parasites from eating sushi on Amtrak. She’s always hungry for terrible food and has bodily functions and finds sex kind of gross, actually. Without her, we’d have no Leslie Knopes or Hanna Horvaths. We needed Liz Lemon and now here she is in our cultural consciousness to approve our Saturday nights in and that second order of mozzarella sticks. Here’s to you, bb.
For proving that an obsession with TV isn’t a personal failing.
Tell my parents that all these hours of marathoning shows on Netflix Instant are just research for when I become head of a network.
Good night, sweet 30 Rock. You served us faithfully. You served us well. Thank you for making TV for people who love TV.
Community Held Hostage, Day 10. Things are starting to feel dire. The longer we go without any word, the more I fear we’ll be airing in January. There was a giant tease yesterday when TV.com listed a return date of 11/1/12…which would have meant that Up All Night was toast and Community was moving into its place. Alas, that rumor proved to be false when TV.com confirmed that all listings are user-generated. It’s a double edge sword…I desperately want my show back, but I ALSO don’t want it airing in the bloodbath that is the NBC Thursday Night line-up. So the Community fandom continues to wait and watch the ratings for Animal Practice and Guys with Kids like a hawk. With any luck, by this time tomorrow, one or both of those shows will be off the line-up.
But I’m not writing this blog to be a downer. Not today anyway. Today I choose to celebrate what I love about Community by naming my top 5 episodes. I talked this over with Jenn yesterday for a good while…how to even pick a top 5? Surely a top 10 would be easier and more forgiving of personal sentiment over episode quality. All of that is true. But I wanted to choose a top 5. Someone of these choices reflect personal preference, some of the episodes are ones that are no brainers. All of them are episodes I would choose to show a Community newbie to hook them into the series. So here we go…POP POP.
5) Debate 109
This is my most sentimental Top 5 choice. I chose this episode because the moment in that gif? That’s the exact moment that I fell in love with Community…when Annie Edison took down her hair and Jeff Winger was completely gobsmacked by it. I remember watching this episode in my season one marathon and this moment happened and I sat up and said, “Ooooohhh…now THIS is interesting.” And the rest of the episode sealed the deal. I was all in with Community. I don’t think the writers had ANY idea what would happen when they put Jeff and Annie (or more specifically, Joel McHale and Alison Brie) together. Their chemistry is nothing short of electric.
PS Dan Harmon, I’m 33 years old and I ship Jeff and Annie like no one’s business. And it’s NOT because I think they look cute together.