Community Star Says The Most Controversial Episode Is Misunderstood

By Jason Collins | Published

In June 2020, Netflix removed an episode of Community due to its depictions of blackface. The removal has come as a result of Black Lives Matter protests, which spurred media companies to remove questionable content. Now, Community star Yvette Nicole Brown has come to the defense of that particular episode, saying that it has been largely misunderstood.

Yvette Nicole Brown Defends D&D

Speaking in an interview, Yvette Nicole Brown stated that she’s “really sad that that episode is no longer in rotation” and that its removal “was an overcorrection.” She also sheds more light on the matter by saying that any mentions or accusations directed at other characters in the show only demonstrate that her own character, Shirley, doesn’t actually understand Dungeons and Dragons. Brown also added that she hopes Netflix and other streaming platforms will reconsider their decision to pull the fan-favorite episode and reinstate it back into the streaming rotation.

The Drow Scene

For those who aren’t familiar with the controversial Community episode, we’re referring to Season 2, Episode 14, titled “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” in which Ben Chang (portrayed by Ken Jeong) cosplays as a drow, a dark elf character in Dungeons & Dragon. Anyone who has played D&D knows that more enthusiastic fans also cosplay dressed as their in-game characters, and Ben’s cosplay of the dark elf—an elf species that actually has dark skin—has been interpreted as blackface, a form of theatrical makeup that caricatures Black people.

Taken Down By Netflix

The episode’s removal wasn’t at the behest of either the production studio behind Community, Sony Pictures Television, or the show’s own crew. Instead, Netflix took precursory action as protests over police brutality and racial inequality swept through the nation, which prompted streamers and networks to reevaluate their content, including classic sitcoms and other television series, and pull any content associated with insensitive jokes and things like blackface. Sadly, “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” also took a hit.

The Sequel Episode

However, as Brown pointed out, there’s a clear distinction between what Community did in the controversial episode and what other shows attempted with their respective jokes. Many, Brown herself included, consider the episode a masterclass in storytelling and one of the episodes that highlighted just how daring Community was willing to be. The controversial episode was so popular before its removal from streaming that it actually spawned a sequel episode titled “Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons,” which aired as part of Season 5 in 2014.

6 Seasons And A Movie

However, while the controversial Community episode is no longer available on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu (the two shared the streaming rights to Community), it’s still available for digital purchase on platforms like Amazon, YouTube, and Apple. We fully support Yvette Nicole Brown’s opinion regarding the return of the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” episode to streaming; without it, the audiences are deprived of a fantastic story that explores themes of bullying and the support that comes from camaraderie.

For those interested in checking out Yvette Nicole Brown’s performance in Community, the show is currently available on streaming or in an upcoming feature film whose script was just recently completed.