Monday, March 28, 2011

Every Man Is [Not] An Island

Is there power community? Larry Crabb, author of Connecting, and Dan Harmon, creator of NBC’s show Community certainly think so. The show Community centers on a group of apparently stereotypical misfits at a local community college. Each is painfully aware of their flaws and insecurities but cover them up by pretending to be the hot-shot lawyer, the Christian single mother, the jock, or the goody two shoes. To borrow a line from About A Boy (2002), they enter a study group with the belief that “every man is an island” and are content to subtly use each other to achieve their own purpose.

However, something powerful happens when connections are allowed to form within the community. Crabb stated that this power is unseen, that it is a pouring out of one soul into another and is a source of strength. This is certainly evidenced in the lives of the cast of Community. In the latest episode, we see Jeff, the hot-shot lawyer equally loved and hated by all throw a surprise birthday party for Abed, the eccentric Muslim film-enthusiast. Out of the all the characters, it is Jeff’s that is explored and progresses the most. His ambitions turn from wooing women and the upkeep of a suave appearance to showing flippant and embarrassed acts of kindness for the study group. He acknowledges that the group has become more than friends, but that in their own way, they have become a family.

Crabb swears that healing is achieved best through connecting in Community. The cast of Community so firmly believe in this message that low ratings throughout the first season did little to faze them. Through one individual taking the time to empathize and to simply be there as a support and source of strength for another while they are down on the ground unable to walk through their struggle. The power of connecting can bring others from the pit of despair into the saving grace of the savior. True connection allows the individual to be stripped raw from pretense and to show the true essence of the soul and know that someone cares for you despite the eccentricities, flaws, and insecurities displayed.

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