Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Danny Pudi! Today We Celebrate You... Through GIFs.

Today is Danny Pudi's 35th birthday, and is there a better way to celebrate the day of someone's birth than through the wonderful innovation of GIFs? Danny Pudi, of course, is best known for his role as Abed Nadir on the cult-hit Community. I love the show, obviously, and over the years have grown to love and understand Abed more as a character. He's still not the character I relate to most of all (#AnnieEdisonForLife). Sometimes Abed he frustrates me. Sometimes I feel sorry for him. Sometimes I'm baffled and impressed by his extensive knowledge of pop culture. But what I love so much about Abed is the way that he's portrayed by Danny. This is a character who, at the hands of any other actor, would not - I feel - be as beloved as Abed is on this show. Danny has such an amazingly nuanced way of portraying this pop culture-defined character. He is able to convey deep, meaningful emotion through the dead-panned delivery of a line or the slight tilt of his head or a mere stare. Danny and Abed are vastly different in personality. You can tell that through the way, of course, that Danny speaks in interviews and functions off-set that he is nothing like his character. But the most impressive thing about Danny Pudi and why I know that he is a fantastic actor is that, in these interviews, he really and truly understands every layer that there is to know about Abed. He's still growing as an actor as Abed grows as a character. That's amazing, to me. What I love really about Community and why I think the actors are so fantastic is that each one of them really and honestly understands what makes their particular character tick. Danny knows what scares Abed and what motivates him and what confuses him and how much he has grown over the course of five years. And when an actor gets that - when they REALLY get that - it translates beautifully on screen.

So to celebrate Danny's birthday, I thought I'd post ten of my favorite Danny Pudi/Abed Nadir GIFs. Are you ready? Then let's do this!*

* None of these GIFs are mine. I'm not talented enough to do things like make GIFs, to be honest. I'M GIFTED IN OTHER WAYS.

#10: Humming "Daybreak" In His Head

I think "Daybreak" was stuck in the collective head of the Community fandom for a long, long time. What I love most about this scene is that Abed is telling his scary story during "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps" and just starts humming the song as it plays in his story sequence.

(Eight out of ten of you are now humming it too.)

#9: Eyebrow Wag

Everyone remembers "Romantic Expressionism," right? There's a scene where the study group, under Jeff's prompting, realizes that any of them can look at anyone else in the group as a sexual prospect. When Jeff realizes that he's looking at Annie (schmoopily, but I'm #pathological so) for a bit too long, he quickly looks away... right at Abed, who just so happens to be making this face. It's a fantastic face and a fantastic GIF.

#8: I Just Like Liking Things

I quote this pretty much on a weekly basis.

... I wish I was joking.

#7: Brown Jamie Lee Curtis

"Asian Population Studies" is one of my favorite episodes of the second season and I absolutely adored the exchange between Abed and Jeff during the episode where they remark how they should probably learn the names of the non-study group students at Greendale. Jeff agrees "with brown Jamie Lee Curtis" and then Abed does an adorable finger gun back at him. Essentially, the cold open is perfect and so is this GIF.

#6: Abed Does... This.

I honestly don't know how Danny Pudi didn't break completely every time he did this take but it's one of the most hilarious and wonderful things he has ever done on this show. I could not stop laughing during this scene at his expression and I honestly think it's one of the best things he's ever gotten to do on the show.

#5: Abed Is The Perfect Host... With The Perfect Host Face

"Remedial Chaos Theory" is my favorite episode of this show ever, and this is one of my absolute favorite Danny Pudi/Abed Nadir-related GIFs. If you have to asky why, just look at his expression and try not to crack a smile. If you don't... you're probably a Blorgon or something.

#4: Cool. Cool Cool Cool.

This is now the most common "catchphrase" associated with Abed Nadir, and it's an awesome catchphrase to have. Even other character (Annie and Jeff, specifically) know that this is the filmmaker's familiar phrase. Occasionally Abed alters it ("Not cool not cool not cool") and it's the most heartbreaking when in "Cooperative Polygraphy," Abed solemnly lies and utters the phrase when Troy announces that he is leaving to sail around the world. It's a moment that punched me in the gut and made me realize how impactful those four words really are and how nuanced they can truly be.

#3: The Darkest Timeline/TroBed Handshake

This GIF is exceptional and one of the best because it combines two very important elements of Community: the existence of the darkest timeline and the Troy/Abed handshake. It's wonderful that no matter what universe or time or space these two are in, whether in claymation or decorated with felt goatees, they will ALWAYS have their secret handshake. I loved Evil Abed noting that they were in the darkest timeline and I loved everything about this particular timeline (... with perhaps the exception of its "resurgence" in the gas leak year), especially that Troy and Abed were still best friends.

So really, that CAN'T be the darkest timeline then, right? ;)

#2: "Modern Warfare" Awesomeness

This is one of my all-time favorite Abed moments and GIFs.  He was exceptionally wonderful in "Modern Warfare," but never more so than when he saved Jeff and LITERALLY USED A WALL AS HIS JUMP-OFF to take out the other player. It's awesome, really, and it deserves the silver medal in my imaginary and meaningless countdown.

#1: #SixSeasonsAndAMovie

Of course, the most influential statement perhaps ever to be uttered on this show was during Community's clip show episode "Paradigms of the Human Memory" where Abed told Jeff that "The Cape" would get six seasons and a movie. The statement became a battlecry for the fandom and one that - to this very day - they all hold near and dear to their hearts. It's a promise that they made to themselves: that they would try their hardest to get the show on the air for six years and then for an additional movie. And they've fought valiantly year after year with new strategies and outreach events to make it happen.

Now, #SixSeasonsAndAMovie isn't a hashtag anymore to the fandom: it's a way of life. And it's all because of Abed Nadir.

So there you have it, folks! Happy birthday to the wildly talented and hilarious Danny Pudi. And now it's time for you all to weigh in: what are some of your favorite Danny/Abed-related moments? Is there a favorite episode you have or a scene? Do you relate to Abed the most out of the study group characters?

Hit up the comments section below and let me know your thoughts. Until next time, folks! :)


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