Toronto Diary
2 min

Debate time! Community’s ‘Pocket Full of Hawthornes’: Best thing ever or GREATEST BEST THING EVER?

I’ve sung the praises of Community in this space before, and as previously mentioned, if you’re not watching the show, I don’t consider you a full human being in the legal sense.

But in last week’s episode, Community finally kinda-sorta tackled gay issues with “Advanced Gay.” The plot, in the most accessible way I can describe it: Pierce (Chevy Chase), owner of Hawthorne Wipes and the group’s resident curmudgeon, realizes that his moist towelettes are actually a gay necessity, thanks to a viral video featuring Shangela (of RuPaul’s Drag Race) wherein she extolls the virtues of using them to wipe the Santorum out of your asshole.

But here’s the thing: the gayness is actually a jumping-off point for the A-plot, which involves Pierce stepping out of the shadow of his even MORE racist and homophobic father. So of course, easily offended people wrote angry emails lambasting the show for not making the show all about them. Yes, those monsters.

Here’s the thing: I see their point. Pierce’s newfound gay audience wasn’t integrated into the show too much. The gays were mostly used to ignite a feud between Pierce and his father and were subsequently forgotten by the characters. Which sounds bad on paper until you realize that in the universe of the show, this actually makes complete sense.

One of the jokes of the show is that the characters are so heavily intertwined and codependent that they shut out everyone in the school, to the point where everyone in the school thinks they’re just a bunch of bitches. So yes, it makes sense that the show would make them focus on themselves rather than others because that’s just what they do.

And even if they didn’t, who cares? Every gay storyline in a heteronormative show basically boils down to “gay people are people!” Not that I don’t appreciate the reminder that I’m not some sort of sub-species, but at this point it’s almost refreshing to have a show where gays aren’t treated like absolute saints. For once, gay men are just a group of normal people who like dance music and drag queens and occasionally need to wipe the lube out of their assholes. Hell, I think the fact that a show can be upfront and honest about the need to get rid of Santorum is pretty progressive.

And if nothing else, the episode featured Shangela’s new single, “Pocket Full of Hawthornes,” which really needs to be released as a single. I’ve literally been mumbling “the best device for concealing my penis” to myself and then giggling for, like, half an hour now.

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