Magnetic Attitude, Community's teenage prodigy  TIM CARMODY  ·  MAY 05 2011

NBC's Community has a minor character (nick)named Magnitude, who overwhelmingly speaks in just a single catchphrase -- "Pop Pop!" Both the character and the phrase have unexpectedly taken off. Here's their first appearance:

The Wrap's John Sellers has written an oral history of Magnitude where show creator Dan Harmon (along with actor Luke Youngblood and staff writer/character creator Adam Countee) fills in the character's surprisingly rich backstory. Highlights:

Harmon: In the end, I really liked Magnitude because I realized that the reason he calls himself Magnitude is because it stands for Magnetic Attitude.

Countee: This guy has a nickname within a nickname. The layering of the character, I thought, was so funny and so brilliant. That little nuance spoke volumes about who this kid is and who this kid is trying to be.

Harmon: At some point, we had to give Magnitude a birthdate. And someone decided that he was 16 years old. We were like, "That's hilarious." He's, like, some kind of weird prodigy. There is also a deleted couplet from the election episode. Magnitude is up there talking, and the dean applauds his bold urban flavor. And in response to that, Shirley, in the audience, says, "Bold urban flavor? Please. That boy's from Barbados. His father's a cardiologist." So, there's some biographical information to add to the canon.

Weirdly, when I lived in Chicago, my roommate Bob:

  1. looked surprisingly like Magnitude (same haircut, same glasses, same attitude)
  2. BOTH his parents were cardiologists
  3. the family wasn't from Barbados -- they were from Nigeria.

He disappointed the entire family by getting an MA in psychology, then dropping out and spending all day listening to Gang Starr, drinking brandy, and reading books about conspiracy theories and the paranormal. He was easily the best roommate I ever had.

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