Re: Like asking permission to use the bathroom.

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Like prison or submarine movies?

"These five kids were headed to Fort Lauderdale, and decided to take a shortcut through the swamps, and then..."

I have never heard of Community


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:15 AM
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This is why Buffy and Veronica Mars were better in high school than in college. College makes you soft, plotwise.

Well, there were other reasons as well, but point taken.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:17 AM
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This is the one with Chevy Chase, right? I haven't watched an episode yet.

College makes you soft, plotwise.

College is a drama of manners. High School (or Law School/Med School) is a drama of rules.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:19 AM
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So I goes to my $50 On Demand and put on S1 Ep 18

What the hell


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:23 AM
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I've sometimes put the point by saying that Joss Whedon had a great story to tell about high school, and once the kids got to college he couldn't tell that story anymore. Maybe you've identified the reason why he had only the story he had.


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:23 AM
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The stricter Whedon-philes will correct me I am sure, but I think he explicitly said as much when he yanked Buffy out of UC-Sunnydale.

Yeah, one of the reasons with season 3 of Veronica Mars is that the network told them to can the season-long arcs and focus on a more Columbo-like structure of one-show, one-mystery, so they had to wrap up the whole Who Killed Ed Begley thing many, many episodes sooner than they otherwise would have. (And the college thing was ridiculous, too, since they just transplanted everyone to Hearst.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:25 AM
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College just has a different set of archetypal events, I want to say. It's good for a different set of stories.

Oh I just can't help it: Veronica Mars seez III coulda been a contendah! Didn't it get all choppy because they constantly thought it was going to be canceled? The real problem is series that start late in high school and then last a few seasons, because they have to figure out a way for everyone to decide to go to State State and it looks stupid and contrived.

I have watched a few eps of Gossip Girl from when they were in high school and a few when they were in college, and all I can tell you is I still don't know which pretty young person is which but I hope they keep taking off their shirts.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:28 AM
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6: Buy me a Coke, sort of.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:29 AM
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I'm very loyal to Veronica Mars season three, and I know the about-to-be-cancelled threats, and the being jerked around Columbo stuff, and still. Dorms just aren't as interesting as high shools.

Imagine if Freaks and Geeks or Friday Night Lights tried to follow their cast post-graduation. Unless you have a uniquely magical character, it just would miss that high school tension.

(Neither of those shows is really comprised of kids who would all go to college together, but suppose they tried to hack together some continuation anyway.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:31 AM
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Imagine if Freaks and Geeks or Friday Night Lights tried to follow their cast post-graduation.

Freaks and Geeks sort of did. It was called Undeclared, and very good, if not touching in the way Freaks and Geeks was.

I haven't watched season 4 of Friday Night Lights yet, because I was sufficiently annoyed by what they were setting up at the end of 3, e. g. Little Matty Saracen isn't going to go to the Art Institute?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:35 AM
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that not completely wrong, but not the main point.

in high school, you are still figuring out identity, and important relations

by college, thats starting to get old, and you look like a narcissist.

then by late 20s or early thirties, you bud, and usually speak as though your spawn is more important and interesting than yourself. the exception is people acting like high schoolers, like on soap operas, or those people who interact with you on a life-changing event, like doctors or the police.

drama has to be interesting. if you are just going to tell a story about how your commute involved road construction, who cares.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:37 AM
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Freaks and Geeks sort of did. It was called Undeclared, and very good, if not touching in the way Freaks and Geeks was.

Except Undeclared was buttrot terrible. That is the show that caused me to first develop this theory.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:38 AM
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12: I really liked it!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:39 AM
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by college, thats starting to get old, and you look like a narcissist.

This may indeed be part of it. That the whole premise of college - go develop yourself! Blossom! - is so narcissistic and Rumspringga-esque as to be uninteresting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:40 AM
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I enjoyed Felicity, as she was a year behind me in college and we seemed to make similar decisions around the same time (break-ups, drastic haircuts, etc.). But yeah, the big problem was that it was never believable that she continued to tolerate the same douchebags for four years. In college, you get to make new friends.

Interestingly, I had a friend all through college who was my "Noel" figure--looked like him, was a bit ahead of me in school, sustained a mutual but awkwardly unconsummated tension, ended up revealing himself to be an asshole in unsuspected ways, was jealous of all my bfs but couldn't seal the deal with me... My mom used to watch Felicity to find out what was going on in my life, and it was usually pretty accurate.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:40 AM
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has seating charts

Really? Not at my cushy-ass suburban high school.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:41 AM
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13: I thought it was cute too. Loudon Wainwright was way too humiliating as the dad, but the rest of it was sort of adorable.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:42 AM
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Sure, but seating charts aren't far-fetched if you want to invoke them as a plot device.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:42 AM
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I don't know why I hated Undeclared so totally. It was decently believable but I found it super boring and unfunny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:43 AM
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I like Community because I identify with it. Not the plots, obviously (especially the one with the dorm. What the hell community college has dorms?), but with the whole "why am I in a study group with these people? I'm at least 10 years too old for this, and that dude's 50!" That aspect I think captures the CC experience quite well.

Or maybe I'm just happy that anybody anywhere noticed that CCs exist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:44 AM
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VM's second season wasn't as good as its first, so it's hard to pin the entire decline of the show on the college setting. To be contrary, I'll suggest that one of the major flaws of season 3 was its insufficient use (or outright misuse) of Wallace, who was a much more important character in earlier seasons. And the introduction of Piz and Parker as network-mandated cute and innocent characters didn't help, either.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:50 AM
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Oh, while everybody's here: Party Down is, indeed, pretty great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:52 AM
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Yes. Party Down: better than season 3 of VM.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:54 AM
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I third Party Down. It's really funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:55 AM
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I'm weird in that I like Season 4 better than the previous Buffy seasons, though not as much as 5. Possibly because those were the first 2 seasons I watched. (I've heard rumors that the series continued past 5, but discounted them as an obvious hoax.)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:55 AM
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21: Can't stand Piz and Parker!!! (Also, the mismatched Piz/Veronica Parker/Logan double dates were annoying. Just switch back! Neither of you wants to date anyone this boring!)

20: I think Community is funny, and I like the fact that it recognizes CCs, but I spend a lot of time annoying myself with a lot of "Wait a minute!" reality checks that are beside the point: But they wouldn't have a football team and a united student body that goes to see them! They would not have dances like they were Radcliffe in the 50s!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:56 AM
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one of the major flaws of season 3 was its insufficient use (or outright misuse) of Wallace, who was a much more important character in earlier seasons.

He was absentee for a huge chunk of Season 2, though. IIRC, more than just "I'm off to find my father!" He was really gone for most of it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:56 AM
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Now I'm going to have to waste a day trying to track down and watch Community to know what you're all talking about.

Seasons 2 and 3 of Buffy were objectively the best, weren't they? Though the best thing Joss Whedon ever did was that one of episode of Angel where David Boreanaz is replaced by a Muppet.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:57 AM
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Party Down is hilarious. (Confidential to Essear: Steve Gutenberg's daughter -- what was her name? -- is one the chicks Jackal Onassis leaves with at the end of S02E01.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 8:57 AM
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I agree with 28.2 totally. That Muppet episode was great.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:03 AM
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27: Yeah, that's true. Okay, maybe that's part of the drop in quality between seasons 1 and 2.

Also, the first season just had a much more satisfying central plot arc. The mystery made more sense, Veronica was more invested in it, and her personal life was deeply tied up in that (solve the murder, she thinks, and her mom will come back, her dad will be sheriff, her friends will like her again). In later seasons Veronica's life is less entangled in the mystery arcs and so we get a show that's stretched more thin by trying to be both a show about crime-solving and about kids and their relationships.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:04 AM
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Ok Watched two episodes of Cimmunity 1:18,1:19.

Very attractive cast, very fast and smart and funny with enough edge to avoid embarrassment.

Still a sitcom, messagey and moral and socializing. Just can't handle them anymore.

PS:The only only experience I have with CC's is taking some classes toward a work-related associates degree. Or something useful. Are they really places for lonely adults to hang out?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:17 AM
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28, 30: mainly because the muppet-Angel had about 10 times the expressive range of Boreanaz himself.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:19 AM
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I recommend the Halloween episode of Community.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:20 AM
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Brita is clearly the weakest character on Community.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:22 AM
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She doesn't get irony?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:22 AM
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28, 30, 33: I will always treasure the line: "You now have the proportional excitability of a puppet of your size."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:31 AM
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Obvious solution: bring back the draft. Entire casts of characters of high-school dramas move seamlessly from one confining rules-based environment to another.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:37 AM
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re: 38

BTW, ajay, are you in or near London? Meetup plans are being made in the other thread.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:39 AM
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12: I guess I take some pleasure in being the person who thinks Freaks & Geeks was utter agony.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:39 AM
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31 is way too intellectual.

dick casablancas is funny.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:41 AM
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in high school, you are still figuring out identity, and important relations. by college, thats starting to get old, and you look like a narcissist.

Not many people I knew had their identit(ies)y figured out by college or any of their important relations, but maybe I just knew a lot of narcissists. But there's probably a grain of truth to what you say. Maybe this inward-directed-ness is why there are so many more college novels than there are college TV shows.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:52 AM
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and literary novels focus on 30 somethings (or so i hear; i don't read them)


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:57 AM
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One of the things that I liked about Buffy was the way that it dealt with the experience of leaving school (or some other structured environment) and feeling depressed and like you don't know what to do with yourself.

I recently noticed that almost every main character has some season in which they're mostly miserable with their life/school/job situation, which made me think that was an emotional experience that Whedon was interested in exploring.

That said, one other difference between HS and college is that in HS (typically) there's a large number of people that you have grown up around and know casually whereas in college you know far fewer people outside of your social circle. That changes the dynamics as well.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:11 AM
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One of the things I like about Buffy was that redheaded girl with the really Irish last name.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:26 AM
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45: In early 2004, Hannigan made her West End debut, starring in a stage adaptation of When Harry Met Sally... at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, opposite Luke Perry.

I'm not an ardent Buffy fan but I find this hilariously and interestingly wrong.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:36 AM
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45: Rosenberg? (I know, I know.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:38 AM
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I guess I take some pleasure in being the person who thinks Freaks & Geeks was utter agony.

You and me both. (Well, the agony part, not so much the pleasure.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:45 AM
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It is clear that high school is a better setting than college for movies and television shows, because high school is mandatory [....] Lots of tension and arbitrary rules and bumping up against authority figures.

Alternative theory, which isn't exactly incompatible with that one: high school provides a better setting for tv shows because the ensemble cast is the preferred one for most television these days, and while in college, you may well have a group of friends on whom a show could be based, there's a lot more mixing it up. It's not necessarily the presence of arbitrary rules and authority figures, then. So I hypothesize.

I was talking about this the other day with a friend: remember (if you're old enough) all those shows centered around a single masculine character? Magnum P.I.! The Rockford Files, Quincy M.D., Matlock, Quantum Leap, the one with the guy with the talking car [the car always said, "Michael ..."], etc.? The main character might have a sidekick or two, but otherwise it was about him and his endeavors.

Not a lot of those around any more: we apparently greatly favor ensemble casts these days. The shows that do revolve a single protagonist feature women, actually. I digress, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 10:58 AM
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If the real point of this post was to say that community colleges are not real colleges, and are basically high schools you don't have to go to every day...well, there's some truth to that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 11:05 AM
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Community is pretty much my favorite TV show. It is super funny.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 11:06 AM
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I was surprised to discover, upon rewatching the series, that Buffy Season 6 was in fact the best season, just slightly edging out Season 3 for the crown. And that Anya, who was nearly unbearable the first time through, is actually both quite funny and absolutely gorgeous.


Posted by: dob | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 12:37 PM
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Seating charts in high school?!


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 1:04 PM
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What dob said. Apart from the surprise bit. I watched season 6 before I watched all of season 3.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 1:06 PM
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I think the Angelus arc of Season 2 was, essentially, the story that Buffy was made to tell, and the Dark Willow arc was the story it grew to tell (became to tell?). I hate Riley and Adam, and really liked Season 7.

OMG Party Down is back! Thrilling.

Oudemia, you must watch Season 4. The Matt thing is handled, sometimes inaptly, finally with art.

Really, everyone should watch Friday Night Lights.

Ever noticed how few college shows there are? Apparently a high school show is mainstream, but a college show is niche. Vampires go to high school, gossips go to high school, kids go to high school in the O.C., etc. But aside from FELICITY, I can't think of a successful college show.
(Shows can move to college, e.g. GILMORE GIRLS, BUFFY. But they rarely start there.)
Lisa tells me the reason for this is that very few Americans actually go to college. 17% graduate, apparently. And who knows how many go to sleepaway colleges -- lots of people stay at home and commute to college.

From Canadian Alex Epstein at Complications Ensue.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 4:00 PM
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But they wouldn't have a football team and a united student body that goes to see them! They would not have dances like they were Radcliffe in the 50s!

My CC had a football team and also (I believe) had dances. I have no idea if people attended the dances or games; I did not. The idea that a community college would have a fully formed social scene is a ludicrous one, obviously, but the idea that adults enrolled in community college (especially if they aren't just taking night classes) find themselves acting as if they were teenagers in college has some definite truth to it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 4:30 PM
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Nice to see fans of season 6. While IMO not the best I do think it has been crminally underrated.

Stories vs Systems, or why I resist sitcoms and television.

I am reading 13 Bankers. Besides not giving me that much that is new, since I read Johnson's blog. it is also bothering me for some other reason. I have decided that packaging wisdom in new shiny boxes, of clear writing and good phrases and neat supporting data is entirely an aesthetic project. It does not challenge me ethico-politically or "spiritually", does not take out of my comfort zone. I need to develop this idea, maybe "epitemic closure" is much more common than we admit.

I may finish it, or go back to the progressives, or return to the neat archive I found at marxist.org. I really have to ask, why the fuck has there not been a band named "The Johnson-Forest Tendency?"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 4:33 PM
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The Johnson-Forest tendency was all right. CLR James, the greatest Marxist writer on cricket ever, and Raya Dunaevskaya, who was a shit hot theorist (albeit not always right). They didn't stand a chance in the SWP, of course.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 4:46 PM
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CLR James, the greatest Marxist writer on cricket ever

And on the merits of Melville over Whitman. Whitman's all right, though. James just had his number.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 6:28 PM
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Also, confidentail to oudemia: what are you talking about? Steve Guttenberg's real daughter? Or did I miss an uncredited Krysten Ritter?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 6:37 PM
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All my favorite shows involve organized crime of some type. The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, The Tudors, the first few seasons of Weeds before it got too too cute, and now, Breaking Bad.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:53 PM
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Lisa tells me the reason for this is that very few Americans actually go to college. 17% graduate, apparently.

more than this -- a bit under 30 percent for recent generations.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-30-10 9:54 PM
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I had no seating charts in high school, though people certainly claimed seats. I did have seating charts in law school though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-10 7:07 AM
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58. Speaking of cricket, Afghanistan are up against India in the World Twenty20s right now. They haven't a prayer, but bless them for even entering.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 05- 1-10 7:35 AM
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My CC has a lot of active social clubs. The nerdy ones (anime, video games) are the most visible. A lot of these kids are here for three or four years before they either move on to a four year school or get their terminal technical degree.

We don't have dorms, but there is an apartment building we house foreign students in. Unfortunately, it is in a really sketchy area where there have been a lot of high profile murders.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-10 7:45 AM
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I had never seen Community before. It's pretty funny!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 05- 1-10 10:45 AM
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60: Yes, I am pretty sure it was her -- at the very, very end of the ep when the rocker dude is leaving with the chicks to go watch The Mentalist in his hotel room. She's pretty distinctive looking.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-10 10:52 AM
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