Analysis Community Discussion

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10:11:46 AM Jan 11th 2013
So something is bothering me right now.

In the Community episode "Critical Film Studies", once the fact that Abed was recreating My Dinner With Andre has been exposed, Jeff and Abed have a conversation in which Abed talks about how he's often a sort of sidekick, emotionless character. He lists off characters from other series that he sees that connection with: Data from Star Trek, Johnny Five from Short Circuit, and, most concerningly, K-9.

It's possible that the K-9 he is referring to the dog Jerry Lee from the movie K-9, as suggested by IMDB, but this is illogical since he's listing character names rather than the title of the work that they come from. Eliminating this, the character that he is most likely referring to is K-9 from Doctor Who. This makes perfect sense in context, as K-9 was a sidekick character and was similar to both Data and Johnny Five in the sense that he was an artificial, considerably emotionless character.

So assuming he's referring to K-9, this would mean that Doctor Who exists in the Community universe. This in and of itself is not a concern, since Community characters, specifically Abed, frequently reference media that exist in the actual, non-show universe. This is an established trope within the show. Where this particular reference becomes concerning is when the fake show Inspector Spacetime is introduced to the show in Season 3, Episode 1. It's clearly an homage to Doctor Who, as the titular character is a long-lived alien that travels through space and time in a British telephone booth, similar to the Doctor, a long-lived alien that travels through space and time in a British police box. It was a clear knock-off show in the Community universe of a show that exists in our universe. However, it's never stated that Inspector Spacetime is a knock-off of a different show. It's simply the Doctor Who of the Community universe. Interestingly, Inspector Spacetime has been made into an actual series, in a move similar to Kujibiki Unbalance, the show-within-a-show from the series Genshiken.

So here's a summary of the facts:

  • Abed referred to a character from Doctor Who

  • There is an ersatz Doctor Who series in the Community universe, Inspector Spacetime

  • Since Inspector Spacetime is never referred to as an obvious knock-off of Doctor Who, this means that Doctor Who does not exist in the Community universe

Therefore, Abed is referring to a television show that exists in the real world but does not exist in his universe. What conclusions can be drawn from this? We could just write it off as a simple logical error on the part of the writers, but I'd like to give them more credit than that. Abed is written as a character that has a vast knowledge of media, so it would be in character for him to know of media beyond his own universe. In an earlier episode, his films ended up having a prognosticatory ability, with events happening in his films later happening in "real life" within the episode. This implied that he may have a superior predicting ability (perhaps Doctor Who is actually the knock-off?) or some sort of supernatural or extraterrestrial ability, allowing him to delve into the media of other realities.

Or maybe he's actually the Doctor.
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