austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

One by one they all just fade away

Please note: I am not advocating that bunny_hugger watch the show Community. I just need to geek out about it a bit.

OK. I really like the show Community, nominally about a study group at a community college and actually about weirdly broken people in a surreal landscape. Last Friday's episode was based on an apartment-warming party for two of the study group. Let me set the tone for the way it seeks fanboy approval: this episode was number four of season three. The apartment number, first shot of the show, was 303. Which sounds like nothing except that this episode was supposed to be the third of the season, and was swapped with the successor. Which again sounds like not much except it opens with one of the people knocking on the door asking if it was 303, because she thought it was 304.

Marginal? All right, how about the plot: to decide who gets the pizza delivery guy, they roll a die, and the episode then splits, showing the seven different ways things could have turned out based on this trivial change in what happens. Some of the timelines are about normal. Some are sadder than average. One turns hilariously disastrous, fast, the way Marvel What-If comics used to show how the world would end if Aunt May bought eight rather than six eggs one morning. There's a number of setups and jokes which work only for the viewer who gets to see all seven timelines. Not geeky enough?

For the tag, the survivors of the Batiukian-horror timeline conclude that they must be living in a die-roll-created evil universe, and decide that they must commit to the evil, until they can somehow penetrate the dimensional barrier and seize the lives of the good, correct-die-turnout universe they figure happened in an alternate timeline. And they cut out construction-paper goatees to wear until theirs can come in. Not geeky enough?

In the first episode this season --- which, note, would be in the common past of both timelines --- the study group was in a Model United Nations competition. They beat the other Model United Nations team by cutting through the construction-paper wall separating them and declaring they'd penetrated the dimensional barrier to unite their timelines in fending off whatever the problem was. (They won, because the judge was at a community college judging competitive Model United Nations teams and this was something interesting instead.) Not geeky enough?

When the Evil-Universe study group decides they're going to invade the Good-Universe, the Good-Universe guys feel a flicker of ... something, but don't know what. OK, disturbance in the force in a sitcom, normal stuff. Only, what they're watching on TV at the moment is Inspector Spacetime, which in the Community universe is a long-running British sci-fi show about a daft man in a police box who goes running around time and space and getting shot at by cheap robot monsters seeking to e-liminate. It was introduced just this season, not in the Model United Nations episode.

Even if nothing ever comes of this, I am impressed with how they've set up a multiple-universe invasion story that's more tightly written than any of the last three season finales of Doctor Who not to mention every Voyager episode combined.

Trivia: Henri Nestlé was born in 1814, in Frankfurt, as Heinrich Nestlé. He changed his name after moving to Vevey, by Lake Geneva. Source: Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between The World's Greatest Chocolate Makers, Deborah Cadbury.

Currently Reading: The Crack In The Sky, Richard A Lupoff. Mid-70s Domed City, Spoiled Word novel with the twist that it turns out that outside the great domed cities ... the environment hasn't healed itself. Don't worry, there's still characters lecturing about how it's really the fault of those do-gooders who brought disease and famine under control in India because that really set off the Population Bomb.

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