Welcome to this week’s edition of Pop Pedestal, Bitch’s series of tributes to characters we love. Today, I’d like to recognize the Greendale student whose favorite film is “a tie between Ghostbusters, An American Werewolf in London, Back to The Future, Blade Runner, Stand By Me, Stripes, Star Wars IV through VI, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jaws, Raising Arizona, Jurassic Park, Seven, The Matrix, Goonies, Breakfast Club, Real Genius, Better Off Dead, and The Fog of War.” I am referring, of course, to Abed of NBC’s Community.
“The last thing I remember is, you were dancing like that girl in the movie ‘Kids in Detention.’” (picture source)
The Pedestal Profile: According to the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, Community fans have been clamoring for more Abed time since the beginning. Who can blame them(/us)? The twentysomething film student at Greendale Community College, played by Danny Pudi, is a fountain of pop cultural knowledge (unless he’s been drinking; see above). I’ll bet some, if not most, of us can relate to Abed’s love for analyzing the media, and his deadpan delivery consistently provides the sitcom’s funniest moments.
Admirable qualities: First off, Abed is smart and unafraid to be different. Some find his many fandoms embarrassing (hello, Cougar Town?), but Abed is content to create his own type of effortless cool. Filmmaking is his passion despite a lack of support from his family and, sometimes, his classmates. He’s not only driven behind the camera, though; Abed is surprisingly passionate in whatever situation he finds himself. In a much-discussed “background story” last season, he even singlehandedly delivered a baby.
Abed is also an awesome friend, which is made most apparent by his bond with Donald Glover’s character, Troy. Sometimes compared to Scrubs’ JD and Turk, the pair are inseparable and sweetly devoted to one another. Before class, they film their “show” Troy and Abed in the Morning (which, in the Community universe, doesn’t actually air anywhere), and it’s full of charming, imaginative acts in which they play off of each other’s comic styles.
Purely from a TV-watcher standpoint, I have to say that Abed has been at the center of Community’s strongest episodes to date. For one, his whimsy (and habit to dissociate) enabled a holiday special done entirely with claymation.
“My advice: Stay honest, stay alert, and for the love of God, stay between the gumdrops.” (picture source)
Similarly, I’d say Community’s more regrettable moments have been fairly Abed-free. This spring, the show drew feminist frustration (including mine) with a “funny” storyline about Troy pretending to be a rape survivor to seem more interesting. (…I know, right?) When Abed learned this was happening, he simply gave his friend a look and said, “Troy? No good can come of this.” He was correct.
So Abed’s creative, goofy, and sharp. What else could we want? Beatboxing skills? Done.
His influence: Abed is the ultimate in quotables. (Click here for a taste.) It probably comes as no surprise that he has numerous pages on Facebook, FanPop, and Tumblr. Affectionate fans have posted more vids, gifs, and screencaps than I can shake a Greendale Human Being at, immortalizing each segment of Community and Troy and Abed in the Morning. My personal favorite edition of the latter is the one in which the friends impersonate Bert and Ernie:
Closed captions at bottom right; description here (.doc(27.5 KB)).
That’s not all: Community’s third season is slated to begin this fall, and I’m eager to see what our robot-voiced friend is up to. The Season 2 finale saw Abed sharing a Star Wars-inspired makeout with Annie Edison (played by Alison Brie), and while it wouldn’t be unusual for Community to go on as if it hadn’t happened, I would be interested in more Annie/Abed. As a bonus, the actors are hilarious together. (Of course, Annie might date a woman, and that could be good, too.) Either way, I’m confident that I can count on the study group’s young filmmaker for laughs.
Think of him when: you’re unable to suppress your inner nerd (and why should you?), shouting comments at B-movies, planning an esoteric theme party, or filming yourself… while watching film of yourself.