Thursday, July 2, 2020

The best episode of Community was just removed from Netflix

I've probably watched the "Dungeons & Dragons" episode of Community a dozen times.  It's 22 minutes of near-perfection, and it's no surprise that the episode's director, Joe Russo, went on to co-direct the biggest movie blockbuster of all time.  But the days of bingeing the episode on Netflix and Hulu are over.  All because of a blackface joke.  The Wrap reported:
Netflix has pulled the “Community” Season 2 episode “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” which features Ken Jeong’s character, Ben Chang, wearing blackface during a game of “Dungeons & Dragons,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.
TFW your episode gets removed for blackface
Other entertainment websites discussed the removal, including Den of GeekVulture, DeadlineComic Book Resources, Bleeding Cool, Hypebeast, and The A.V. Club.  Frustratingly, none of these websites were willing to say that "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" is the best episode of Community.  Seriously, it's the best episode.  You can ask me; you can ask fans; you can ask the folks at Collider.  It's #1.  You might find some people who prefer "Remedial Chaos Theory," but let's be real.  I don't even play Dungeons & Dragons (cause it's a game for nerds) but I love the episode.

If I wrote for an entertainment website, I would title my post: "The best episode of Community was just removed from Netflix."  That way, the reader would immediately see my hand.  David Crow of Den of Geek was the only author I saw who really went to bat for the episode.  He referred to "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" as a "fan-favorite episode," and his whole post had a tone of, 'Yo, what the heck?'

Dan Harmon hasn't publicly commented on the removal.  I suppose there's a chance he approves of the removal.  But I hope that, deep down, he's outraged.  There's a novel I read several years ago called The Fountainhead.  It's about an architect named Howie Roark, and near the end of the book Howie comes up with a new design for low-income housing.  However, the builders decide to mess with Howie's vision for some reason, and Howie is so outraged he decides to blow the buildings to smithereens.  He gets arrested, and then he gives a long speech in the courtroom (probably the longest speech in the history of books) denouncing the parasites of society.  And everyone claps at the end.  I think it would be awesome if, in the middle of the night, Dan Harmon lays TNT around the Netflix building and blows it to smithereens, causing Netflix to go off the air permanently.  (No one would be hurt, of course.)  Then he'd have to blow up Hulu's headquarters for good measure. 

The thing which annoys me most about the removal is that now, when I watch the episode, I feel a slight twinge when Chang appears on-screen as the Dark Elf.  The twinge isn't because I feel the joke is racist or offensive.  The twinge is because I know other people might have a problem with the joke as it is.

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