So guys, have you heard? Community is BACK!!!!
That's right! My favorite group of community college misfits will be back on our television screens on February 7th! I'm so excited I may poop. Or puke. Or something.
It is with great trepidation, however, that I approach February 7th, because something is amiss. I fear that the great and powerful 'Community' may be starting an uphill battle which is can't overcome.
This is not the first time the show has had to do this. Rumors surrounding the cancellation of Community have been circulating since the end of Season 2, and yet it came back and got itself a third season. And then just when everyone thought that was it, it's kaput for Community, they came out with an announcement of Season 4, premiering on October 19th, and the fan base breathed a collective sigh of relief. We then sucked all that air right back in when October 19th rolled around and there was no Community. Little did we know that it had been pushed back to the spring, we thought it was over, they had destroyed us, and we were left to wallow in our own tears. The light is back, and it is shining. But until that season premiere happens, we won't know just how bright that light shines.
Community is the brainchild of a brilliant television writer named Dan Harmon. Harmon has created an amazing piece of comedy which comments on just about everything possible, is self-effacing, self-aware (without being pretentious), and really too damn smart for its own good. This is all because Harmon is notoriously strict in his control of the show. The show has been sculpted, crafted, and given to us by Harmon, and he has held tight onto the reins the whole way. I am not sorry for that in the slightest. The show has so much heart because it doesn't apologize for what it is. It doesn't go out of its way to try and get a broader audience. It doesn't exist to appeal to anyone, it hopes that someone is willing to watch it, and it does what it wants. This is not the kind of show that Television Producers like to get behind, in other words. Where they wanted ratings and cash, Harmon wanted quality. He has been at odds with the producers since the first season, and so it is no surprise, that after three seasons, begging him to open it up to a wider audience base, they fired him.
For the full text of the Dr. Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" Speech, click here
On the occasion of today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birth, I listened to and read the I Have A Dream speech again. Every night here at The Fireside I have the honor of hearing a portion of the speech read aloud by the incomparable Bianca Denis and every night I hear it as it applies today.
Because it still does.
Every night as she reads those ever powerful words, those words which truly go down as the spark behind the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's, those words which live in our history as one of the greatest moments America has ever known, I am reminded of today's Civil Rights Movement. Today there is a group of people demonized, and told they are less than. There is not segregation as there was in the 60's, but there is a group of people who live in constant fear of retribution. Who, in many states in this country, have to hide who they are so they don't have to worry about being fired over it. Who are told they are less than, are not worthy of equality to a group of people who are in the majority, and who have the historical superiority on their side.
The LGBT community is today's Civil Rights Movement.
Fifty years ago, a great American delivered a speech which stands as a great "beacon of light" in our Nation's history, and brought change and equality to millions of Americans who were told they were less than.
Fifty years later, our country is still pushing to fulfill the dream laid out by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However it has lost its way in its quest for recognizing what was at the heart of the dream he gave us. Freedom. Equality.
In my college directing class, a fellow student once said (in response to a question of what directors need to do to get a performance out of an actor),
"My high school teacher told me that being actor is being willing to stab your soul on stage in front of everyone day after day after day."
In response to this, our directing teacher (the absolutely incredible Wendy Dann) said,
"Well be careful now, don't get cute with it, and certainly don't get romantic about it. Actors have a wonderful job, one that they are blessed to live every day and to be a part of, but it is a job. It is no more important than anyone else's, in theatre, or outside."
This was a very important moment for me. You see I love my job. I love everything about what I do. I wake up in the morning and I am proud to say that I am an actor. I am proud to say I am a member of the theatre community However in my experience, there is a love and praise for actors, but that love, and those praises are not extended to the millions of other members of the theatre community, the ones who aren't going out on stage every night. This offends me. There is an entire side of the theatre community that is happy to let themselves go unappreciated, and under-loved by most, and they do so with a smile, and with a passion for their job that I can only respect and feel admiration for.
During my time in a BFA Musical Theatre program, I was so surprised to see this problem perpetuating itself as soon as people arrived as freshmen. There were many who treated BFA Performance majors like they had a right to the school that the other theatre majors did not. I made it my mission to have the class of 2012 be a true community, with cross communication and love across majors, and I am proud to say that I was not the only one who worked hard at this goal. Our class worked as a whole to break this stereotype, and we truly loved each other, regardless of major, regardless of theatrical position, regardless of intended career goals. We came together as a community, not as a group of segregated theatre artists.
I find myself hilarious, and I use this blog to stroke my own ego. Thanks for indulging me.