Community is back and as wonderful as ever, and once again, I feel the need to get inside Dan Harmon’s brain and live there. Once again, I’m impressed with the way the show blends ultra-silly comedy and darker, complex character beats. After “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts” and “Contemporary Impressionists,” I felt happy and hopeful for Shirley, saddened but hopeful for Pierce, impressed with Troy’s maturity, worried about Abed and Troy’s friendship, really worried about the mental and emotional states of Jeff and Abed, and a little annoyed that we don’t seem to have a storyline for Annie yet (but maybe that will change).
Then there’s Britta, formerly the weakest link in the show, currently the show’s comedy MVP. She’s studying psychology and believes she would be an excellent therapist someday – a belief that her friends do not share. She also planned and designed Shirley and Andre’s wedding after she accidentally discovered that she has a real natural talent for flower arranging. This gives her a real crisis of identity as she’s worried that she’s doomed to become a “Steppenwolf wife” (oh, Britta):
Arranging and designing weddings goes against everything Britta stands for – yet she’s really, really good at it. Being a psychologist is something she’s really, really bad at – yet it’s the path she wants to follow.
Now, where does Britta go from here?
This is where I feel torn, because the part of me that wants Britta to be happy and successful is directly at war with the part of me that wants Britta to continue being funny no matter how dissatisfied and miserable she is.
My favorite thing about Britta is her ability to be smart and stupid, insightful and clueless, passionate and lazy, all at once. She’s absolutely right that Jeff has a major Oedipal complex – but she mispronounces it as “Edible” and only vaguely knows that Oedipus did “something” with his mother (because she didn’t finish reading the chapter). In the latest episode, she’s absolutely right that Jeff’s ego is on the verge of exploding – but she explains the concept to him with an apple analogy that makes no sense. After all, according to Britta, an analogy is a thought with another thought’s hat on.
That’s why Britta would make a terrible therapist. She can understand people’s issues quite well and she’s very compassionate and caring, but she can’t explain anything to save her life and her approach to addressing people’s problems is often abrasive and off-putting.
To become a better therapist, Britta would have to lose the lazy and clueless aspects of her personality, but those qualities are the funniest things about her. As much as I want Britta to be happy, I can’t root for her to stop being clueless and lazy. That’s comedy suicide. She would turn back into the character she was at the beginning of season one, and who wants to see that?
On the other hand, what’s the alternative? Is Britta going to become a reluctant professional wedding planner? Watching her fight her natural talents in wedding planning was very funny for one episode, but that story could easily become played out over time.
Either way, I’m not too concerned, because I have faith in Dan Harmon, the writing staff, and Gillian Jacobs to continue to make Britta insufferably funny week in and week out. I’m interested in seeing where this goes.
As a side note, I’m starting to think that the Britta/Troy shippers may be onto something. Troy seems to find Britta annoying and attractive in equal measure. She fascinates him as much as she repulses him. Someone who can call Britta “really cool” in one episode and “the pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth” in another is probably the perfect match for her. Besides, logic dictates that when a man and a woman dress as the two different versions of Michael Jackson, the writers are sending a message that these two characters are meant for each other.