‘Community’ Takes on ‘Glee’ in Musical Holiday Episode

Gillian Jacobs on "Community" (NBC)

Gillian Jacobs on "Community" (NBC)

If last night’s episode of “Community” is the last one we ever get — or, at the very least, the last one we get for some time — Dan Harmon and company went out on a high note. Not only was the episode one of the funnier ones of the season, but it was a cathartic experience for anyone who has a love-hate relationship with “Glee.”

You know who you are. You watch “Glee” every week and you enjoy the music, but you get frustrated at how inconsistent and scattershot the show can be. “Community” took this discomfort and ran with it, creating a demented, Will Schuester-like glee club advisor named Cory Radison (Taran Killam), who’s goal is to get whatever glee club he puts together to “Regionals!” “What are these regionals they keep talking about?” is the refrain from Pierce (Chevy Chase), until, of course, he gets indoctrinated into the glee club.

What was funny about the episode was that it treated glee club like a cult, and showed how Abed (Danny Pudi), who just wanted to spend the holidays with his community college family, helped “Mr. Rad” suck his buddies in. The most ingenious way was Pierce bringing in a children’s choir to sing to Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) about how they can’t learn about Jesus’ birthday because they go to a public school.

Two other great songs: Annie (Alison Brie) sucking in Jeff (Joel McHale) with her sexy baby-doll song that ended with the pretty straightforward lyric “Boop-a-doop… sex!”, and Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed convincing Pierce to join with a song about how Baby Boomers invented everything in pop culture. Oh, and the non-song coming from silent tree Britta (Gillian Jacobs) was pretty inspired, too.

Overall, though, it showed what a tight-knit group the folks in the study group are, and how they’ve grown into a family over the last three years. Can things between them be weird and creepy at times? Sure; they all readily admitted that “it’s been a pretty dark semester,” between alternate timelines and people being kicked out and foosball-induced madness. But think about how Chang (Ken Jeong) and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) have had a hard time fitting into stories this year — especially Chang. It’s as if Harmon and his writers know what they have in these seven actors and want to shrink the world around them in an acknowledgement that this is who the show’s small but fiercely loyal audience wants to see.

Watch the episode and see if you don’t agree. We certainly want to see more of this oddball family, even if it gets a little weird at times. Hopefully, they’ll be coming back to our screens sooner rather than later.

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