One of my first memories of television is watching the Magic School Bus and counting the hours until I could retell the episodes to my dad over the phone. At that time, we didn’t even have cable, so if my brother and I couldn’t catch shows on public television, it would be VHS’s from Blockbuster: Scooby-Doo, Speed Racer, Looney Tunes, you name it. Perhaps this history of not watching shows while they aired, and the lack of cable television as well as discouragement of watching it once we did get it, are the reasons today when I pick up a new show, nine times out of ten it currently isn’t on air and the majority of the episodes can be found online or on DVD. That’s how I was able to watch all 9 seasons of X Files a couple years ago, which, other than Remington Steele, was really the first show I had ever watched by myself. However, normally, television watching is a family event, all of us crowding into a room for the hour and discussing the episodes and characters over dinner or in the car.
For the most part, I don’t watch a lot of television, so it’s rare when I find a show that I don’t just like to watch but also really follow – and for me, following a show consists of reading basic news stories and the Wikipedia pages, maybe being subscribed to a subreddit, and definitely quoting best lines. Even if a show is really hot and all my friends seem to watch it, I probably haven’t even seen the pilot.
But with Community, all my “rules” (so to speak) seem to be broken. I got into the show because a friend loves it, I have made several efforts to watch episodes while they air, and a couple Christmases ago, I bought matching t-shirts for all my friends because we all have huge get-togethers for the sake of catching up and discussing. While I still can’t identify as a crazed fan, I am proud to admit I’ve wasted hours reading through the Greendale Community College website, especially to admire the brilliance of it all. Between the show growing in popularity due to its top-notch casting and writing and all the drama with NBC, specifically concerning Dan Harmon, Community has captured a nook of my brain, and as the dawn of season 4 approaches, I feel like a little kid again, waiting for my dad to call. Come February 7 (or is it October 19?), what will Community have to offer up next?