NBC is batting three for three tonight with its best sitcoms.
NBC says of “Regional Holiday Music”:
When the Greendale Glee Club is unexpectedly sidelined, the school's effervescent choir director Cory Radison (Taran Killam) sets about recruiting the study group members to fill in. Skeptical at first, they eventually fall under his hypnotic spell - one-by-one - singing and dancing their way to the annual Christmas Pageant.
Tonight’s elaborate “Community” installment is bittersweet because it’s likely the last we’ll see for at least three or four months. “30 Rock” will do battle with “Big Bang Theory” this winter and perhaps beyond. More in invisotext.
* I think this episode might be asking the musical question “What if the body snatchers were really gay, but not necessarily homosexual gay?” The allusions are subtle until they’re not.
* The first line belongs to Annie: “Wow. They found a way to make The Human Being even creepier.”
* While I approve of the amount of Senor Chang this week, I much prefer the amount we got last week.
* Abed (who only appears in this episode after The Human Being leaves) discloses early on that he has acquired a legendary 1981 “Inspector Spacetime” Christmas special. Near episode’s end, we get to see some of it!
* I wish I had a dollar for every utterance of the words “glee” or “regionals” in this episode.
* Fans of Alison Brie should find pleasing Jewish Annie’s Santa suit.
* Brace for another excellent Britta dance.
NBC says of “Citizen Knope”:
Unable to get work done from inside the Parks Department, Leslie forms a citizen action group and fights from the outside. Meanwhile, everyone in the office brainstorms ideas for what to get Leslie for Christmas.
* We learn early on that Ben is already interviewing for non-government jobs. One of the guys he interviews with reminds me a lot of Toby Flenderson.
* Leslie’s gifts for her campaign staff made me laugh harder than the gifts she got for her parks department staff. Amy Poehler sells this moment perfectly.
* This episode contains at least two great Andy/April/food gags.
* Ben’s scene with the heretofore unseen Eddie is hilarious.
* For what I’m guessing is the first time, the episode’s epilogue features NONE of the regular characters.
NBC says of “Christmas Wishes”:
Andy tries to make this year's Christmas the best ever by granting each person's holiday wishes. Meanwhile, Robert California tries to drown his sorrows at the office party.
I laughed hard last week when Andy yelled “Tuna!” as he pried Jim Halpert off the ladder. Tonight’s excellent installment of “The Office” reminded me a lot of the series’ episodes of yore, when the gags seemed more inspired and events carried consequence. More in the text invisible.
* NBC fails to mention (but does depict in its promos) that this episode introduces Andy’s hot new girlfriend, an assistant cross country coach at Bryn Mawr College.
* Pam is still wholly absent this week.
* Kelly Erin gets quite drunk and does some dancing and other things.
* Expect references to at least two “Daily Show” vets not named Steve Carell or Ed Helms.
* I watched Kelly’s quasi-verbal reaction to California’s ethnic holiday greeting three times now. (See clip above.) It cracks me up every time.
* I correctly guessed what precipitated California’s sorrows, as many others will.
* The term “deskclump” is central to one of the episode’s lesser plotlines.
* Mark Proksch, the alter ego of faux yo-yo entertainer Kenny "K-Strass" Strasser, appears again this week, this time as one of the warehouse employees.
* Somebody ponied up for The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping,” which is cool.
* Dwight tonight breaks out his falconry gloves.
* We learn Oscar lived in the East Village in 1983.
* I loved the oatmeal gag.
* Near episode’s end, The Nard Dog offers a well-chosen term for a component of Meredith’s anatomy.