We like to pretend it’s not real. We like to act like the end isn’t actually nigh. But after tonight’s episode of Community, that cruel (albeit, terrible ratings-induced) undefined hiatus begins. While no publicly chosen award can undo it (thanks for trying, TV Guide readers), we can reflect on what the series does best – besides homages and high-concept episodes. We’ve come to love our ragtag band of community college students and it’s not just because Annie could cure cancer with her Little Mermaid eyes or because Abed’s Han Solo impression could provoke lust in just about anyone with a pulse or because Troy’s smile could light up a room so brightly it can cause temporary blindness. Each member of the study group has some outstanding talent or characteristic that makes them unique from every other sitcom character we could ever even come close to loving the way we love these characters (which is also the way Abed loves TV characters, so ha!). And so as one last selfish indulgence before we part ways (for now), we’ve put together a list of Community’s characters’ superpowers.
I never knew that crying could be such a viable act of comedy, but any time the water works start flowing for Troy Barnes I laugh so hard it feels like a boa constrictor has wrapped itself around my body and cut off all the oxygen to my brain – in a good way. And it’s not the just the fierceness with which he commits to his comedic temper tantrums, but the instantly classic one-liners that accompany them almost every single time. If NBC has copywritten “My whole brain is crying” or “Set phasers to love me” I probably owe them about a million dollars in licensing fees.
Anytime the group is divided over Chicken Fingers or choosing new study group members, Jeff is there to deliver a speech like he thinks he’s Mel Gibson on a battlefield somewhere in Scotland. And no matter how much of a pretentious douchebag he is (and he’s big one) it almost always works. Take for example, this instance, in which he even manages to find a convincing argument for letting CHANG into the group. CHANG. I don’t know how to slow-clap for him via text, but I bet Jeff could dream up a speech that could convince me to devote my life to figuring it out.
Britta: Being a Buzzkill
She may have started out as the cute blonde who served as the reason Jeff joined the study group, but we quickly learned one very important lesson: Britta is the worst. She even managed to put a dent in the most epic game of Dungeons and Dragons in the history of fantasy role-playing games with her gnomes are people too psycho babble. She throws out judgements and literary references with no means of backing them up. She’ll protest just about anything. She’s a total buzzkill – but we somehow still love her. Plus, her abilty to squash anything fun has an added bonus of Troy’s inventive ways of telling her just how awful she is. “You are the ATT of people.” “You are the opposite of Batman.” “You are a pizza burn on the roof of the world’s mouth.” Take your pick.
Shirley: Switching from Sweet Condescension to Her Scary Voice
It took us awhile to understand Shirley’s place in this mess of characters – and it seems the writers had a similar issue with the now beloved character – but now that she’s settled nicely into a level of craziness that only she could occupy, we can truly appreciate her own little slice of genius. Sure, we sometimes want to shake her and tell her that not everyone wants to talk about Baby Jesus or spend all day baking mini pies, but when she gets angry, she is glorious. It’s a swift journey through her tiny stages of anger. First comes the passive aggressive condescention of her sugary sweet Glenda The Good Witch voice, and right behind that comes the BUSINESS voice. Because when Shirley gets mad, she means BUSINESS and it doesn’t matter what she’s saying, because you’re sure as hell listening.
Pierce: General Intolerance
No one does despicable like Pierce Hawthorne. He’s constantly calling Ay-bed an Ay-rab or referencing some sort of terrorist plot he must have a-brewing. For the longest time, he had an obsession with the fact that Shirley is black. And don’t even get him started on anything that might slightly be related to the gay community. Pierce is terrible, he’s sexist, he made (fat) Neil hate himself. Half of the time it’s funny, and the other half of the time it’s like sitting next to a sweet, extremely elderly lady on the train when she suddenly says something wildly prejudice as if it’s totally normal: all the blood drains from your face, you feel cold inside, and the entire world feels like it’s slipping away. On Community, this is followed with Annie or Shirley reprimanding Pierce, Britta scoffs, Abed says “not cool,” and Jeff makes some self-righteous comment about Pierce competing in the olympics of racism and all is right in the world.
Annie: Maniacal Reactions
Of course, Annie is sweet and innocent, which becomes a bit of a conundrum when we see she lives in a stinkhole above a vibrator store called Dildopolous and went through Narcotics Anonymous for a while because she got addicted to Adderol in high school. The truth is, Annie is kind of nuts. She’s gloriously crazy. And most of the time, she keeps it in check, but then there are those moments where she just can’t hold off any longer and she explodes in a fit of squealing and writhing. And then there are those times when an indescribable squeal replaces any sort of linguistic response. It’s nuts, it’s Annie, and we love it.
Abed: Encyclopedic Knowledge of Pop Culture
Now I know, this one is just too easy, but come on. Look at the guy. His entire (fabricated) existence is devoted to Pop Culture. How can we not honor that? And technically, since his overzealous committment to the Batman persona in last week’s “Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism” was so astute it convinced his landlord that he was the caped crusader, I’m pretty certain it counts as a super power.