Thirty Days of Feelings: Day Sixteen

This year I’m undergoing a bit of an experiment: Thirty straight days of doing/watching/listening to/reading something that makes me feel – however fleetingly – like an actual human being, in the hopes that this will thaw a layer of ice off my frozen shriveled little heart, and allow me to not be such a buzzkill this year. So let’s get to it.

Day Sixteen: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

Abed's Christmas

My love for Community is hardly a secret. There’s a cold-hearted slacker who slowly learns the importance of friends who I relate way too strongly to (Jeff Winger/Joel McHale). There’s a sexy blonde (Britta Perry/Gillian Jacobs). There’s a sexy brunette (Annie Edison/Alison Brie). There’s an intensely genre-savvy guy who references all the best parts of nerd-culture I love (Abed Nadir/Danny Pudi). There’s a beautiful bromance. There’s a “pan-sexual imp” who goes through multiple, bizarre costume changes per episode (Dean Pelton/Jim Rash). And so much more goodness.

But what I love most about Community is the underlying gooey center. It’s more than a show that spoofs action movies, spagetti westerns, and Law & Order. It’s a show that unapologetically shows again and again the depths to which these deeply-flawed characters care about each other. It’s a show about growing up, about changing and being challenged. It’s a show about diversity, and the importance of having people in your life who are different. It’s about accepting others no matter what. It’s shockingly sentimental for a show with such jaded, sarcastic characters. 

Perhaps one of their boldest episodes stylistically is “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” the second season Christmas episode which is entirely stop-motion (claymation), just like Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, and others. The premise is surprisingly dark: after Abed (who is heavily implied to have some sort of mental illness) receives a letter from his mom, telling him she will be spending the holidays with her new family rather than watching Christmas specials with him like always, he snaps, and begins seeing the world in claymation. The study group determines that the only way to bring him back to reality is to allow him to live out his quest to find the meaning of Christmas. Along the way, the group is slowly whittled down to just Abed. Shirley, Jeff and Britta are removed from the fantasy for not being supportive, while Annie and Troy sacrifice themselves to save the fantasy from a greedy psychologist looking to study the case. But when the psychologist returns and forces Abed to confront the cause of his episode, he freezes. Luckily, his friends return to fight off the shrink with the power of love and Christmas, and Abed realizes that the meaning of Christmas is the idea that Christmas has meaning. About being with people you love. About whatever you want it to mean. 

To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of claymation. It reminds me too much of dolls, and dolls freak me the hell out. I mean, I enjoy Rudolph et al., but I really don’t feel any need to watch them pretty much ever. This episode however, is something I fully intend on watching year after year. It’s got all the staples of a holiday classic. Humor. Songs. Hugs. Christmas Pterodactyls. You know. The usual. I will never grow tired of watching a makeshift group of misfits band together to save the troubled psyche of their friend, wandering across Planet Christmas, through the Cave of Frozen Memories, and fighting an evil wizard. I will always feel a warm glow build in my chest as even the most cynical characters sing a song about what Christmas means to them, and then snuggling up to watch Rudolph together. And isn’t that what Christmas should be? Not Santas and elves and tinsel or presents (Nana), but about spending time with friends and family doing something you all love. Like watching Community, for example.

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