Community season 3 episode 10 review: Regional Holiday Music

The future of Community is currently uncertain, but episode 10 says farewell to 2011 in style. Here’s Emma’s review of Regional Holiday Music…

3.10 Regional Holiday Music

As the season of goodwill rumbles on, it’s time for the obligatory Christmas special over at Greendale, but as always with Community, that obligation always comes with a twist. Regional Holiday Music did exactly what it said it was going to: make the darkness darker, by ramping up the cheer – on more than one level.

Ostensibly an excuse for hilarious rhyming jokes and a well-deserved dig at the musical massacre that is Glee, Holiday Music also acknowledged – more than once – that the semester could well be over for good. Whether this is by design, or just one of those horrible coincidences, Community said goodbye to 2011 in authentic, funny, and resolutely unique style.

How many Christmas specials end with the confession of a regionals obsessed child murderer? And still manage to be funny? Exactly. Even rarer still, the child murderer wasn’t even the darkest thing about it. As mentioned, with several ominous nods to the possible end of the show, the episode carried with it a sort of melancholy, an almost resigned attitude that, rather than detract from the shenanigans of the the Stepford Glee Club, actually felt tonally right. For those of us who have become incredibly fond of Community’s particular brand of warmly insulting comedy, that melancholy accurately reflects the resulting mixed feelings that the possible shelving of the show causes.

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Coincidence or no, it’s unusual for a show to be so in tune with its audience. It is for this, as much as anything else, that Community deserves to be on air. Knowing goodbyes, and the end is nigh references aside, there was much harmonious fun to be had. Each of the musical numbers had their own merits, which is not something that can be said about some musicals. With the exception of Annie’s solo performance, which got progressively more disturbing, the lyrics and performances add up to what, frankly, is one of the funniest musicals ever made. Take that, West Side Story.

Starting with Abed’s startlingly true admission that all songs in musicals could be avoided with the use of facial expressions, moving swiftly into Troy and Abed’s fantastic rap homage, and culminating in the fantastic We Didn’t Start The Fire-style journey through music, each was a smart, funny, beautifully crafted spoof, and prove that, should the show not get a reprieve, the writers clearly have a career in pop music. Even Annie’s barely intelligible baby talk is better than anything NDubz has ever produced. Fact.

The comedy highlight, though, had to be Troy’s tone-deaf-to-perfection impression of Bob Dylan. Never have the tuneless ramblings of a madman been so enticing. And then, of course, there was the other thing that Community does so well – warm, authentic friendship. Whatever the outcome of the present situation, Community’s creators should be incredibly proud of what appears to be a genuine chemistry and camaraderie between their cast.

Whether it’s down to good writing or good acting we’ll never know, but what we see on screen is a joyous, occasionally cheesy, endlessly relatable piece of comedy genius. How that isn’t good enough for NBC defies belief. The sight of Winger attempting a choreographed Glee dance routine is surely worth the cost of the show alone.

So, as we leave the halls of LA’s most questionable educational institution for the last time this year, let’s congratulate Community on what has been – and will hopefully continue to be – a great run of amazing gags, hilarious mishaps, home to the greatest bromance since Joey and Chandler, and the most spectacular collection of shirts any man has ever possessed. But let’s also congratulate ourselves a little too – we were lucky enough to stumble upon a unique show that is not only unashamed of its nerdiness, it revels in and celebrates it.

Great TV for nerds is hard to come by, and in Community we’ve seen exactly what it should be like. Perhaps not quite a Christmas miracle, but close enough. Happy holidays, guys – see you next semester…?

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Read our review of episode nine, Foosball And Nocturnal Vigilantism, here.