Late last week I re-immersed myself in the brilliant zany world of Community for maybe the fourth time now. What struck me straight out was not just how much I loved these characters and how it felt very much like coming home after a long trip away, if you have never seen Community I suggest that you rectify that immediately, what really struck me though was how so early on into the shows run do some of the most iconic scenes and episodes take place. In particular Introduction to Film which is the third episode ever! An episode which unveils Abed’s true colours, of course many of his traits and nuances and greatest moments occur much further down the line with the likes of his turn as an oddly attractive gunslinger in For a few paintballs more to his complete over the top turn in Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples, Introduction to film though is the true beginning of Abed’s story.
Before I dive straight into it all, allow me to dramatically backtrack for a moment and give you a brief overview of what the show Community is and what it is all about. Community centres on a group of mismatched young adults and the odd more elder adult as they return to college, a community college, in an attempt to improve their lives. There’s Jeff Winger a disgraced lawyer attempting to reclaim his pride. Britta Perry a woman on a mission even if she isn’t quite sure what that mission is. Shirley a mother and wife who wants more out of her life and a business she can call her own. Then there is Troy and Annie both high school flunkers looking to the next evolutionary step in their young lives and then there’s Abed a strange introvert, obsessed with movies, TV and all things pop culture orientated who wants little more than for the world to live up to his fantasies and play out like his very own TV show. Which neatly brings me to Introduction to Film which sees Britta, as the ever opinionated champion of progress, getting herself righteously involved in affairs that she doesn’t quite understand. Britta pushes Abed to take up a class he wants rather than one his father has dictated, whom is covering the costs of Abed’s education with an eye to groom him for taking over the family business. Abed dully enrols in a film class in which he produces one of the oddest and most absurdist pieces of cinema ever witnessed. What his film and the episode does do is show Abed for Abed for up until this point he has been the true misfit, the true outcast, the real oddball. It shows his humanity, his view on the world. It is a truly brilliant and touching piece of character work, Abed is given the tools to not only express himself but communicate honestly and humanly.
Most of us are born with, in differing combinations, hands, eyes, ears and a mouth all of which we each use to communicate with one another in a variety of ways. Yet with all these natural tools at our disposal we can still struggle to communicate ourselves fully and truly, sometimes out of fear of people misunderstanding us. I know this all too well for it is something I struggle with personally. I’m not saying it as some kind of brag or weird flex, it is a sad fact about myself. Just ask my girlfriend or friends or parents, hell anyone in my life. It isn’t something I am proud of nor is some of the following but like Abed with his filmmaking and like so many other have found with their writings, art, musical talents or mathematics I have found my own way of communicating with the world.
My girlfriend has long been a supporter of my writings in particular my blogging due to the fact that I express things seldom spoken on a normal basis. “I like the personal ones as I like learning about you and what you’re thinking” my own parents have also echoed such musings, “I’ve learnt more about my own son and know him better because of his blogs”. Such sentiments are at once truly touching and incredibly sad, I wonder what if I never took to blogging or even to writing in the fashion I do, how much would the people I love know about me. It is clear I need to endeavour to express myself more in person rather than throwing up a wall of pop culture references and nonsense. It’s probably clear now also to whom I gravitate towards in Community. My writings have always felt like a free space, a playground, a place to empty out the messiness of my mind and to also enjoy doing so. I don’t know why I have struggled to translate this to the real world of face to face communication, it has always felt a little more serious and intense to me, there are no rewrites, no second drafts. Writing gives me that as well as a certain visage of anonymity it all makes it easier to communicate and express myself.
The other week though I produced a piece and was saddened by the little attention it enjoyed, a fact doubled down on by my own disappointment in such a thing saddening me. Of late I have enjoyed a modicum of success and interest unlike anything I have ever experienced but the fact is I write this blog to write not for the accolades of attention. I write on here to clear my mind, to express something, to communicate something, sometimes it is just the simple fact of putting it into words no matter how silly or obtuse it may be. Introduction to Film was a much needed reminder of that fact, of why I write, where my enjoyment for it comes from. I may struggle to communicate myself at times and I am very lucky to have surrounded myself with people who understand and tolerate this, I am also lucky enough to have found a way to express myself and communicate in some form but it is time to take that and implement it in the wider, realer world . Writing has long been my spring board for communicating and understanding things, it has been a safe place but now it is time to build on that and begin to improve my own life outside of thesupermundane and to begin talking.