"I hereby pronounce you a Community!"
This weekend, some very special (and talented!) Community fans got together and threw an art show honoring Greendale in a way of which Dean Pelton can only dream. Hundreds of artists from all over the world submitted pieces to be displayed in a one-of-a-kind (but potentially annual) art show here in Los Angeles. Even those who work on the show got in on the fun, not only by coming out for drinks and gushing at the opening night reception, but also donating some work to be displayed.
For a look at the opening day of "Six Seasons and a Movie," please click here.
When I was at USC I did a senior thesis documentary about fan culture. It was primarily focused on daytime dramas and Days of our Lives specifically, but it was my kick-start into this part of my career-- attending and writing about fan events. I never wanted to be someone who just walked into someone else's fandom and observed from the outskirts; I wanted to deeply explore those fandoms of which I was already, genuinely, a part. And thankfully thus far (knocking on wood), I have been blessed enough to do so-- writing about shows I genuinely love and events I would attend even if not "for work."
Fandoms rally. That is what they are known for. It's not enough to just enjoy a show; it's not even enough to log into forums and talk about a shared love for a show with virtual strangers. These days fandoms are proving to be effective marketing and publicity sources, as well as grassroots fundraisers and other organizers. Chuck fans stormed Subways all over the country to get their favorite spy show renewed year after bubble year; Flash Foward fans staged a "blackout" in front of ABC's offices to show their support for the freshman drama being kept from getting a sophomore season; and GCB fans have created a "Save GCB" campaign and petition to ask other networks to pick up the show that ABC canceled. Some of these approaches are more effective than others, but Community fans have dabbled in just about everything to make their voices heard. From sending in yogurt lids, to staging flashmobs, to the "Six Seasons and a Movie" art show, Human Beings have more than shown off their value.
Hanging out at the "Six Seasons and a Movie" art show for six hours yesterday (yes, literally, but it was just so much fun to take in all of the art and mingle with all of the other die-hards!), it was beyond just loving a show or the people who created it (though it's always nice to see that the true fans care enough to learn about the behind-the-scenes people, like the writers, so they get much deserved love, too!). "Six Seasons and a Movie" was a true testament of just how much one piece of art can inspire more. Because what Dan Harmon created with Community truly was art. He took what could have been an easy premise and stereotypical characters and gave them heart, soul, quirks beyond quirks, and of course a positive message week after week. He poured himself into each page and proved that when you get so personal, so raw, that is when you create something most relatable.
In one of Jeff Winger's classic speeches, he calls Abed a "shaman" because when you ask him to pass the salt, he gives you a bowl of soup instead. Because soup is better; it is more plentiful and nutritious, and it literally feeds you. As I stood in Monk Space yesterday, looking around at all of the excited, and in some cases, awe-struck faces (not unlike my own; I wish I had even an ounce of the talent those who displayed pieces do!), I was reminded exactly why Community is better-- than just about every other comedy on television right now. It feeds you in equal, though not literal, ways.
People can find the good in just about anything but themselves, but "Six Seasons and a Movie" certainly showed us all how to do-- and be-- better.