There are lots of reasons I love NBC’s sitcom Community. After last night, there’s one more. One of the subplots of the episode was Chevy Chase’s out-of-touch character Pierce trying to coin the term “streets ahead” as a synonym for “cool” (or perhaps “cooler than”). On its own, it was a pretty funny and bizarre thread. But the origin story makes it legendary.
First, the backstory: Hulu.com had a fan-voted “best of TV” bracket along the lines of March Madness that had fans vote for which TV shows they like more. Community pulled out some big early upsets, toppling the more popular Glee and Modern Family. The former win was especially unexpected considering the show has received some media attention for its “Gleek” hardcore fans, the type who might troll online polls.
Anyways, not long after these first and second round wins, Community creator and writer Dan Harmon made this tweet from his account, @danharmon:
- RT @amyfairycakes both Modern Family and Glee are streets ahead of your meta bullshit
- ~ this tweet’s theme song: http://bit.ly/c3XUSh
He then spent the rest of the day — and week and month — mocking “amyfairycakes” (and the Botti video) for using the term “streets ahead”.
- “Streets ahead! [trumpet] Get your lingo out of the bed! [tambourine] You don’t have to say miles, you can use the word streets instead!”
- “Streets ahead! [twang] Light years and leagues are dead! [trumpet] use a word that makes your measurements sweeter than cinnamon bread!”
- “They call me Streets, last name Ahead, and I’m the longest distance you ever said!” #StreetsAhead
The joke was elevated into absurdity (worthy of the creator of a show as absurd as Community) with this:
And he just w0uldn’t let it go:
- Office and P&R are TIED in that Hulu thing 50/50 right now. Hate to see them fight so I’m glad neither is losing. #WeAreStreetsAheadOfMF
- Also, I’m working 24/7 to get the phrase “Streets Ahead” into common parlance. The PSA if you missed it: http://bit.ly/bIJzVe
Fan Tim Stoltz suggested that Harmon bring “streets ahead” into the world of Community, but it seems Harmon was one step ahead of him.
- @tim_stoltz : @danharmon Your hatred of “Glee” has made its way into “Community;” how long till your new favorite phrase makes it?
- @danharmon : @tim_stotz I’m putting it in the current script, so it’ll be a few weeks. But I have to get the world understanding it by then!
He occasionally used the term out the next few weeks on his Twitter, but the real payoff came last night when the (quite excellent) episode finally aired. Phenomenal work, Harmon.
Moral of the story: If you want your stupid slang to be immortalized, make fun of a slightly vengeful, hilarious TV writer.
EDIT: Claimed by amyfairycakes and a commenter, and verified by a friend who lives over there, “streets ahead” is a British/Irish term that’s relatively common over there. Fair enough. Harmon was evidently aware of this but continued unfazed with the mocking anyways.