Each of the main actors gets a chance to shine in "Regional Holiday Music." Brown's contorting face as she tries to resist the allure of the singing children is comedy gold. Glover can handle the raps with flying colors. McHale allows himself to fully commit, something Jeff doesn't often do in any situation. And, of course, Britta's totally horrible wailing can make anyone hate music, made even more clever by the reference to her "Me So Hungry" bit from an earlier episode. Plus, she has a pretty singing voice when the cast does a carol at the end, so it's just pure acting that she sounds so bad.
Perhaps because they are left out of the glee craziness in Community, the show lets the supporting characters take the end tag. Dean (Jim Rash) and Chang (Ken Jeong) use their names in "Carol of the Bells," joined by a few of the recurring parts. It's humorous, unexpected, and wonderful.
Also, nice reference to the last year's claymation special when Cory shows Abed his plans for the show!
What "Regional Holiday Music" brings to mind, in retrospect, is just how in control of the group Abed is. At times, it seems like Abed is an outside observer, studying human interaction, while not really being a part of the species. But in this week's Community, Abed manipulates his subjects. He isn't a passive fly on the wall, but rather, the mad scientist controlling the conditions. And maybe he's been doing that all along. He's an enigma that cannot be defined, but he is also the true central point of the series, as much as Jeff might appear to be in early episodes. He will certainly be the catalyst at the end of the series. Very cool.
Community is now on hiatus. It will return sometime this winter or spring to NBC, though no return date is yet set.