Before Dan Harmon teamed up with Justin Roiland to unleash Rick and Morty onto the world, he had another hit show: Community, a sitcom based around the eccentric antics of a Spanish class study group in a community college. While each character in this show had unique personality quirks, one stands as more quirky than the rest.
He is obsessed with pop culture, aspires to be a filmmaker, and will reference a comparable moment from film or television no matter what his situation. He is Abed Nadir, a beloved character played by Danny Pudi.
Abed is a very tactful character yet is not quite in tune with his emotions; he more often than not struggles to grasp the landscapes of human relationships.
While Abed is a foreigner, his racial identity is never a crutch for the show’s humor. Rather, he is an outsider because of his inability to fully understand the nature of human interactions. This subversion of common TV tropes is part of what makes Abed’s character resonate with the viewer; while being inundated by American culture to the point of fixation, he views the culture of social interactions from almost an alien’s perspective.
At the outset, Abed may seem mentally unhinged, but he’s not unlike any young adult trying to find his way in the world. His reliance on pop cultural references is simply a form of coping mechanism which helps him better understand the situations he finds himself in.
Prior to becoming friends with the other members of the study group, Abed did not know anyone who cared about him, let alone accepted him for his emotional dissonance. His character’s conflict is one that functions as a commentary on the absurdity of relationships in the contemporary world. This ultimately makes Abed a relatable and engaging character, showing that we can all function positively within society despite our mental or emotional differences.
Written By: BeNjamyn Upshaw-Ruffner