February 13, 2011

A Great Nerd Tribute: The DnD epsisode of Community

This episode came on about two weeks ago, and I've been meaning to share it.  I always thought that there would be a great way to incorporate RPGs into a tv show without it all being about RPGs played by anti-social nerds who can only be tolerated by each other.  It's an unfortunate stereotype that has been perpetuated by multiple sources of media.  I'm not going to call out against it because hey, a lot of it is really funny.  There's a lot of it made by people in the hobby who know what some of the truths are.  But when it's made by people who don't participate in it, they miss the point and make the joke more about how the people are pathetic in general, something that you don't need RPGs as a template to do.  Many other nerd hobbies suffer this fate, but I feel RPGs are one hobby that makes the least sense to outsiders.

Anyway, it's nice to see the show that uses the RPGs and fantasy setting more for continuing what makes the show entertaining in the first place.  I'm a fan of the comedy Community, partly because I think Joel McHale is hilarious and also because it's so goofy without relying on entirely awkward humor.  This show was able to take Dungeons and Dragons and instead of making it the butt of the joke, the background for the funny story it was telling.  If something mainstream is starting to use it that way, it means that DnD is seen as less of a weird thing and more as a legit hobby.  And that, as a gamer in the real world, makes me smile.

Also, this episode is great all around.


  1. So far, watching an old man brutalize an insecure guy and everyone letting it happen because they feel imprisoned by "the game" which has nothing to do with anything here is making me really angry.

    I mean, as a gamer, I get the humor. But also as a gamer, I know that this sort of thing actually goes on, and that there are people who really do feel like any abusive relationships or activities must be allowed so long as they fall under the umbra of "the game", and this is bad both for gamers and nongamers alike.

    The game does not excuse assholery. Get up and leave the table, or you are part and parcel with the problem.


    The whole point is that he's pathetic because he's focused on "winning" and being that asshole. Everyone's action while they're paralyzed is to feel sorry for Pierce, the old guy you're pointing out to be a dick. He's a dick this entire season, so it's a recurring theme. It's worth the entire watch, at least in my eyes, because this kind of assholery you're talking about is discussed and treated like the dickish move that it is.

    Also, he's an asshole because that's his character, not because he's that DnD asshole, which is nice.

  3. Yeah, I watched the whole thing, and I get it. Like I said, it's not that I can't see the humor, the humor is just tempered by the fact that these sorts of problems cannot be solved "in game".

    "He's an asshole because that's his character" is, plainly, bullshit. Characters don't exist. Characters are whatever you decide they are. Pierce was being an asshole in a way that had nothing to do with the game, and there's no way (in real life) to deal with that kind of behavior through the mechanism of the game.

    Also, a minor gripe, this was not an accurate representation of the game- no self respecting gamer would let the DM make all the rolls for them =P

  4. You're right, I don't trust any DM with my rolls. :P

    And just to clarify, I meant the character Pierce in the series, not that he was supposed to be RPGing a jerk. It's a Community continuity thing. In the most recent episode he fakes being on his deathbed and does all these last wishes merely to mess with the minds of everyone else in the study group. It's the way Pierce is: he ruins everything with his selfishness.