Friday, September 9, 2011

Community - Tina Barrentine

Tina is the granddaughter of two awesome cooks, the daughter of a talented seamstress, the wife of a thoughtful teacher and the mother of creative kids. All this makes her a kind of nexus of whimsy, hospitality, celebration and stories. And she can beat Super Mario Bros. in one sitting.

So I'm thinking of creating an awesome new super smash-hit TV show about 6 good looking New York friends who crash land Oceanic flight 815 into the backyard of a man named Brady and his very lovely wife.  I'll call it "Community Island".

Auditions will be fiercely competitive.  If I could cast this show, the way I've cast the people dearest to me in my own community, it would be full of funny people like my friend Amie, who is an undiscovered Carol Burnett.  It would have lots of lovable nerds who quote Princess Bride and Star Trek like my mom and sisters.  It would have a wise cracking card shark like my grandma, an indulgent chef like my grandpa, and a low-talking, Bible thumper named Ken.   It would feature my husband in his best blue and red caped suit and an "S" emblazoned on his chest.  And there would be kids.  Lots of kids.   Sassy, smart, funny, too-cute-for-their-own-good kids who try to beat me at video games.

I would, of course, keep tiresome characters to a minimum.  On TV they just drag down the ratings and irritate loyal watchers (need I mention Cousin Pam?).  In life, they distract me from my "real" community.  They are the ones who make me look for a quick exit when they approach me at church, wanting to talk about the same old troubles they have been having with the same old people.  They aren't fun.  They aren't funny.  They do NOT play video games.

There, I admit it.  I am an elder's wife and I would rather not be in community with people who frustrate, annoy, or bore me.   People who make me feel like that scene from Joe vs the Volcano where Tom Hanks says the florescent lights are sucking the juice out of his eyeballs... "Suck, suck, suck!"

My problem isn't loving the incurably unpleasant.  I believe loving someone is doing the best thing you can for them.  To that end I offer my friendship in whatever form I can to meet a need.  My problem is accepting friendship from them.  God is always challenging me to make my relationships a partnership where He can edify someone with the simple knowledge that their friendship is valuable. I don't like it.  It's hard work trying to hang with the cousin Pams of this world as if they were the Cliff Huxtables.

But what helps is being made to feel like Arthur Fonzarelli by my friends and family.  It changes me. It makes me want to be better and do better.  It makes me feel like I could jump a shark.


  1. Haha, this is funny, and a good reminder too. Thanks!

  2. Jump the shark as long as you keep writing episodes with your life like where Rudy sings James Brown, "Baby, baby, baby... and America cries laughing at the cuteness. And never change out of your Gordon Gartrell shirt. Ever.
    "Great Ceasar's Ghost"!
    -Cousin Pam