Merry Christmas from SheinhardtUniversal everyone!

After this weekend’s break, I’m back with my thirtieth episode. One month of “30 Rock” down, 108 episodes to go.

And this one really is one of my favorites. As aforementioned, “30 Rock” always handles holidays well, and this is our first dedicated Christmas episode. Let us first acknowledge that Ludachristmas is, itself, an expert pun. OK.

Our three plots:

1) The Lemons are in town and seem pretty normal and loving! Colleen Donaghy goes on a mission to prove to Jack that they’re just as messed up as the Donaghys.

2) Kenneth tries to destroy Ludachristmas, the staff’s (well, mostly the writers plus Jenna?) annual Christmas party, because it misses the real meaning of Christmas.

3) Tracy has an ankle monitor to keep him for drinking, but really wants to celebrate Ludachristmas. (This is barely a plot and is mostly folded into plot two.)

Plot one is amazing, and not just because Elaine Stritch is around — though obviously that’s a major plus. Liz’s brother, portrayed by Andy Richter, was injured in a ski accident and thinks it’s still 1985; Jack is, of course, envious that in his mind Reagan is still president.

Jack has invited his mother due to his “paralyzing Irish guilt,” while Liz actually enjoys spending time with the Lemons, who accept her and support her unconditionally. Jack does not get it:

“What did your mother mean when she said you were a beautiful genius? Was she taunting you?”

There was also a great bit of continuity with Mitch. Last season during Liz and Jenna’s fight, we learned that Jenna slept with Liz’s brother, and Liz is outraged because he was “in a really bad ski accident.” This episode, she hits on Mitch, who thinks she’s too old and instead goes after Cerie. I felt bad for Jenna! Like, actually…

Her main concern  was drunkenly singing Christmas carols at the party, and Jeff Richmond was on hand to help her in that task:

Sup Mr. Tina Fey

Sup Mr. Tina Fey

Meanwhile, Kenneth is really concerned that Ludachristmas has perverted the meaning of Christmas so he stages an intervention involving a Jesus puppet. About the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, he says, “That is not a Christmas tree. It’s a way to lure tourists into the basement to buy $20 salads,” which is an amazing NBC burn.

So then he shows them a video of little kids being grateful they got wood for Christmas and everyone goes crazy and try to cut down the tree. But then they realize that their ring leader, Tracy, was drunk this whole time (the ankle monitor people are having their own drunken Christmas party, so they don’t notice) so the attack is called off and Ludachristmas is saved. Real Christmas is probably still ruined forever.

Anyway, the Lemons are super nice to Jack — they even give him one of those drums of popcorn, which are the most underrated Christmas gift ever — so he ditches his mom for them. Colleen invites herself to “have them tearing at each other like drag queens at a wig sale.” Great burn.

But the Lemons destroy themselves when Mitch reveals that yesterday his parents took him to see the Goonies; he means yesterday 1985, the day of Liz’s one game on the football team. (“We didn’t make the playoffs that year, but I think we led the league in bravery.”)

It turns out her parents didn’t actually support her playing football, and they don’t really support her single New Yorker lifestyle now. And then Liz tells Mitch that he’s really 40, not 18, and it all goes downhill from there.

And over the sounds of their fighting, Jack and Colleen share an adorable moment as Jane Krakowski sings in the background:

Screenshot 2014-07-27 20.30.42

And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, guess what sing played over the credits?

Bits & Pieces

Bald writer/Kevin Miller appears again!

Screenshot 2014-07-27 19.55.25

But also I realized that in my focus on Bald writer/Kevin Miller, I never recognize quiet lady writer, seen right, who also doesn’t say much and is just sort of there. Hats off to you, quiet lady writer.

GRIZZ CALLS LIZ BETH FOR THE FIRST TIME. Mid-series, it’s revealed that Liz and Grizz have a sordid past that we never see on-screen. The major hint about it is that he calls her Beth. This was exciting because I only recently found this out.

Tracy’s three biggest drinking holidays are Ludachristmas, New Years Eve, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

G.E. invented photo-scanners/paper-shredders, but it’s impossible to predict which you’ll do beforehand. Everyone gets one for Christmas and throws them out — even the little kids who cried tears of joy over wood the year before.

Best old-person complaint: Colleen on her hotel’s TV: “The TV had over 100 channels for godsake. I’m only going to be here three days.”

Character I related to most: For once, Jack. Everything about Jack. Well, except loving Reagan…

Best Jack insult: It’s only positive reinforcement when they say it to you. In my case they’re just stating the facts. I do look like the Arrow shirt man, I did lace up my skates professionally and I did do a fabulous job finishing my muffin.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: We see a flashback to his Wall Street days, i.e. when he worked in a video store that was selling the movie “Wall Street”:

Screenshot 2014-07-27 20.04.47

 

“Wall Street” came out twenty years before “30 Rock” takes place, and Kenneth has not aged at all…

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