The Passage from Virgin to Bride and Community

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Marcel Duchamp, The Passage From Virgin to Bride, 1912



Trying to explain Community is like trying to understand a Duchamp painting: it's going to require a little bit of a time, and it's likely to confuse at first glance (or episode). Okay, so basically Community is about a study group at Greendale Community College, home of the human beings (yep, their mascot is a human being. confused? ya, I know.) I've watched this show with my parents before and I get asked questions like, isn't Chevy Chase a little old for community college? Why did that guy just follow that monkey into the vent? Why is the show claymation now? Why are they pretending to sail a boat in a parking lot? Well, without a little time investment, there is no one to 100% understand the over the top humor of Community.

I believe the show, in a nutshell, can be captured by one episode, called Remedial Chaos Theory. This episode explores the 7 possible series of events that could follow, depending on who gets up to get the pizza. Sounds crazy, right? But it's amazing. Basically, the episode is just a 4 minute clip played over and over, and yet the result of each clip is entirely different. In one timeline, Jeff and Annie kiss, but in another, Annie gets locked up in a psych ward and Jeff loses an arm. It's really all dependent on the way you look at it.

This painting depicts the journey of a virgin girl to her wedding day, but that probably isn't what comes to mind when one first looks at the painting, and really, that's what's beautiful about this painting and the movement it was a part of. Just as Duchamp took a new look at angles and time, Dan Harmon, writer for Community, changed the face of comedy television shows and created a mass cult following.

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