I recently started watching Community after having heard only good things about it over the past few months. I don’t know why it took me so long, but the same can be said for a fair amount of my other favourite TV shows. I think the concept of a study group was one that never felt particularly appealing to me, so when I was introduced to other comedies by friends or critics, Community always drew the short straw. Having watched it now I wish I had discovered it earlier, because over the past few days I’ve had a lot of fun watching Abed, Jeff, Annie, Troy, Britta, Shirly and Pierce go about their days at Greendale Community College. Instead of doing a full review of the show as a whole, I will focus on the latest Christmas episode which I found absolutely hilarious.
I knew when I started it that it would be an episode dedicated to parodying Glee. I enjoy Glee, but I think Community pointed out in a fun way many of the shows flaws. The whole thing starts when the Greendale Glee club learn that they have been performing songs without buying the rights, thereby sending them into a breakdown rendering them incapable of performing at the Christmas pageant. Since they are this close to winning regionals, the coach – who is a clear parody of Mr. Schue, sweater west and all – recruits the study group to fill in. The gang is initially all completely against joining, stating that they hate the glee club. However, as the episode progresses we see the members one by one succumb to the power of song.
The first to join is Abed. He is lonely because he has to spend Christmas alone this year, and finds some Christmas spirit by singing and dancing. In a duet with the glee club coach he sings of how important glee is, with a self-playing piano to emphasize the ridiculousness of it all. It doesn’t take long before Abed has managed to get Troy on board, leading to a fantastic rap. Pierce is brought in by taking him back to his era of music, and he is followed by Annie who is enticed by a harmonisation attack of sorts. She thereby brings in Jeff by treating him to a song performed with what is supposed to be a sexy routine, but ends up rather creepy when Annie gets more and more baby voiced as she sits on Jeff’s lap singing. Last we have Shirley and Britta. Shirley is brought in by a choir of children, and Britta capitulates when she runs into Jeff testing his vocals in the halls.
The result is that they all join up to do the Christmas pageant. Just as they get ready to perform, Abed has a talk with the glee club coach and realizes that doing the pageant would be only the first step down a long and dark road of glee club competitions, and therefore sends Britta, who was supposed to play a mute tree, out to finish the number instead of him. As one would expect, this does not end well, and the coach goes off the rails, admitting that he might have killed the previous club members. The episode ends with the gang meeting up at Abed’s to celebrate Christmas with him and watch a Christmas special.
The episode is so much fun to watch if you watch and enjoy both Community and Glee. It is especially funny how we see the surroundings of the study group get progressively more like in Glee, with the study room turning into a copy of the choir room, and the pianist looking exactly like he does on Glee. To make the whole thing even better we see that in addition to having jokes about original material, references to Kings of Leon (whom refused rights to songs to Glee) and using auto-tune at the weirdest places, they managed to make fun of the fact that Jewish Annie wants to celebrate Christmas. I am sure Glee made that mistake in its first season too, but seeing as they managed to completely forget that in Glee’s Christmas special this year, I found it especially amusing.
All in all, Community did another great holiday episode. It managed to make it extremely amusing while at the same time keeping up the character development and staying true to the storylines, something that cannot be said for Glee at times. I enjoy both shows now, but I can honestly say that Community is a great comedy and I hope they come back for more seasons in the future.