Community Review - 3.10 'Regional Holiday Music'
Posted by Ron Martin on 12.09.2011
The Study Group is recruited to take the place of the injured Glee Club at the annual Christmas pageant despite their protests. Abed has a plan to keep his friends together over the holidays, but it might just blow up in his face.
I’m sorry to say this will be the last Community review for awhile. The show is going away probably until late Spring in order for NBC to keep force feeding Up All Night to us until we decide we like it. What better way to go out that a holiday show?
WHAT WE KNOW: Last week’s episode broke into unexpected anime showing the relationship between two of our beloved Study Group (Jeff and Shirley) before they attended Greendale. We also know that Abed loves to dress as Batman and run around solving crimes. Since this is the Christmas episode for this year, it would irresponsible of me not to mention last year’s episode where Abed had to go into an alternate reality because of his disconnect and loneliness during the happiest time of the year.
The gang is having lunch when the over the top Glee Club invades the lunch area singing Christmas tunes. They mention their brief flirtation stepping in for the Glee Club when the original Glee Club all died in a tragic bus accident (mentioned in last year’s “Paradigms of Human Memory”). The Glee Club’s performance is cut short as Jeff calls on his inner lawyer to get someone to come in and stop them from singing copyrighted songs without permission. This sends the Glee Club into maniacal self wound inflicting mode that lands them all in the county hospital.
The Glee Club professor, Mr. Rad(dison) immediately turns to the Study Group to reprise their roles as substitute Glee Club for the Christmas performance and make Regionals! Jeff immediately shoots this down for the entire group contending that the Christmas pageant is just lights hiding the true darkness of the holidays. However, Mr. Rad senses the weakness in the Study Group (Abed) and draws him to his doom with song and dance. Quickly, the group is hunted down one by one in true horror movie fashion. Abed convinces Troy. Tory and Abed lure Pierce in with the best song of the night “Baby Boomer Santa” appealing to his generations claims of inventing everything. Annie is lured in offstage. Annie’s tits bring Jeff into the fold. Pierce and a school choir appeal to Shirley’s religion to bring her into the fold. Finally, Britta, the last person standing is converted offstage by Jeff.
This leads us into the final act where the Group is gearing up for the big Christmas show and a trip to Regionals. Mr. Rad lays out his full plan to Abed for the Group to stay together singing for months and months as they travel through Regionals, Semis and Semi-Regionals. Abed, who just wanted his friends to stick around for Christmas, does what he considers right and gives the vocally challenged Britta the lead spot in the play (she was supposed to be a mute tree). Britta goes off on with a crazy bad song until Mr. Rad stops her with a vengeance. He is set on Regionals and Britta singing won’t get him there. He pretty much admits he would do anything, including killing the entire team in a bus crash, to get to Regionals. All of Greendale stands up for Britta and wants to hear her sing her weird song, thus banishing Mr. Rad. Though evil has been thwarted, Abed is still saddened he will have to spend Christmas alone. That is, until the rest of the group show up at his door caroling. They will all spend Christmas (and the entirety of the Spring while 30 Rock take their timeslot) together!
Where to start? I loved that they turned a Christmas episode basically into a slasher horror movie plot, with each character getting taken out one at a time. I loved that the entire episode was basically a parody of Glee, especially Mr. Rad. I am sure the parody got much more in depth than I am able to tell you. I have never seen a single episode of Glee and never plan on watching a single episode. This isn’t the first time Community has used Glee as a punchline, either.
I generally don’t like musical episodes of straight shows (I’m looking at you Buffy, the Vampire Slayer) as I think it’s a cheap ploy for ratings, but this one didn’t bother as much. The songs were kept to a minimum length. The best song by far was Troy and Abed’s “Baby Boomer Santa.” I really didn’t like Annie’s Betty Boop/Marilyn Monroe impression to try to sexually convince Jeff to join the Glee Club. I thought it was pretty out of character for her, thought Alison Brie did a good job of making it look uncomfortable. That may sound like nit-picking because it’s a musical number (and hey – Alison Brie in a sexy Santa outfit), but the best episodes would still keep things in character. I did appreciate the nod to the fact that Annie and Jeff are going to eventually hook up. It hasn’t been hinted at for awhile, this is just reminding you that yeah, it’s going to happen.
A continuous plot involving all the characters is a welcome episode. The writer’s are still on the top of their game with their one line zingers. It was also hilarious to see Abed watching a Christmas special that poked fun at the Star Wars Holiday Special with a hologram band singing a song. Nice! As much as I am apt to drool over Alison Brie, I never thought in an episode where she has on a sexy Santa outfit that I would be able to say “DAMN!” about anyone else, but ….
Gillian Jacobs in a skintight tree outfit? DAMN!
The Dean, Chang, Leonard, Magnitude and Starburns appear on a tree as holiday ornaments singing “Carol of the Bells” using either their name or catchphrase as notes. Absolutely hilarious!
Tertiary Character Watch
Leonard, Magnitude and Starburns appear in the TAG.
Line of the Night
Jeff: It’s been a dark semester. I pretty much killed a guy.
The 411: There was a lot to love in this episode. The students of Greendale go on vacation with a bang up Christmas/horror/parody thing that still manages to tug on the heart strings and make you laugh. This is when Community is at its best. I hope stupid network decisions don't derail any momentum the show may have. Watch if just for Alison Brie as a sexy Santa and Gillian Jacobs in her tree outfit. Watch for a lot more than that, but if you have to justify for yourself...