Air Date: Thursday December 9, 2010 | Grade: A
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is an episode completely in stop-motion animation. I was definitely intrigued to see how Community would use this medium and if it would affect how well the season has been progressing. To sum it up best – it doesn’t. This is a highly entertaining episode that I can see myself repeatedly watching at Christmas or any other time of year.
Abed (Danny Pudi)
Abed (Danny Pudi) and the rest of the study group are trying to find the true meaning of Christmas. Worried about Abed and the possibility of him being kicked out of Greendale, Jeff (Joel McHale) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) enlist the help of Professor Duncan (John Oliver). Jeff and Britta are either desperate or clueless to get Duncan involved – Britta has insulted Duncan in the past for his bad skills in psychology.
Stop-motion animation Jeff is scary – I wonder if this is intentional or just how it turned out. All the Christmas versions of the characters are funny but the ones that stand out for me are Pierce (Chevy Chase) as a teddy and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) as a baby. Professor Duncan in the wizard costume just keeps reminding me of Pierce in his wizard costume from “The Science of Illusion.” I can never take Duncan seriously so him dressed up like this doesn’t help his cause.
It’s funny how Pierce, only along for the cookies, ends up being the last person on the mission. It’s a rarity to have Pierce and Abed in scenes together and I hope to see them in more one-on-one scenes.
The Christmas versions of the cast
Even though Abed is a grown man, in some ways he’s like a kid when dealing with the truth about his mother forgoing their Christmas tradition. I empathize with him and he isn’t the only one feeling a bit sad or lonely – Annie (Alison Brie) and Pierce are too. There’s definitely a heart-warming message at the end of the episode but I love the little reference to Lost that is thrown in.
Abed: “It’s the first season of Lost on DVD.”
Pierce: “That’s the meaning of Christmas?”
Abed: “No, it’s a metaphor. It represents the lack of payoff.”
“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” is the closest thing we have had so far to a musical. It’s not the first time various members of the cast have sung and I hope it’s not the last. They are a talented bunch of singers and I love it when they all sing at the end. I also enjoyed the alternative version of the theme tune – Abed being tasered during the title sequence is so unexpected and funny.
The episode invokes a few emotions from me and at one point I was crying with laughter. Some people have named Community in their top 10 shows of 2010 and if it continues with episodes like “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” I can see it being in the top 10 lists of 2011.
All photos courtesy of ©NBC Universal Media, Inc.
Originally written for The Voice of TV