On this week’s episode of Community, Annie put on an anti-drug play, but compromised her artistic integrity when Pierce wanted to be center of the show, because he gave her money for rent when she was hurting for cash. Chang continued to try to get close to Shirley, and Jeff decided to mess with Britta by texting on her phone and pretending to be her – and wackiness ensued!
The Feminist in Me Thinks…I hold the belief that nothing should be off-limits when it comes to comedy. At the same time, I get very uncomfortable with rape jokes, and angry with jokes about periods. Rape is NOT inherently hilarious while rape jokes like to pretend it is, and period jokes usually fall under the “look how crazy/irrational women are and look at the poor men who have to put up with them!” variety. This scene from last night’s episode has a joke about rape and periods:
I laughed at both.
First of all, the idea of the Period Fairy is absurd (and kind of makes me wish I had one), but it also tells you a lot about Annie’s character and the way she was raised. Her parents dealt with her problems by a) codding her, b) throwing money at it to make them go away, or c) ignoring them. Now she has to live on her own. Absurd comedy + real character growth and development = win!
As for the rape joke: I know the writers intended for Annie’s line, “If he wanted to rape you, you’d be raped,” to be an offhand, throwaway comment, but I feel like it tacitly acknowledges the truth about rape. Rape doesn’t happen because a woman or person was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or because she was wearing something slutty, or because she “acted like she wanted it.” Rape happens when rapists decide to rape people. Again, I really doubt that the writers put as much thought into the line as I am right now – I point it out because it made me realize there is a way to joke about serious issues without belittling said issue. (For examples of how not to do this, check out this post, or any in Shakesville’s “Rape is Hilarious” series, where they point out the ways comedians bring up rape as though it’s TEH FUNNIEST THING EVAH!)
Of course, the show is still making me uncomfortable with Shirley’s storyline. She doesn’t remember that she and Chang had an honest, sweet moment before having sex. She probably thinks it was date rape, given how weird and crazy he is. This episode humanized him a little, which is a step in the right direction, but I really, really hope that, at the very least, the father is her husband Theo Huxtable, rather than Chang.
The Comedian in Me Thinks… This episode had a little too much Pierce, and far too little Troy and Abed.
Chevy Chase as Pierce amuses me, but he amuses me most when he’s in the background, even though I enjoyed watching the way the teens completely loved him and his immature brand of comedy. When his shtick goes on too long, though, I lose interest, and by the time the bees were ready to flush Drugs down the toilet, it had reached that point for me.
Meanwhile, an episode automatically loses points if the end tag isn’t a Troy and Abed bit. Don’t get me wrong; I loved hearing the Dildopolis specials as poor Annie has to listen to it:
But, can it really compare with something like this?:
No. No, it cannot.
On the other hand, kudos to the episode for giving me a storyline that paired up Jeff and Britta without annoying me. I like Jeff and Britta as individuals, but put them together and force the “sexual” “tension” with the two, and I hate them both. I only like them together when the characters are pursuing a common goal – for example, they were hilarious co-conspirators when they tried to defeat the annoying high school kids in “The Art of Discourse.” In this episode, even though they shared a storyline, they shared very little screen time together, and most of Jeff’s interaction was with Abed. I loved how Jeff immediately tried to rewrite history as though he and Abed had both decided to mess with Britta, and kept saying, “Screw you, Abed!” while Abed sat in silence.
Another exchange that had me laughing for a good minute: Britta says that anti-drug programs made her turn to drugs when she was a kid. Annie: “Of course you did, Britta. You don’t respond to anything appropriately.” Britta: [completely sincerely] “Thank you!” Heeeeee.
My Conclusion: An amusing episode that was a little weakened by too much Pierce and not enough Troy and Abed, but just enough Britta. I still don’t understand why Jeff and Britta were cats, Troy and Abed bees, and Shirley a crayon in Annie’s anti-drug play, because the show never explained it, and I love that they never explained it. I like that Annie is growing up, not just for her own character development, but because that means more hope for a real Jeff/Annie romance. Does it make me a bad feminist to care more about a romantic pairing than a female character’s growth? Hmm…