Friday, October 12, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Television show poorly reported

By David Gordon, Junior

As an avid fan of the NBC comedy “Community,” I was happy to see my favorite TV show get some much-deserved attention, but your column left me wondering whether the author or either of the people interviewed have actually watched it.
If they had watched even the first episode, they would have immediately seen the “late nights of cramming, the stress of tests, and the consequences of not preparing” they claim the series lacks.

True, the students at Greendale are not shown “consistently studying” on-screen, but they are a Study Group, even if most of the actual textbook reading and essay writing happens outside of the 22 minutes we get to see.

They manifest realistically diverse levels of commitment to their schoolwork, from Annie’s perfectionism to Jeff’s ‘Tom-Sawyer-worthy’ aversion to effort, and this is reflected in their class performance, including the very real possibility of failure for the less diligent.

So while the stress and effort related to being in college may not be the focus of the show, they’re not absent either.

Having experienced both real and community college, and having actually watched the show, I can’t think of a more accurate fictional portrayal.

The column chooses to specifically single out one character, Pierce, as unrealistic, and “more of a stereotype than a student” for being unrepresentative of ‘non-traditional’ college attendees.

It completely ignores Shirley, a mother of two returning to school, who clearly displays the “respect and dedication” they criticize Pierce for lacking.

It’s still unclear to me why they cite him as especially unrealistic. He happens to be rich, white, old and ‘Buddhist,’ but just like Shirley (middle-class, black, 40s and very Christian) and every other character, he fits squarely into some of those stereotypes, and outright defies others. Kind of like real people do.

As I think the author was trying to say in their conclusion, the depth and humanity of Community’s character set, as individuals and as they relate to each other, is one of the things that makes the show great.

I say ‘I think’ that’s what the author was trying to say, because I’m still not entirely sure.

I don’t think it’s an opinion piece, because I don’t see an opinion, but it’s not informative either, because the author never gives the reader any idea of what the show is actually like, or why so many of us love it so much. 

We’re told that the characters don’t study, but nothing about what they do.

We’re told they aren’t realistic, but nothing about what they are.

There certainly aren’t specific examples anywhere. At the very least, the column could have mentioned that if you want to see for yourself what all the fuss is about, “Community’s” fourth season premieres Oct. 19 at 8:30 on NBC.