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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MY NEW FAVORITE ADULT-X SPECIAL



"X" as in "Xmas," of course. If it had been the other kind of "adult," there would have been at least three X's.

I say "adult" because most such Xmas specials, whether done as stand-alone programs or episodes of a series (the latter being the case with this very special Claymation episode of COMMUNITY), aim at being "all-ages."

But "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" is, in essence, adult comedy about the pangs of the holiday season, about growing up and having one's family disappoint one, about the possibility of finding surcease from sorrow in a new "community" of friends.

For that reason, "Uncontrollable" may not play all that well with kids, though I plan to subject my nephew and nieces to it on Xmas Eve in order to find out.

The plot is an adult send-up of familiar holiday tropes. Quirky community-college student Abed has something of a mental breakdown due to a psychological problem not revealed until the episode's end. Abed sees everyone he encounters, especially his study-group "family," as Claymation figures based in Xmas themes. One might call this Abed's "licorice-night of the soul," with lots of wry jokes and absurdist fantasy. But for my money no teleseries has ever done a better job with dealing with Christmas in terms of how human beings create meaning for themselves through their ritual practices.

The episode's on Hulu. Merry Winter Solstice!

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