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Throughout seasons 3 and 4 of Community, the timelines, especially The Darkest Timeline, featured heavily.

Are these real, or merely artefacts of Abed's Dreamatorium?

  • 1
    Note that the darkest timeline is also imagined by Jeff, not just Abed. – Paul D. Waite Mar 31 '15 at 0:03
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The answer is probably both.

The many universes theory would suggest that there are not only 7 timelines, but an infinite amount.

This would include ones where Peirce has a sudden heart attack in his chair before the dice actually lands, or the pizza delivery guy crashes before he gets to the house so the opportunity for the dice roll never even exists.

However, it's more likely that Abed has constructed the possibility of the other timelines in his head, and after catching the dice he simply considers what could have happened in the other timelines had the dice landed, based on what actually happened in his own timeline.

Notice that once the dice is caught, there is no evidence of Annie holding a gun, or Britta having anything to go and smoke in the bathroom. These probably relied on Abed's imagination relying on stereotypes and crazy speculation for each character.

Later, when the other timelines "intersect" with the real one, it is simply based on an extrapolation of what he had guessed might happen in the "dark timeline", such as Peirce dying from the gunshot wound and Jeff losing his arm in the fire (they only happen at the end of the episode, but with Abed's imagination he could then imagine much further into the future where Annie has been arrested etc.).

  • Just as an addendum, in our reality, the many-worlds interpretation of quantum theory was developed by Hugh Everett, although the name was coined later. And, as a further aside, his son Mark Oliver Everett is the founder/leader of the band the Eels. Just saying. – rosesunhill Mar 12 '16 at 1:54
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I would imagine so.

It's worth remembering that a small zombie uprising inside Greendale at Halloween is actually canon in Community, so it isn't like other science fiction ideas have't been used legitimately in the past. Between that and Abeds seemingly heightened awareness of the reality they live in (Abed is very aware that he lives in a TV show), it is likely that the multiverse theory is true in Community.

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