Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Love for Community Knows No Bounds

It's no secret that I dig Community. And I was pretty devastated when its future was uncertain (and to be fair, it still is.) So I defended it, as I will do to the bitter end.

However, today it came back from hiatus and it did not disappoint. Laughs abound! And not one but two story lines made this feminist happy. (Spoilers to follow, of course.)

1. Shirley (played by Yvette Nicole Brown) is a former housewife/divorcee in community college so she can learn entrepreneurship and someday open a restaurant/bakery. In tonight's episode, Shirley and her ex (Andre) decided they wanted to remarry, as they reconciled last season and had their third child together. In talking about their second marriage plans, it became clear that Andre expected things to go back to how they used to be, despite Shirley's dreams to open a business. He even said something along the lines of needing to get back to work so he couldn't be a stay-at-home dad anymore. However, Shirley didn't back down and by the end Andre conceded that her plans, dreams, and prospective breadwinner status were cool with him after all since they were important to her. I think it's pretty obvious why I would like this story line. While the characters of the study group each play distinct roles, they are never stereotypes and each season further deepens their humanity and complexity. This is just one of Shirley's times to shine which showed, yet again, that she is no pushover.

2. In a subplot, well-intentioned but often misguided hardcore-liberal-feminist Britta (Gillian Jacobs) learned that she is really, really good at some things she hates. Namely, flower arrangement and wedding planning. While Britta hates marriage and finds it a disgusting manifestation of traditional gender roles, she's unable to deny the fact that she's good at these "girly" things. It does send her into a bit of a frenzy and she almost drunkenly marries Jeff, but in my view, the lesson for Britta is's not really productive to hate on femininity. Each of us have both masculine and feminine qualities, and to hate either part is really to hate on ourselves.
    This is the kind of stuff I need on TV. I laughed the whole time and I wasn't ashamed of how the women were portrayed. This is why the female actors and writer on Community are proud. Now if I could only get Community and Parks and Recreation showing on the same night, I might die of feminist-friendly-TV happiness.

    On the same topic, I'm watching Up All Night right now, which I think is still figuring itself out. But I have a feeling that when it hits its stride, it will be another great one. The relationship between Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) is fantastic. They're best friends and partners who talk to each other how my friends and I talk to our partners. Chris is a stay-at-home dad who the writers treat with respect--there's simply no mockery. They show him realistically dealing with what it means to be a full time caregiver and still allow him to display masculinity. Reagan on the other hand, is a strong yet relatably imperfect woman who is both a great mom and working to get ahead in her television career.

    I haven't always loved what NBC has going on (like how they treated Conan--shit.) But Thursday night has some gems.

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