Friday, February 1, 2013

#7DaysofCommunity - Day 3

There are a few things that are constants in the realm of Community – a few solid, consistent truths that we can always rely on. In fact, Abed mentions a few of these character-related truths in “Remedial Chaos Theory.” The audience (and characters, for that matter) can always count on Annie Edison to be driven and determined. It is who she is as a person. We can always count on Shirley to be kind and giving. We know that Troy will do anything for his friends. We understand that Pierce will be the one member to make the most offensive, offhanded comments and jokes. Abed will always be the most perceptive, Jeff will continue to try and protect his friends… but also himself. And Britta? Well, Britta is a toss-up.

But we won’t be talking about character development and growth in today’s #7DaysofCommunity celebration. At least, not specifically. There is another aspect of Community that, in its consistency, has become a familiarity and an expectation throughout the series. What exactly is this constant variable? Click below the cut to continue!

musicandhistory asked: Most Epic Winger Speech

Answer: Closing Remarks (“Introduction to Finality”)

A while before the season three finale even aired, there was a short special that was released from Hulu featuring Joel McHale. It was called “A Day in the Life,” and followed Joel around throughout a typical work day – beginning, of course, at the near-crack of dawn when the actor rehearsed for and taped an episode of The Soup. But later on in the episode, Joel was seen attempting to memorize lines – a giant chunk of text – for “Introduction to Finality.” It just so happened that what he was attempting to memorize was this speech.

One of the most constant and predictable (in a good way, mind you) aspects about Community is its utilization of Winger speeches. They’ve become a trademark of the series, and have both grown and matured in content and delivery along with the character who utters them. The first Winger speech that was ever articulated was in the pilot episode. While the speech itself was spun skillfully, the intention behind the speech was deceptive. Jeff, after all, was only attempting to get a shot with Britta. He really and truly could have cared less about the five other members of the study group. So he caused them to turn on one another. And Britta – ever perceptive (and cynical and jaded) Britta – figured out what Jeff was attempting to do, shot him down, and kicked him out of her study group. Jeff, as we know, was allowed back into the group, and with him came quite a few Winger speeches.

When I contemplated which speech would win most “epic” in my book, I was initially convinced that it would have to be the Rich/Chang speech from “Asian Population Studies.” After all, Jeff managed to – without preparation – wildly spin together a diatribe that made RICH look like a villain (or at least a cause for alarm and skepticism) and CHANG look like a decent option for an addition to their study group. While that speech is definitely one of my favorites, something felt… off when I thought about choosing it.

No, I reasoned internally. There was another speech that had struck me. It was the speech at the end of “Introduction to Finality.” And, re-reading through my blog-review of the episode, I realized exactly WHY this speech impacted me so much. It was the sense of completeness, of coming full circle, and of accepting your place in life. Because the bottom line is this – Jeff Winger wasn’t always a super great guy. Heck, a lot of the time, Jeff’s first – his knee-jerk – response when another person needs his help is to walk away, even from the people he cares about. He’s selfish. He’s jaded. He’s egotistical.  He’s flawed.

And really, that’s what makes his journey so amazing in this series. I love every other character, don’t get me wrong. But the amount of growth and depth and development we have seen throughout the course of three years with Jeff is just… amazing. He has gone from someone who pitted the study group members against one another for his own personal gain to a guy who would rather face anything else in the world than risk losing his group of friends. He needs them. And they need him. And it’s all beautiful and sob-worthy when you pause long enough to consider the ramifications of this growth.

This man – this former-lawyer-turned-community-college-student – who requested answers from Duncan to help him cheat his way through Greendale? That guy no longer exists. I mean, sure, buried deep down is a part of Jeff that will ALWAYS be selfish in some capacity. In “Introduction to Finality,” however, we see clear parallels to the pilot episode of the series. In that episode, Jeff Winger informs Duncan that truth is relative and he can make ANYTHING true. But after years of being at Greendale – of growing and learning not just about himself but about how to care for and be there for people – Jeff takes one look at Shirley, a woman he has come to admire and respect and really love, and knows that he was wrong. Truth, he explains, is true. And right is right. And wrong? Well, there IS such a thing as that, too.

It’s the acknowledgement at the end that really leaves me breathless, though. Jeff says that when you begin to think about what’s good for someone else, and not just for yourself, “you can change the whole game with one move.” This is a beautiful sentiment. But it’s not a sentiment to Jeff – it’s reality. He knows he would do anything for his friends. He sacrificed the opportunity to return to a world he once thought meant everything to him. And why? Because he realized that there was something else that was bigger, more important, and lasting.

Below is the full Winger speech that left me a bit misty-eyed. Joel McHale was utterly flawless in this scene, as he often is, and knocked the speech right out of the park. Since he never wins awards he deserves, let me just award him with this – Most Epic Winger Speech. :)

Your Honor, I have no closing statement because I’m throwing the case. No, no. It’s okay. It’s fine, don’t worry.* My client, Shirley Bennett, my friend of three years, told me that it was okay. She said that what I want is more important. She’s right, right? I mean, guys like me, we’ll tell you there’s no right or wrong, there’s no real truths. And as long as we all believe that, guys like me can never lose. Because the truth is, I’m lying when I say there is no truth. The truth is, the pathetically, stupidly, inconveniently obvious truth is, helping only ourselves is bad, and helping each other is good. Now, I just wanted to get out of here, pass biology, and be a lawyer again instead of helping Shirley. That was bad. And my former colleague wanted so badly to keep his rich client that he just asked me to roll over in exchange for my old job. So I guess we all walked in here pretty bad, but now Shirley’s gone good. Shirley’s helping me. It’s that easy. You just stop thinking about what’s good for you and start thinking about what’s good for someone else, and you can change the whole game with one move. Now, if you like this idea, you can make it true by doing something good for everyone here. Throw this case out of court. It’s dumb. That is all.
 * Annie gasps and Jeff addresses her.

Thank you all for visiting the blog today! Our #7DaysofCommunity will continue and will lead right up to the premiere on Thursday (I’m saving one of the best questions for last), where we will joyously celebrate two important events: the return of our favorite NBC sitcom and THE RETURN OF #CakeNight! If you don’t know what #CakeNight actually IS and have never participated before, please feel free to tweet @TweetingKerry who basically kicked off that whole movement.

Until then, everyone, get excited for exciting things rolling your way in the near future!


  1. I just want to see more shirtless Winger. That's all I ask for.

  2. Remembering that speech makes me even more curious/concerned about why Jeff is planning to graduate early and leave Greendale/the group early anyway in the season premiere. That doesn't sound like the actions of someone who had the lessons of that epic speech stick.

    I hope this isn't another retconning attempt to make Jeff try to act like a douche again after he gets too good - i.e the Jeff in the S2 premiere compared to the S1 finale. But I'm trusting/really hoping that he has other motives to leave early beyond generic selfishness. Perhaps he has to find a new firm faser after he tanked thing with Alan in that speech - or perhaps searching that website for his dad made him panic and he wants to leave Greendale/his new life faster, before he does something stupid like keep looking. Alas, thinking it has anything to do with a certain brunette might be way too much wishful shipper thinking.