Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#7DaysofCommunity - Day 7

Earlier this week, I discussed one of my favorite non-Troy/Abed duos on Community. It does seem only fitting, of course, that I would discuss Troy and Abed at some point during this countdown. And never fear – that day is today!

What I really love about the Troy/Abed pairing (and, subsequently what happened with Jeff and Annie as a pairing) was that it was never supposed to happen. Pierce and Troy were supposed to be the budding bromance. And you can tell, in the pilot episode especially, that the writers and Harmon were planning to stay on course with that plan. But I love that when they noticed the chemistry between Donald Glover and Danny Pudi, they began to rethink their original plan. It would have been easy to try and force the Pierce/Troy friendship to work. After all, that was what was SUPPOSED to happen. The two were so similar in humor and worldviews in the pilot episode, after all. It was a wonderful, beautiful bold move to develop the bond between Troy and Abed. Similarly, when the writers noticed chemistry between Joel McHale and Alison Brie’s characters, they began to develop the Jeff/Annie dynamic more.

To be frank, for a relationship on television to engage viewers and keep them interested, there has to be an element of chemistry. I discussed romantic chemistry before in my posts, but a strong dynamic of comradery between characters is just as important, if not more so. I was asked a question today about the Troy/Abed dynamic, so let’s check out the question and my response, shall we?

@dramakim asked: Favorite Troy/Abed tag

Answer: La Biblioteca Rap (“Spanish 101”) / Technology (“Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy”) / Horsebot 3000 (“Studies in Modern Movement”)

All right, I DEFINITELY went with a cop-out on this one. But in all fairness, I DID select one end tag per season. I could have chosen more! I love each of these for different reasons, and they stand out to be as both hilarious moments and also reveal quite a bit about Troy and Abed’s relationship, as well as the study group characters. As you’ll notice, only one of these is a solely Troy/Abed tag, after all.

La Biblioteca Rap ("Spanish 101")

This is the penultimate in Troy/Abed interactions, I believe. You can argue otherwise, but this is probably the most memorable end tag in the series, and one that nearly all of us can recite by heart. It was the first real glimpse, too, that we got into Troy and Abed’s budding relationship. Throughout “Spanish 101,” the pair stuck close together – they were partners for their Spanish class assignment and seemed to work well together (compared to how Troy evidently disliked Abed in the pilot episode and wanted nothing to do with him – amazing how they grew in the span of one episode!).

But it was this tag that really showed viewers the comedic potential that the pairing had. And it showed how seamlessly the actors and characters function as a unit – as TroyandAbed, really. It was the beginning of a beautiful, weird, wonderful, and perfect friendship and we haven’t forgotten it.

Technology ("Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy")

I like to just nickname this as the “technology” end tag. I’ll be honest – I didn’t like “Custody Law and Eastern European Diplomacy.” Sorry, Bobrow! I still love you, I promise! To me, the episode just fell flat in both storylines and I was left disappointed. But the end tag? Well, the end tag was simply GOLDEN. And here’s why: it’s true.

I think that the most realistic depiction of what an actual community college study group is like was during that tag. And sure, it was exaggerated a bit, but… for those of us who have ever been in study groups before, we KNOW how studying goes. We’re usually pretty dedicated for an hour or more and then everyone suddenly takes a break from focusing on anything and soon enough, tablets, laptops, and phones are out and all hope for any sort of focus is lost (or, if you were like MY Spanish study group in college, all hope was lost for focus before we even entered the study room). Jeff, Britta, Troy, and Shirley playing on their phones while Annie surfed on her laptop and Pierce tried to work a calculator and Abed played on his tablet… well, that was hilarious and perfect.

Because, lest we forget, the study group DOESN’T ever really study and it was a perfect end tag exemplifying the fact that the seven community college students will do anything in that study room besides focus on working. And it was perfect.

Hosebot 3000 ("Studies in Modern Movement"

In a continuation of “Studies in Modern Movement,” Troy and Abed perform the puppet show they created for Annie. The beauty of the entire show was that they wanted Annie to feel welcome and at home, and it was an adorable moment in the episode that made me tear up. Because the fact of the matter is this: Troy and Abed don’t always understand Annie. They don’t fully grasp, sometimes, what she needs as their roommate and friend. They’re used to being together – having adventures, causing shenanigans, etc. that it’s hard for them to step away from their friendship long enough to include someone else in their lives.

I think what I loved most about this tag was the inclusion of Jeff and Britta at the end. While Britta is good-naturedly watching the puppet show and noting that she and Jeff should probably tell Troy and Abed to wrap it up soon, Jeff is genuinely emotionally invested in the show. And throughout season three, I think one of the biggest themes is Jeff dealing with his emotions. He actually CRIED when Horsebot 3000 died. And he cried in “Intermediate Documentary Filmmaking: Redux.” And he openly told Annie about his feelings for her in “Geography of Global Conflict.” Therapy drove Jeff Winger to an emotionally vulnerable place, and I love that Troy and Abed were able to aid the former lawyer in achieving some sort of vulnerability.

Because we tend to think that Troy and Abed are juvenile. They’re Calvin and Hobbes. They’re Bert and Ernie. But in this seeming innocence, they remind other characters of THEIR own innocence and the simple joy of just enjoying life and having fun. They’re grounded when they need to be, but Troy and Abed really are most perfect when they remind other characters in the series that it’s okay to let loose and it’s okay to laugh and, yes, it’s even okay to be a bit silly sometimes.

After all, what is life if you don’t enjoy it?

Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to the #7DaysofCommunity! I have a final and extra special bonus post tomorrow that will be up before Community airs on the east coast. Have an amazing day, everyone. And happy (almost) October 19th! Go and win some Twitter contests. ;)


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