I have to admit it, I love Community, but I haven’t been the most faithful watcher this season. It isn’t the fault of the show; Thursday’s just happen to be jam-packed with some of my favorites (The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory) that something had to stay in the DVR until I actually got some free time. But this week, after hearing about the special stop-motion animated “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” I decided nothing was going to stop me from watching. You know what, I’m really glad I tuned in.
The episode quickly picks up in the cafeteria where pop-culture obsessed Abed (Danny Pudi) announces that the entire group is now animated in the stop-motion style of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. They become a little concerned about his mental state, and set up an intervention. What follows is a Winter Wonderland journey through the mind of Abed in order to find the meaning of Christmas, complete with song and dance numbers.
This wasn’t the funniest Community I have seen, but it was still better than some of the other comedies out there. There were some clever jokes (especially the dig at Lost), and it appears great care was taken in the details: from the Polar Express-like train (who had a setting called “Bjork”), to the ba-hum-bugs (a swarm of insects that attack those who are particularly snarky) it appears that great care was taken throughout the whole process. Plus, who can resist seeing Pierce as a Teddy Bear, and Troy becoming a "Troy Soldier."
The best part for me, though, was the heartbreaking realization of why Abed decided to retreat to his cartoon, offering more insight into one of the best characters on T.V. today. It was a very tender moment, and added depth to this already strong episode. Perhaps a little too much though, since the laughs didn’t come as fast and furious as they normally do.
What I can appreciate the most is that Community takes chances which generally pay off. Anything like this episode is gamble, and if done wrong, audiences might run screaming. But when done right, we are offered a rare treat. This was one of those rare times, and seriously has me rethinking my Thursdays.
Community airs Thursdays on NBC.