Sure “30 Rock” can be extremely uneven. One week it’s great and the next week it’s weak. There Christmas episodes are always highlights. Last week’s episode “Christmas Attack Zone” really struck my funny bone. What’s a “Christmas Attach Zone?” Think of the airing of grievances from Festivus on “Seinfeld” and add in your own family, alcohol and Christmas and you have the CAZ.
What is it about the holidays that brings out the honesty in people – okay, sure, it’s the alcohol. I think Jack Donaghy sums up family holiday stress best when he says We Donaghys believe that when there’s something at all delicate to talk about it’s best to suppress it until it erupts into fist fight at a church barbeque. That’s funny and true about a lot of families. It’s also why some people want to avoid the holidays. They’re hoping to avoid their family’s attack zone. I think its part of what makes this episode hilarious.
Also funny is this episode’s mild addressing of the “War on Christmas” issue. Ultra-conservative Jack Donaghy (played by Alex Baldwin – haha!) and his liberal father Milton Green (play by Alan Alda) trade holiday greetings:
Milton: Yes I’d love to come to your Holiday dinner.
Jack: Christmas! Its Christmas dinner!
Then Jack’s conservative girlfriend, Avery Jessup (played by Elizabeth Banks) adds:
Avery: [Reading Christmas Card] Happy Holidays… is what terrorists say!
This show is so full of great comedic lines that you miss half of them because you’re laughing so hard. The writing on the show is unbelievably quick and subtle. Thanks to pregnantcornbread.com I was able to pull up some of this episode’s best lines:
Liz (Tina Fey): You want to go the Penn Station K-Mart with me and then watch Tootsie?
Jack: I’m sorry, that’s what you’re doing instead of spending Christmas Eve with your family?
Liz: That’s my new thing. Travel on Christmas Day. That way I avoid the annual Lemon family blow up. And this year it’s going to be a dozy. My Aunt Linda is bring her new boyfriend who is neither her age nor her race. And her ex-husband will also be there with his date, alcoholism. I swoop in the next day for presents and pie.
Tracy (Tracy Morgan): As an actor it is my job to tell the truth, hold a mirror to humanity and sell Proactive.
Colleen (Elaine Stritch): What are my chums at death’s short retirement community going to say when I tell them my unmarried son has knocked up a Protestant!
Jack: I knew you would do it. Take a happy moment and ruin it. Just like you did at when I won that scholarship at my high school graduation.
Colleen: It should have gone to the other boy.
Milton: We have to call an ambulance. Listen to me, dammit, I’m a doctor!
Jack: Of history. In what emergency would you be necessary? If someone wanted to know if the 60s were awesome or not?
Milton: They were!
Liz: You know what I learned tonight? As hard as you try no one can escape the horrors of Christmas, so it might as well be with your own family. I’m going to get a bus to White Haven now and I should be home in time to see Aunt Linda try to prove she’s sober by holding someone’s baby and cooking.
I love this show! It’s smart, quick, witty, yet unbalanced. It reminds me of me. Ha!
Where else on TV can you have a transvestite and actress dressing up for Elton John’s “New Queers Eve” party as Natalie Portman from “Black Swan” and Pittsburg Steelers Lynn Swann as two black swans? Nowhere I tell ya!