Director: Duke Johnson — Writer: Dino Stamatopoulos & Dan Harmon — Aired: 12/9/2010 —Season: Two — Number: Eleven Summary: When Abed imagines that the world has become stop motion animated, Professor Duncan and the study group try to help him by discovering the true meaning of Christmas.
Religiously, I'm Muslim, but I've always been a big fan of Christmas and this is the most important Christmas in the history of the universe. I'm assuming that's why we're all stop motion animated.
In the cafeteria, Dean Pelton announces to the student body that any celebration of the upcoming holidays at school are to be non-denominational. Abed joins the rest of the study group at their table and is disappointed after finding out what their plans are for Christmas. Pierce wonders why he cares at all since he is Muslim. Abed replies that despite his religion, he has always enjoyed Christmas. He notes that this year's must be special since they are all being stop motion animated. Everyone is both confused and concerned by his statement. He encourages them to just go along with the format change and decides break out into song. His performance takes him out to the school parking lot where he damages a few parked cars before being tazed by campus security.
Committing to the format with an opening musical number.
Later, Abed is in Ian Duncan's office being interviewed by the professor with Britta and Jeff sitting in on the session. After Duncan hears his reasons for what happened, he sees an opportunity to exploit Abed's psychological problems for his own gain. Abed refuses his suggestion of hypnotherapy and instead decides that he needs to discover the true meaning of Christmas in order to restore everything back to normal. He ignores Britta's warning that the school is threatening him with expulsion if he doesn't get help. Outside, Abed is singing a sad song and building a snowman. It turns out the snowman is actually Chang who berates Abed for his delusions. Abed then receives a text message from Britta telling him the meaning of Christmas is in the study room.
Abed meets Snowman Chang.
When he gets there, he is disappointed to find the study group and Duncan are there to stage an intervention. Duncan calms him down by playing along with his delusion and claiming to be a "The Christmas Wizard" and convinces Abed that he'll take him on a magical journey to find the true meaning of the holiday. Abed agrees, and he quickly imagines that everyone in the study room has been transported to his own winter wonderland "Planet Abed". Once there ,they all transform into Christmas cartoon versions of themselves-Jeff-in-the-box, Britta Bot, Ballerannie, Baby Doll Shirley, Troy Soldier and Teddy Pierce. He asks that they follow him on a journey to the North Pole which will have the answers he is looking for.
The magical journey begins...
Following the Christmas Wizard's suggestion, he leads the group on a path through "The Cave of Frozen Memories". Along the way, he warns the group that they need to be wary as there are trials which will test their belief in Christmas. The group discusses their various Christmas identities amongst themselves while Shirley complains to Abed about being a baby in this scenario. After Shirley loses her temper and calls their journey 'therapy,' the Christmas Wizard intervenes and freezes her. He ejects her from "Planet Abed" and the session through the use of a "Christmas Pterodactyl" which picks her up and carries her off. Duncan stresses the importance of only having people interested in helping Abed stay on this journey.
Swaddled in her diaper, high upon her throne, the queen of Christmas babies thought that Christmas was her own.
Abed hears buzzing sounds and recognizes them as being made by a swarm of Humbugs. He warns the group that they are attracted to sarcasm. Jeff can't help himself and continues to make glib remarks. The swarm quickly overtakes him and eats him alive. Undaunted at the loss of two members, the remainder of the group continues their journey. They travel through "Carol Canyon" and arrive at the "Cave of Frozen Memories". The Christmas Wizard appears and asks Abed to use the cave's powers to try and remember what it was that caused his current emotional crisis. Abed instead turns the tables on Duncan and tricks him into remembering a past childhood trauma. Disturbed by his memories, The Christmas Wizard exits both the cave and the session, leaving the group to fend for themselves.
"Bitter, shallow hipster, sweater matching socks...Christmas needs more presents than a haircut in a box!"
Abed sets the cave to self destruct and shows the rest of the group a secret exit. It will take them to "Pine Tree Station" where they will take a train the rest of the way to the North Pole. He ushers everyone through the exit with the exception of Britta Bot. He tells her he is ejecting her for tricking him into therapy. Abed ignores her pleas that it was for his own good and says that she should have more faith in her friends. He leaves her behind in the crumbling cave and joins the remaining group aboard the train. While Teddy Pierce goes off to use the bathroom, Abed mentions to Troy Soldier and Ballerannie how he and his mom had a ritual of watching Christmas cartoons together this time of year.
"Britta-Bot programed badly, wires with fraying ends. Functioning mad and sadly, no faith in herself or friends..."
The Christmas Wizard suddenly reappears. He tells Abed he went to his dorm room and now knows the reason behind Abed's actions. Abed refuses to listen and escapes outside to the top of the train. He makes his way to the conductor's car with the Wizard in pursuit. Duncan tries to convince him to give up this fantasy world and face reality. Troy Soldier then appears and grabs Duncan. Ballerannie unhitches the rest of the train from the car Abed's on. She and Troy Soldier tell him they'll keep Duncan occupied while he completes the rest of the journey. He enters the conductor's car and is surprised when Teddy Pierce shows up. Pierce admits he had nothing else better to do, and Abed allows him to stay.
Troy Soldier subdues Duncan, and Ballerannie unhitches the rest of the train to help Abed escape.
Together, Abed and Teddy Pierce finally make it to the North Pole. They enter Santa's workshop and find it abandoned. Pierce points out a box and suggests it might be what Abed's looking for. Abed opens it only to find another box inside. He continues to find smaller ones inside other boxes until he reaches the last one. Inside is a DVD copy of the first season of "Lost". Pierce is confused until Abed explains that it's a metaphor for a lack of payoff. The Christmas Wizard appears and confronts Abed about the reason behind his escapist fantasies. He presents a Christmas card that he found in Abed's dorm room from his mother. She tells him she can't make it this year as she has a new family now.
"Abed, I can't make it this year. I have a new family now. You'll meet them one day. You're a man now. Take care of dad. Wash your dupa."
Unable to cope with reality, Abed literally freezes in place and turns into a block of ice. Pierce criticizes Duncan for his therapy as it has only made matters worse. Duncan defends himself saying that Christmas is at fault since people have unhealthy expectations from it. It is then that the study group reappears. They tell Duncan that Christmas is the time of the year where everyone doesn't have to despair; there is still hope, and they can make that belief a reality by supporting each other. Duncan scoffs at this and points to a catatonic Abed as proof of how silly the idea is. In response, the study group attacks him with their Magic Christmas Weapons while singing a Christmas song.
The study group returns, locked and loaded.
During their attack, Abed starts to thaw, and Annie summons the Christmas Pterodactyl to finish Duncan off. Fully recovered, Abed is able to relate the true meaning of Christmas to the group: it can mean whatever we want it to. For Abed, it meant being with his mom on the holiday, but now it means being with the study group. Everyone returns from Planet Abed to the study room. The study group then goes to the cafeteria and grabs the Christmas decorations to put in Abed's dorm room. They keep his annual holiday tradition going by watching Christmas cartoons together.
The study group helps keep Abed's annual Christmas tradition alive.
Abed is wondering why he and Troy are still in stop motion animated form. Troy reassures him that it was his idea as he wanted to get a better look at some of the details of the format. They then switch heads and say, "Troy and Abed in stop motion!".
Recurring or debuting plot points in this episode:
A nice gesture: Troy and Abed do their handshake in stop motion doll form.
Googly eyes: Jeff and Annie share a meaningful glance during the final song.
History lesson: Several characters give details about their parental relationships:
Professor Duncan's father abandoned his family when Duncan was very young.
Annie is half Jewish on her mother's side, her father is Episcopalian. She isn't close to either of them.
Abed's mother has another family without him or his Father.
Identity crisis: Abed's psychotic break is a result of his mother's choice to no longer visit him during Christmas time. He struggles with the idea of family and the meaning of Christmas for the rest of the episode.
Pierce wonders if it will cost them a lot to walk through Carol Canyon. Television shows must pay licensing fees to use copyrighted music in their episodes. Luckily, Carol Canyon features only public domain songs.
When the stop motion Study Group is watching TV in Abed's dorm, the scene cuts to the cartoon TV displaying the end of the show with snowmen. Just before the fade out, the real Study Group can be seen in the cartoon TV screen. It is a perfect mirror of the stop motion characters except for Pierce. In stop motion, he is holding a cup. In the TV reflection, he is holding a cookie.
An Easter egg at Christmas.
“Sad, quick Christmas song, sad, quick Christmas snowman, tragic day gone wrong, sad, quick Christmas song.”— Abed singing a Sad, Quick, Christmas song
“I'm taking a relaxation course next semester and I was going to use the break to do all the reading in advance.”— Annie
“If I can find the meaning of Christmas, everything will go back to normal.”— Abed
“Look up there, Abed. I think I see the Cave of Frozen Memories. A great place-”— Professor Duncan
“That's actually the cave of frozen peas. It's a common mistake.”— Abed
“Who taught you therapy, Michael Jackson's dad?”— Troy, to Prof. Duncan