If you're not watching NBC's Community, you're honestly missing out on one of the most laugh-out-loud shows I've ever seen. I only started watching it a few days ago, but I'm hooked. It'd be easy to say that it's all of the pop culture references (which explain my cheesy post title) that draw me to the show, but it isn't just that. It isn't that one of the characters (and at moments, all of the characters) is almost self-aware to the point of knowing he's on a sitcom.
It's that all of this brilliance is done under, and in the name of, a good story. The gags like a zombie episode aren't just played for laughs. They add to the story of the show. The strengthen the characters and their bonds. The characters were even "themselves" as zombies.
This, to me, is the epitome of the self-referential joke, a gag I've liked since J.D. on Scrubs referenced the musical tag they used for almost every dramatic moment. It says "hey, we don't take ourselves seriously enough to forget that this is all a guise."
I think that's brilliant and it's what I'm striving for with Indy Film. The more I plan, the more I realize that my plans themselves can be lampooned for the benefit of the story. I'm writing a movie about me making a movie. If I take it too seriously, everyone else will too.
Community knows what it's doing. It knows what it is. Even its characters know they have archetypes they fall under and they openly discuss them. And all of this works because it's layered on top of a good story. The show isn't based on its ability to parody anything at any moment. It just can because it's written so well.
The fact that Community is willing, and even more impressively able, to do something so silly so successfully makes me think that maybe my writing could have a wider audience after all.