Do you watch Community? I’m sure you do. Everyone I know watches it, yet it had shitty ratings. That tends to be how it is for a lot of my shows. The poorly-written, cliche-filled laugh track comedies get to live on for years and years while the creative, boundary-pushing half hour masterpieces get canceled. (I’m not bitter.) Luckily, Yahoo saw the potential and gave it a new season. You don’t have to pay for it or anything. (Thanks, Yahoo!) You just get more Greendale.
The show went through some changes. Troy left. So did Shirley. Pierce left long ago. But my favorite character remains – Chang. The most relatable character.
Yes, I find Chang relatable.
Benjamin Franklin Chang started off the series as the study group’s Spanish teacher. He was later ousted as a fraud with illegitimate credentials and has since gone through a series of roles at Greendale Community College. He has been a student, a security guard, the dean, a power-hungry warlord, Kevin and, in the most recent season, the math teacher.
Though it hasn’t been his countless positions at the school that have warmed me to him. It’s his erratic behavior, abuse of power, self deprecation and ultimately his need to be accepted that makes him relatable, not just to me … but to the little Chang inside all of us.
Let’s work backwards on these observations. I think it clears up everything you find unstable about Señor Chang.
Who doesn’t want to be included? The Greendale Seven developed this Mean Girls-style clique that alienated the rest of the school. Hiding under the guise of a “study group” they were elitists that made everyone outside of their study room feel excluded and unworthy of their time.
Ben Chang felt the brunt of this. After Annie was responsible for the termination of his employment with the school, he came back as a student. He was familiar with the group and just wanted to be brought in, with open arms. They denied him. Over and over again, they denied him. Just imagine that kind of rejection and so early on in his impressionable little life.
In addition to the study group’s cold shoulder, Chang received the same renunciation from Dean Pelton … an authority figure in the lives of each and every student at Greendale. Someone whom the students look up to and admire. The Dean put his love for his precious study group and Jeff Winger above his duty to the students; particularly, to Ben Chang. A blow like that hits the psyche pretty hard.
This outward dismissal can cause a person to act out in irrational ways. No one can accuse Chang of being unprovoked. The treatment he received at Greendale created the chaos inside this tortured man.
He would put himself down in hopes the group would build him back up. They never did.
He began to act out further. Kidnapping the Dean, taking over the school. But who could blame him? The man was just desperately seeking some kind of control that the “popular kids” robbed from him day after day.
While the Chang battle is a constant back and forth, his kind heart never loses sight of what he ultimately wants. Even in the latest season, tamer antics ensue, all with the same goals in mind: friendship and love. Who can’t relate to that?
Catch Chang and the unworthy associates in his life on Community, airing each week on Yahoo. Before the next episode, whip up a batch of Changers and Mash, my own creation to honor the man that needs a hug.
Wash potatoes and cut them into chunks. Place them in a large stock pot and cover completely with water. Set to boil.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and cook chorizo over medium heat (15-20 minutes). Remove sausages to a plate and cover.
In the same pan, heat sesame oil with the chorizo drippings. Stir in the diced onion and cook until browned (6-8 minutes). Stir in beef broth and beer, add sausages back in and set to simmer on low. Cook until ⅔rds of the liquid is absorbed (around a half hour).
When potatoes are soft, drain. Return to pan and add in butter, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Using a masher or hand blender, mash the potatoes. Salt to taste.
Serve sausage and gravy over the potatoes. Garnish with cilantro.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at email@example.com.