Why I’ll miss ‘Community’: Because Britta can’t say ‘bagel’

Senior Television Writer
12.22.11 35 Comments


Last week, I introduced what will hopefully not be a very long-running series on HitFix, in which I plan to spend every Thursday until NBC returns “Community” to its schedule showcasing a different clip that speaks to why it’s one of my favorite shows and why I’ll miss it during its hiatus. (Though the show is being pre-empted tonight for NBC’s “Who’s Still Standing?” game show stunt, we still have a couple of weeks of reruns to go before “30 Rock” takes over the timeslot.)

Last week, I talked a little about Troy, who quickly became one of the show’s most popular characters. Today, I want to talk about Britta, who was much more problematic early on, where her two functions seemed to be as the hall monitor trying to stop Jeff’s antics and as the Diane Chambers to his Sam Malone. The problem is, the buzzes being killed extended to entire scenes revolving around Britta, and who exactly wanted to root for her to end up with Jeff?

Some writers are stubborn about characters the fans don’t like, but Dan Harmon and friends turned into the skid and made Britta’s more irritating qualities into the joke. She thinks she’s better than everyone else, when in fact she’s worse than most. She thinks she’s worldly, but she’s really clueless despite her travels. She wants to help others, but mainly to make herself look good. And once the show acknowledged her many deficits and let the other characters frequently remark on them, Britta became a vastly funnier and genuinely more sympathetic character. She’s the worst, as far as everyone else is concerned, and she knows how they feel, and her attempts to change that perception only reinforces it. She’s gone from being perhaps the most disposable member of the study group to an extremely valuable member of the ensemble, and Gillian Jacobs has gone to town with the reconceived version of the character.

In the clip below – inspired by Dan Harmon’s own difficulty saying a particular well-known word – Britta again shows off how little she’s learned in her many adventures out in the world. Enjoy and, like last week, feel free to talk about any and all things “Community” in the comments. (Including the #OccupyNBC stunt today outside “30 Rock,” which included this musical performance.) I’ll be back next week with another clip.

Around The Web