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Basically I have SO MANY feelings about Community's finale last night. That I actually wrote a goddamn essay. God what is this show doing to me. At this rate, I'll be writing fanfics soon.

You know the more I read people's reactions about Community last night, the sadder I feel. This was such a positive, sweet and fun fandom and now things are turning really ugly and negative. Yet, I can understand very well why people are angry. This isn't just people whining over their ship not getting enough attention or whining about too many parodies (those people could be laughed off) now there is anger and fury at the way the women were handled, at how Jeff is suddenly most eligible greendale bachelor, how the ensemble dynamic was spoiled and how Britta was cruelly treated and written OOC.
Though I do not agree wholeheartedly with all of this, I do agree with alot of it. The unfortunate implications in the finale were really at astronomical levels and I find it hard to believe that Dan Harmon DOESNT know that. I've been reading this guys blog and twitter regularly like the crazy stalker fan that I am and this is guy is not an oblivious fool nor does he strike me as a sexist asshole. So I am left feeling very confused as to what his intentions were with this finale. What's his plan? Why have the girls fight each other? Why have Britta make a fool of herself? Why have Annie and Jeff make out at the worst time possible? That said, I do feel like there was a REASON for all this, not just to shock the audience or take potshots at Britta, but real narrative reasons.
I feel like Harmon understands the art of storytelling better than most. By that I mean, I think he is very aware how people can read television and how television affects and influences people. As I said to someone else at the community-tv comm, Community is as much a show about television and all the cliches and tropes found there-in as much as it is a show about students in community college.
The way everyone has SUCH strong feelings about the finale and is voicing them is not a coincidence. I feel like this is what the writers wanted to see happen, they wanted to do something to make us viewers and fans REACT. However, even if that is true it doesn't take away the deeply unfortunate handling of the women in this episode. Before I continue with what I want to say about Britta and Britta/Jeff. I want to first say that I feel kind of pissed off at the fangirls who are saying Dan Harmon is some kind of gross chauvinist pig who is basically writing Jeff as his handsome self insert now. and that Britta was treated like shit because she is based on his ex-girlfriends (which btw, didnt he just say she was like them a bit rather than explicity based on any or all of them? but even if he did say that, does it really mean that he has some kind of pathetic grudge over all his old gfs and britta was strictly created to mock all of them? there is such a thing as amicable break ups people!) I find it insulting personally as a fan of Britta that people can assume her presence on this show was all so Harmon can take potshots at his old girflriends. I think he has alot more respect for his craft, his audience and his characters. I can't imagine him taking the time to create, and develop Britta as a character JUST so she can be brought down as a joke/slap in the face to old gfs at the finale. Seriously people, you really believe that shit? I don't understand how anyone can think Harmon hates Britta. There is no writer in this WORLD that hates his own creations/characters, even the bad ones! But Britta isnt a villain or an antagonist, she's just a flawed human being. Maybe her flaws were based on or inspired by women that Harmon dated but it doesn't mean she's just there to be hated otherwise why give her any redeeming qualities at all? Harmon said before that Britta's becoming more openly flawed and mocked made her much more sympathetic to others. I suspect everything that happened in the finale was calculated, but what I don't understand is...to what end? What is trying to be achieved here? Making everyone mad on Britta's behalf and side with her? Making Jeff/Annie seem really unappealing now? Reminding everyone what a jerk Jeff is? Making.....wait a minute. I think I just answered my own questions. You know, it occurs to me...you know Harmon DID say that regardless of how people react, they will still take the story where they want to take it but depending on people's feelings would depend on how things are framed and handled even as they progress to the same destination....You know, it would be kind of hilarious if this was Harmon's way of dealing with some issues they had so far. Which is the unpopularity of Britta, and Jeff becoming too good a guy too soon. Not to mention how Jeff/Annie is the fandom favorite, even when it seems like Jeff/Britta is supposed to be the endgame. By pulling this shit....well, I think I can see where this is going afterall. Before I get into that though, I really wanna talk about Jeff/Annie for a minute.

I have to say, I am kind of amazed that so many of them are happy. I actually thought they would be furious, because were I in their position. I would be furious. Yet this seems to be grandly romantic to alot of J/A fans and I am thinking to myself, really? I mean I never disliked the ship so nothing I say now is out of spite or malice. I don't take ships that seriously to begin with. However, the way I read that final scene was....not romantic, to say the least. Jeff just had two women confess to him, after fighting over him in a very scary fashion. Jeff spent a good amount of time wanting Britta and then dating Slater. Before he kisses Annie, Jeff says Britta makes him feel like the man he is, but at the same time he is unsure of himself and who he wants to be with. When Annie voices similiar reservations about her current choices and her desire to be with Vaughn, they end up kissing each other. This strikes me as something that is happening out of a sense of desperation and confusion as well as mutual attraction rather than anything much deeper. Which isn't to say that no one can be happy about it, but if you're someone who wants them to be together for real or at the end, then this is kind of a slap in the face really. Then again if you just want them to be together at all then yeah it's a dream come true. Personally I feel bad for Annie cause Jeff just proved what a child he still is. Annie is a child so her actions are more forgivable I think. Basically I don't see Jeff/Annie lasting long term, especially with such shaky foundations being the groundstone of their relationship at this point. We'll see though. Maybe they are Ment2b~

As for Britta. I've said this twenty times already in the community-tv Comm. So I'll just quote myself:

I am torn because seeing the women behave childishly like that was sad but seeing Britta in FULL bitch mode was pretty awesome and hilarious. That said it made sense to me, it's been established that Britta is very insecure and has a fragile ego, I can't help but wonder if her acting out the way she did had alot to do with it. I guess I didn't feel like the show was framing it as "this is how women always act" but rather how those particular women would act. It also fit the too much of a good thing theme they had going. (as in Jeff seemed really confused and freaked out by all the attention rather than happy whereas when it was just one or the other he was much happier) Also I can't help but wonder if both slater and britta's behavior was more about their own sense of competition (and ego) than Jeff or even love (assuming both were 100% sincere when they confessed and I felt like the way they both did it was majorly messed up and again felt like it was more about them winning). I kept waiting for the show to shed more light on that or for Jeff himself to comment about that or comment that he didnt like how they were acting, but it didn't happen. I guess this seems like too smart a show to me for that to just be all but I guess we'll have to wait till next season to see how it's handled. I feel like alot of threads were left hanging but that may have been intentional.

and also

Actually I agree with this. Like I mentioned upthread, I think Britta's insecurity and competitive spirit took over and it became more about winning and proving she was better, than it was about Jeff or love. I do think she has feelings for him and maybe even very strong feelings but I think if it was just about her feelings she would NEVER have admitted it that way. For her to make a grand scene like that, she was really just trying to beat Slater at that point. Which I think is sad, because it shows how much more growing up she still needs to do before she can truly enter into a serious relationship (esp when earlier in the ep she made it clear she didnt want jeff being all lovey dovey with her. further showing that she wasn't ready for that kind of relationship yet)

Jeff's behavior though also shows he's got some major growing up to do before he can be serious about anybody as well. I mean kissing Annie after expressing his conflicted feelings over both women? Not exactly what I call classy. though I suppose this clears up any doubts that he was becoming too much of a good guy too soon.heh.


So yeah basically, I DON'T think Britta was being enitrely OOC. However, I DO think that the writers were not being clear enough with what was going on with Britta. Because if you read things at face value, then she did in fact go COMPLETELY OOC however, if you read between the lines and look at her characterization throughout the season, then it makes more sense, however the fact there were no hints dropped within this episode to support this theory is a very glaring error indeed. Suffice to say I agree with this poster like alot:
As for Britta, I really do think that she let Shirley talk her into going for it with Jeff, but the Slater rivalry pushed her over the edge into insanity where she declared her love for Jeff without even really considering if it was a good idea, never mind if it was how she was actually feeling. I think the biggest problem is that the show didn't take the time to show that she wasn't really in her right mind when she did that, probably because they wanted to end it on a Jeff/Annie note. But it really did Britta a disservice, in my opinion. She's been awesome lately, but she's virtually unrecognizable in this episode because the only clue we have that her declaration is more about the rivalry than about her feelings is the fact that THIS ISN'T BRITTA. And I think it's asking too much of an audience to have that much faith in the show's characterization.

So basically even if Harmon didn't mean for Britta to be his personal punching bag or to be OOC, it still could have been handled a hell of alot better. That said, I can't help but think that the incidents of the finale were all some kind of reverse psychology. The writers WANT us to like Britta, so they give her a hard time, they want us to be more open to Jeff/Britta without completely ignoring Jeff/Annie, so they have Jeff/Annie happen but over rather sketchy circumtances. Finally they want Jeff to still be kind of a dick so that he still has room to grow in the following seasons, so they....well have him do what he did. Very effective I'd say. and Funnily enough on his twitter he said he's happy with the reaction to the finale. Considering how angry so much of it is...I suspect he saw it coming.

I suppose all that's left to do now, is to wait and see what happens and hope that this show really is as smart as we'd all like it to be. Well, for now. I'm gonna keep the faith. Don't let me down show!

(Basically though, my favorite things about this episode were the Chang/Duncan fight and Troy with his big cookie of epiphany)

Date: 2010-05-21 06:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boingball.livejournal.com
Good review - thank you!

I think another (possible) aspect to Britta in this episode is this: she is reacting to things like being anonymously nominated for this thing and Jeff trying to move her hair and the free-therapy advice of John Oliver's character at the beginning - reacting by becoming an exaggerated/sarcastic version of what she thinks the world is trying to tell her it wants her to be. ("Oh, is THAT how you think I should behave? FINE." kind of a thing.) So you've got that going on but at the same time you have Slater interested in Jeff again, and that's messing with Britta's mind a bit - not because she necessarily wants Jeff for herself, it is just the way her ego is (remember the Annie/Vaughan/"I'm not Juno" stuff). The two things mix together into a weird mutation she isn't quite in control of.

I totally agree that Harmon is up to something, here, that we just can't quite see yet. I am really looking forward to seeing where things go in the next season.

Date: 2010-05-21 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] firthgal.livejournal.com
I don't know if J/A shippers are seeing that last scene as grandly romantic, I think most see it for what it is. Their UST coming to a head in a moment that just felt right for them (even though, you know, it was the worst moment possible to be making out with each other). They were both feeling pressured or lost or what have you, and they both unexpectedly ended up in the same place at the exact time that they both needed each other, and they could just be themselves with each other. No masks, no snark, no insecurities, just complete honesty that comforts them both. And in that specific moment, they just let down their shields and went in for the kiss that they've both been dying to have again ever since the end of 1x09. It's messed up, but at the same time, it's so very right. But obviously it's not going to lead them into a romantic relationship, because Jeff still has to deal with Britta and Slater and Annie just broke up with Vaughn, so you know there are issues there, too.

The thing with Jeff/Annie shippers is that all we ever expected were breadcrumbs. Never once did we expect Annie to be in the running for endgame. NEVER. Even though it makes complete sense to us based on their dynamic, we just never expected the show to defy convention and go there. So last night was definitely a game changer for us. But most are still expecting Jeff/Britta to be the show's OTP, because that's just what TV has conditioned us to expect.

In regards to fandom's outcry about Jeff being Greendale's most eligible bachelor/a total manwhore, hasn't everyone on this show had a boner for him from day 1? And when I say everyone, I mean absolutely everyone (except for Britta, who was supposed to be the one and only person that didn't fall for his antics).

Also, I think the people who think Dan Harmon hates Britta are absolutely ridiculous. In interviews he seems to talk about her with the most affection out of any of the characters, and I recall one interview where he talked about her being a mix of all the women that he's loved in his life. That doesn't sound bitter to me one bit.
Edited Date: 2010-05-21 06:34 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-28 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sisterjune.livejournal.com
I AM SO SORRY that his is so late! I was having a crazy week, more than in the most i am working on currently but yeah I meant to respond to this since five days ago D:

The thing with Jeff/Annie shippers is that all we ever expected were breadcrumbs. Never once did we expect Annie to be in the running for endgame. NEVER. Even though it makes complete sense to us based on their dynamic, we just never expected the show to defy convention and go there. So last night was definitely a game changer for us. But most are still expecting Jeff/Britta to be the show's OTP, because that's just what TV has conditioned us to expect.

I think you have a very valid point there. I wasnt looking at it that way, but you are right, Anne/Jeff defies tv convention and even I didnt see this coming. I also agree that it didnt come out of nowhere by any means. I think it had been building but again because of tv conventions none of us really expected to actually HAPPEN. We never expected to see payoff to all that UST. I like that they changed up the game and let Annie/Jeff happen. Like I've told others at TWOP though, while I think they are cute together, I am a bit squicked by the age difference. While the actress is older than Annie she's still a heckuva lot younger than Jeff, that said the real issue for me is how cutesy and childlike Annie seems sometimes. I think she's adorable and I think her crush on Jeff is adorable. But unless they have any mature alot in the coming seasons, this pair will always make me feel a little uneasy. That said, they do have a shit load of chemistry. Oh show, why do you make me feel so dirty! ;_; I am not deadset on Jeff/Britta happening, though I'd like it to in the long run, but even if Jeff ends up paired with Annie, a new person or hell no one, I will be cool so long as they make it convincing and real.

I agree also that Jeff has always been a hot commodity in Greendale, even the dean wants him! But I always thought that was Harmon having fun with Joel's classically handsome looks. That anyone with eyes could see, I dont know where people got the idea that he was Harmon's stand in. Wtf they act nothing alike!

In interviews he seems to talk about her with the most affection out of any of the characters
See I havent seen these interviews and I have no problem believing this because to me his affection for Britta shines through the screen. I mean that scene where Britta talks about the prank she wants to put on chang? the scene where she does the "snake"? ADORABLE. Way too adorable for a character Harmon supposedly despises or looks down on. Also can you give me a link to the interview you mentioned so I can show it to the other people?

Date: 2010-05-21 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sodahands.livejournal.com
I think people are making way too big a deal out of this episode. It was about jumping the shark so they wrote in all those stupid tropes and cliches (plus fuck yeah for the Happy Days/Arrested Development reference). They threw in the Team Britta/Slatter/Annie&Jeff kiss in there as a nod to the fandom/shippers imo (it was very meta of them and showed when you give 'em what they want they don't want it anymore). And it set things up for next season.

As much as I like Jeff/Annie I don't see anyone in this show ending up in romantic pairings with each other. Dan Harmon already said that Jeff/Britta weren't supposed to be ~*OTP 4eva!!!11ELEVEN*~ and Jeff/Annie wouldn't work (and they sort of came out nowhere. I bet the writers were joking around about crack pairings and that's how Jeff/Annie came about but it turns about the actors have really great chemistry and it didn't totally work out the way they'd thought).

As for the "DAN HARMON IS A CHAUVINIST" group - lol maybe they should start watching The Big Bang Theory next season.

Date: 2010-05-22 10:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plastichangers.livejournal.com
"As for the "DAN HARMON IS A CHAUVINIST" group - lol maybe they should start watching The Big Bang Theory next season."
Heh! This. *Nods*

Date: 2010-05-28 12:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sisterjune.livejournal.com
Please excuse my lateness! So sorry ;_; I meant to reply to this ages ago but I had a crazy week.

So agree here, I think that Troy mentioned "jumping the shark" in the SAME episode that turned fandom upside down is no coincidence. I have no doubt that Harmon was fucking with all of our heads here and deliberately jumping shark.
Dan Harmon already said that Jeff/Britta weren't supposed to be ~*OTP 4eva!!!11ELEVEN*~ and Jeff/Annie wouldn't work
XDDD OTP4EVA. I want them to be OTP but I dunno man, this show keeps upending my expectations! But curious, when did Harmon say that? I havent read alot of his interviews, so was it one of those or on his twitter?

LOL. I saw my dad watching Big Bang Theory yesterday and it really is as HORRENDOUS as everyone says. Four minutes in and I wanted to claw my own eyes out. SO AWFUL. Compared to that, Harmon is practically motherfucking Gloria Steinam.

Date: 2010-05-28 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sodahands.livejournal.com
Heh I don't want them or Jeff/Annie as OTP. My ship is Troy/Abed and Peirce being the jealous third wheel xD. Idk I just really like them all as bffs. This may be the first show where I don't have a serious ship or couldn't care less about that. But I wish this fandom wouldn't do the whole lame ship wars thing. Let's all just multiship and go on our merry way.
From the Paste interview: Paste: How much have you listened to fan feedback about the show’s direction? For instance, Jeff and Britta seemed set up as a relationship for the beginning but following very negative audience reactions that seems to have tapered off.
Harmon: There are things that we did do because of that, we did react to that, but we never intended to shove Jeff and Britta down the audience’s throats. But we did perceive that they were feeling like we were going to, and we did not want them to feel that way... That’s a long way of saying that we would be able to get away with simply deciding that the reason you’re going to watch it right off the bat was some kind of sexual story. I never had that real intention. I just figured that would happen organically. But yes, absolutely we were completely conscious in the early stages that the audience was going, “Well they’re obviously setting this thing up that I’m supposed to care about and guess what, I don’t.” It was sort of a nightmare for me, because I knew they wouldn’t, I didn’t want them to think that I thought that they would. So one of the things that I did to send the message that I didn’t want to force anything down their throat was that I really started beating up on Britta, which was really easy to do because that character is an amalgam of a lot of ex-girlfriends of mine.


I do not get why people find TBBT funny or say crap like ~it speaks to my nerdery lol~ cos um I'm a nerd and I know scientists and students who are studying physics and they are not like that. But to my shame I actually sort of liked this show when it got paired up with HIMYM *hangs head* BUT I WAS YOUNG AND STUPID THEN!

Date: 2010-05-22 11:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plastichangers.livejournal.com
I pretty much agree with most of this, I haven't read any of the backlash since my internet was down last night but I would be horribly sad if this fandom turned ulgy when it's been such a wonderful fandom uptil now.
Personally I don't take the ships in Community too seriously, in any direction, because ultimately this is a comedy show and that's why I watch. If I want real, serious shippyness I have about 40 other shows for that, so I'm happy to let comedy be comedy without demanding it to be serious drama too. ;)

And I completely love all characters and their behaviors in this episode and felt it was crystal clear that the point was that these are not fully grown people who are ready for the end game relationships, whoever they might be with. And this wasn't to be mean or ruin characters, it was because flawed characters are more fun and more lovable than perfect ones.

Date: 2010-05-28 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sisterjune.livejournal.com
sorry sorry for the lateness! I really meant to respond last week, I;ve just been having a real nutty week and yeah, sorry again D:

Glad to hear you are keeping the faith and also not taking things to heart. I confess even though I saw where the discontent was coming from I didnt understand how people were THAT angry over the finale. It was a bit disappointing perhaps or a bit slap shod or confusing but I didnt see it as nearly as offensive as alot of other fans. I just wasnt getting any malice out of the writing. It was done to be shocking and raise emotions not to insult or offend anyone, or slag off Britta.

it was because flawed characters are more fun and more lovable than perfect ones.
Completely agreed! :)

Date: 2010-05-28 09:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] plastichangers.livejournal.com
No worries! :)

Yeah I could sort of see where it was coming from too, only hope it doesn't scare off viewers. Kinda feels like the show is doomed already with TBBT as competition. :/

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