Sitcom-based svithe:
The meaning of Christmas is that Christmas has a meaning.


Do you watch Community? It's part of NBC's Thursday-night lineup and it's brilliant and clever and hilarious and meta and I recommend it. The other week they ran their Christmas episode, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" (temporarily available at NBC and Hulu and you can always just ask Google to find it for you). Here's a clip:

(Incidentally, since Abed is singing new words to the theme song, whenever someone says no shows today have decent original theme songs, I just start humming Community's. I can't help myself.)

The first thing you're apt to notice is the stop-motion. This is not something that Community does every week and I was worried that it would end up being a painful gimmick, but although it was less consistently hilarious than other episodes and perhaps slightly uneven, the stop-motion was not merely a gimmick. It mattered to the story.

Essentially, Abed's Christmas is not quite right and so he's imagining the world in stop-motion and, as stop-motion, the gang sets off to help Abed find the meaning of Christmas on Planet Abed with its 7%-cinnamon atmosphere.

At this point I'm about to move into serious give-away-the-ending SPOILER territory so if that bothers you, go away, watch, return.

Eventually Abed finds the meaning of Christmas and while at first it seems utterly anti-climactic, the more I think about it the more I appreciate it.*

The meaning of Christmas is that Christmas has a meaning.

The meaning of Christmas is that Christmas has a meaning.

We assign Christmas meaning. For many of us that's wrapped up in baby Jesus and angels and stuff, but not everyone's signed up for Jesus and if, for them, the meaning of Christmas is a warm silence spent around the fire with wine and grandparents then I think that's awesome.

A time of year whose meaning differs for all of us, but can always mean something true and wonderful.

What a beautiful holiday.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Whatever that means for you.

Christmas Pterodactyl

previous svithe


  1. David and I were thinking we should get that episode in hard copy and keep it alongside the Rankin and Bass classics to watch every Christmas. Partly because we too liked the moral, but mostly for the Christmas pterodactyl. Good stuff, that.

  2. Yep, one of the ONLY TV shows I make it a point to watch.