From heartwarming Christmas specials to terrifyingly hilarious Halloween adventures, Community always made sure to celebrate the holidays in style.
Modern television, especially the comedy genre, is often forced to conform to a built-in structure. However, Dan Harmon's hit comedy series about a rag-tag group of friends at Greendale Community College is able to break the rules and step outside of reality without drastically changing the characters or impacting the overreaching narrative.
The series, which became well known for its bizarre high-concept episodes, used holidays such as Christmas and Halloween to its advantage, giving viewers a unique, imaginative and wildly entertaining television experience that refused to conform to a specific style or format. Here's our ranking of the top ten Community holiday episodes.
10 "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"
"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" might be our least favorite Community holiday episode, but that doesn't mean we hate it! Jeff and Britta spend Thanksgiving with Jeff's newly discovered father and half-brother, while the rest of the study group attempt to ditch Shirley's boring party.
"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations" does a great job of adding more emotion and heart to the fourth season of Community, which is easily the shows weakest season. Unfortunately, the more emotional aspects of the episode come at the cost of good humor and memorable gags.
9 "Early 21st Century Romanticism"
It's far from the best holiday special, but"Early 21st Century Romanticism" isn't a complete failure! Following a major argument, Jeff ditches the study group to hang out with Professor Duncan, but is tricked into throwing a party by Chang. Meanwhile, Troy and Abed participate in a friendly competition for a librarian's affection, while Britta attends the school dance with a girl she incorrectly assumes is a lesbian.
Taking the tone of the series back to where it began, "Early 21st Century Romanticism" struggles to give us an entirely memorable holiday special. Despite that, however, the episode offers plenty of laughs and hits viewers with a surprisingly heartwarming message.
8 "Comparative Religion"
The series' first Christmas episode might not be its best, but there's still plenty to love! When Shirley invites the rest of the gang to her Christmas party, she is shocked to learn that she is the only Christian in the study group. Meanwhile, Jeff defends Abed and stands up to the school bully, getting into his very first fight.
As the first official Christmas themed episode of Community, "Comparative Religion" plays it pretty safe. With that said, however, the excellent group of characters and a narrative that brings the study group closer together makes it an incredibly heartwarming and endlessly re-watchable episode.
7 "Communication Studies"
Things get a little bit complicated for Jeff on Valentine's day! When an extremely drunk Britta leaves Jeff a slightly embarrassing voice message, he and Abed set out to break the awkwardness by getting drunk and leaving an equally embarrassing message. Meanwhile, Annie and Shirley attempt to humiliate Señor Chang to defend Troy and Pierce.
Filled with hilarious gags, a witty plot, and some of the series' most memorable character moments, "Communication Studies" is an extremely funny and heartwarming episode that explores the relationships between characters in new and exciting ways.
6 "Paranormal Parentage"
Who doesn't love a Scooby-Doo-esque horror special? When the gang attempts to attend Vicki's Halloween party without Pierce, who wasn't invited or wanted at the event, the eldest member of the group interrupts the entire evening. Calling from his locked panic room, Pierce sends his closest friends on a mission to find the missing security code. When they arrive at Pierce's mansion, however, they are completely unsurprised to find a houseful of horrors waiting for them.
While "Paranormal Parentage" is far from the series' most enjoyable Halloween special, it is an extremely fun and spooky ride with the hilarious group of characters! Working mostly because of the spooky set-up and unique narrative, the episode develops the characters in surprising ways and does a good job of hitting the emotional beats while maintaining the comedic elements.
5 "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps"
"Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps" is without a doubt one of the funniest Halloween episodes Community has to offer. In an attempt to discover which member of the group might be a "cool ranch lunatic" with homicidal tendencies, Britta forces everyone to tell their spookiest story.
Revealing more about the characters than expected from a Halloween special, "Horror Fiction In Seven Spooky Steps" is one of the series' more substantial Halloween episodes, delivering laugh after laugh while delving further into the characters.
4 "Introduction To Statistics"
The series' first Halloween episode is unquestionably one of the best! In the episode, Annie throws a Dia De Los Muertos party for the entire Spanish class, which she believes will be a total failure unless Jeff makes an appearance. Instead of showing up and supporting his newfound friends, however, Jeff, dressed as a cowboy, attends a different Halloween party in the hopes that he'll score a date with his extremely attractive statistics teacher, Michelle Slater. Meanwhile, Pierce gets high and causes trouble for the entire study group, forcing Jeff to choose between his friends and Slater.
"Introduction To Statistics" might not be as strange or ridiculously meta as later Halloween episodes, but it does a great job of exploring the core group of characters and gives us a good idea of how the show will expand the different friendships in future episodes.
3 "Regional Holiday Music"
Community became known for referencing beloved movies and TV shows, but the series' parody of Glee is perhaps the most memorable! When Jeff takes down the highly irritating Greendale Glee Club, Mr. Rad begs our beloved study group to fill in once again. Despite the fact that the group agreed to never since again, each member is eventually lured into the club with a catchy and original song.
Delivering some of the shows most memorable moments, including “Jehovah's Secret Witness," performed by Troy and Abed, and Annie's "Teach Me How To Understand Christmas" performance, "Regional Holiday Music" is undeniably one of the shows most entertaining and unapologetically festive episodes.
"Epidemiology" is certainly one of the weirder Community episodes, but that's why it's one of our favorites! When Dean Pelton mistakenly serves contaminated military rations at the annual Halloween party, infected students transform into violent and bloodthirsty zombies. Locked inside the school, the study group must fight their way through the hoard of zombies in an attempt to activate the air-conditioning and save the infected students.
Playing with the horror genre and typical zombie tropes, "Epidemiology" is undoubtedly the series' most ambitious and entertaining Halloween episode, highlighting the shows ability to step outside of reality and give viewers and exceptionally unique and original experience.
1 "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas"
There's no denying that this Christmas themed episode is an absolute delight! After learning that his mother won't be visiting him for the holidays, Abed loses his grip on reality and begins to see the world in stop-motion animation, meaning the entire episode is expertly stop-motion animated. Hoping to discover why Abed is suffering from this delusion, the group and Professor Duncan set out on an imaginary adventure to find the true meaning of Christmas.
It would be truly impossible to count all of the reasons "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" works as a Christmas special, but most Community fans would agree that the beautifully crafted episode stands out as one of the shows more heartwarming and emotional offerings. More than perhaps any other episode in the series, this heartwarming Christmas special highlights how close the group has become since they first gathered in the Study Room.