Welcome to Looking Streets Behind, a weekly Community retrospective column! Each week, we’ll dive into a Community episode that has reached the 10th-anniversary milestone. This go-round, I’m ranking the songs from “Regional Holiday Music.” It’s what any good Human Being would do when they’re running out of ideas for a weekly column. This is my favorite Community Christmas episode and every song showcased in “Regional Holiday Music” is pitch-perfect (See what I did there?). Ergo, ranking these numbers was difficult, but alas, I pulled through.
So, without further ado, here’s the fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-REMIX! Please don’t sue me, ASCAP.
7. “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” with Shirley and a children’s choir
Yvette Nicole Brown has a heavenly voice, so Community did right by capitalizing on that. I love that Pierce (Chevy Chase) uses an adorable children’s choir singing about Christmas and Jesus to coerce Shirley into joining Glee Club. The somber tone at the beginning is reminiscent of one of those melancholic commercials with lonely puppies. Shirley attempting to refrain from singing is hilarious. Of course, you simply cannot deny the children. Those innocent, sweet children. They’ll never learn what December 25 truly encapsulates due to the public school system’s war on the church. Oh, the shame. Again, Brown’s voice is absolutely divine. I wish we heard more of it.
6. “Carol of the Bells” with Dean Pelton, Chang, Magnitude, Leonard and Star-Burns
Naturally, Community has its own rendition of “Carol of the Bells” with some of its brightest pupils and staff. Dean Pelton (Jim Rash), Chang (Ken Jeong), Magnitude (Luke Youngblood), Leonard (Richard Erdman) and Star-Burns (Dino Stamatopoulos) shower us in Merry Happy by singing their name or catchphrase with the melody from “Carol of the Bells.” Their faces appear in various ornaments on a Christmas tree. Leonard just blows raspberries, which is pretty on-brand for him. Star-Burns says, “My name is Alex,” over and over again. We get it. Your name is Star-Burns! Chang wishes us all a Merry Chang-mas until a rogue cat paw swipes him off the tree. It’s utterly adorable and the perfect button to a perfect episode.
5. “Planet Christmas feat. Britta’s Awkward Song” with The Greendale Seven
Question: are Planet Christmas and Planet Abed one and the same? I’d like to think they are. The night Mr. Radison (Taran Killam) has been dreaming of has finally arrived — the Greendale Christmas Pageant! Our Greendale Seven sing their hearts out while reveling in the magic of Planet Christmas. However, the real star is Britta (Gillian Jacobs), who unleashes her heart’s song because that’s where the lyrics are, duh-doy! In my humble opinion, the tree should’ve always been the star of the pageant. Jacobs is hysterical in this scene. Yes, Britta’s in this. Yes, only her friends can dub her “the worst.” We should always let Britta sing her awkward song.
4. “Baby Boomer Santa” with Troy, Abed and Pierce
This time-traveling piece has Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) tapping into Pierce’s generational vanity by hailing the baby boomers as true curators of music through song. It’s a fun number that sees Troy and Abed donning various costumes and instruments as they whiz through the decades. Not to mention, watching Jeff (Joel McHale), Annie (Alison Brie), Britta and Shirley’s reactions to the performance is always a hoot. Glover and Pudi are just so damn talented. Baby Boomer Santa, thank you for everything! But can you fix MTV and make it about the music again?
3. “Glee” with Abed and Mr. Radison
“Glee! It’s a feeling you get when your brain finally lets your heart get in its pants!” Killam and Pudi are pure holiday magic in this song. The whole premise of the episode is to poke fun at Glee, and “Glee” hits the nail on the head. Radison’s piano continuing to play despite him leaving said piano. The impromptu choreographed dance number. The harmonizing. Plus, we get a glimpse of Radison’s madness, or his “Manson” side, as Jeff would put it. It’s just a gleeful Community song. Get it? I’ll see myself out.
2. “Christmas Infiltration” with Troy and Abed
Admittedly, this is the first time I heard Donald Glover rap, and I wasn’t disappointed. He knows a thing or two about rapping and perhaps wrapping too. Glover and Pudi always have excellent chemistry, and “Christmas Infiltration” puts that on full display. I love how Abed persuades Troy to “pretend” to like Christmas so he could ultimately dismantle it as “Jehovah’s most secret witness.” I would listen to a Troy and Abed rap album. Someone make it happen. Perhaps in the Community movie that’s yet to come?
1. “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas” with Annie
Here’s my top pick for best song in “Regional Holiday Music”! Y’all knew it would be this number. “Teach Me How to Understand Christmas” showcases Brie’s vocal and comedic skills to perfection. Giving Annie the Betty Boop treatment and having her progressively turn “baby-like” throughout the song is genius personified. “Look, eventually you hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness,” is a very Jeff reaction to have to such a display. Obviously, it was enough to morph him into a temporary Glee Club fanatic. Overall, the number is festively funny with a great performance from Brie, and it toys with Jeff and Annie’s natural chemistry. Boop-be-doop-be-doop-boop-sex!
How would you rank the songs in Community‘s “Regional Holiday Music”? Sound off in the comments below! Human Beings, Looking Streets Behind will be going on a brief hiatus. Think of it as the break between the midseason finale and the back half of said season, but shorter. This isn’t AMC. We’ll pick up where we left off with our episodic retrospectives on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, for the 10th anniversary of “Asian Population Studies.” Thank you so much for reading my ramblings. Merry Happy!
Have a joyous New Year and stay streets ahead. We’ll see you all after Regionals!