(Extra Credit) Deep Staging in Community

My favorite show of all time is Community. It’s a sitcom of sorts about 6 characters who go to Greenville, a community college. My favorite part about this show is that the writers are insanely creative and like to mess around with film techniques and tropes, as well as allusions to other works of art. There’s a whole episode where the Russo Brothers direct an episode in which the school has a massive paintball fight to get priority registration. This episode is cinematically over the top and contains many allusions to The Matrix and Die Hard.

In one particular episode, The Psychology of Letting Go, everything seems like a normal episode as one of the characters’ mom dies and he processes his emotions by joining a cult. However, upon further inspection, one of the main characters, Abed, is almost no where to be seen. This is because he’s engaged in a secret plot line where he delivers a baby in the background.

This starts in season 1 of the show, where after the Dean went on the announcements that nobody should use condoms, a couple are seen in the background throwing away their condoms.

9 months later in season 2, episode 3, Abed is talking to the girl from the couple who is now very pregnant.

Later in the episode, Abed is walking with the pregnant girl when the boyfriend shows up and tries to beat him up.

Then, Abed and the girl are in the cafeteria when the girl starts to go into labor.

Finally, Abed is in the trunk of the couples’ car helping deliver the baby.

This episode culminates with one of the characters asking Abed what he’s been up to, to which he replies, “nothing much”. This whole secret plot line in which Abed fully delivers a child was discovered by eagle eyed fans shortly after the second season was released. This episode displays the creative genius of Dan Harmon and the writers of Community. They were able to employ a common element of Mise-en-Scene, deep staging, to craft a very interesting moment of television that will last with viewers for a long time.

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