Community (2009–2015)
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Comparative Religion 

Shirley throws a Christmas party for the gang and much to her surprise learns her classmates come from various religious backgrounds. Meanwhile, Jeff is challenged by the school bully and faces the reality that he may fail Spanish 101.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Sign Language Woman
Bully's Friend (as Jeremy A. Marinas)

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Shirley throws a Christmas party for the gang and much to her surprise learns her classmates come from various religious backgrounds. Meanwhile, Jeff is challenged by the school bully and faces the reality that he may fail Spanish 101.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 December 2009 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Guest-star Anthony Michael Hall played cast-member Chevy Chase's son in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983). See more »


Troy states that Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays, which is true, but then says they cannot drink, which is untrue. They are allowed to drink, in moderation. Also, if Troy was really a Jehovah's Witness, he would not have attended Shirly's Christmas party, as they don't celebrate Christmas at all. See more »


Annie: WWBJD?
Pierce Hawthorne: If that stands for "What Would Billy Joel Do?" I'll tell you right now: he'd write another crappy song.
[extends fist to Troy]
Troy: ...yeah, in your face, Billy Joel!
[mouths to Annie]
Troy: Who is that?
Annie: [mouths] I don't know.
See more »


References The A-Team (1983) See more »


Jingle Bells
Music by James Pierpont
Arranged by Dieter Reith
See more »

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User Reviews

In honor of "Community"- a review of every episode. (S1;E12- "Comparative Religion")
4 June 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(This is the twelfth part in an ongoing series, in which I am writing brief reviews of each and every episode of Dan Harmon's beloved cult- comedy "Community." Originally conceived as a response to NBC's cancellation of the series before it was revived for its final season on Yahoo.)

Part of the problem with going back and re-visiting a series you know and love is the fact that there is the inevitability of comparison. By which I mean, you're going to have your favorite episodes from later seasons, and when nostalgically seeing the earlier seasons once again, they might not quite hold up in comparison to those later episodes.

This might be a bit unfair, as especially during a show's first season, the writers, directors and indeed actors are still working on establishing and developing the show as a whole and the characters that inhabit it. So you do need to be willing to cut some slack. But still, on the whole... that comparison factor just cannot be completely eschewed.

Why am I bringing that up here? Because despite "Comparative Religion" being a very decent first attempt at a Christmas/Holiday- themed episode of "Community"... When viewed as a whole series, it just can't measure up to the future holiday episodes. (Including the absolutely amazing Season Two episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" and Season Three's quirky and fun "Regional Holiday Music.")

Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) tries to throw a Christmas Party for the study-group in order to celebrate her own Christian values and ideals regarding the holiday season. However, tensions rise when she comes to realize that virtually every other member of the study- group holds different, even conflicting religious beliefs, which makes her question her plans. At the same time, Jeff (Joel McHale) runs afoul a school bully (Anthony Michael Hall), and it seems an all-out schoolyard brawl will happen... despite it being Christmas season.

It's very solid and to be fair, there's a lot of laughs to be had, but going back, the only real stand-out in the episode is the phenomenally brilliant and gut-busting guest-role from Anthony Michael Hall. It's a great riff on the idea of an alpha-male schoolyard bully (in a college of all places), and his seeming obsession with a certain word for a feature of the male anatomy supplies endless giggles... low-brow though they might be.

It is also very nice to see Yvette Nicole Brown being given some more business in the show, as Shirley is generally one of the more under-utilized characters throughout all six seasons... and unfairly one of the lesser-liked among the fan-base. I think it really has to do more with the writers not knowing what to do with her in a lot of story lines more-so than the character herself or her excellent actress. Shirley's great... she's just not used enough or even always used properly as far as I'm concerned.

Aside from that, it's really just a somewhat generic "coming together for the holidays" episode. Not bad at all. But not great. Especially as noted above... the fact that future holiday episodes turned out amazing and run laps around this early attempt.

I give it a pretty-good 7 out of 10. Obviously worth seeing for fans. Just don't expect a great episode of TV. It's merely decent.

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