By Justin Rawana
After watching Community’s third episode of the new season I had a thought that made sense the more I turned it over in my head:
Is this ANNIE’S show?
I mean, I understand that ensemble comedies are about no one individual, but at the end of the day viewers establish a character hierarchy whether the show’s writers intended one or not. For example, I would argue that Friends was Rachel’s show because from premiere to finale she was the one who changed the most. Rachel began as a stuck up Valley Girl with a rich daddy and ended the series as a successful business woman and loving mother. Everyone else stayed more or less who they were in the pilot.
Now let’s look at Community. While Jeff has matured the most to date he has probably hit his ceiling in terms of character development. He’s grown a heart, settled his issues with his dad, and if one or two more things come together, Winger is going to be okay. Annie, however, is much younger and still piecing together who she is as a person. To me, that gives her a much higher character ceiling and as a critic, I’m more engaged with her this season.
This disparity between Jeff and Annie takes center stage in “Basic Crisis Room Decorum” and revolves around Ruffles – a problematic dog who may or may not have earned a degree from Greendale. While Jeff is content simply berating the Dean for allowing a lesser life form to enroll in his school, Annie takes the crisis to heart because she’s afraid how the incident questions the legitimacy of her own future Greendale diploma. Annie’s concern is the difference between her and everyone else because it demonstrates that she’s the only one still thinking about her life AFTER Greendale. Jeff and the Dean aren’t leaving their jobs any time soon. Abed and Chang still haven’t proven they can function in the real world.
And Britta? Evidently she pooped her pants this week so God knows where she’s heading.
So with Annie the only character left making any forward progress, has she usurped Jeff Winger as the show’s “lead”? Maybe she always was. Perhaps Community episodes are simply metaphors for the shenanigans of youth we all, like Annie, will eventually out grow. Perhaps we’re not watching a story about a soulless lawyer who earns a heart, but about a young girl who learns how to grow up. Was this Dan Harmon’s plan all along?
I like the idea that it might be.
Justin will be recapping Community season 6 in a week-by-week format here. He has also recently reviewed Harmontown.