Good evening, Communies! (Or good morning for some of you considering how late I'm posting this.) jheaton here with all the reviewy, rounduppy goodness you've come to expect the day after a new episode of Community. And here in my time zone it still the day after the episode, so there.) But first, let me say thank to amtrak12 and lapacifidora for rounding up the reviews for "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" and "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" respectively. And if you're wondering where myr_soleil has been all these weeks ... well, I don't know all the details, but it all started like this.
Awright, let's get to them reviews and recaps! There are a metric assload of them this week, thanks to Amber and Moff's diligence at digging up reviews that neither I nor myr had ever tracked down. So mostly I'm just going to quote a line or two from each rather than summarize and comment on them. So in no particular order:
- Bruce Fretts, TV Guide: "Cheers to Community for going out on a high note — literally."
- Todd van der Werff, The A.V. Club: "I laughed myself silly at this one, to the point where I was devolving into hiccups at certain scenes, and I’m glad we get to go out on an episode like this, one that plays around with form and makes me laugh." He gave the episode an A.
- Ethan Alter, Television Without Pity: "It's been a dark semester for our favorite Greendale students … so it was thoughtful of the writers to offer up a light-hearted, music-filled Glee spoof for the show's last episode of 2011." He didn't grade the episode as a whole, but did grade each song: "Glee!" B; "Jehovah's Most Secret Witness" B+; "Baby Boomer Santa" A-; "Teach Me How to Understand Christmas" A+ ("Honestly, we stopped listening to anything Annie was saying or singing after she put on that Santa's helper outfit."); "Happy Birthday Jesus" B+; "Planet Christmas" A.
- Jennifer Marie, A Still and Quiet Conscience: "There was a time in the not-so-distant past where I was obsessed with Glee … and this is why last night's episode of Community hit such a high note (pardon the pun) with me." But she also notes that due to the indefinite nature of the hiatus, "it was a dark episode for a lot of us."
- Nana, SpoilerTV: "'Regional Holiday Music' stands out as a Christmas special, not because of the creative musical stylings for funny jokes, but instead by the time and care put into it. It has all of the symbolism and creative construction of a literary novel packaged in the form of a sitcom."
- Christian Blauvelt, Entertainment Weekly: "Last night’s all-time-series-high episode, 'Regional Holiday Music' was that most delicious of parodies: a parody of Glee! And even better, a musical parody of Glee that also served as a satisfying and eggnog-sweet holiday episode." Blauvelt gets bonus points for writing a full-length parody—four verses!—of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" mocking NBC.
- Alan Sepinwall, HitFix: "It wasn't planned this way, but there's a definite sense of 'Today, I take care of all Family business' to this one closing out the show's Glee hatred."
- Will Pfeifer, Chris Soprych, Melissa Westphal, Rockford Register Star: This is actually a podcast, and a fairly long one at that—24 minutes, 15 seconds—but it's worth listening to because it contains most of the songs in their entirety (it skips "Glee!"), and because Pfeifer and Soprych reminisce at great length—seriously, it's like a tenth of the running time—about the legendary Star Wars Holiday Special, which inspired the Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special seen at the end.
- Leigh Raines, TV Fanatic: "While the show definitely went out with a bang, it didn't totally blow my socks off. I think Community is at its absolute best when it's not trying too hard, and I felt that this is where things took a wrong turn tonight." She liked Troy and Abed's rap, but was icked out by Annie's number. She also lavished praise on an interchange between Shirley and Britta that, as far as I can tell, didn't actually happen, so I for one take her critiques with a grain of salt.
- Robert Canning, IGN: "The last episode of Community you'll see for an undisclosed amount of time. And to pour salt into our fandom wounds, it was a great episode." He thought the ending was a little hokey though.
- Cory Barker, TV Surveillance: "I liked 'Regional Holiday Music' quite a bit, particularly in spots that I’ll discuss momentarily. But I also think that this episode’s constant needling of Glee didn’t work and ultimately, made Community look like the obnoxious, pop culture 'parody' for popular culture parody’s sake that people who don’t like or watch it think it actually is."
- Jesse Carp, Television Blend: "Everybody who cares already knows that this is the last episode of Community before the hiatus. This is obviously crap news. And furthermore, it's crap news that we've already discussed at length so let's skip the rehash and instead move on to the good news, nay great new, this week's 'Regional "Holiday Music.'" He also detected "a certain amount of frustration, anger and anxiety, not to mention sinister undertones" in the episode.
- Yiannis Cove, Sound & Sight: "It combined everything that I love. Christmas, musicals, and hating of Glee, all thrown together in a very funny episode."
- George Prax, Better With Popcorn: "Maybe it wasn’t the most original episode. It wasn’t necessarily the funniest episode of Community either, not even the best Christmas episode. But it was light-hearted, it was fun, and it offered some great, memorable moments. And it reminded us of all the reasons why we like this show, and why we continue to support it."
- Louise, NiceGirlsTV: Actually, I couldn't really find anything worth quoting from this short recap. Nevertheless, here it is.
- Mark D Curran, TV Geek Army: "I didn’t think it was possible to top the stop-motion spectacular that was last year’s 'Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas' – in fact, I thought the musical gimmick would put a damper on the unspecified hiatus that Community heads into after tonight. I should know better by now. Dan Harmon has orchestrated what has got to be one of the greatest musical episodes of any series ever." (His previous favorite: Fringe’s "Brown Betty.")
- Luke Gelineau, Daemon's TV: "Well, that’s more like it! After the last couple episodes of Community have been notably lacking in the laughs department ever since, we’re given 'Regional Holiday Music.' This is the final episode before the much hyped and criticized hiatus of the show, so why not go out with a bang by bringing down one of the most popular show’s on TV?!" My advice to Mr. Gelineau: spend the hiatus studying up on the proper use of apostrophes.
- Brody Gibson, BoomTron: "My days have been made rather grim lately by a brutal attack of food poisoning (thanks Taco Time), but nothing brings a smile to my face quite like Christmas specials, and Community kicked off the night in a big way. It had everything I could ask for in a holiday themed romp: singing, dancing, horror, laughs, sentiment, conspiracy, parody and I’ll just stop there because I actually want to be able to talk about some of these things."
- Becky Quinn, Baltimore Sun TV Lust: "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." Quinn also recapped the rest of the NBC Thursday night lineup, in case you were wondering what happened on Whitney.
- Sean Gandert, Paste Magazine: "Wasn’t that a fine way to go out? Community loves holidays, and last year’s Christmas episode remains one of the show’s highlights. As with its best theme-episodes, the show bridged the gap between high-concept parody and character-based comedy." He gave it a rating 9.2 out of 10.
- Steve Heisler, New York Magazine Vulture: Considering how many Glee jabs Community has thrown in over the years, it’s equally heartbreaking and ironic that the final episode before its open-ended hiatus is Glee-tinged. And it treats the source material in a very Community way, mocking the mega FOX hit from a meta distance, yet embracing a lot of what makes Glee appealing to large audience."
- Alyssa Rosenberg, ThinkProgress: "I cannot say how much I appreciated Jeff resorting to his mad law skills to shut down one of the parts of Greendale he hates most, declaring, “Glee club, meet ASCAP,” with vengeful joy." But: "I thought [Annie's song] was the worst part of the episode."
- Daniel Carlson, Houston Press Art Attack: "I don't like Glee. It's a ridiculous cartoon that has zero emotional continuity and uses its characters as paper dolls upon which the writers hang whatever emotional state they need a character to have that week. It's not good. But more importantly, I like Community more than I dislike Glee. I don't need 22 minutes of doot-doot music cues and jabs at a cheesy Fox teen melodrama. I need Greendale to feel like its own place, proud and secure, not pissy or scared or too bored to do anything but lash out at another show as a way to establish its own personality."
- Joshua Kurp, Splitsider: "As a living, breathing Glee fan — yeah, well, fuck you, too — let me just say that this episode NAILED the show's slightly disturbing, win-it-for-the-kids-but-actually-for-me Schue subtext." And he named the tag with the Dean, Chang, Magnitude, Starburns, and Leonard as "Reason #59."
- Katie Lucas, Character Grades: "Community set the bar almost impossibly high for holiday programming after last season’s tremendous claymation episode. I loved that Christmas episode so much that I was apprehensive going into 'Regional Holiday Music.' Then I realized the episode was going be a version of Glee on ecstasy, and all my expectations were exceeded. It was Goddamn delightful." Her grades: Abed: A; Troy: A+; Annie: B+; Britta, B+; Mr. Rad: A. She also reviewed Todd van der Werff's A.V. Club review, calling it "exceptional and poignant." So make sure you read that one or she'll be cross.
- Andrea Towers, The Voice of TV: "I can safely sum up this episode with two statements: 1. Dan Harmon is a crazy, unparalleled, bonafide genius. 2. Community, don’t leave me!" Towers also recapped the episode for TV Overmind, where she wrote, "the show went out on the highest creative notes possible."
- Emily Cheever, ...ology: "While I would like to say I loved this episode purely because of it's resounding heart, I think I mostly enjoyed it because it was just a great satirical representation of Glee." Cheever, get together with Luke Gelineau to brush up on the difference between its and it's.
- Barry Stagg, ApeDonkey: "I definitely liked that the music sort of came from a place of plot but also from a place of whimsy." Later he adds, "it would be sort of ironic if this episode of Community was the highest rated yet."
Irony was successfully averted, as ratings fell one-fifth of a percent to a 1.5 rating/4 share in the demo. On the other hand, we managed to get like eleven different topics to trend on Twitter this week, so we've got that going for us, which is nice.
That wraps it up for now! See you when the next new episode airs, whenever the hell that is. Sorry to get this up so late! It's still Friday where I am, at least.