In Praise of Community’s Christmas Special

Slashfilm’s Adam Quigly plants a well-deserved, sloppy wet kiss on the cheek of NBC’s sitcom Community and their Christmas special episode:

Though the show has occasionally touched on Abed’s inability to function normally in society, it mostly avoids confronting the issue, comfortable instead to let his deadpan commentary on the happenings of the plot overshadow his apparent autism. That changed with Abed’s Uncontrollable ChristmasCommunity‘s stop-motion tribute to Rankin-Bass’ seasonal television specials. The show didn’t just turn to stop-motion animation as an amusing gimmick so they could check off another beloved subgenre as having been parodied. Instead, creator Dan Harmon looked at his on-the-money animated homage as an opportunity to shed some light on the underlying sadness of Abed’s condition, and in doing so was also able to illustrate the true value of theholidays. There is no definitive “meaning of Christmas”; it isn’t some rigid set of traditions that we should blindly adhere to, simply because that’s the image that’s been presented to us in countless commercials and Christmas movies. Christmas can mean whatever you want it to mean, and for Abed, it means sharing it with his friends.

What’s truly genius though is that, for all the episode’s teary moments, it still manages to simultaneously function as an endlessly reverent parody that never feels overly calculated. Or rather, its calculated nature comes as a natural result of the character responsible for conjuring the world, since Abed’s familiarity with all things film and TV related is what causes the narrative to harken back to Christmas specials in such a direct, enthusiastic manner. Because of this, the episode ends up becoming a genuinely impressive Christmas special in its own right.

There’s nothing I don’t agree with in this essay.

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