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The Onion A/V Club Reviews – Community: ‘Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas’

On 09, Dec 2010 | In Press & News | By SBI

My wife and I have been cleaning out our apartment, trying to turn it from a ramshackle dump into somewhere vaguely livable. Part of that process has been cleaning out boxes that we tossed together when we moved out of our last place, putting things away, just generally being better, more adult people. In the process of this, I found something I had completely forgotten about, a collection of old home movies from when I was a really little kid in the mid-80s, home movies taken at Christmastime, when we’d go down the long dirt road to my grandparents’, regardless of how much snow and ice was on the ground, and sit in their straight-outta-the-’60s living room and share an evening together.

Granted, for me at the time, it was mostly about the presents, but when I watch these videos now, when I see how my parents are roughly the same age I am now and see my grandparents, both dead for almost a decade, alive and well and opening gifts, what I long for is some sort of Our Town-esque visit back, to take in all of the things I missed at the time. The warmth of the milk in the oyster stew, the crunch of the snow outside, the quiet sounds of my grandmother playing Christmas carols at the organ, all of our voices joining in off-tune chorus. Memory’s supposed to be a time machine, right? It’s supposed to be a way to take you back to a place where you were safe and warm and happy, a place where you weren’t conflicted and ill at ease. It has a way of smoothing over the bad stuff and making the past a place that’s fun to visit, until you start to really think about it and remember all the pain, all the heartache, all the things that went wrong and can’t be taken back. Because they, like everything else, are just gone. There’s no way back into those videos, no magic doorway to step through.

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