‘Community’ Open Thread: Corporations Are People, My Friend

This post contains spoilers through the March 29 episode of Community.

It was, of course, tragic that Community went on a long hiatus if only for the show’s prospects and for our collective enjoyment. But who knew that the show’s long absence from airways denied us a hilarious sitcom riff on Mitt Romney’s declaration in Iowa last summer that “corporations are people, my friend.” Because it’s hard to imagine a show other than Community where an actual personification of a corporation—in this case, a hunky blond named Subway who wants to open a non-profit shelter for disabled animals, reads 1984, and pushes all of Britta Perry’s buttons—would walk jauntily onto the scene. Especially at a time when the show’s deepest friendship is in the middle of a reassessment.

Subway’s appearance on the show is a continuation of the plot that began with Community‘s return: Shirley wanted to own a sandwich shop, but the Dean circumvented her by welcoming a Subway franchise onto campus. Subway (the person) is a way of getting around the Greendale bylaw that requires any on-campus business to be 51-percent student owned. It’s terrific not only for Community to get a chance to make a bid for some of the product placement money liberated by the end of Chuck‘s run on NBC, but for Britta to get a truly entertaining love interest who wasn’t part of the main cast. Britta gets a bad rap for being a buzz-kill, but I appreciate the show acknowledging that it may only be within the disastrous dynamics of the study group that she’s a bore, and there’s a place where her passion is a better fit, and where there’s someone who shares her values and is available for gratifyingly kinky sex.

In keeping with, though in a much more veiled key, I thought it was a nice touch that, as Troy and Abed are facing serious problems in their friendship, Air Conditioning Repair School Dean Laybourne showed up to drive a wedge between them along the lines of their aspirations. Community‘s done a nice job of suggesting that blue-collar jobs can be not just legitimately rewarding but a calling and an art as high as filmmaking. And Laybourne sought to divide his prized target student from his best friends by playing with that idea. To Troy, he implies that Inspector Spacetime and Abed don’t have sufficient respect for Constable Reggie and Troy, that they devalue the work and creativity of the world’s journeymen. And Laybourne exploited Abed’s elitism and nerdery, suggesting that Constable Reggie—and Troy—are a drag on Inspector Spacetime’s wild adventurism and creative spirit.

And if this does escalate to full-scale war, I’m Team Troy and Team Blanket Fort. As much as it’s probably time for Abed to learn some realistic life skills and to experience some failures, it’s also probably time for Troy, now that his friendship with Abed has liberated him from jerky jockdom, to figure out an identity that’s more authentically his own.