Community’s stop-mo Xmas show

In case you missed it last night, NBC’s Community ran its Christmas episode “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”, which was produced in stop-motion animation. Duke Johnson directed and complete production credits for this episode have been posted at 23D Films.com. Here it is, in its entirety, off Hulu.com:


  • brendon

    I loved this.

    Like Community in general, it managed to be really wry about the genre conventions it was parodying while still having a tremendous amount of heart.

  • SMP Belltown

    I think this Christmas episode worked really well.

    One thing that I think helped it work was the fact that the whole show was animated in the same style. Sometimes when shows like The Simpsons include 3D animation segments, it seems too jarring because the rest of the episode was created in the usual format. In this year’s Community Christmas episode, the only break from the stop-motion characters that I really noticed was the reflection of the the actors’ faces in the (stop-motion) TV screen at the very end. That was a really elegant way to wrap up this episode.

  • Grimmy

    We Hulu-less Canadians can go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqEB6Xv9JV4

  • Jerold

    Nice work! Congratulations on a job well done!

  • Mike Clark

    Great Script…great animation…beautiful sets and special effects. Wonder what the production schedule was?

    Only thing a little ‘off’ that I noticed was the border surrounding Abed’s pupils. A problem with the curing process of plastic or intentional?

  • http://thelinknewspaper.com Christopher Olson

    Unlike a lot of animated shows, it has just the right amount of parody and originality, with originality tipping the scales. And I really liked the caricature of Alison Brie!

  • http://listentoectomania.wordpress.com kader

    best comedy on tv ever?

  • james madison

    Hopefully we can see equal amounts of stop motion, cg, 2d etc. all in the near future of animation.

  • http://inconstruction Mr. Goofer

    The animation looked awkward and stiff; like puppets from tv shows in the 50′s. The silly pasted on mouths did not work; they looked out of place. The whole show was meant only for die-hard fans, which I am not. I turned it on only for the animation, which turned out to be unappealing and a waste of time for me.

    • tredlow

      It was supposed to parody those old stop-motion Christmas Specials, so I’m pretty sure it’s intentional.

    • http://www.illegibleme.com Andrew Smith

      Oh, I dunno. I came to this having never seen a single episode of Community and found it all rather charming.

    • Christina S.

      “The animation looked awkward and stiff; like puppets from tv shows in the 50’s.”

      That… that was the point.

  • http://www.jeffsimonetta.com Jeffrey Simonetta

    I have never seen this show before, And I was able to generally get the idea who the characters were, which is great. I probably will start watching it now because of this.

    I also like the scripts respect towards animation. Like calling animation a medium and not a genre, correcting the shrink when he asked if they were made from clay, and the joke on the public domain music.

    • sean

      Gotta agree, when he said silicone head, ball and socket armature, foam latex body I did squee a little.

      I agree about the mouths, but thats a pretty uniform technique on stop mo these days. And usually, the puppets are not so close to actual proportions.

      I think the sculptor did a great job with the caricature porton. The cast looks like the cast, but sadly, Britta and Jeff fall into the uncanny valley, looking more grotesque than attractive.

      For new comers, I think this ep was NOT the best writing. Its a great show, one that deserves attention. Might be that they had to lock in the script so early, that it didnt get the usual re-writes or added last minute jokes. Who knows. Still better than a lot of comedies on right now.

      • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

        That’s probably very true regarding the writing. Community’s definitely a show whose strengths are in improvisation, whereas it would be very expensive and time consuming to have a changing script. Also give thumbs up to the uncanny valley mention, cause I also had that feeling like Britta was somewhere between zombies and prosthetic hands (Jeff I felt was more charicatured with his forehead that didn’t leave him on the valley). Then again she was always strange looking in live action, so IDK.

        All in all a very SPECIAL christmas special indeed which will hopefully get more people watching what I think is a very underated show!

      • http://www.webstercolcord.com Webster Colcord

        See now Abed the puppet was not entirely accurate about the medium he was being animated in, a lot of the armatures were wire, not ball-and-socket. And most of the time the arms were wire even if the body was ball-and-socket.

  • Tim Douglas

    What a great episode, Fantastic writing – the perfect balance of comedy & sentiment. Spot on animation for the parody it was doing. I’m adding this to my Christmas collection.

    Two thumbs waaaaay up in the air from me!

    I don’t think community will ever let me put them down.

    @james madison: Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

  • geekzapoppin

    COMMUNITY has become my must-see sitcom over the past year. I wasn’t impressed by the first episode when it aired and hadn’t given it another chance until I kept hearing about how smart and funny it was. I ended up watching the whole first season this summer in a period of a few days. It hooked me. I love this show and its characters. The fact that they did a stop-motion Christmas episode is further proof of the writers’ love of film and television. Abed is a shaman.

  • http://room23store.blogspot.com/ paburrows

    Man that was awesome! I’ve watched one or two episodes of this show, I’ll have to make it a regular show now. I’d like to see what Big Bang Theory would do with Stop Motion.

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    I’m a big fan of COMMUNITY, and so any special or themed episode is always a treat. Abed is a super-geeky and unconventionally-wise character, which makes his waking up in stop-action animation pretty believable.

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    This season started out pretty weak (compared to how strong the first season ended) but by the third or fourth episode it really hit its stride again, and the last few have been excellent. This animated episode was just yet another topping of the previous high point (which the last several episodes have all been). I’m kind of afraid that this is just going to lead to massive disappointment in the show later on.

  • dennis s.

    I hope it becomes their tradition to do Animated Christmas Specials every year. That would really really be great.

    • http://exitplanetwhom.blogspot.com doctorwhom

      I doubt they would. This one played perfectly on Abed’s obsession with tv traditions, and his predicament with his mother. It would be hard for the writers to justify another repeat without it seeming forced. I imagine Abed would object to a show having a “finding the meaning of xmas” ep every season.

      Perhaps another medium though, 2d?

      • http://tedzey.wordpress.com tedzey

        YES! now that would be a treat to see it in 2-d!

  • Goat

    It took a few minutes into the episode for the synapse in my brain to fire and remember that I’ve seen Dino Stamatopoulos–creator of Moral Orel, among other animation and comedy credits–as a recurring character on the show, as well as in the credits on a regular basis.

  • gpwatson

    ‘community’ started poorly but somehow morphed from a pretty average network sitcom (with a poorly cast lead) into a meta show ABOUT sitcoms, genre films and tv conventions such as ‘bottle shows’. i became a fan after catching the ‘paintball’ episode. that said, the christmas episode was a step down. the puppets didn’t really look like the actors, the writing was weak, and the songs were awful. unlike many songs from classic animation which still are truly catchy and memorable 30 plus years later.