6. Introduction to fandom 101
If we were to stick to the interests we know, we’d never feel as close to people when they have a different interest. Couples often find that they begin liking similar things, even when they start out neutral towards them. But this can only happen when we have an open mind. Indulging in other activities can seem daunting, especially without a friend. I can’t even imagine anyone getting to D&D without having a friend introduce it to them.
This is evident with Troy and Abed’s friendship. Abed gets Troy involved with his fake morning show “Troy and Abed in the Morning” – despite Troy being a jock and Abed being incredibly geeky. They are also able to share Inspector Spacetime adventures, a take on Doctor Who. Even Annie manages to understand Abed better when she plays along in the imaginarium.
We often see the mess that the group produces and are often shown how much of a bunch of asses they can be to others when they’re focused on the group. They often peeve off people around them by hogging the study room, giving other people cruel nicknames and generally being dismissive of others outside of the group. It’s not that they’re malicious, it’s just that their focus is so heavy on the group, they don’t know the hurt they’re doing.
And we can often see that cliques can often be like that – groups of people that dominate plans and situations for their own benefit. They often don’t hold any malice, but it’s still not nice when you’re outside of the group. I won’t provide examples of this in my own experience, but I will say that it’s happened on more than one occasion. I’ve still not found a good way to get around it, but I do appreciate how group needs can seem to outweigh others.
8. Friends Forever
Often, when you’re part of a group, it’s because of one of a few factors – whether it be part of a course, a team at work or being part of a local group that does something. But the one question that everybody wonders is how long the group will last. Often when we see each other day in and day out, it feels like time has stopped – when graduation day will never happen. When the group has no end in sight, it’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not a fantastically good thing either.
We can have different goals to people in our group. With Jeff, he wanted to graduate and get back to lawyering. That remains his goal throughout the series, despite loving (often loathing) being part of the study group. But even Jeff obsesses about speeding up the process of graduating, especially in the first few seasons.
9. Motivations and Secrets
People often invest more that just time in a group. They invest emotions and sometimes even money, whether it be paying to do something as a group or something as simple as buying gifts for each other. Likewise, everyone has something they’re not proud of and want to hide from the group, maybe even what people sometimes think about each other.
This has shown up in Community in multiple ways. It’s easy to see that the character become invested in each other emotionally, and have even relied on each other for living situations, with Troy first living with Pierce before moving in with Abed, which Annie later moved in with. Jeff even briefly moved in with Abed as well. With the hiding part, the characters are often seen hiding the truth from each other, whether it be motives, secrets or just trying to spare each others’ feelings. Even the puppet episode was about this very point.
Sometimes people have fundamental problems with other people in a friendship group. Sometimes a religious belief gets in the way, or if someone constantly tries to take the lead on a project, or even if someone just won’t let other people’s opinions slide. There’s two ways this can affect the group dynamic – either it stays hidden or it’s out in the open and gets addressed. Often personalities will clash and it can jeopardise the group – or so it seems. Other times, they can fester and fester until something blows up way out of proportion. The former way is often better than the latter, even if the consequences don’t feel like that at times.
This has happened a few times on Community, with Shirley’s attempts to Christianise the first season’s Christmas – resolved when Shirley accepts the group’s decision to stand up to the school bullies. Heck, the group come to expect Pierce to say something racist. The problems are not to change others, but to accept them despite their flaws. Issues under the surface are the real obstacles, not the ones that you can address. Every time the group threatens to split, it’s over uncertainty and what is not being said rather than what is.
Friendship is golden, and I hope Hex’s own community of writers always appreciate each other, especially when we disagree. I know I for one will follow the lessons set out by Community.