Monday, December 24, 2012

Yuletide TV Day 24: Community

Series: Community

Episode: S1E12 "Comparative Religion"

Original airdate: December 10, 2009

Santa? Non-denominational Mr. Winter

Other holidays mentioned: Something called Merry Happy, Hanukkah

Availability: Hulu Plus and DVD

Unique Christmas Story:
Tis is probably not the episode that most people would pick when overing a Community Christmas, but let me make my argument as to why this is the best of the three Community Christmas episodes. I won't deny the sure brilliance of "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," I love that episode. I also won't deny the sheer fun that oozes out of "Regional Holiday Music," but that episode doesn't have a whole lot going on beyond the musical numbers.

I like "Comparative Religion" for its un-elaborative-ness. I don't mean it's simplistic in the way Cheers, was, in fact there are some big issues being dealt with in this episode. It's a nice half-way point in the show's first season where the characters are still discovering things about each other, and in this case, that thing is each other's religious beliefs. But wrapped up in their religious dialogue is also a story that stays true to the show's college experience roots.

This episode really deals with bullies. There are two kinds of bullies in the world: aggressive and passive-aggressive. The aggressive bully in this episode picks on Abed, and Jeff, who is tries to calm the bully down gets roped into a fight with him on the school grounds. Shirley is the passive-aggressive bully. When everyone is discussing their holiday plans she finds out not everyone in the study-group is Christian. While she invites everyone to come to her holiday party to celebrate their traditions, she gives  the party an overwhelming Christian vibe, going so far as to shove Annie's menorah into the depths of a Christmas tree.

Jeff is roped into a conflict with both bullies. Shirley does not want anyone to be fighting around Christmas and bans Jeff from her party. This alienates the rest of the group who don't believe Shirley is acting very Christian by doing so.

The episode has a lot of great moments, including the one below where Jeff puts some of Troy's fight advice into practice:

Like most of the Christmas episodes this one has a happy ending, but also takes a closer look at how we respect other people's traditions during this season than any other episode I've covered. 

Watch the episode and hit the comments with your thoughts.

Unique Christmas Message:
Everyone's faith is weird. 

I spend Christmas with a kid born and raised in West Philadelphia.

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