'Tis the season to sit down in front of your TV and fill your eyeballs with as much saccharine sweetness physically possible. We here at the I'm With Geek TV Towers put all of our favourite Christmas specials into a hat and picked one at random to watch and comment upon.
Click on to find out who was filled with Christmas cheer and who found naught but coal!
Instead of their usual live-action it's a stop-motion episode (& they won an Emmy for Individual Achievement in Animation) with some short songs thrown in and acts as a homage to the stop-motion Christmas movies that have come before. The story follows Abed envisioning the world around him as stop-motion because he can't cope with the reality of the world when he realises he won't be with his family this Christmas. He creates this stop-motion, Christmas world (full of pop culture references) in order to deal with his emotions while his friends rally round to help him. It's funny, touching, and sweet.
Community has done plenty of homages to various films, TV series, genres and artistic styles. This particular episode’s use of stop-motion animation really helps to convey the intended feel of Christmas cheer.
I’ve been a big fan of Community for a while now, and Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas is a fun take on the Christmas Special formula, whilst at the same time dealing with a fairly dark storyline in the guise of Abed’s mother not visiting him for the Christmas holidays.
It’s a testament to the characters that they translate so well into animated form, their movements and mannerisms manage to convey the characters, and the voice-work done by the actors themselves is also stunning.
The use of puppetry allowed the crew to create a fantastic variety of backdrops to both set up the journey, and reference various films, such as the Polar Express. It’s the shout-outs to numerous films, TV series and Christmas Specials that keep the episode full of the gaiety associated with the season.
Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas is great fun to watch, and manages to convey the importance of Christmas tradition. It may not be the best episode of the show, but it’s one of the best.
Confession time: I had never seen Community until this episode. And that probably affected how it worked on me, because this isn’t an episode designed to hook in new viewers; its main purpose is to bring the characters together and teach them the real meaning of Christmas.
First off, got to praise the animation. I know that’s why this episode is lauded, because it’s very impressive to see a half-hour live-action comedy series suddenly turn its hand to stop-motion animation. But the claymation isn’t just accurate when it comes to portraying the characters – it’s a perfect pastiche of Rankin/Bass holiday specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But that doesn’t mean it’s ripping them off. It’s using the established formula of animation and songs to tell its own particular message, that family is something you choose and making friends happy is more important than feeling cool.
This is Christmassy, in feel, look and message. But it would probably feel even more Christmassy if you actually knew and cared about the characters beforehand. Coming into it cold, I wanted it to be a two-hander between Abed and Professor Ian Duncan. If I watch more Community in the coming year, maybe this episode will be added to my Christmas viewing list.
I’ve never watched Community before so I don’t know what the show is usually like, but this was the weirdest, most random thing I think I have ever seen. Nevertheless, it was oddly entertaining.
I wasn’t overly keen on the style of stop-motion animation. It’s a clever technique that I love being used but it was pretty ugly. The voice acting was good and the script clever and funny. I have no idea what the cast usually look like which was quite frustrating at times.
The story was a typical Christmas adventure and I loved every minute of it. The random Christmas themed songs, what Christmas really means to people and how it can add pressure to lives, and how important it is to be surrounded by loved ones. The settings were appropriate and set the mood, actually getting me excited for Christmas for the first time in many years, as it has become something I dread. It reminded me of the cheesy yet brilliant Christmas films and shows we watch every year.
Yes, it was strange, but the script was engaging and intelligent enough that I may have to give Community a go one day soon.
Community is (Or was? It was cancelled, right?) possibly one of the most loved comedy shows of today, and it’s been on my watch list for a while. I always say “I’ll get round to it” but I never do. I end up watching something else first, and then watching another something else first, until I’ve forgotten about the show altogether. There’s just too much TV around, too much that I want to see, but I like to think that one day I’ll finally watch it. So when our wonderful (And exceptionally patient) editor revealed to us we would be watching a Community Christmas Special for the Festive Pilot Bay, I immediately started worrying. The episode is about halfway into the show’s second season, and I worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it due to coming in so late.
Unfortunately, those fears came true.
This episode of Community is done in stop-motion, and it’s done incredibly well. Some of the cast are immediately recognisable, especially Joel McHale and Mad Men’s Alison Brie, even to newcomers. It definitely has a good idea going for it, being a pisstake of festive kids films all about the meaning of Christmas. But whilst it does emotional content really well, I didn’t laugh once, and I’m not sure if that’s because this is the humour of the show and I’m simply not used to it/need to watch it from the start to get it, or if it’s just plain not funny. A lot of the jokes fall really falt, and it unfortunately didn’t make for great viewing.
I hope it’s simply because I’ve never watched it before, and I actually love the rest of the show, but this was a bad episode to be introduced to the show on.
What better way than to brighten your day at the office, than to discover everything has suddenly turned into stop animation? And what better time than around Christmas? Well I'm certainly interested. Season two of hit comedy series Community brings us this rather special Christmas slice in which Abed (Danny Pudi) finds himself in a world of pure animation. The show’s writers Dan Harman and Dino Stamatopoulos certainly struck gold with this one as not only is this insanely funny, it embodies a certain nostalgia which one finds hard not to compare to such classics as Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer and everyone's favourite Snowman, Frosty. Like each of those characters amongst others, Abed has to go on a journey of his own with all the usual gang to help him along the way. Of course, for a live-action comedy series it's a big leap to devote a whole episode to animation. Not to mention the work that went into it, but it certainly paid off. The stop motion works seamlessly with the overall festive tone of Christmas, making this a jolly good episode. As someone who has never delved into the comedic antics of Community, after witnessing this little treat, it may be a show I make time for in the future. Definitely a great TV Christmas Special.
The Christmas episodes of the first three seasons of Community are constantly among my festive viewing. But while my personal favourite is the Glee-mocking musical extravaganza of Regional Holiday Music, season two’s Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas holds a special place in my heart. While Community in this period was constantly inventive, this episode outdoes all others by being entirely stop-motion, in a charming fashion that makes viewers nostalgic for Christmas cartoons of old. The animation is painstakingly constructed, but also deliberately naff in rendering the study group into clay figures, perhaps a comment on Abed’s difficulty reading faces. This episode is chiefly about Abed escaping into his own imagination to deal with a festive loss, and Professor Duncan’s misguided, somewhat sinister attempts to help him through it. But ultimately, Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas is an episode about the power of friendship, and that the true meaning of Christmas is the love that you have for one another. In its own meta, bizarre and self-referential way, that is what Community is all about too.
I’m not the biggest fan of stop motion animation. But I am a fan of Christmas and Christmas TV episodes. I had never watched Community before this but taking a trip to Planet Abed as a first stop in the Community universe was an interesting start.
If there were a Christmas Planet, a cinnamon atmosphere would be a must, as would disjointed musical dialogue based on day to day actions. If it were a real place, nobody, and I mean nobody, could be allowed to say the heartbreaking phrase “I’m not a Christmas Wizard.” It is too final. That said, release the Christmas pterodactyls for the removal of all grinches and scrooges who can’t be holiday-cheered.
Beginning with the Christmas episode prompted me to try one of the un-animated episodes which, when the characters are not pally pally with Wallace and Gromit (which in any other scenario I would be jealous of…), the series isn’t bad at all. In fact it is quite funny, so I will endevour to watch more. Perhaps from the beginning.
Christmas time is that season where countless amount of series trundle out the true meaning of the holidays. From sitcoms to darker series (for some reason), try to recant the spirit of Christmas in some varying levels of success. Some do it really excellently such as Scrubs or Friends and the Holiday Armadillo. And some are heavily misplaced such as Elmo’s Christmas Countdown or, ha ha, The Star Wars Christmas Special Luckily, Community succeeded with the excellent Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas.
The reason that this television special works is for many reasons. One, the Claymation effects are a storming satire of small shows just like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, reminiscent of the clunky plasticine character across a white snowy scene. Two, because the jokes, as the norm is in Community (one of the more excellent comedy series to ever grace our world), are on point – hilarious and raucous. And thirdly, because there is the undeniable innocence and personal journey through Abed and those around him. It’s emotive and visceral with a hefty amount of heart that glorious beats in the Claymation characters. I’d deem it a must-see for the festive season, and I’ll be damned if you come out of the viewing feeling like George Bailey running through the streets cheering “Merry Christmas!”
Being a Community virgin, I was rather confused when the episode started and everything was in stop motion form. It was a rather surreal experience to start with.
It is really a rather a curious episode. Abed, one of the main characters, comes to college realising that everything is in stop motion form and his friends, concerned about his mental health, take him to a shrink, who is also one of the professors. After Abed refuses help, saying that he has to find the meaning of Christmas in order to stop things from being stop-motion, Duncan, the psychiatrist, lures him to a group therapy session and, using “Christmas-nosis” takes them all to Planet Abed to discover the meaning of Christmas.
It is the sort of thing that I have never watched before, strange to say the least. However it is still full of hilarious moments, you get to have a grand old sing-along and it leaves you wishing that our world was actually stop motion and everything was made out of clay. You just can’t help imagining it.