Community (2009–2015)
2 user 4 critic

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.


Adam Davidson


Dan Harmon (created by), Liz Cackowski | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Joel McHale ... Jeff Winger
Gillian Jacobs ... Britta Perry
Danny Pudi ... Abed Nadir
Yvette Nicole Brown ... Shirley Bennett
Alison Brie ... Annie Edison
Donald Glover ... Troy Barnes
Ken Jeong ... Ben Chang
Chevy Chase ... Pierce Hawthorne
Anthony Michael Hall ... Mike
Jim Rash ... Dean Pelton
Eva Tingley Eva Tingley ... Sign Language Woman
Jeremy Marinas ... Bully's Friend (as Jeremy A. Marinas)


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) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Folks are bringing food to Shirley's 'Christ uber alle' party and she says, 'Oh, hash browns and applesauce, that's nice'. Annie has brought potato Latkes with sour cream and applesauce, perhaps the most traditional of all Hanukkah treats. 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. See more »


Pierce Hawthorne: I know a few moves. Troy, I assume you're handy with a switchblade. Abed, you get back to the family tent. Try to find a chicken for Jeff to chase.
See more »


References Meatballs (1979) See more »


Silent Night
Lyrics by Joseph Mohr and music by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performed by Yvette Nicole Brown
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

In honor of "Community"- a review of every episode. (S1;E12- "Comparative Religion")
4 June 2016 | by MaximumMadnessSee 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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 2 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed