HPA Launches Positive Fandom Project

HPA Positive Fandom

The internet can be a wonderful place to reside. The communities are engaging, the content inspiring and the weather is always perfect. However, it can also be a terrible pit of despair and nasty comments. We don’t always treat our fellow internet citizens with the respect they deserve and when it comes to fandom, this can be especially heartbreaking. The Harry Potter Alliance wants to do its best to change this.

Earlier this week, the HPA launched “Positive Fandom,” a project aimed at creating a safer, kinder internet. A few months ago, the organization sent out a survey asking subscribers about their experiences with fandom and what they believe could be done to make the internet a safer space. One of the overwhelming responses they got expressed the need for a list of community guidelines. After much deliberation, the team emailed its fans back with a link to a Google Document with a draft of what they had come up with. But they weren’t done yet.

Because we believe that everyone in the community should have a say in how it’s led, we want to open up the editing process to you, too,” The HPA said in a recent email. Those interested in contributing to the guidelines can visit the link and collaboratively help with the list until June 25. After reviewing the community’s comments and edits to the guidelines, the HPA will release a finalized version sometime in early July. “From there, you can sign on to agree to, follow and uphold these guidelines as well as participate in activities throughout the summer that revolve around celebrating and improving our fandom community.”

While there will always be trolls out there, this initiative marks a great first step in fandom positivity, something the HPA feels very strongly about. If you want to make the internet a more positive place, visit the link above and submit your ideas. It’s only together that we can make the web a better place.

Graphic by The Harry Potter Alliance.

Community Review – “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” S6E13

How do you even write about the final episode of the sixth season? Being the show that it is, every season after its second was assumed to be its last. In an almost emotionally-debilitating way, this show has given its fans more closure in its finales than you get from probably any other show, and more than we’ll ever get from Firefly (unless you read the comics. What are you doing if you don’t read the comics?), Carnivale, and Wonderfalls – just to name a few of my favorites. I mean, if you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you what it’s like being a fan of this show and the kind of emotional toll it exacts in a way few other shows do.

But there is hope. If you listen to Harmontown (WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO HARMONTOWN? HUH? ADRIAN?), or the final words of this episode’s ending gag, Yahoo! freakin’ loves Community. It gets huge views, and it’s doing for Yahoo! what it never seemed to be able to do for itself once Google appeared – primarily name recognition and a sense of loyalty. One of the Yahoo! producers recently said that they aren’t eager to let go of Community any time soon. Plus, how about that ending card?

I know I’ve gotta actually start this review, but where to start? I mean, did you see that?

Pros:

Dean-Nouncements:This is one of my favorite gags from older seasons that seemed to have mostly vanished as the show got more abstract and experimental. But as a season finale set piece, it’s an amazingly smart piece of callback from earlier seasons to automatically generate a sense of nostalgia.

Silly Dean-fits: This whole segment where the group seems utterly flummoxed at the idea that Community, *HAHACKHEM* I mean Greendale, is saved is, roughly, 1,000% how every fan feels. No way is this pig in the green zone. So, y’know. Nipple Dippers 4eva.

"I didn't even notice. Good for him."
“I didn’t even notice. Good for him.”

In honor of my favorite Dean costume, I leave you with god himself.

What? That’s crazy. People use LinkedIn?: In addition to being a funny line, it’s exactly how I feel. I recently got paid to invite over 1,500 people to a CPA conference using LinkedIn, and this was my mantra every two minutes. Also, how cripplingly sad is Elroy’s exit? I like him as a character, but I feel like he was barely explored. I hope he comes back if for no other reason than stability.

Pitches: Oh my god you guys. Oh my god. How about just a series of pics? By the way, have you seen OUR pitch for Season 7??

F*cks, don’t give any: Did anyone else’s head lift six inches from their body, do on full rotation, and then slowly settle back on your neck?

Annie and Jeff… not quite: It’s so great that the show didn’t simply not acknowledge this. It dealt with this. It might not be the resolve we were looking for, but they addressed it.

Sorry. Got something in my eye.
Sorry. Got something in my eye.

End gag: Wow. This season’s end gags have been transcendent and otherworldly. This insane combination of high concept and anxiety – laughing because it’s funny and because you’re scared what might happen otherwise. And did you catch that? That’s Dan Harmon’s voice. And he loves us. I had an opportunity to hug Dan Harmon a couple years ago, and I didn’t. I just awkwardly thanked him for his work.

end gag
“You stupid child. Nobody’s winning anything. Don’t you see? This means we don’t exist. We’re not created by god: we’re created by a joke. We were never born, and we will never actually live.”

Cons:

Nothing. I mean, I wish Troy could have popped in for a cameo, but the dopamine rush I got at seeing Shirley by itself made it worth it.

In Conclusion:

This episode. Wow. After saving my tenth image for the night, I realized I was just going to end up building my own Wiki-po-diuh out of this episode. It’s one of those rare crystalline perfect moments in TV that gives you everything you wanted out of the characters, nails all the jokes, and looks blurry because there’s something in your eye. I feel like I scraped the surface of what I could talk about in this episode: I didn’t even mention Abed or Annie’s departures, or Franky’s stiff and lame pitch, or how Todd might very possibly be having a mental breakdown. Oh, and Chang’s gay? Man. Or the super serious stuff, like how Abed’s still not coping without Troy.

The most interesting theme throughout the episode is how Jeff is the one now trying to hold the group together. The opportunist turned out to be the one with the greatest number of feels, and through his inability to cope with his own lack of mobility tries to convince everyone that stagnation is preferable to anything else.

No matter what happens, we'll always have this.
No matter what happens, we’ll always have this.

The season started a little rough with a couple episodes that really made me scratch my head, and the absolute lowest point being when Britta shit herself. But the last half really started picking up steam and ended on the best possible note. Hush Comics gives “Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television” an A+ #andamovie.

All images credited to Yahoo! Screen and NBC.

Community Review – “Wedding Videography” S6E12

This week’s episode of Community was all I could have wanted, and then some. It was funny and sweet and instead of full on nonsense there was a good plotline and lesson for the group to learn behind it all. I genuinely have no complaints, so let’s break down the awesomeness just for fun.

Pros:

Garrett and Stacy: Awwwwww (imagine that in Annie and Shirley’s voices). Garrett and Stacy were so cute. Garrett’s proposal was adorable, their vows were cute, and if their relationship had a face I would pinch its cheeks. Garrett has always been an underdog and possibly even the most unfortunate person on the Greendale campus so it was nice to see him have a happy love story, even if it was with his cousin.

Community - "Wedding Videography"

An addiction to encouraging white people: It’s funny because it’s true. Elroy has been such a welcome addition. Sure he’s completely static and they give him basically no room for growth but he’s funny. And his developing an addiction to encouraging white people so he could thrive in the tech industry is kind of a genius plan. I don’t know if random encouragement works on all races or just white people, but I know if someone just randomly came up to me and said “Hey, you’re doing a great job of wearing those pants” I’d take it as a compliment. Maybe I’m part of the problem…

Community - "Wedding Videography"

The group learns a lesson, doesn’t blow it: Oh snap, the gang got faced by Garrett’s mom. And instead of becoming indignant and refusing to acknowledge their problems they all showed personal growth and disbanded to improve the wedding by not making everything about them. They’ve been in this situation before, and usually they just manipulate reality around themselves so they can continue to believe that they are the good guys and I’m so glad this episode did not turn into history repeating itself. Obviously they are not bad people, they’re just lovable jerks. I really like where their humble response to being owned took the show, and honestly this may have been the most character driven episode of the season because of that.

Community - "Wedding Videography"

Chang: I love that Chang says he’s at his best when he’s with the group while everyone else is moaning that they are at their worst. Sometimes Chang really does just seem like a sweet little boy who just wants to be liked, and “Wedding Videography” took that feeling and used it to drive home the episode’s lesson and conclusion. Chang’s speech was kind and true, if Garrett and Stacy did what everyone wanted the world still be laughing stocks but they would have to endure that pain alone. It’s better to embrace your imperfections and run with them because no one is perfect, but together you can be imperfect together. I think I stole that from an episode of Futurama, except it was about loneliness.

No mention of “token” episodes: I love that Community plays with the idea of being wholly meta, but season six has so far been really heavy handed with that. This episode played out a lot better without mention of every TV series needing a token wedding episode, or it how every season has a documentary episode directed by Abed.

Cons:

We didn’t get to see Abed’s adorable face: That’s all I got.

Honor Roll Moments (favorite quotes, shenanigans, etc):

“Annie don’t “Jim” the camera.” Where are all my The Office peeps at?

The Celebrity Garrett Marriage Game. I thought Chang’s Christian Slater was great.

Todd could be god.

The Shhhhhhhhhh off. This is a gag I will never get tired of.

Elroy’s beautiful serenade to the man who is wearing pants, and should continue to wear them.

The Heckler: First appeared during Garrett’s vows, as in “someone laughed at that the wrong way!” and then during Chang’s speech. “Let him finish!” “They are letting me finish.” “I know, I was being sarcastic!” I’m going to tell myself The Heckler was Starburns. Or maybe Koogler, even though I hate The Koog.

“Stay and eat cake or go the hell!” I will find a way to work this one into my regular vocabulary.

Seriously though guys, Todd could be god.


Hush Comics gives “Wedding Videography” an A for being funny and sweet and for re-humanizing characters that were at risk of permanently becoming caricatures of themselves.

Community Review – “Modern Espionage” S6E11

The 11th episode sees the gang waging a secret war. A paintball war. An illegal secret paintball war. Despite Frankie’s constant recriminations against paintball, City College is offering a cash prize for the person who paints the most ball. In the midst of it is the mysterious sharpshooter Silver Balls. Can the gang wage their secret war, beat back the creeping scourge of City College, and unmask Silver Balls? I dunno. Prolly.

Pros:

community s6e11 modern espionage 03

STAR BURNS, MOTHER F*CKERS!!: Being the kind of guy I am, I am all over the Harmontown podcast and Community subreddit, and this has been a constant question all season: where is Star Burns? As hard as it may be to believe, the truth is Dino Stamatopoulos hates acting on Community, which sounds utterly inconceivable to us mortals. It’s nice that they gave him a character wrap up as nearly satisfying as Dr. Spaceman’s.

There is no paintball: This season has been real anemic on the side-characters. It’s great seeing Todd, Vicki, Starburns, and Garrett get such prominent roles.

community s6e11 modern espionage 07

Abed corrects us on homage vs. parody: I love Dan Harmon correcting the misapprehensions of his fans via Abed.

Koogler!: So, if you don’t know, like, if you were on a Japanese submarine since 1935 and didn’t learn the war was over, or you just got released from a Victorian asylum, The Koogler (or Fun Dad for this episode) is creator of Arrested Development and all around comedy god Mitch Horowitz. And if you don’t listen to Harmontown, well, I’m not sure what you’re wasting your life on, but go listen to it right now, and listen to any of the episodes with Mitch as guest star. Plus, this scene is great because Abed hasn’t gotten to do much this season. I love Jeff’s command that there be no “references, no callbacks” right before Fun Dad Koogler appears. And I love Abed’s line, “That’s the description of every paintball.” Oh, so you know your stuff.

community s6e11 modern espionage 06

“Desperate Deans call for dean-sperate measures”: I’m glad the double-deaning is back in play.

Abed and Annie in the morning: Abed and Annie teaming up is one of the best things to happen since King T. Rex defeated Hitler’s Murder Go-Bots.

Last action dean-ro: A dean action scene is unexpected, but deeply satisfying.

community s6e11 modern espionage 05

Who’s heckling me?: Abed. Abed is heckling you. Also, I love Kumail Nanjiani. He was a longtime Harmontown staple, plus he runs his own fantastic podcast, The X-Files Files, AND he stars in Silicon Valley. I love that he can take time out of a busy day to mastermind a hostile takeover. I also like their exchange about Indian vs. Arabic. Kumail is Pakistani, and talks, frequently, about the terrible stereotyping he experiences in the pursuit of acting gigs.

community s6e11 modern espionage 04

Frankie’s revenge: Frankie’s revenge is amazing. She’s been spending this whole season trying to fit in with the group being unsuccessful. I think she’s finally cracked it in her own way. Plus, this is the first time I’ve felt she’s clicked as a main character.

community s6e11 modern espionage 02

Monologues about Vicki’s solo show: These post credit sequences this season have been the most satisfying. I love the line they’ve struck between funny, touching, and uncomfortable.

community s6e11 modern espionage 01

Cons:

Club Club: I love the joke of Club Club, and the place of nightclubs as a threshold for heroes in the action genre. However, and this is my only criticism of this episode, the club looks cramped and cheap. In fact, this whole season periodically looks small and cheap. It doesn’t dissolve my ability to enjoy the show, but how many scenes have been shoehorned into that janitor’s closet in the last 3 episodes alone? Meanwhile, I’m not even 100% sure I’ve seen a classroom or the quad once this whole season.

Final Ramblings:

This is the best episode of the season so far. It continues this frustrating “Save Greendale” theme that’s permeated the last two seasons, but it mixes in some pure, bizonkers buhnaynays for good measure. The theme of saving Greendale has really dragged this season down, but this episode was able to synthesize that compulsion into the school’s longstanding rivalry with City College. And turn away if you don’t want spoilers, because, y’know, SPOILERS… but am I wrong in thinking that the janitor was Silver Balls? That was my suspicion when I watched the episode the first time, and I could have sworn that was even explained, but the second time through I can’t tell. Either way, best episode of the season so far, and the more restrained smaller scale espionage story really spiced up paintball, which otherwise might have been kind of a burnt out idea.


Hush Comics gives “Modern Espionage” an A for being able to muster up enough school spirit to make us remember why we love Community in the first place.

All images belong to Yahoo! Screen.

Community Review – “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry” S6E10

Community simply isn’t what it used to be, but there is no point in talking about that anymore. This week’s episode “RV Repair and Palmistry” was more of the same chaos, but it was hilarious which pretty much makes up for that.

Pros:

Abed cannot manipulate time and circumstance: It was funny and a little disconcerting that Abed seemed convinced that he could alter their current circumstances by “flashing back.” For a while, I was afraid that he was actually going to have that power and I think that would’ve kind of destroyed the character. Thankfully, we learned near the end that Abed’s “flashing back” was in fact just him being insane, and it allowed for us to see the Dean fall off the roof of an RV while sitting on a giant hand.

Community 10-3

Abed’s “Jeff Speech”: This one was really heartfelt and frankly pretty beautiful. I’ve never bought a giant hand and locked my friends out of a stranded RV like the Dean did, but I was certainly touched by the universal sentiment of his words.

Future Britta: Present time Britta was pretty funny this week, even though she had basically no lines, but it’s Future Britta for the win. I don’t know about you, but I thought she was hilarious. I laughed out loud when she approached Future Abed and Frankie to ask what they were talking about, and when she popped up in Abed’s little fantasy doing whatever that arm thing was I basically lost it. It’s nice to see Britta be a source of comedy and not just a punching bag.

Cons:

Abed thinks life is a TV show, WHAAA?: This one may have been a little too meta for me, but that’s not even really the downfall here. The problem occurs when Jeff is somehow surprised by Abed’s behavior, insisting on the flashbacks and how certain acts must occur in a road trip movie. It’s not like the group hasn’t had to rescue Abed from thinking life was a TV show before, at least two specific times come to mind (“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, “History 101”, and oh yeah like almost every other episode). I get that the writers needed to add in comical conflict for the group, but this one was just annoying. It made Jeff seem like a total bully and a jerk.

Community 10-4

Honor Roll Moments:

  • Britta having a blanket thrown on her head and leaving it there.
  • Britta being the unlikely voice of reason to Annie, it’s not if something fell off the roof but what.
  • The end sequence with the man who intended to buy the giant hand.
  • Frankie speaking to Abed on his level to help him save he group.
  • The Dean running into the RV, screeching “Screw You!” and locking the group out.
  • Flashback Dean and Abed’s dance.

Community 10-2

Who’s the Worst:

This week Annie gets to wear “The Worst” crown. Not only did she do absolutely nothing to further the storyline or save the group, but she was goddamned whiny about it the whole time. I know she’s high-strung but this season she’s kind of a bitch. There, I said it.


Hush Comics gives “Basic RV Repair and Palmistry” a B+ for touching on familiar topics and for being hilarious.

All images belong to Yahoo! Screen.

Community Review – “Intro to Recycled Cinema” S6E8

Pros:

Chief Starr and the Renegades of the Galaxy: I really wish there was a way to see this whole movie. #whoisglipglop

Elroy: He may have only had like three or four lines, but they were all hilarious. My personal favorite was his question about how a green pool ball with a “3” on it got into his RV and what sport it was from. He’s like Pierce, but the writers don’t hate him so he’s not a pompous lonely old racist. He’s just funny.

Jeff vs. Chris Pratt: It’s no secret that Jeff obsesses over any other person, particularly men, who have an allure or are seen as more charming, talented or handsome than himself. Abed’s movie needed a “Chris Pratt Type” and once his name came up Jeff kind of just went on a downward spiral from there. He apparently has a strange fixation with Pratt, and his accusation that he was given CG muscles in Guardians of the Galaxy was hilarious.

Coms6e8-1

Cons:

Who are These People: Each time I watch a new episode of Community, I notice that the characters have drifted further and further from who they once were. While I like Frankie and Elroy, I think maybe the balance of the group really can never be the same without Troy, Shirley, and maybe even Pierce. I can accept that things will never again be what they once were with Community, but this week’s episode kind of solidified the feeling that this is not the study group we once knew. They were once cool people with bright futures who ended up at a community college. These people, while funny and loveable, are losers.

Individual Plot vs. Overarching Storyline: While the individual episodes have been funny and had pretty good plotlines the overarching story that is supposed to drive each one is weak. “Intro to Recycled Cinema” was a good example of just that. Of course they are all jealous of Chang’s Hollywood success, but they make Abed’s movie in an attempt to get $500,000 for Greendale, to save it. Even though it is still operating throughout all of this.

Coms6e8-3

Final Ramblings:

I’ve said it enough already, but Community isn’t what it used to be. The lack of original cast members does have an effect, and maybe Greendale has gone through too much to pretend to operate like a normal(ish) place anymore. Community is still funny, the group is still a loveable gang of ragtag misfits but something just doesn’t fit the way I hoped it would. When I’m looking for pros to write in my reviews I find that I can come up with individual moments that were great (Abed in the Frisbee pile) but I struggle to find real and true story elements that meant something or took the episode to great places. The show just seems to be chaos now. Funny, funny chaos.

Coms6e8-4


Hush Comics gives “Intro to Recycled Cinema” a B- because while it was funny the plot may have lacked motivation.

All images belong to Yahoo! Screen.

Community Review – “Advanced Safety Features” S6E7

Pros:

Do you believe half your politics?
I can’t even believe how much I love Britta Perry. First place is a struggle between Troy and Abed, and second place (or third, I guess) is a struggle between Pierce and Britta. But this season has made the Britta of Britta-ing Britta. It’s been almost mean spirited with how superfluous and dumb and gross they’ve made her. The episode opening up with the difference between prison and jail followed by answering honestly and thoughtfully to the question, “Do you believe half your politics,” instantly triggered my Britta jones. I was in. Already in.

Just a guy who knows Powerpoint:
This whole section killed it. As if his presentation wasn’t weird and self-indulgent on Changnesia levels, breaking two eggs expecting a dollar bill each time was inspired. 

Troy was really good at steel drums:
I like that the show isn’t trying to pretend Troy never existed and instead acknowledges (in the word’s of Abed), “I haven’t really been all that funny,” since he left. It doesn’t really excuse how nearly “year of the gas leak” season six has been, but it does create a kinship with the creators. Augmented with Abed’s remark about Elroy being “young Troy, or black Pierce, or Shirley without a purse,” it really feels like the creative team is saying, “I know those feels, bro.”

community advanced safety features 01

“Don’t even say that name without compensation.”
YES, emeffer, YES. A Britta episode that blows the wheels off this pig. Except it’s Honda instead of Subway. It’s so incredibly inspired that the person the most opposed to marketing is the person who gets hooked into it in the most invasive possible way. I can’t even put into words how jonesin’ this episode had me.

“We’re workshopping handshakes”
I love that Annie and Abed have latched onto each other. Thematically, it makes sense as they were closest to him emotionally and geographically. It’s also satisfying because, once again, the show is showing us that everyone feels everyone’s absence.

Annie and Abed's Handshake

 

A level seven susceptible
Dean’s insane need for approval extends to his buying habits. He’s not buying Honda, he’s buying the approval of Rick.

One mechanical alligator?
Finally Elroy feels like he’s got a spot in the show. The exchange between Britta and him about drawbridges slayed me. He’s also getting some emotional depth, and his resolve with Jeff (and not-Natasha of Natasha is Freezing) was great.

community advanced safety features 06

Cons:

Guerilla Marketing
I understand that an ugly truth of our world is that shows need sponsors to exist, and sometimes those sponsors demand their products be heavily featured. But I’m feeling like this show didn’t quite hit the post-modern irony that the Subway arc originally knocked so far out of the park that someone in Russia’s about to experience head trauma.

This will pay off later
I don’t think Frankie playing steel drums is funny. I can’t tell if it’s a joke because it’s not funny despite having the comedy formula, or if it’s a joke that swung and missed hardcore. I feel like either way, the entire setup and the payoff isn’t even nearly what I expect of the show’s self-awareness.

community advanced safety features 03

Wrap it Up, Folks:

I think this is without a doubt the best episode of Community this season, and one of the best Britta episodes. Though, speaking frankly, I think every Britta episode with the exception of the year with the gasleak, is a great episode. But this is probably number 3 after the UN episode and the original Subway arc. Srsly though folks, I don’t know if there was a single scene in this episode where Britta wasn’t funny.

In addition to finally doing Britta’s character justice, this episode expertly handled even it’s most minor plot lines. Dean’s need for approval destroys his need to be a good dean (and thus achieve approval. Jeff only does something like seek vulnerability when he’s still in a position of power. Thus, when Elroy gives him the validation he needs, Jeff has to pretend it makes no difference. Finally, Elroy feels like he belongs.

But that product placement is problematic. It doesn’t feel ironic enough and like just plain old product placement (for a reference on product placement that will make you violently puke in indignation, see Modern Family). I think there’s two things that needed to happen. First, the plot of the original Subway arch was so over the top, that the show didn’t need to tell us what was happening. This arch with Rick didn’t top the Subway arch: the idea before being that you can buck the norm and achieve desired ends by bucking the norm, but this time around the norm is set higher. Now, in order to buck you must buck harder.

Second, in shows like 30 Rock, pre-Yahoo Community, and Arrested Development, there are clues to let you know that they understand this is how it has to go, and they don’t have a choice, but as a show they haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid personally. I think the cincher here is when Rick says something like, “Do you have a problem with Honda’s quality?” and Britta says, “Of course not! Honda’s quality was never in question!” Britta should have instantly snapped back with something about child labor, exploitation of third world countries, or the kind of marketing that makes us think cars=happiness.

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Hush Comics gives “Advanced Safety Features” a B+ (++++++++++). Definitely one of the better this season, if not the best, and I so badly want to give it an A, but the way the product placement was handled forces honesty to stop it just short.

All images belong to Yahoo! Screen.