When it comes to TV shows I’ve probably missed the golden age of television. My friend lent me the first season of The Wire (in the days when box sets came in boxes) but I left it in the carrier bag and gave it back a few weeks later.
I didn’t watch Breaking Bad, only ever saw the pilot of Killing Eve, stopped watching 24 after I discovered it was going to be a much longer undertaking than just 24 hours and I haven’t watched Normal People – yet.
Mostly because I was either too busy being busy or not managing my time properly or watching repeats on Dave, desperate for laughter after another day of work.
But also because for most of my life I could think of nothing worse than sitting and ‘binge watching’ a boxset and then having endless conversations about it with anyone and everyone.
It was fate
One evening a few weeks ago changed all that. It was the evening I discovered Community – the show that changed my world.
For some reason, which I now recognise as fate I’d strayed into the categories section of the Channel 4 website and, intrigued by the teaser image and attracted to the woman in the picture, I clicked on the link for Community.
Later investigation revealed I was watching a show others had started watching nine years ago but it didn’t matter because it was exactly what I needed to get me through the first few weeks of coronavirus lockdown.
I’d moved home at the start of lockdown – from a houseshare where there was always a friendly face to talk to into my own place where there is no-one. In the last two months I have had just two face to face conversations lasting for more than a minute. While I have vaguely met the neighbours I am not allowed to have anyone round so it’s just me and a (thankfully) decreasing sea of boxes.
I think this is why Community has resonated with me so much during this time. Each of the characters in the study group is working on trying to make the best of their situation and gradually overcoming uncertainties to find their way within the new world they are in.
In a way I can see a little of myself in all the central characters – from fighting for causes like Britta to wanting to please everyone like Shirley.
And Jeff has the body I wish I had (although I wasn’t loving the beard in later seasons) – if only I was better at exercising than I am at drinking lockdown wine.
They all spoke to me on so many levels and it became a much needed part of my lockdown routine – wake up, work, eat, work, run, talk to family and friends, watch Community.
Many levels is exactly right because although it is a comedy, Community is so much more than that.
Brought together by amazing scripts the 23 (or so) minute episodes rewrote the rules of TV every time. There was drama, spy capers, romance, forays into claymation, time travel and just outright brilliance.
And don’t even get me started on the epics of the paintball episodes – packing an action movie into the small screen in an awe-inspiring way.
It is one of the best TV shows of all time
There was one day where I didn’t watch any episodes at all but that just felt weird. Most days I’d find myself still awake at 1am being classy by eating crunchy nut cornflakes and watching ‘just one more episode’.
Within this timeline I remember the feeling of never wanting it to end – while scrolling through the Channel 4 page to see how many episodes I had left. Then one Tuesday it sadly came to an end at around 7.30pm.
Now, looking back I’m still wondering what to do with myself – after the end of Community five years after it actually ended.
I’ve got a Greendale Community College t-shirt which I’ll wear with pride when the time is right and there is the episode readthrough to look forward to on Monday. A friend has also recommended I watch Schitt’s Creek.
But mostly I think I might embrace the world of box sets, join Netflix and see what else Gillian Jacobs has been in.
I’m looking forward to the world of discovery so feel free to send me your recommendations!