Here are some more rambling thoughts on television. Take all of this with a giant grain of salt.
I don’t ship Jeff/Annie on “Community,”* but I can see why people do, and I’m not disturbed by it.
People are mostly put off by the large age difference between the two characters, but frankly, I have read far too much Victorian and Regency literature to be weirded out by that. Actually, I’m sort of relieved that they’re not cousins, when I think about it in that light. Jeff is pretty much the same age as many Victorian leading men, and most Victorian and Regency heroines (with exceptions, of course) are 19 – 22, exactly the same age as Annie. Think Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit, for instance – though Mr. Clennam was likely even older than Jeff.
Readers of the classics would find their age difference fairly normal.
You can even read a literary riff into the will they/won’t they of Jeff and Annie’s relationship. Like Bronte’s Mr. Rochester, Jeff is a bad man trying to be better, but still mostly failing. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that his attraction to Annie is similar to Rochester’s hunger for Jane, either. He wants to be redeemed by untainted young flesh. (WHO DOESN’T? amirite?) Annie may not be as eccentric or naive as Jane, but she is somewhat naive.
Jeff would always fail in an Austen story, though – the man is clearly a rake. Annie really is an Austen sort of heroine. She may fall for a rake in the beginning, but she’s smart and driven, and she’ll end up with a proper gentleman in the end. (Let’s hope his nipples are of the appropriate size, though.)
The George Michael/Maeby pairing from “Arrested Development”** is problematic for a lot of people, as they are assumed to be first cousins for most of the series (even though – spoiler alert – we learn in the third season that they’re not biologically related after all). Anyone who has read any amount of VicLit has encountered a cousin marriage or two…or twenty. Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram are first cousins, after all. (By the way, cousin marriages are mostly only outlawed in the United States – and legal in 19 states. Just for the record. Worried about the progeny? No need.) So, George Michael and Maeby are just kicking it old school – really old school. You know how it is with those grand old families and their bloodlines – and what are the Bluths but a grand old family? It makes sense, in a very old fashioned, Victorian literature sort of way.
I don’t know what the hell those two kids see in each other, though. That’s the problem for me. (Him? / Her?)
*Please note: When I’m talking about “Community,” I’m talking about the original three Harmon-led seasons, and not the incredibly mediocre fourth season, which I have not completed. I will watch it at some point – after the sting of its lost glory has faded, and I am less attached. So I am ignorant of anything that happened in season four after the Halloween episode.
**Dying to see the new episodes. DYING.