Community Review: Christmas Done Right!
Tonight’s Community tackled its second holiday episode this season and just like the Halloween zombie breakout, the show’s cast and crew pulled off a phenomenal stop motion animation Christmas extravaganza. All of Greendale has been transformed into a claymation version of its former self, mimicking the look of the 1964 NBC holiday classic Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
After Abed claims that everything has been transformed into stop motion animation, the group, none of whom have noticed the change, decide it is time to get their good friend some help. After being tased during the opening musical number for jumping from car to car in the school’s parking lot, Abed is brought to the office of Professor Duncan, self-proclaimed Christmas Wizard, who wishes to put Abed under “Christmas-nosis” to understand what is going on in his head.
The group ventures to Planet Abed, the most Christmas-y planet in the universe. Its atmosphere is 7% cinnamon! On the planet’s surface the study group transforms into Christmas versions of themselves. There is Jeff-in-a-box, Troy Soldier (comes with drums, not a gun), Brittabot, Teddy Pierce, Baller-annie, and Baby Doll Shirley.
Abed wants to head to the North Pole, but Duncan forces the group to the Cave of Frozen Memories. The group reluctantly follows Abed down Gumdrop Road where they must band together to get to their destination otherwise they’ll be ejected Willy Wonka-style. Before you know it Duncan arrives and kicks Shirley out of Abed’s Christmas Wonderland for putting Abed down. Duncan summons a remote controlled Christmas Pterodactyl to take her away. Jeff is soon after ejected after being eaten alive by humbugs, creatures who are attracted to sarcasm. The best part of someone getting ejected from Planet Abed was the Oompa Loompa-like songs sung after a member of the party departed.
As the episode progresses viewers get to learn more about Abed’s family life and why the holidays mean so much. With his parents divorced, Abed’s mother comes to visit every year on December 9th. They would sit together and share an annual tradition of watching Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. As the airdate is December 9th the show gets meta yet again with Abed saying the date must be wrong, it must be the 8th or another day since his mother never showed up.
At the North Pole Abed and Pierce find a present labeled “Meaning of Christmas.” Buried within the box is the first season of Lost, leading to one of the funniest digs at the series:
Abed – “It’s the first season of Lost on DVD.”
Pierce – “That’s the meaning of Christmas?”
Abed – “No, it’s a metaphor. Represents lack of payoff.”
Duncan appears revealing Abed turned the world into stop motion animation and used it as a mechanism to find the real meaning behind the holiday to escape from the truth. His mother wasn’t coming. She had found a new family and wasn’t going to make it this year. The revelation causes Abed to freeze over.
The study group shows up and battles Duncan away with their Christmas weapons while singing about what Christmas means to them. Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) definitely has an amazing voice! This helps unfreeze Abed allowing him to realize the meaning of Christmas. “I get it. The meaning of Christmas is the idea that Christmas has meaning. And it can mean whatever we want. For me it used to mean being with my mom. Now it means being with you guys. Thanks, Lost.”
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is easily my favorite Christmas episode from any show. The episode had it all. Musical numbers that were short, sweet and funny, imaginative versions of the show’s characters, and a remarkable animation job by 23DFilms. The train scene blew me away. Even Lost Producer Damon Lindelof tweeted about the dig at his show. “Okay, COMMUNITY. It’s ON!!!! Now if only I had a show to zing you back. And if only you weren’t awesome. Sigh…”
Overall another fantastic episode from Community.
Final Grade – A
Annie – “Well I’m taking a relaxation course next semester and I was going to take the break to do all the reading in advance.”
Troy – “Who taught you therapy? Michael Jackson’s dad?”
Jeff – “Somewhere out there Tim Burton just got a boner.”
Abed – “You lied to lure me into a group therapy session?” Pierce - “Surprise!”
Abed – “It’s the first season of Lost on DVD.” Pierce – “That’s the meaning of Christmas?” Abed – “No, it’s a metaphor. Represents lack of payoff.”
Season 2, Episode11: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas (originally aired December 9, 2010)
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Images courtesy of NBC Universal.