Community, Joel McHale
Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
McHale is the king of snark, which made him the perfect choice for prickly, self-obsessed Jeff Winger. But here's the surprise: As Jeff continued to…
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Ah, the Christmas episode — a rite of passage for all sitcoms. How did Community handle the holiday challenge? Swell, for the most part. The episode had a few missteps, namely the alarmingly unfunny character of Mike the Bully (Anthony Michael Hall) and the show’s decision to excessively emphasize Shirley’s lack of religious tolerance (I truly doubt she’d be that insistent about forcing Christmas on her friends). But I can brush aside the occasional (or even frequent) defect if Community continues to deliver one of television’s most charismatic cliques. After the group’s colossal fight with Mike’s thugs, our ragtag protagonists returned to the library’s conference room. Then the camera panned around the room, showing each character’s triumphant battle scars, and at that moment, it became clear to me yet again — I dig this family of losers. I was not the most forgiving of critics as the series struggled to take its first baby steps, but Community has more or less found its footing by now, and I’ll definitely be enrolling for next semester. How about you, PopWatchers?

After the jump, last night’s sweetest lines (Pierce was the episode’s MVP):

1. Not wanting to offend anyone, Dean Pelton rode into the cafeteria as the non-denominational Mr. Winter. His holiday greeting: “Ha, ha, ha… Merry Happy!” Of all things, a sign-language interpreter closely followed the dean — a priceless touch.

2. Pierce: “That guy wasn’t gay. He had a mustache.”

3. Jeff was taking his Spanish final when he read out loud the possible answers for a question: “True or false, or none of the above? That doesn’t make any sense!” Cut to Señor Chang mischievously stroking his imaginary beard.

4. Pierce shortly after his Spanish exam: “Well, I aced it, amigo. That means cousin.”

5. Pierce being racist to Troy: “I assume you’re handy with a switchblade.”

6. Pierce being racist to Abed: “You get back to the family tent and try to find a chicken for Jeff to chase.”

7. Shirley can’t believe Jeff is agnostic. “You think religious is stupid?” she asked Jeff, who responded with this extended metaphor: “To me, religion is like Paul Rudd. I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone. But I also would never stand in line for it.” All right, let’s start the campaign for Paul Rudd guest starring as a religion professor now.

8. Abed: “I get 72 virgins in heaven.”

9. Mike the Bully’s sole memorable line: “Look, if this dude doesn’t show up, we’re definitely going to Applebee’s tonight. I’m getting into a fight no matter what today.”

10. Throughout the episode, Britta annoyingly argued that fights were a way for men to “release their pent-up gayness.” But the moment Mike’s gang took off their shirts and started flipping in the air to the tune of Florence and the Machine’s “Kiss with a Fist” — well, let’s just say that moment made up for all of Britta’s prior nagging.

Episode Recaps

McHale is the king of snark, which made him the perfect choice for prickly, self-obsessed Jeff Winger. But here's the surprise: As Jeff continued to…
Joel McHale and Alison Brie star in this comedy about a community college study group that turns into a surrogate family.
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