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Yvette Nicole Brown Hopes Streamers 'Reconsider' Pulling Controversial Community Episode

The most controversial episode of Community is just misunderstood, according to one of its stars.

By Matthew Jackson
(l-r) Yvette Nicole Brown as Shirley, Jim Rash as Dean Pelton, Joel McHale as Jeff in Community Episode 510

One of the best episodes of Community is also the one you'll have the hardest time trying to watch. "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons," the 14th episode of the beloved comedy's second season, has been missing from streaming services for roughly three years now thanks to a controversy over scenes in which one of its characters appears in makeup resembling Blackface. But according to one of the show's stars, it's all just a misunderstanding. 

Speaking to Gizmodo earlier this month about the episode, Community star Yvette Nicole Brown, who played Shirley on the series, commented on the episode and what she feels is a misreading of its intentions. Here's what Brown had to say about why "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" is worth putting back in Community's streaming rotation.

"I'm really sad that that episode is no longer in rotation," Brown said. "I think the reason that it was pulled, and this is a Black person speaking, was an overcorrection, and I think they should fix that. Ken Jeong's character played a drow [dark elf], and they have black skin. It was not Ken Jeong in Blackface, and I think that anyone that understood Dungeons and Dragons would have understood the distinction. And also there's a moment in the episode where Shirley in the episode literally calls what Chang is doing a hate crime because it shows that Shirley didn't understand Dungeons and Dragons, so it had been handled." 

RELATED: Donald Glover Talks Community Movie Return

In the summer of 2020, as protests over police brutality and racial inequality swept America, several episodes of classic sitcoms and other series were re-evaluated and often pulled from streaming services due to insensitive jokes and things like Blackface. "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" was part of that wave, but as Brown notes, there is a distinction between what Community did and what some of those other shows attempted with their jokes, even if the episode never does make it back to streaming. Brown went on to praise the episode's storytelling outside of the controversy. 

"By them removing that show, we've lost a great episode where Charley Koontz [who played Neil] shines, and it's a great story about bullying and showing up for your friends, and I hope that they reconsider," she said. 

If you're jonesing for more Community, you'll soon you'll be able to catch her return as Shirley when the all-new Community movie comes to Peacock.

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