Friday, September 16, 2011

TV Shows Exploring New Styles: Community

Established television shows are always looking for new and interesting story lines and other unique ways to present their show to viewers. Testing out different styles than the show is typically used to for a special episode is a technique that seems to be typically used by comedies. I’m sure many of us are familiar with the Scrubs Musical episode and back when we were a little younger, the time when the creators of Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly Odd Parents brought those two shows together and switched animation styles. One show that has recently stepped outside the boundaries of its show’s traditional style is Community.

Community is a live action comedy about a study group of students at a community college. For its Christmas special last year the show’s creators decided to turn it into a stop motion, claymation episode. Claymation versions of all of the main characters were created and the many references to the fact that the characters are animated or typical animation stereotypes are included in the characters actions or dialogues. For example, Abed (one of the characters) notes how there is oftentimes singing involved in animated specials so he feels obligated to do a singing show opener-and he does.

The main plot of the episode includes, Abed waking up as a stop motion character, finding his friends, and setting off on a journey to find the true meaning of Christmas. Think old time Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer only modern comedy style…kinda. Anyway, I just thought that it was really interesting how the creators of this show chose to incorporate animation into their live action show-especially because of how long it takes. The animation stereotypes presented in the plot are also quite entertaining. It would be interesting if more shows would experiment with different styles.

I found a couple videos where two of the cast members explore the set of the studio were the stop motion episode was filmed and posted them below. If you can sit through the two actors goofing around for awhile (I’m surprised they didn’t mess something up with all of the stuff that they touch!) they show some interesting stop motions set ups and talk to some of the people who created it about how long it takes and how it is put together.

In my opinion, Community is a hilarious show and I highly recommend watching it-or at least the stop motion episode! Maybe in my next post I’ll explore some of the basics and history behind stop motion animation.

1 comment :

  1. Anybody that has attempted stop motion animation knows how hard it is, how much patience and care it requires. Those two "actors" were so annoying that I would have kicked them out in a second!, there was an absolute lack of respect for the people and the work which was being done. Messing around with the "dolls" as they called them was totally stupid. Those things take a lot of work and are like precision instruments. I felt like a couple of goofballs entered an operating room and starting messing with the body parts of a patient!