OK ... first if you haven't seen the show ... why not? Its great! (If you'd like to check out the episode just go to Hulu and hit the Community section ... its the most current episode (episode 14, season 2).
To explain why I'm posting this here ... its a mainstream example of gaming and I think its one of the best media depictions of the positive aspects of what RPGs are all about! The fact that it occurred in a show that I already liked was just icing on the cake!
Really on the face of it one could go ... man the writers got it all wrong ... this isn't D&D ... (I'd slap such a statement in the face with a terse TROLL! YOU MISS THE POINT!).
Yes Abed rolled for the party (I think that was a way to speed up the game as they only had 21 minutes for the episode! Community needs to be an hour ... *sniffle*) ... but this is hardly the first depiction of a game like that in film. The suspense and effect of the random nature of dice was conveyed to the viewer so I don't think someone unfamiliar with D&D would misunderstand what the game is about based on that.
Pierce being a spoiler ... actually playing the antagonist ... well Abed rolled with it and wow ... turned out great! (well not for pierce ... but hey ... nothing ever goes well for pierce ... he is a dick after all).
Chang ... while his sad early demise was a disappointment (to me as I wanted more Drow ... damn why can't this show be an hour!) ... his dramatic death immediately escalated the stakes of the game and focused the players. No wamby pamby goblins anymore ... they were playing for keeps!
Neal ... his legacy added legitimacy to the game ... the loss of a treasured hard earned essentially "heirloom" item was traumatic for him as a player but also for the rest of the group. Drama builds!
I like the statement that was made with normally cool, together, generally bad ass ... Jeff Winger made through the episode. He basically was too cool for the game. He didn't let himself have fun ... he didn't let himself truly be a part of the game. He missed opportunity to really shine and play to what would normally be his strengths. Abed was throwing him an opportunity and he wusses out ... sad ... really sad Winger Winger was actually playing the Troll (for proof watch the credits at the beginning ... hehe).
Brita ... well she started out bad but as the game went on she really lent to the game by helping build emotion! Wow look at her reaction at the death of an NPC whom she had befriended. That is what Wickian DMing will do ... pull emotion out of players and heighten the experience for everyone ... bravo Brita!
The rest of the group:
Annie the love scene was fucking hilarious ... and what ... the often maligned, taboo, mocked ... gender bending. Oh sure it was in there for laughs but its a good point ... its a role playing game ... don't be afraid to stretch yourself (no bad pun intended ... given the well endowed moniker of her character). The dwarf character was funny ... Troy's character didn't do much but both he and Shirley good example of how meta conversation can add to the game actually and not detract from it. Their meta discussion actually added to the fun and hilarity and built on the drama ... bravo to them!
What excites me the most about this is its a very positive portrayal of D&D ... oh sure there are geek references, etc. But really the point is the positive side of RPGs and what they can do. Hell these people are trying to SAVE A DUDES LIFE with D&D??!?!?! This ain't the Tom Hanks 80s bible thumper burn all e-vile D&D!! Or the standard ... D&D is for losers ... again ya they portray "Fat Neal" as a nerd with no life ... but ... they sort of hold him up as someone worthy of compassion and a good guy. The show focuses on the positive side of what a role playing game is ... and what it can mean. Bravo ... bravo!