'Community' stop-motion Christmas episode: 10 Reasons to Love 'Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas'

Community-ChristmasImage Credit: NBCFor a show that usually leaves me laughing out loud, Community‘s stop-motion Christmas episode kind of broke my heart last night — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We were let in on the truth about the gang’s sudden animation early on in the episode. Abed was imagining everyone in stop-motion, and no one else saw the world as he did (nothing particularly new there, but this time it was literal). So the group called in John Oliver’s Professor Duncan to help crack Abed’s psyche and figure out what had caused him to fall into the delusion.

The thing is, I thought there was going to be a twist. Maybe everyone would spend the entire episode thinking Abed was crazy, only to find out in the end the whole thing was Pierce’s pain-killer-induced dream — or something like that. But a twist never came — only the heartbreaking revelation that Abed’s mom had canceled her annual Christmas visit because she “had a new family.” (Award for WORST MOM EVER goes to…)

In the end, Abed’s friends banded together to kick Professor Duncan (as the stop-motion hating evil wizard) out of Abed’s fantasy so they could have Christmas together in peace…as clay people (well, as silicone dolls with foam bodies). It was heartwarming, and if my own sister wasn’t hours away from coming to visit me, I would have been all-out bawling at the reveal of Abed’s Christmas disappointment. Instead, I simply cried at my desk, used only one tissue, though.

Most of all, I walked away from the episode with an overwhelming love for one of the most underappreciated characters on TV. I’ve always loved Abed for his movie references, dead-pan delivery, and acutely aware social unawareness. But last night, there were at least 10 moments that made me love him even more:

1) Abed’s adapted Community credits!

2) Abed fondling snowman Chang.
Abed: I thought I made you?
Chang: Yeah. You made me need to cry in a shower tonight.

3) Abed’s use of the term “Troy soldier” — as all toy soldiers will henceforth be known.

4) Jeff in the Box.

5) All the music!! The episode was touted as the stop-motion episode, but who knew it’d double as a musical? Thank you, Abed.

6) The introduction of a new Christmas mascot that will go down in history with the holiday armadillo: the Christmas pterodactyl.

7) The fact that Planet Abed’s atmosphere was 7 percent cinnamon.

8 ) The tiny reaction of happiness on Abed’s face when Teddy Pierce admitted earnestly that his Christmas was going to be a sad one, too.

9) The first meaning of Christmas being season 1 of Lost! Abed: “It represents lack of payoff.”

10) Troy and Abed in stop motion!

So what did you think? Did the episode make you love Abed even more? Did you think that the clay version of hunky Joel McHale looked nothing like him — yet eerily at the same time, exactly like him? Did you love that Pierce squeaked every time he walked? Did crying Britta-bot make you surprisingly choked up? And is this episode now a Christmas classic for you?

On Twitter: @EWSandraG

Comments (201 total) Add your comment
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  • Michael

    Thought it was great. Yes. Yes. Didn’t notice. Yes. Yes.

    • deedee

      this show is officially horrible. After a great first season, it takes itself WAY too seriously. Not funny at all

      • Abed

        It takes itself too seriously? Trampolines, a Mean Girls/Terminator spoof, claymation Christmas, conspiracy theories and a fort that covers an entire college. Yeah that’s pretty serious. And I bet Betty White’s blowgun was too soon after Columbine. You are dumb.

      • two cents

        Who let the Christmas Warlock comment?!? Where’s a Christmas Pterodactyl when you need one?

      • Josh

        Sorry, but Community doesn’t take itself seriously at all.

      • Mole

        If by “taking itself too seriously” you mean “gives its characters emotional arcs”, I’ll take that any day.

      • This Guy

        Anyone who feels they have the authority to claim it’s “officially” anything, takes light-hearted sitcom viewing WAY too seriously.

      • Rock Golf

        I think you took “Sad Short Christmas Song” a tad literally.

      • TGS

        There is definitely a difference between being self-referential (“Community”) and taking itself too seriously (pretty much every episode this season of “Glee”).

      • Stan

        Thank you TGS! Go away DooDoo!

      • Sassy

        I think this is the least-serious and most funny show on TV. Are you smoking the cinnamon Dee dee??

      • raftrap

        deedee-bot programmed badly, wires with fraying ends, functioning mad and sadly, no faith in herself or friends…

      • ryan

        Not too mention the zombie episode. ARe your related to liz lemon on these boards. That one is another idiot!

  • ajmalzx

    Easily the best christmas episode this year, by a loooooong shot.

    • Cato

      I loved Teddy Pierce (“I’m just here for the cookies) & Babydoll Shirley (“I’m in a diaper! What the hell?”

      • RyanR

        Teddy Pierce in a way reminded me of Teddy from the Steven Spielberg movie “A.I.”. That was one sad movie…

    • stickittotheman

      Looks good on paper, but the actual episode was a yawner.

      • LOL

        It was somewhat jarring at first, but once it settled in and got cookin’, I thought it was a sweet episode.

  • Sven

    I put this up there with the paint ball episode. This is the best holiday episode of any sitcom or drama I have seen to date.

    • Francisco

      I completely agree. This episode was so awesome but in a bittersweet way.

    • Bob

      I 100% agree, this was a classic. It’s something worth rewatching at Christmas from now on

    • L

      Agreed. It will be watched for years to come not to mention many more times before this Christmas!!

  • merle Balke

    Apparently so much time was spent on the technical aspects that they forgot that Community is a comedy. Totally laugh free half hour.

    • sarCC

      Here come the humbugs!

      • the realist

        why? because we don’t agree with you?

      • Tag

        Don’t be sarcastic! Those humbugs are brutal!

    • Jamie

      While I agree with you that it didn’t have the high frequency of jokes that Community episodes usually have, you have to realize it wasn’t suppose to. Christmas specials (like Rudolph) don’t make you laugh, they make you smile and feel good. Since Community was paying tribute to Christmas Specials, they had the same goal in mind and they achieved it.

      • LOL

        Right on, Jamie!

      • boliyou

        Spot on, Jamie. It really captured the feel of the Rankin/Bass specials, too.

      • Melissa

        Absolutely. I never thought it was supposed to have the feel of a sitcom but the feel of my favorite stop-motion Christmas movies.
        Though for funny moments, I loved both the Lost reference and the “somewhere out there Tim Burton just got a boner”. Hilarious.

    • RK

      Dead on.

    • two cents

      Lost as the meaning of Christmas… Easily one of the funniest moments on any show this season. I loved Lost, but you can’t ignore all the people that complained about “lack of payoff.” Sooo funny, casue it’s so true.

      • two cents


      • Amanda Banana

        That was my favorite part. I loved Lost like a family memember but that was amazing and accurate.

      • JV

        I liked the other Lost references. That Christmas is like Lost because “it means whatever you want it to mean.” That might be the best summary of Lost that I have heard that I could live with.
        And Abed says “Thank you Lost” soon after!

  • Cate

    Another pretty serious episode (after last week’s disillusioning 21st birthday for Troy) and I’m honestly loving it. The humor is still there in spades but this season has a definite dark streak running through it, giving more depth to what was already a damn near perfect show. Poor little Abed.

  • sarCC

    I can’t believe Abed made Britta-Bot cry! Now she’s a sad Rowboat! :(

  • Jamie

    I think you missed the best part of the Christmas pterodactyl, it’s remote controlled!

    • Remerdre

      Don’t forget the best best part: It can be remotely programmed to self-destruct! Don’t you think that’s overdoing it just a — BOOM!

      • Becca

        I’m starting to think Annie can be a violent person.

  • NavantheGreat

    This was such a great episode of a great series that EW does not recap (seriously you guys have a raging Glee boner.You guys are missing a classic in the making). Anyway. This is probably the best Christmas episode of recent memory. So many fantastic scenes. Singing Abed being tased was hilarious. My favourite bit was Britta Bot crying. It was done really well.

    • miss k

      I love Glee but I’m going to agree with you. Seriously EW, you need to recap this show. It’s every pop culture fan’s dream.

      • CP

        hear hear on the full recap.

    • Chancey

      I know Thursday nights are busy for you EW recappers. But couldn’t you find somebody to recap community again? Even an intern or the office receptionist.

  • Trap

    One of my favorite lines was after his friends helped unfreeze Abed and he realized the meaning of Christmas was in giving it meaning and Abed says “Thank you Lost” – I laughed so hard at that.

    Great episode, the series reminds me of Futurama at its peak – it’s able to tread the line of absolutely hilarious to painfully heartbreaking at times and it is wonderful.

    • Sara

      Futurama is a good analogy. No coincidence I love them both!

    • Eternal Clementine

      LOVED that moment too. Thank you LOST.

  • L.

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. The paintball episode, the chicken fingers episode, the zombie episode and the stop motion episode are the absolute best.

    • Francisco

      All of those episodes are my favorites as well.

    • mkaffeine

      Yep, those are definitely the Best Of episodes. It took me forever to delete any of them from my DVR queue!

      • Andrea

        I agree with most of your choices (though for some reason, I really disliked the chicken fingers ep). I like how the show mixes humor/pop culture references/serious moments/wacky hijinks. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, they come up with a new way to surprise me. I just wish more people watched the show.

    • Bubba in TX

      C’mon, where’s the love for the flight simulator episode? Easily in the same league as the great episodes you mentioned.

  • Liza

    OMg the holiday Armadillo, I work in a hospital and they really excessively decorate for every December holiday under the sun and they have a giant menorrah with the story of Hanukah on a placard and every time I walk by and see the word Macabees I picture the holiday armadillo, “A people called…THE MACABEES!” Lol.

    • Jean

      OMG me too. That youtube video by the “Macabeats” that’s been circulating has made me think of Ross Geller every time I come across it.

  • elizabeth

    Loved the switch from “Christmas Wizard” to “Christmas Warlock”, costume and all.

    And I also loved at the end when they were done watching the movie together in Abed’s dorm room, when the TV went off, you could see their human reflections in the TV screen – very cool!

    Jeff’s horrible singing voice, and Jeff & Annie’s line together about ‘love’.

    I thought of all the characters, Britta was the one who most resembled the real-live version.

    • Levi

      OMG when she got all sad it looked just like her! Almost eerily so, lol.

    • Mr. Holloway

      I liked the human reflections on the TV screen moment too at the very end with them all huddled together. Pretty cool shot.

      It may not have been a laugh riot or reached the absurd heights of other episodes, but it was still a pretty solid X-mas special…with a little “Willy Wonka” mixed in.

    • Jean

      I loved the human reflections too! thought it was a great little touch.

    • Beck

      That’s why I love when they do recaps so I can see what other people saw that I missed. Totally had to go back to see the reflections. Thanks!!

  • sassyfras

    Loved it when they were flying thru space and right after the professor said “It’s Planet Aaaaaaabed!” Jeff goes “Subtle!” It was a very quick moment but so funny. BallerAnnie was adorable. “No, it’s because you’re fragile and tightly wound.”

    • Remerdre

      I loved the quick, snarky comments between Jeff and the professor. “You are playing with so much fire right now.” “Shut up, Winger.”

      • Beck

        I also enjoyed the snark between Jeff and the professor. I think sometimes the dialogue is so fast people miss it.

  • tf5623

    Wow – I knew this show was always clever but this one totally proved it. I loved it! I agree it wasn’t the funniest but it wasn’t supposed to be, just like Jamie says. The writers, actors and everyone on the show should be proud.

  • Loved it

    “Humbugs. They’re attracted to sarcasm.”
    “Somewhere, Tim Burton just got a boner.”

    I loved everything about this episode. Can we please get regular recaps of this show in the new year? This show needs as much exposure as possible…if this gets canceled while a show like Outsourced is still allowed to exist, so help me god, I will send in the Christmas pterodactyl to scoop up the NBC execs.

    • Jean

      I second this motion. I’d read ‘em.

    • Chris

      I agree – where’s the media coverage on this show? most underrated sitcom on tv.

    • Mocha

      Seriously. How is it possible that EW recaps both “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” but ignores “Community”? HOW?

      • Carol

        Ditto. Recap Community!

    • JL

      C’mon, you guys HAVE to recap Community now. This is the best comedy, dare I say, best show on TV right now. Everyone, New York Magazine has been recapping this since it started…go to vulture.com. They even have little interviews with the show’s creator. Hilarious.

    • Mothra

      RECAP! RECAP! RECAP! I love this show. I PVR the tv all week and save it for the boring tv wasteland that is the weekend (I know, I know, get a life!) And I always watch this show second, after Modern Family. And that’s saying something because that puts it ahead of 30Rock, The Office, Grey’s/Private Pratice (PP needs recapping, too while you’re at it!) Cougar Town… etc, etc. Community seriously rocks: the pop culture references, the whip-smart diaglog, the acting; it has it all. It’s smart, soulful, sarcastic and FUNNY! RECAP NOW!

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