Why I miss 'Community': Because Pierce isn't as dumb as he looks
It's Thursday at 8, which once upon a time would have meant an episode of "Community" was about to start. Instead, "Community" remains off of NBC's schedule with no announced return date(*), which means it's time for another installment of Why I Miss "Community," which I'm going to keep running every Thursday until we know the show's coming back.
(*) Political reporter Chuck Todd caused a stir yesterday when he tweeted that he'd heard rumors that "Community" might not come back. Everyone I've talked to says nothing about the show's status has changed — if anything, the fact that "Whitney" and "Are You There, Chelsea?" are both tanking on Wednesdays is very good for the immediate, if not long-term, future of the show — and I guess you can say that by working for NBC's news arm, Todd is as connected to this as Rob Lowe is to Peyton Manning's retirement by virtue of being pals with Jim Irsay.
Today's clip (from season 1's "Beginner Pottery") involves Pierce Hawthorne. Pierce, like Chang, can be something of a polarizing character. A lot of fans of the show (myself included) really struggled with why the study group continued to tolerate his presence as season 2 moved along and his behavior grew crueler and more abrasive. Because he doesn't fit in with the rest of the group in terms of age, interests or personality, Pierce can be a tricky character for the show to use. It's easy to drop Abed into the middle of any story, with any other character, because he's lovable and can adapt by matching any experience to a relevant TV show. Pierce is not that easy, though he's developed interesting bonds with Troy, Annie, Shirley and, especially, Jeff, over the years.
As I wrote when the series debuted, Joel McHale on "The Soup" in many ways is the natural evolution of what Chevy was doing back in the day on "Weekend Update." The show is keenly aware of that in the way that Pierce constantly wants to draw a line between himself and Jeff — and in the way that Jeff is horrified to even contemplate that line. Pierce is Jeff's worst-case scenario for when he gets older, but there are moments, like in the clip below, where he sees that Pierce isn't always an oblivious, racist jackass, and that maybe there are things he can learn from the Ghost of Christmas Future.
So enjoy, and, as always, feel free to talk about any and everything "Community"-related in the comments.