Four things Community nailed about uni life
American television – what would we do without it? Cultivate a social life, probably. Still, TV is good for more than just binge-watching and procrastination. It can also teach you a lot about life. Yeah, yeah, we know - Community isn’t the most reality-friendly show in the world. Hell, the group encounters a magical trampoline and a zombie apocalypse. Nevertheless, there are some minor details they got right. Hijacked presents… the Community Guide to College (University).
If you join a study group, you’ll never study
If you join a study group, you’re almost guaranteed not to study. Firstly, there’s the element of desperation. There’s a reason most people join study groups, and it’s not because they want to show off their hidden genius. A study group is essentially a composite of all the people in your class who don’t know anything. It’s a human centipede of stupidity.
Secondly, you’ll probably end up joining a group with all your friends. When your goal is to learn, there’s nothing more poisonous than a friendship. You begin talking about the Categorical Imperative, and within a minute, you’re talking about how categorically imperative it is to go out this Saturday.
You’re going to date some weirdos
One thing Community nails is documenting the weirdos you date at uni. From the hippie-dippy Vaughn to an anthropomorphised Subway restaurant, the show canvassed the spectrum of romantic failure. In fact, in its own special way, this may be the most accurate part of the whole show.
Speak to anybody over 30 - man or woman - and I guarantee they dated somebody with dreadlocks at least once. It’s one of the key learning experiences you get at uni: making awful romantic decisions and hoping nobody remembers thatyou thought Steve was a catch.
Chicken is surprisingly valuable
When I first started watching Community, I never suspected that the crime-noir episode ‘Contemporary American Poultry’ (about a fried chicken racket) would have real-world relevance. Yet, here we are.
Amazingly, chicken is a surprisingly valuable commodity at uni. At Monash, where I’m based, an entire sub-culture has sprung up around the mythical ‘gym chicken’. The food in question is a boneless, brown chicken fillet covered in a flaky brown batter and spices. I’m getting hungry just writing about it.
Inexplicably, it’s also only available in the gym. Why this is the case has never been satisfactorily explained to me. My own theory is that the chicken is meant for people who are “bulking”, though a friend tells me that the batter would be unhelpful. At any rate, it’s delicious, and the show nails its importance among students.
You’ll have at least one crazy lecturer
The highlight of Community is undoubtedly Professor Chang, whose antics – while hilarious - border on the schizoid. Chang is the superlative crazy lecturer – he is the crazy than which no greater crazy can be imagined. He also totally reflects at least one of your lecturers.
We’ve written before about weird lecturers. Don’t worry if you don’t have one - you will. They’re unavoidable, like the plague or Matthew McConaughey’s abs. I once had an American lecturer who, despite literally being in another country, loved to complain about “foreigners” - I guess Australia just felt like home.
Another lecturer of mine insists on asking members of the class sordid details about their lives, then formulating practice questions using the information: “OK, class, repeat after me: ‘Sally and her boyfriend fight every day.'”
Ah, Community, you got it so right.
David Rose is a Monash Arts/Law student. Tweet him @davidrosecomedy