Kelly: Hey, Gabe
Kelly: WAZZZAAAAP?
Gabe: yo kelly
Gabe: yo dawg
Kelly: How are you doing today
Gabe: not bad
Gabe: pretty chill
Gabe: i am just chillaxing over here
Kelly: That doesn’t sound too bad at all
Gabe: it’s very chill
Gabe: you?
Kelly: I’m doing fine over here too
Kelly: Just surfing the net
Gabe: oh that’s chill
Kelly: p. chill
Kelly: Except I just surfed onto some news that’s kind of ruining the chill vibe
Kelly: And I’d hate to spoil yours but I’d like to share it with someone
Gabe: oh that is NOT chill
Kelly: Tell me about it
Kelly: So apparently Mark-Paul Gosselaar, star of the beloved Franklin & Bash
Kelly: Is going around telling people that
Kelly: If you can believe it
Kelly: Saved by the Bell was “not a great show”
Kelly: ???????????????????????

Gabe: is he, kelly?
Gabe: is he GOING AROUND TELLING PEOPLE?
Gabe: “Hey, man!”
Kelly: HE TOLD DAVE NEMETZ AT YAHOO TV SO I CAN ONLY IMAGINE
Gabe: man, mark paul gosselar dropping BOMBS
Kelly: He also said the writing is “kind of hokey”
Gabe: WHAT?
Gabe: it is very brave of him
Gabe: to finally admit
Gabe: that a show for children
Gabe: from 100 years ago
Gabe: did not have the BEST writing on television
Gabe: you know that guy just finished catching up on Breaking Bad and was like
Gabe: now that i think about it
Gabe: there is room for a higher level of writing in television
Kelly: It’s brave, but also a little harsh for the rest of us
Kelly: Who were perfectly happy to live under the assumption that Saved by the Bell
Kelly: was as good as it gets
Gabe: he’s totally harshing your chill vibes
Kelly: Harshing the S out of them
Kelly: Give me a break bro
Kelly: Let me ENJOY the writing.
Kelly: I haven’t felt this deflated since Blake Lively announced that Gossip Girl was not her best work
Gabe: you’ve had a tough week
Kelly: I’m just tired all the time now.
Gabe: you’re TOO chill if anything

Gabe: i like how that interview with gosselar
Gabe: doesn’t actually include the questions he was answering
Gabe: so you have to make them up, which is always my favorite game
Gabe: “Was Saved by the Bell a good show?”
Gabe: “Was the writing good on it, or was the writing hokey?”
Kelly: hahah
Kelly: “What do you think of the claims that saved by the bell was television’s best show with television’s best writing”
Gabe: exactly
Kelly: I’d rather think that he begins every Franklin & Bash press interview by stating that the difference between Saved by the Bell and Franklin & Bash
Kelly: Is that Saved by the Bell was not a great show
Kelly: “Before you ask”
Kelly: He also says that Saved by the Bell was almost canceled every season
Kelly: The Community of its day, probably
Kelly: I’m not sure I was born when it was on TV but I bet it was like the Community of its day
Gabe: DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE DAN HARMON NEWS YOU KNOW I’M STILL WORKING THROUGH THAT
Kelly: I’m so sorry
Kelly: That was totally careless of me and I really do apologize
Kelly: I know it’s tough
Gabe: i feel like
Gabe: everyone’s already forgotten
Gabe: on to something more important? LIKE WHAT?
Kelly: Shh shh
Gabe: what if everyone forgot 9/11?
Gabe: which we agreed to NEVER FORGET?
Gabe: that’s what this is like
Kelly: Everyone’s just trying to process it and deal with it in their own way
Kelly: We have to heal
Gabe: i feel like hardly anyone has even
Gabe: drawn the entire cast as 8-bit videogame characters in Downton Abbey costumes for weeks
Kelly: I’m sure you’re wrong about that.

Gabe: first they came for the ASCII fan art and I blogged nothing
Kelly: I’m sure someone is drawing Troy and Abed as Walt and Jesse as dogs as we speak
Kelly: For a t-shirt
Kelly: And it says Barking Bad in the Community font
Gabe: i just hope someone will make dolls that look like Jeff and Britta as Jaime and Cersei Lannister out of Mr. Potato Head dolls and sell them on etsy soon
Kelly: I hope someone will write a series of parody novellas based on Twilight except with Jeff and Britta, and that those parody novellas will be made into a feature film except the feature film is actually about the writer of the novellas and the writer is played by the dean in a wig
Gabe: i hope someone will make an oil painting of Troy and Abed in the Morning in the style of the Last Supper with all of the Dean’s different costumes and Chang as Mary Magdalene and a Dr. Who Dalek as the Da Vinci Code all of it in the style of Ren & Stimpy
Kelly: I hope someone will make Community plush dolls in the style of Adventure Time and film a stop motion supercut of what abed’s best lines and jeff’s best burns would be if the gang were transported to occupy wall street AS the plush Adventure Time dolls
Gabe: i hope someone will make an instructional card for how to do Troy and Abed’s secret handshake in the style of an airplane safety guide where each panel is also a comic book that references Jeff’s backstory as a lawyer based on The Pelican Brief
Kelly: I hope someone cuts up different episodes so it seems like the cast is singing Kanye West’s “Monster” and then turns it into a choose-your-own-adventure style YouTube game co-created by the creator of The Emo Game

Gabe: i hope someone makes a shot-for-shot remake of teh Paintball episode but where each of the characters is played by a kitten with a broken leg in a cast wearing a cafepress t-shirt with Starburns’s face on it and under his face is a different expression from one of Judah Friedlander’s hats on 30 Rock and at the end of it all the credits are steampunk names
Kelly: I hope someone finally figures out which red pandas they’d all be, if they were all red pandas
Gabe: i hope someone makes a supercut of every time Annie says “Jeff” in her whimpering voice but set to the BRAHHHM music from Inception and at the end of it we find out that the Internet never existed and everyone’s in mind jail
Kelly: I hope this is all a dream and when we wake up it’s 1990 and we wake up just in time for Saved by the Bell and then when we turn on the TV Saved by the Bell is on except the show runner is Dan Harmon
Gabe: BING BONG YOU’RE SAVED BY THE BELL

Comments (84)
  1. Not great? The show featured jocks, cool kids, and nerds. What more do you want out of a writing staff?

  2. Jeepers guys, warn us to hold on to our monocles before you drop a bomb like that!

  3. Zac is Jeff, Screech is Abed, Slater is Troy, Lisa is Shirley, Jessie is Annie, Kelly is Britta, Mr. Belding is the Dean, Max is Pierce.

    Am I doing this right?

  4. This was magic. There is magic in these words. Magical.

  5. I would like to upvote the Adventure Time dolls.

  6. today we are all Jesse strung out on caffeine pills nostalgia

  7. What, no Stereogum companion piece about how Zach Attack was not the best band? I thought you guys are trying to run a business here!

  8. Real question(stupid but real) do you guys remember how saved by the bell would use storylines from full house? I mean full house wasn’t revolutionary but I kind of remember sbtb doing that.

    • Examples?

      • the eating disorder episodes, the Jesse & the Rippers/ Zach Attack one-off “they have a popular band” episodes, and in particular the entire 3rd season, where Uncle Joey could freeze time and directly address the camera.

        • Remember when Saved By The Bell blatantly ripped off M*A*S*H* when they killed Max in a helicopter accident over Korea.

        • I’ll bet Full House also did an episode where a character overspent on their credit card. STILL, the shows only debuted one year apart, so I’d have to see episode production schedules before I believe ANY claims against Saved By The Bell’s dignity.

          • I would give you more detailed examples but I’m in an undisclosed location where I can’t really use imdb and wikispedia. Can someone help me out with a top 5 times sbtb ripped off full house? Thnlanks in advance and sorry for the inconvenience.

          • 5. The extensive similarities in character traits between Kimmy Gibbler and Screech
            4. Mario Lopes’ Unlce-Jesse Mullet, telegraphed only by the jerry curl
            3. Zack Attack and Jesse and the Rippers were both signed by british music mogul Brian Fate
            2. Full House: The College Years
            1. The Tanner Family runs the ‘San Francisco Sands’ beach club

        • The parallels between Saved By The Bell and the original Beverly Hills 90210 got too cumbersome for me to keep track of after awhile. And it goes deeper than California University, Tori Spelling and the occasional anorexia scare.

          Remember that time Slater’s new wife was killed in a car explosion that was meant to kill Slater but killed his wife instead and then we learned that it was all planned by Slater’s wife’s dad… who was ENEMIES with Slater’s dad? And then also when Slater’s dad died in a boat explosion but totally showed up a few seasons later? And then the time Slater would show up at the door of AA meetings and look into the distance and take a flask out of his jacket pocket and drink from it and walk away as sad music played? That was just weird, you guys.

    • they were just both dealing with late 80′s early 90′s hot issues. like when the both tore down the berlin wall

  9. Franklin and Bash was not a great show. The plots were formulaic. The jokes were telegraphed. If I’m honest, it was a paycheck. In fact, the only reason the show was cancelled in the ninth season was Breckin [Meyer] gained so much weight from his jelly donut habit that he had to get his foot amputated from diabetes.

    Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on that. I’m here to promote my new show Nice Hitler, where I play an alternate universe Adolph Hitler who gets transported to our universe and has to combat some hilariously awkward social situations.” — Mark-Paul Gosselar — 2023

  10. I’m pretty open-minded, but I just can’t accept Mark-Paul as a hyphenated first name.

  11. This was an awesome read, you guys. I watched my fair share of Saved By the Bell in its hour long block on TBS after school before the good shit like Animaniacs came on, but I’ve left that show right there and never gone back to it, and am annoyed by most if not all nostalgia anyone may have for the show. Suffice it to say, I was like, “Ugh, let’s get this over with. When will they mention his big cell phone, or how he can stop time or just, WHATEVER.”

    Then you guys segue into tearing down the the MOST annoying thing right now– MASH-UPS. I don’t mind some mashing up of things. Everything in moderation. Key to life, I’m sure. People get inspired by all manner of things, and a certain ouroboros aspect is expected. BUT. AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Its tail the snake has eaten has come back out its own tail into negative space, following by its riblets and teeth and head, and I don’t know how the biology of all that works necessarily, but basically what I’m saying is the ouroboros is no longer an accurate description of what these mash ups are perpetuating.

    The thing that bugs me the most are the t-shirts. They’re so lazy. They’re so just there to capitalize on recognizable imagery to make a quick buck with no credit given to the actual creators of the intellectual properties. It’s Calvin Pissing/Praying window stickers to the infinity power. “Hey, you know that shot of Calvin & Hobbes in the wagon? Let’s make a list of EVERY DUO we can think of: your Batman & Robins, your Walt & Jesses, your Troy & Abeds, and we’ll just, just, we’ll just FUCK OUT that image and put it all on shirts. Then we’ll do the Donkey Kong arcade game level with everything we can think of. Then we’ll etc etc etc.”

    SO I guess what I’m saying is: I really liked where this Friendly Chat went! Keep up the good work.

  12. What the hell? In wrote a comment out, and it refreshed the page, and now its gone. I pasted in what i wrote an it said ‘duplicate comment detected.’ I can’t even see my comment with an “awaiting moderation” tag.

  13. What the hell? In wrote a comment out, and it refreshed the page, and now its gone. I pasted in what i wrote an it said ‘duplicate comment detected.’ I can’t even see my comment with an “awaiting moderation” tag.

  14. Mario Lopez said in response that he had it all backwards

  15. So my roommate is all moved out and I was pleased as punch until this very moment because we used to read the friendly chats as a dialgoue where he was Gabe and I was Kelly and when I read this it made me laugh out loud and I had to call him on the phone on his new apartment so we could read it together.

    • Sorry Ian and Fatima. I did it again. :( someone should take my commenting license away. Feel free to downvote this comment.

      • I gave you an upvote, because it’s the thought that counts! And because I’m al ittle drunk on rasberry beer and about to go KICK SOME ASS at pub quiz!

      • I saw this had -1 yesterday and I was wondering which monster downvoted/what sinister message I wasn’t getting from the heartwarming content. (I did make it 0, because my heart was warmed.)

  16. I genuinely laughed so hard I cried at all the speculative Community fan-art suggestions . Congrats Gabe and Kelly.

    Also, this- “I hope someone will write a series of parody novellas based on Twilight except with Jeff and Britta, and that those parody novellas will be made into a feature film except the feature film is actually about the writer of the novellas and the writer is played by the dean in a wig”- I would definitely go and see.

  17. I watched my fair share of Saved By the Bell in its hour long block on TBS after school before the good shit like Animaniacs came on, but I’ve left that show right there and never gone back to it, and am annoyed by most if not all nostalgia anyone may have for the show. Suffice it to say, I was like, “Ugh, let’s get this over with. When will they mention his big cell phone, or how he can stop time or just, WHATEVER.”

    Then you guys segue into tearing down the the MOST annoying thing right now– MASH-UPS. I don’t mind some mashing up of things. Everything in moderation. Key to life, I’m sure. People get inspired by all manner of things, and a certain ouroboros aspect is expected. BUT. AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Its tail the snake has eaten has come back out its own tail into negative space, following by its riblets and teeth and head, and I don’t know how the biology of all that works necessarily, but basically what I’m saying is the ouroboros is no longer an accurate description of what these mash ups are perpetuating.

    The thing that bugs me the most are the t-shirts. They’re so lazy. They’re so just there to capitalize on recognizable imagery to make a quick buck with no credit given to the actual creators of the intellectual properties. It’s Calvin Pissing/Praying window stickers to the infinity power. “Hey, you know that shot of Calvin & Hobbes in the wagon? Let’s make a list of EVERY DUO we can think of: your Batman & Robins, your Walt & Jesses, your Troy & Abeds, and we’ll just, just, we’ll just FUCK OUT that image and put it all on shirts. Then we’ll do the Donkey Kong arcade game level with everything we can think of. Then we’ll etc etc etc.”

    SO I guess what I’m saying is: I really liked where this Friendly Chat went! Keep up the good work.

  18. Harmon’s dismissal genuinely does upset me as much as something like that can to a person who generally has his priorities in line. I treasure Community. I think what it’s done for the sitcom is immeasurable and will likely not be matched for a long time.

    It’s the easiest thing in the world to scoff at the different tropes the show explores each week, but these are means to an end. To me, each season is like an amazing band that covers a diversity of genres without deviating from a singular, definitive voice in the songwriting. But that’s the surface. This great band has a lyricist, and that’s Dan Harmon. The characters are his lyrics, and they’ve been telling a story for the last three albums. Sure, the compositions are getting flashier but the content is consistent.

    Look at Chang. I’ve talked with a few people who think that Chang is a total one-note joke as a character now, i.e. he’s just crazy for crazy’s sake, there’s no motivation for his power grab. These people haven’t been paying attention, or they’re full of shit.

    Chang already started as a wildly eccentric, slightly disturbing figure. He screamed at students, touched them inappropriately, etc. What we didn’t know then is that Chang, like Jeff, had faked his credentials and was living a lie. What’s happened since then? He was found out, lost his job, was kicked out of his home due to one-night-stand he didn’t remember, his wife left him, he was made homeless due to his unemployable status, denied of even partial custody of the child which may his as the result of said one-night-stand and ends up living in the air vents of a community college for a significant amount of time.

    On top of this, the only acceptance he desperately clings to is with the now infamous, popular clique who is due in part to his downfall. He seeks nothing but love and acceptance and is denied at every turn. So he seeks power, revenge and validity through means of his job as a security guard.

    He is an overwhelmingly tragic character, a villain sure, but one with depth. Yet, Harmon never bashed you over the head with it. I could be wrong, but I think Harmon said one of his goals was to make each character seem as if they could carry they’re own show. Hence, “Community”. The show gets richer and richer each season, and it’s telling a subtle story of flawed characters finding strength in, yeah, community (don’t judge me).

    How can you expect two people who have never worked on the show to come in and continue a multi-layered story on this level? It’s gonna be a disaster and a bitter end to one of the best sitcoms of all time. It’ll be like having the most amazing meal and then your last bite is pubic hair that tastes sorta like what you were eating. Say what you will about the initial premature Arrested Development-cancellation, at FOX didn’t half-assedly order a fourth season but yanked Mitch Hurwitz.

  19. This was an awesome read, you guys. I watched my fair share of Saved By the Bell in its hour long block on TBS after school before the good shit like Animaniacs came on, but I’ve left that show right there and never gone back to it, and am annoyed by most if not all nostalgia anyone may have for the show. Suffice it to say, I was like, “Ugh, let’s get this over with. When will they mention his big cell phone, or how he can stop time or just, WHATEVER.”

    Then you guys segue into tearing down the the MOST annoying thing right now– MASH-UPS. I don’t mind some mashing up of things. Everything in moderation. Key to life, I’m sure. People get inspired by all manner of things, and a certain ouroboros aspect is expected. BUT. AT THIS POINT IN TIME. Its tail the snake has eaten has come back out its own tail into negative space, following by its riblets and teeth and head, and I don’t know how the biology of all that works necessarily, but basically what I’m saying is the ouroboros is no longer an accurate description of what these mash ups are perpetuating.

    • The thing that bugs me the most are the t-shirts. They’re so lazy. They’re so just there to capitalize on recognizable imagery to make a quick buck with no credit given to the actual creators of the intellectual properties. It’s Calvin Pissing/Praying window stickers to the infinity power. “Hey, you know that shot of Calvin & Hobbes in the wagon? Let’s make a list of EVERY DUO we can think of: your Batman & Robins, your Walt & Jesses, your Troy & Abeds, and we’ll just, just, we’ll just FUCK OUT that image and put it all on shirts. Then we’ll do the Donkey Kong arcade game level with everything we can think of. Then we’ll etc etc etc.”

      SO I guess what I’m saying is: I really liked where this Friendly Chat went! Keep up the good work.

  20. Look, I understand what you’re saying about pop culture mashups. I couldn’t care either way, but I get your point. But I don’t understand your need to continually piss all over those of us who are truly upset about the situation (and I’d like to point out that the only one comparing it to 9/11 is you, sir). Community stood for some amazing, positive things (diversity, uniqueness, acceptance, intelligence, hilarity, purely great fucking television) that I would love to see reflected more in pop culture and the world at large, and the people who just want to keep making Two And A Half Men Starring Ashton Kutcher took that away from us. That seemed to me like something Videogum would have a problem with, but it turns out your problem is with those of us who really care. This isn’t about coddling Dan Harmon’s ego because he’s a celebrity. It’s about the big people totally fucking over the little people…and you making fun of the little people for being sad, or for continuing to talk about the ramifications of this decision for the future of television. Which makes me even more sad. I love you guys. But I love Community more.

    • I’m going to respond to you now!

      I’m sorry that you feel like YOU PERSONALLY have somehow come under attack for caring about the future of a show that you love. Honestly, that was never the intention. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and should go ahead and enjoy whatever they want to enjoy in the world of entertainment (and MARRIAGE!), which is not only an obvious truth, but is also a thing that Videogum has worked hard to state outright since its very beginnings. We support a woman’s right to choose…what she watches on TV! (Gotcha! Also: good abortion “joke”!) So, please, obviously, yes! Community! You love it! That’s great!

      But, so, what’s the problem? I’m not telling you not to love it. Love it! We shouldn’t be arguing even. I guess the thing that I am making fun of, if we need to go back to that and unpack it a little bit, is everyone’s moral outrage at a thing that is inherently built into the system to which Dan Harmon signed on for employment. Like, you can think Hollywood is weird or gross or lame or stupid because it definitely is. But Dan Harmon of ALL PEOPLE knows how that game is played. That dude has been working steadily for years and finally got his own show on network television, which is not a thing that most people get. So, he had tacitly agreed to play by the rules. And one of those rules is that if you don’t earn the network a certain amount of money by getting enough people to watch your show, they will either cancel your show or fire you. Most shows actually get canceled, as you well know. The fact the show is even going to be on still should be of some comfort to you. It’s a suggestion that the network agrees with you that there’s something good about it that’s worth working on. (You could also make the argument that the network simply sees a syndication finish-line approaching and want to cross it for purely financial reasons, which again, see above, is pretty standard and who cares. Go for it!) I don’t know Dan Harmon. I don’t care either way. I mean, it’s always sad when someone is out of work or has their feelings hurt. Those are ultimately negative things. But he’ll almost certainly be fine. He’s going to live to fight another day, I bet. But this fixation on him as The One True Person Who Ever Had Something Happen To Him In Showbusiness is ridiculous and not worth everyone’s time. There is actual stuff to talk about in the world, and someone’s TV writing job isn’t one of them.

      Moreover, the whole thing to me just reeks of this creeping sense of entitlement that fans of things have. Let’s pretend Community got canceled whole cloth: you still got three seasons of a very convoluted and relatively unpopular show that you happened to love. That’s a lot of seasons! And no one can take them away from you! You can buy the DVDs and watch them until your hover grandkids are like “what are those weird plastic things you keep watching? And why did you allow the Earth to become covered in water? And why do you smell like rotting vegetables all the time?” You don’t DESERVE more episodes of a show just because you like it. That’s just not how things work. If you take Arrested Development as the perennial example, a show that I personally LOVE much much more than I ever even liked Community (no offense, Dan Harmon), I was never surprised or sad that the show got canceled because NO ONE WATCHED IT. It has become this cult hit, but no one actually watched it when it was on, and this was in a pre-DVR world when you couldn’t even make the argument that people were just watching it on their own schedule. The fact that FOX allowed it to go on for three seasons was actually kind of INCREDIBLE and a true act of generosity towards the show’s very vocal fans. Just because you like something doesn’t mean someone else has to funnel millions of dollars into it with poor rates of return on their investment. This might sound like I am arguing in support of The Man, which I guess I kind of am. I think we should all treat each other with kindness and generosity and I think there should be more financial equity in the world, not to mention basic human rights, but when it comes to a business wanting to earn money, I think that’s just how that works and if it didn’t work that way we wouldn’t have had any episodes of Community to begin with. This is not about big people fucking over little people. This is about big people being big people. The little people don’t even come into it.

      Finally, I completely and whole-heartedly reject the dichotomy you have set up where everything is either Community or Two and a Half Men. That’s just utter bullshit. We have never in the history of television had as much good television on at one time as we do now. That’s actually WHY this Community stuff happened in the first place. The current economic structure of television and movies no longer really makes sense, or at least not the sense that it used to make, and so everyone is scrambling to figure it out. The highest rated programming among the “lucrative” 18-24 year old market is actually Adult Swim. No one knows how to make sense of the DVR ratings combined with the Hulu ratings combined with the broadcast ratings because ratings is simply a system for selling to advertisers and most people don’t watch ads on DVR so how do you figure it out? But people are trying, and they’re trying in creative ways. 10 years ago, NBC wouldn’t have bothered even trying to develop Community. And if you don’t like what they end up replacing it with, they know that you’re just going to go watch something else on FX or HBO or AMC or any of the other niche cable content providers that are cutting into their business. But you know for a FACT that there’s lots of great TV, so please don’t throw this Two and a Half Men business in my face. There is clearly room for other stuff in addition to that. And to make your own point, MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF PEOPLE genuinely ENJOY that show, and by pointing to it as the worst thing that could possibly happen, you’re basically doing the same thing that you accused me of doing, which is making people feel bad about themselves just for liking something. You shouldn’t do that.

      I hope this helps.

  21. Alright, here we go. Writing something three times really clarifies things!

    Ok, where do I start? I agree with much of what you’re saying (especially about Arrested Development, which is one of the best shows that has ever existed in part because it’s only three seasons and was driven creatively by constant cancellation concerns). And yes, I have felt a little personally attacked by your response to the situation, like I was stupid for caring about this thing I love, and I was also just surprised to find Videogum, which I adore to the point that it’s a joke among my friends, harping on the issue. But my outrage has never been about entitlement; I don’t think I deserve more Community. I think THE WORLD deserves more Community, or at least more Community-esque television. And it’s never been about Dan Harmon The Person. He was not very good at one important aspect of his job (admittedly, the part I would also be terrible at) and he got fired (I’m actually pretty pissed at Harmon for letting his ego get in the way of the art, because, you know, he could have kept an office there and given people his ideas but he just couldn’t STAND to be not in complete control so he gave that up, which is pretty damn selfish). What I’m upset about it is what this stands for in the greater picture. Community and Harmon created a show where diversity, especially when it comes to women, queers, and people of color, isn’t a hindrance to making great and hilarious television. I want to live in a world where the Danny Pudis and Donald Glovers are winning (or, you know, at least nominated for) Emmys. I was reading the oral history of The Wire that you guys linked to earlier this week, and they were joking about how they repeatedly didn’t get nominations because they were on “a black show”. That’s awful and stupid! We live in a world full of Horrible Racist Homophobic Girlfriends and Boyfriends, and when I see television shows (even and especially purportedly progressive shows like Modern Family) making “jokes” that reinforce racism, sexism, classism, gender roles, or WHATEVER, I can’t help thinking that this is BAD for our world. Like it or not, television has a pretty huge impact on American society or opinions. I write about television on my own blog (if “shouting in the void” is the same as “writing”) and am going to grad school to study television and media critically because I believe that the whole system is broken and needs to be rebuilt. I want to change advertising and figure out a way to do exactly what you’re saying and monetize the Internet and give the young people without TVs an real voice. But more importantly I believe that if we stop making television that perpetuates hate, stereotypes, and the continued domination of the white perspective, we might see some actual change reflected in the world. Maybe that’s ridiculously optimistic and naive, but I believe it’s possible.

    • Now, I accept that Community was not the show to create this sea change. It was too esoteric, too erudite, and too meta. But for me it was a symbol of the great places television can go when it’s not bound by the constraints of The Way Things Have Always Been Done. It symbolized a future of television where half-Arabic half-Polish weirdos with Asperger’s could overshadow the white guy to become the hero of a show; or where a pansexual imp (at first I capitalized Imp, such is the power of Game Of Thrones) with a dalmatian fetish can be endeared for his cross-dressing; or where a poor, angry, slutty atheist (like me) could go from being The Worst to being The Best. Look, I’m glad that there’s going to be a little more Community in the fall. The actors are still amazing actors (which is something that no one seems to be talking about)! But what was so upsetting about Dan Harmon’s firing wasn’t that Dan Harmon lost his job, but that he was the heart, teeth, and balls of Community and The Man just cut them right out. If they had cancelled it outright, the Internet would have gone up in riotous flames. As it was, there was mild looting, but they mostly got away with it, and THAT’S what I’m angry about. And now no one’s talking about what was truly revolutionary about Community – and it wasn’t the pop culture homages.

      And (I was going to say “sorry”, but fuck that, I’m not sorry) you SHOULD feel bad if you like Two And A Half Men. It’s a hateful, unflinchingly sexist and homophobic show that puts nothing good into the world. Maybe if the millions of people who watch it weren’t having their bigotries reinforced by Chuck Lorre, they would be better people for it. Yes, there are A LOT of great shows on television these days, but if we get rid of all the irredeemable crap like that, imagine how many more great shows could flourish. Allow me to be Don Draper for a second – you only want fifty percent of the market share? You should want a hundred percent. I want a hundred percent non-backwards, non-horrible, non-discriminatory television. It’s a dream, but it’s one that I really believe is worth being passionate about and fighting for.

      Again, I want to thank you for engaging in this conversation in such a thoughtful way, and for constantly addressing and critiquing these very topics on Videogum in an inspiring and hilarious manner. I’m not sure where else on the Internet such civil and intelligent discussions occur, but I don’t care, I’m sticking with you, Gabe. #birdie4prez

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