I often think of the world in terms of similes — figures of speech using like or as for those of you who zoned out a lot in English class. Some of the authors I adore like Douglas Coupland are masters of the simile. If not for his skill in using it I probably wouldn’t love him as much. I understand things when I am able to come up with a comparison for them, which is helpful in academics but may annoy friends who mistake my saying so it’s like this for self-indulgence.
Recently, I was told that I needed to start watching Community because it is the new Scrubs — another simile there folks. I used to love Scrubs but have reached the point where I’ve seen every episode so many times that it’s not the same as it used to be.
The same friend who insisted I watch community also insisted that she is like Brita, because they both say bagel strangely — and are often made fun of because of it — and are the badass feminist kind.
While watching Scrubs we would have the same debates. Everybody wanted to be J.D., one of my friends took great pride in being like Dr.Cox. I always wondered why it was that we had to compare ourselves to these characters. At times it fit, but claiming being like a character didn’t make sense to me. It was like taking a quiz on Facebook that assigned you as a Grinfindor — of course — or Turk — how did that happen, must retake it. At times we were similar but despite numerous friends claiming to be J.D. I have yet to meet the guy.
The same happened last night with an excited discussion of Community. My friends who had seen it enthusiastically discussed how great it is — really you should watch it right now —then the cast was assigned. I was a combination of Abed and Brita, I feel a little bit like Abed every time I matter of factly make a popculture reference, and my friend was Annie, he’s a good guy who can occasionally be a rebel, and so it went.
The whole time I thought to myself it’s so arbitrary. You’re not really that much like Annie but I need someone to pick. It’s not like she’s a total doppelganger but she’s close enough right? Then we assigned Pierce to one of our friends and giggled. So much can be implied or read into these random roles we project onto ourselves or are assigned.
Having now watched both seasons I understand the comparison between the two shows. They are both sitcoms about a bunch of oddballs who build friendships and bond through a common circumstance (employment at Sacred Heart, attending Greendale). If not for an easy comparison to something I already watch like Scrubs or How I Met Your Mother I probably wouldn’t have gotten into this show. The same goes for album reviews, tv reviews and so on.
We take comfort in comparisons. It’s nice to find the most similar system. With shows based around group dynamics it’s fun to think of where you fall. Who’s our Jeff, the accidental leader — perhaps this role befits me too? You want to be like them but you also want to make a comparison to your own life. We think in categories or in my case like and as.