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September 23, 2014

'Community' Season 2, Episode 11 Recap

by Maggie Furlong, posted Dec 9th 2010 10:50PM
['Community' - 'Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas']

'Community' has proven they can do just about anything, no matter how bizarre, and make it hilarious and special. But this week's 'Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas' episode wasn't stop-motion animated just to be different and quirky -- the reason behind the 'Rudolph'-esque puppetry was as touching and poignant as this show has ever been.

And although they "clearly entered a whole new medium," The entire episode was still realistic and believable for each of the characters.

Abed's search for the meaning of Christmas coincided with the study group's search for the meaning of Abed's sudden delusional state. Sure, he's always seen things through a different lens, but this crossed over into Kenneth on '30 Rock' seeing everyone as Muppets territory. Except sadder. The fact that Abed was at risk for getting kicked out of school was enough to get the gang on board for his trippy gumdrop- and pterodactyl-filled adventure.

Having Abed go through something so severely personal in such a borderline way was smart. If Abed's mom had abandoned him in a regular episode, he would've just regressed and gotten quiet. This way, we see his own unconscious vision of his friends and the magic that he's always built up around the holidays in very grand fashion. It was a glimpse into a truly unique and beautiful mind ... the kind that sings and dances and caresses Chang-like snowmen.

Throughout their adventure, each member of the study group -- now as hysterical holiday versions of themselves -- was booted out of Abed's adventure for something they do that's un-holiday like. The exceptions, as usual, were Annie and Troy, both as wide-eyed and naive about things as Abed often is, and also both willing to help him get to his destination no matter what.


Being a psych professor, and also very intrigued in getting something on Abed published, Duncan investigates to find the root cause of the delusions. When he reveals the card from Abed's mom, saying she'll be with her new family this year, breaking their annual 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'-watching tradition, the gang materializes again, just when Abed needs them most. Abed's sad icy shell is only melted when he realizes he has a new family now. And they don't mind fighting for him to the tune of their own oddball Christmas song.

So what'd you think -- was it just weird enough to keep 'Community' fans happy?

Side notes:
*I have to agree with the opening theme song tweaks -- this might be the best Christmas episode ever. OK, maybe not ever, but certainly in recent memory.

*I love Danny Pudi's voice, and after that group number, I'm so ready for an honest to goodness musical episode of the show. I know Yvette Nicole Brown (Baby Doll Shirley) and Alison Brie (Ballerinannie) have the pipes for it ...

*British-isms aside, John Oliver's Dr. Ian Duncan looked like a demented aging Harry Potter in that wizard/warlock get-up. I liked it.

*I love that Jeff In the Box didn't even have to say anything -- that boing boing sound of his springs let everyone know he was thinking something horribly sarcastic.

*The humbugs were actual bugs -- brilliant! -- and, of course, that they were attracted to Jeff's aforementioned sarcasm. I also loved the bromance moment when Abed pointed out there was a Jehovah's Witness bay, just for Troy.

*How perfect was that 'Lost' reference? Hysterical. Even 'Lost' creator Damon Lindelof appreciated it, tweeting:
@damonlindelof: Okay, COMMUNITY. It's ON!!!! Now if only I had a show to zing you back. And if only you weren't awesome. Sigh...

*Even in stop-motion, the attention to detail on this show is unbelievable. When Pierce rejoins Abed and the door opens, it's actually animated Greendale furniture on the other side of the door.

*At the end of the note from Abed's mom, Duncan reads "Wash your dupa." Dupa, in Polish, means ass.

*Did you catch the gang's reflection in the TV after their animated selves watched 'Rudolph'? It's the little things, people.

Community airs Thursdays, 8:30PM ET on NBC.

- Follow Maggie on Twitter @TheTVShowGirl

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14 Comments

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Amiski

AMAZING! This is television at it's best...so poignant...so symbolic...so touching....great work community.

May 16 2011 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gaming Forums

Awesome episode.

January 02 2011 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bevil acqua

Such a wonderful topic for me.
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December 20 2010 at 1:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Piecar

It was clever, I suppose. I didn´t find it terribly funny. And the "message" was boilerplate. It really was just a "meh." from me. The LOST reference was good, though

December 11 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I can enjoy the claymation visual FX & I appreciated the work that went into this episode.However,the story left me cold with no real laughs over any of it.

December 10 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michael's comment
Ant

I loved the claymation, but the rest I thought was not funny and quite boring.

I didn't feel like I was watching an episode of Community. I couldn't see those characters acting the way they were/saying the things they were.

Disappointed.

December 10 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chrissthomas

This show has some of the most brilliant and fresh writing on TV. Great episode.

December 10 2010 at 2:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tricia

I hate claymation. But I LOVED this episode. Community can do no wrong for me, I will never understand why someone would rather be watching the Big Bang Theory.

December 10 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LRM

I thought it was pretty terrible. Generic Christmas plot + claymation does not a good episode make.

December 10 2010 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

"How perfect was that 'Lost' reference?"
Not very. I never watched Lost.

December 10 2010 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GrumpyOldMan

In effing credible. I laughed, cried, and just enjoyed every moment. This show is operating on a plane so far above anything else on T.V.

December 10 2010 at 8:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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