For 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