Community: 10 Sitcom Tropes Subverted By The Show
Often times, audiences know what to expect from a sitcom’s plot and its characters. This is because most sitcoms follow a set of tropes (recurring themes), which makes them all look the same. However, the NBC sitcom Community is more metafictional. It gives a twist to the familiar tropes viewers have come to recognize.
Community concerns a study group at Greendale College. Although this is a sitcom, it frequently contrasts or parodies stereotypes from other shows of its genre. He continually subverts audience expectations which is entertaining and refreshing.
ten Love triangle
Jeff finds himself in a love triangle in “Pascal’s Triangle Revisited”. His ex-girlfriend Slater wants them to get back together. When Britta learns about this at the prom, she declares that she loves him. Instead of choosing one or the other, however, Jeff goes out on his own.
But, Jeff meets Annie outside. The two discuss and end up kissing. The first season set up the triangle between Jeff, Britta, and Slater, so fans are pleasantly surprised when Jeff chooses Annie instead.
9 sofa gags
A couch joke is when a sitcom ends an episode with one last track. It’s a tag that helps wrap up the episode. however, Community‘s couch gags break the fourth wall because most of them happen on a real couch.
Troy and Abed sit on a couch at the end of many episodes and tell viewers one final joke. A few couch gags include them rapping in Spanish, hosting a talk show, and becoming animated stop-motion characters.
8 Music video shows
Instead of writing new material, the music video shows include edits of scenes from previous episodes. Usually flashbacks that relate to the current plot. But Community his music video shows it a little differently from the other sitcoms of the episode “Paradigms of Human Memory”.
Instead of showing old scenes, all of the clips in the episode are new. In addition, all memories are out of context. The group participates in a jump rope competition, goes camping, and is involved in a rafting incident.
7 Musical episode
Musical episodes are a fun break from the usual sitcom format. The characters sing popular or original songs. Sitcoms such as Scrubs and This 70s show did musical episodes.
Community‘s the musical episode “Regional Holiday Music” is a little different. When the study group refuses to replace the glee club, they are drawn one by one. Musical numbers are like a virus that infects the band. The episode feels more like a horror story than an upbeat musical special.
6 Body exchange
The body swap trope is commonly used in sitcoms. It is a supernatural event where one character enters the body of another. In contrast, Troy and Abed in “Basic Human Anatomy” simply claim to change bodies.
Troy and Abed act like they swapped bodies on Troy and Britta’s birthday party. But instead of the trope being used to help them understand each other, it’s used so that Troy can avoid breaking up with Britta. Plus, Troy’s childish demeanor shows he’s not ready for a serious relationship.
Sitcoms use amnesia to add drama to what is otherwise a funny show. For example, in the finale of Full house, Michelle has amnesia. The family should help him remember his life. Community, however, uses amnesia as a comic rather than an emotional tool.
After attempting to resume school, Chang returns to campus with amnesia in season four. Or, as the characters call it, “Changnesia”. However, his condition is actually a ruse, and it becomes a recurring gag.
4 brick joke
A brick joke is when a joke is told without a punchline, which makes it irrelevant. But, the joke comes back and provides the listener with a humorous form of reward.
In “The Psychology of Letting Go”, viewers can see Abed delivering a baby in the background. Fans have no explanation until Abed mentions it in “Applied Anthropology And Culinary Arts” when Shirley goes into labor. Most sitcoms don’t take nearly an entire season to tell a brick joke, but Community is not like other sitcoms.
3 False documentary
In mock documentaries, a film crew follows the characters. It also involves “talking heads” where the characters talk to the camera. This is the premise of sitcoms such as Office and Parks and recreation.
Community subverts the tropes of the mock documentary in “Intermediate to Documentary Films”. Abed films the group visiting Pierce in the hospital. Instead of the film crew being ambiguous, Abed continuously intervenes. Abed also includes voiceovers and montages to suggest a thematic connection even if there isn’t one.
2 Bottle episode
Bottled sitcom episodes are generally fan favorites and the cheapest to make. The characters are stuck in one place throughout the episode. In “Cooperative Calligraphy,” the group stays in the study room to find Annie’s lost pen.
Abed states that they are in a bottle episode at the very beginning. In addition, bottle episodes are often full and lack meaning. But Community uses the trope to foreshadow future plot points, including the monkey stealing their belongings and Jeff and Britta secretly connecting.
1 Alternative universe
Sitcoms often explore what-if scenarios in the lives of characters. For example, in the Friends episode “The One Who Could Have Been”, the audience sees what would have happened to Rachel if she had married Barry. Community, however, takes the premise of the alternate timeline to a new level.
In “Remedial Chaos Theory”, Abed says the group will create six different timelines by rolling a dice. Fans then watch the various timelines unfold. In addition, the “Darkest Timeline” continues to play an important role throughout the series.
NEXT: 10 Sitcom Tropes We’re Not Sick Of Yet (Yet)
Avatar: The Last Airbender – 11 Ways Suki and Sokka Are The Closest Couple
About the Author