NBC Thursday Night Comedies: Holiday Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for our favorite comedies — holiday specials! Yes, they get a little corny. Yes, ugly Christmas sweaters and ties are worn. But isn’t that what we love about the holiday season?

“Community”: Greendale needs a new glee club yet again (they need to make it to regionals!), and who better to fa-la-la at the holiday pageant than the study group? However, not everyone is so keen on the idea, so glee club director Mr. Rad ("SNL's" Taran Killam) uses Abed to recruit the rest of the crew. What follows can only be considered the greatest holiday album of all time. Each study group member gets their own solo musical number with Abed as he brings them over to the dark side. Highlights include Troy bringing out his inner Childish Gambino in a Jehovah’s witness-themed rap and Annie as slutty Santa crooning her own confused Jewish carol. Once the entire study group is finagled into starring in the pageant, all hell breaks loose when Abed hands the lead role over to Britta, the worst singer on the planet. Seeing his chances at regionals crumble before his very eyes, a gleeful Mr. Rad snaps and reveals his inner-lunatic. In the end, the study group was never meant to be a glee club, but their rendition of “The First Noel” was sweeter than a sugar plum.

“Parks and Recreation”: Not surprisingly, Leslie is the best gift-giver ever. She literally gets each of the Parks department staff the perfect gift, including automatic door shutters for Ron, a cheetah-print silk robe emblazoned with “You Can Get It” across the back for Donna, a portrait of herself finally killing the Black Eyed Peas for April and my personal favorite, a watch (reading “Baller Time”) and a throne for Tom becauses she couldn’t get him Watch the Throne concert tickets. Now, the Parks department is determined to get her something equally as awesome. They decide to build a gingerbread replica of the department, which produces the single best candy creation ever, a marshmallow Ron Swanson. Meanwhile, Leslie is suspended, so she passes her time by forming the P.C.P. (Parks Committee of Pawnee), which, according to Leslie, is “so fast-acting and powerful it should be illegal." In typical Leslie-fashion, she has high hopes and big dreams for the committee that only leads to driving poor Chris crazy, so she apologizes from the L.S.D. (Leslie Sorry Division). She also receives the unfortunate news that the scandal surrounding her and Ben’s relationship made her rating drop down to 1 percent and her campaign committee quits on her. Thankfully, the Parks department seizes the opportunity to give Leslie the perfect gift, even more perfect than a gingerbread replica of the department, and in one of the most heart-warming moments of the season, they offer to be her campaign committee.

“The Office”: Holiday parties at Dundler-Mifflin are always a wild time. This year is no different, as Robert California peer pressures Erin into ripping shots. At first, drunk Erin is great, doing an uncanny Stanley impression, but things take a turn for the worse when she uses her holiday wish to wish that Andy kills his own girlfriend. Yikes. Kelly doesn’t help Erin’s case when she accuses Andy’s girlfriend of farting (such a "Mean Girls" move) in the middle of the party. The highlight of this episode comes when Dwight decides to rock out to the Carol of the Bells with his crew of weirdos — Creed, Gabe and Nate from the warehouse (who is stranger than the three of them combined). Never forget the wise words from Santa Andy: “Mistletoe is not an excuse for sexual assault.”

“Whitney”: This week, we meet Whitney’s messed-up, divorced, selfish, lying parents (Jane Kaczmarek and Peter Gallagher); no wonder Whitney is such a hot mess. In an attempt to avoid spending the holidays with those two loons, Whitney lies that they are going on a cruise with Alex’s parents. She should have known that lying would only come back to bite her, and it does, when she finds her parents, post-coital, at the local Motel 6. She flees the scene and returns home to her friend's Christmas party, where some serious yet completely unnecessary soul bearing goes down (thanks for sharing that you journal, Mark). Of course, Whitney’s parents show up and apologize for all the years of lying and horrible Christmases and, of course, Whitney forgives them. The moral of the story? Christmas is time to spend with the dysfunctional families that we can’t help but love.

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