Community Season 3:10 ‘Regional Holiday Music’

Did I miss something? Are we in an alternate reality? No one was wearing a felt goatee so it’s not the evil reality. When did the Community study group fill in for the Greendale Glee club? Was Taran Killam always the director of the Glee club?

Community creator Dan Harmon often has fun referring to things that may or may not have happened in his characters’ collective history on screen. This aspect of the show has been mined for a great deal of comedy as in season 2’s “Paradigms of Human Memory,” a flashback-clip show hybrid that flashed back and showed clips of Study Group adventures that we’d never actually seen.

No flashbacks in “Regional Holiday Music” just references to when the study group filled in for the Glee Club that leave you wonderfully intrigued. If you recall, again from “Paradigms of Human Memory,” the Greendale Glee Club perished in a bus crash last year.

Now, a new Glee Club has emerged to torment all with their song stylings in the Greendale lunch room. But why is Jeff (Joel McHale) so calm? After all, Jeff hates the Glee Club more than anyone. Jeff is calm because he has a devious plan; he’s passed on to the ever litigious gang at ASCAP that songs were being performed in public without the artist’s permission.

This, naturally, sends the Glee Club into hysterics, a massive, collective breakdown that may mean the cancellation of the Greendale Christmas Pageant unless the Study Group will work together to replace the Glee Club and put on a show.

Abed (Danny Pudi) is the first to join up with Mr. Rad (Taran Killiam) the Glee Club’s ever-perky director. Abed is upset that his friends have made holiday plans that don’t involve the group spending time together and he hopes the Christmas Pageant will bring them together.

Of course, Abed is able to convince Troy (Donald Glover) to join him, even as Troy is a Jehovah’s Witness and not supposed to partake of Christmas cheer. That’s nothing that a hip hop song about becoming secret agent investigating Christmas can’t solve.

Pierce (Chevy Chase) is next as Troy and Abed team up on a rock n’ roll tribute to Baby Boomers and their ego-driven willingness to believe that they created everything ever. Annie (Alison Brie) is easily recruited next, almost entirely off-screen. Then it’s her turn to get Jeff using a song that is a pitch perfect send up of Glee’s tendency to sexualize its teen characters.

Of course, Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) and Britta (Gillian Jacobs) fall in line and soon the whole study group is talking about going to Regionals, whatever the hell they are. The resolution finds Abed stumbling onto Mr. Rad’s scheme to get to regionals or kill the study group the same way he killed the previous Glee Club.

Random notes:

Gillian Jacobs has completely transformed Britta. Where once Britta was the unattainable blonde beauty destined for a happily ever after with Jeff’s easily reformed womanizer; the Diane to Jeff’s Sam on Cheers, now she is a brilliantly original comic creation. Jacobs’ interpretative dance during the Christmas Pageant was pure comic gold and worthy of a Best Supporting Actress Emmy.

Why haven’t we seen more parodies of Glee? “Regional Holiday Music” addresses that idea indirectly. As Abed and Troy attempt to recruit everybody, after having ditched the study room table for risers and chairs, Jeff makes it clear that it doesn’t make you a bully just because you don’t like Glee. That show’s creator, Ryan Murphy, has in the past asserted that critics of Glee are bullies.

I can honestly tell you I don’t know if I was turned on or terribly disturbed by Alison Brie’s ‘sexy’ Christmas song for Jeff. On the one hand, there’s no denying that Brie is very attractive. On the other hand, Brie’s increasingly brain damaged performance found a range of funny and crazy that pretty well negated anything remotely sexy.

There was a Chang (Ken Jeong) sighting in “Regional Holiday Music” he served the ASCAP cease and desists on the Glee Club. Have the writers of Community run out of Chang stories?