In the Community episode “Remedial Chaos Theory,” six different dimensions are created as a result of a roll of a die by Jeff Winger, who assigns a different member of the study group to get the pizza when it arrives during Troy and Abed’s house warming party. The members are assigned as follows:
- 1 for Troy.
- 2 for Annie.
- 3 for Pierce.
- 4 for Shirley.
- 5 for Abed.
- 6 for Britta.
In one such timeline, Jeff roles a 1.
The Butterfly Effect
Troy races out to get the pizza, shutting the front door very hard on his way out.
The force of that causes a part of Abed’s Indiana Jones diorama, the boulder, to roll off onto the floor.
Jeff stops Britta from singing, and she goes to the bathroom to light up a joint.
Pierce asks Jeff about his father, causing Jeff to get up from the table to get a drink. Jeff hits his head on the ceiling fan, and Annie offers to take a look at his injury in the bathroom.
On the way to the bathroom, Annie trips over Abed’s diorama and falls on the coffee table.
Pierce’s bottle of Serbian rum, which was resting on top of the table, goes flying and spills everywhere.
After seeing Annie’s fall, Pierce abruptly stands up to offer assistance and accidentally knocks over Annie’s purse containing a gun.
The gun discharges and hits Pierce in the thigh.
The blood from Pierce’s wound sprays Shirley in the face.
Britta comes out of the bathroom and in shock drops her lit joint and thus igniting the spilled rum.
Jeff attempts to smother the fire with his shirt only for it to catch fire itself and get wrapped around Jeff’s right arm.
Troy returns to a scene of chaos and locks eyes with a Norwegian troll doll gifted to him by Pierce.
Believing the troll was the cause of the events, Troy tries to eat the doll.
Troy severely damages his larynx.
Annie is forced to under go psychiatric care due to her guilt over what happened to Pierce.
Shirley becomes an alcoholic.
Jeff loses his arm.
Britta dyes a streak of hair blue.
Abed becomes Evil Abed.
And thus the birth of the darkest timeline.
Since the election of Donald Trump, it certainly has felt like we are in the darkest timeline. The devastation of hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria. The deadliest year in at least a decade in terms of mass killings . Nuclear war threats from North Korea. One of three of the hottest years on record. The repeal of net neutrality rules by the FCC. The death of Tom Petty, Chris Cornell, and Kevin Spacey. The Emoji movie. Oh, pretty much everything with this asshole:
Prior to 2016, the most improbable scenario was that Donald Trump would win the Republican primary and become the 45th President of the United States. A man that has no political experience. A man that praised dictators for their authoritarian actions. A man that promised to repeal a public health law and thus endangering the healthcare of millions of Americans. A man that outright rejects science in his denial of climate change and belief that vaccines cause autism. A man that has made numerous racist and sexist comments.
77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35…it seemed highly improbably that a man such as Donald Trump would win a majority of them. People wouldn’t vote for such a racist, sexist megalomaniac, right? He couldn’t be that good of a con man, right?
In the aforementioned Community episode, Abed [in the darkest timeline] says at the end “I should have caught the die and not let you [Jeff] roll it.”
In the prime timeline, Abed does stop the die from rolling and urges the group to stay united regardless of whatever happens to them. He then informs the group that Jeff manipulated the die roll such that he would never be selected. In the end, Jeff has to get the pizza and the rest of the group has a great time dancing and singing to “Roxanne.”
We as citizens need to standup to the Jeff Wingers of the world that seek to manipulate the system for their own personal gain at the detriment of the rest of us. Otherwise, we may all wind up in the darkest timeline and have to wear felt goatees until we can grow real goatees.
We also need to acknowledge that the world is a chaotic, deeply interdependent place…a place that won’t yield to attempts to control it. We must come to understand the nature of complexity, chaos, and interconnectedness, and to train ourselves in ways of acting that embrace this unmistakable reality. Just like Abed deciding to not let Jeff roll the die in the prime timeline, we need to strive in our daily lives to be more mindful of unintended consequences of our daily interactions.
And we can’t do this alone. In the prime timeline, even though it was Abed alone to notice and call out Jeff on his deceit to the group..it was the rest of them choosing to believe Abed and admonishing Jeff for his actions. And ultimately forgiving Jeff, because he’s one of them.