It was hard to watch this past Thursday’s Christmas episode of “Community” without thinking about the NBC sitcom’s hiatus. So on second viewing, I tried to see “Regional Holiday Music” through the eyes of someone who couldn’t tell “Community” from “Cougar Town.”

The setup is simple: A group of community college friends are asked to fill in for the Glee Club to put on the school’s winter pageant. As the sweater vest-obsessed director tries to recruit them, the episode turns the singing, dancing and camera-spinning of “Glee” into a horror story, with each member of the group slowly seduced by song.

The jokes come fast and broad (the recurring confusion over what, exactly, Regionals are), and the songs are smart and silly (the “Jehovah’s Most Secret Witness” rap). I didn’t love it just because I love “Community” and hate “Glee.” I loved it because it was genuinely funny. (See for yourself on Hulu.)

The episode ends with the gang gathered around the TV, caroling “we’ll see you after Regionals” to the tune of “The First Noel.” It’s a reminder that, while “Community’s” future is uncertain, every episode is a gift.