As anyone who has spent far too much of their life thinking about a stranger named Dan Harmon knows, the Community creator is obsessed with narrative--particularly the concept of the "monomyth."
Whether it was a statement on his own passion for the subject, a nod to those of us who have logged a truly shocking number of hours hearing about this topic his Harmontown podcast, or both, Community Season 5 Episode 12 was a meta-statement on the monomyth--to the point of Abed openly pointing something out as the "call to adventure," the first step in the monomythical journey.
The monomyth contains 17 separate steps...zero of which we're going to go over right now (try to wipe the look of relief off your face, please).
But the episode's explanation of its own narrative workings--a lifting of the hood, so to speak--offered some excellent insight into the role narrative plays not just in our favorite TV shows, but our own lives.
Why decide to get spontaneously married to someone you've run pretty hot and cold to over the course of five years (or seasons...whatever)?
On this show and in life, it's all about the forward-momentum of narrative; it's why the study hall gang does dumb things, and it's also why we do dumb things. Crisis is movement, and though we're loathe to admit it, it feels better than just laying around.
For my money, there is zero chance that Jeff and Britta will really get married, just like there's zero chance of Greendale becoming a Sandwich University (unless this really is a trip over into the Darkest Timeline).
It's all just a master class in what makes a story a story, and how stories are what makes us human. Which, when you think of it, can be said about Community the show, as well.
Not to discount the whole episode as some kind of intellectual exercise--it was among the seasons funniest, peppered with strong Community quotes and jokes about the terrible fate of the first dean of Greendale.
But the half hour's auto-deconstruction made me want to go back to the beginning of the show, and re-watch every episode through this lens. What step is the show at on this journey, overall? And where will it end up???
Are Jeff and Britta actually going to get married?