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30 Rock 2.09: Ludachristmas Monday, December 17, 2007

Posted by The Bad One in the balls.
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Jack is in his office when Liz comes up to wish him a merry Christmas before they break for the holidays. Jack is appreciative and offers Liz a gift, one of the new GE photo scanner/paper shredders. Liz worries that people will just end up shredding their photos, but jack assures her it’s very easy to use. You just flip the toggle to PS when you want the photo scanner and when you want the paper shredder, flip it over to…PS.

Frank has an announcement. He pre-apologizes for what he’s going to do tonight at Ludachristmas and he forgives them all for when they leave him passed out by the elevator. Cerie asks if he’ll be doing Horny Santa this year, because it was so funny the last time when she sat on his lap. Frank, playing along: “Yes. Funny.”

Back in Jack’s office, Liz tells Jack about all the plans she has with her family, who are coming into town. Jack says she must be a ball of anxiety, but Liz says she’s just fine. Jack: “What are you trying to say, Lemon? That your family’s perfect and you never fight?” Liz: “No, I remember them arguing a lot during the gas crisis of ’79, but since Carter left office it’s been pretty smooth sailing.” Jack: “You got that right.” Liz asks if Jack’s mother is coming up, but he pleased to say her plane was grounded due to Hurricane Zapato. But Jonathan comes in to warn Jack that she’s in the building. She took a bus to Atlanta and got JetBlue to accept an Amtrak ticket.

Colleen (played by Elaine Strich) bursts into Jack’s office with an initial blast of Christmas cheer that quickly wears off. “Jack,” she asks, “Isn’t this the office you had before? I thought you were up for a big promotion?” Zero to undermining in 9 seconds flat. Impressive pickup. Jack explains to her that he’s still up for it, and there are only two nicer offices in the whole building. Colleen: “Only two? I don’t like the odds. You better let that dream go.” Jack gets a message from C.C. Colleen: “Who is that? Is she Spanish?” Liz tries to put in a good word, but Colleen cuts her off. “My thanks to the peanut gallery.”

Credits. Sooner or later Scott Adsit’s eyebrows will duel with Phil Keogan’s.

In the writers’ room, Jenna is “surprised” that Ludachristmas is tonight, and “hopes” she doesn’t get drunk and sing Christmas carols like last year. Liz tells everyone she won’t be attending, since her parents and her brother Mitch will be in town. She explains that Mitch was in a skiing accident his senior year of high school, and the trauma he suffered has kept him stuck in the day before his accident in 1985. Jenna: “It should be mentioned that, sexually, Mitch is very much an adult.” Liz: “No, it shouldn’t.” I’m going to side with Liz on this issue.

In comes Kenneth, bearing Sheinhardt-Universal gifts, handing them out with a Merry Christmas to everyone but Josh, who gets “Merry Jewish.” They get the same photo scanner/paper shredder Jack gave Liz. They immediately dump them in the trash, which upsets Kenneth as not in the Christmas spirit. “Christmas is about gratitude and togetherness, sitting with friends and family around the crackling fire, waiting for the owl meat to cook.” And in walks the Christmas stripper. “Hi, I think I’m early. I’m here to have Christmas meats eaten off my chest at some party.” Amidst the cheers, she starts hacking up a lung.

In Liz’s office, Tracy’s in trouble again. All he had to do was sign his community service papers, but Dotcom tells Liz that Tracy made them stop for breakfast. Tracy: “So it’s my fault that diners can serve alcohol in New York state?” Now he has to wear an ankle monitor for 30 days, and if he has a drop of alcohol in his sweat, he goes to jail. “And now? This time of the year? Ludachristmas, Nude Year’s Eve, Martin Luther King Day? All you do is drink.” Liz summarily bans him from Ludachristmas, telling Kenneth, Grizz, and Dotcom that they’re in charge of keeping him away. Kenneth: “OK, but who’s project manager?” Spoken like a true Sheinhardt employee.

Liz and Jack are talking in the hallway, when Liz’s dad calls out, “Lemon party! Permission to land!” Liz is thrilled to grant them permission. Liz introduces them to Jack: Her father, Dick (Buck Henry), her brother, Mitch (Andy Richter), and her mother, Margaret (Anita Gillette), who Dick refers to as his “first wife,” which is exactly the same joke my dad will break out on occasion. They immediately start complimenting Jack. Dick tells him he looks like an Arrow shirt model. Margaret: “So, Jack. Is this beautiful genius the best employee you’ve ever had, or what?” Jack: “No.” Beat. Then the Lemons dissolve into laughter. They continue to overwhelm Jack with their love for Liz (Dick calls her “Wilma Shakespeare”), leaving him confused.

They go to visit the set, and Jack pulls Liz away. “Your family is…strange.” Liz tries to explain about Mitch, but that’s not what Jack meant. “What did your mother mean when she said that you were a ‘beautiful genius’? Was she taunting you?” Liz explains that they’ve always just been super supportive. “Even when I sued the Lower White Haven School District to let girls play football.” Cut to Liz kicking a field goal right into her line. Gary Barnett has released a statement in response to this episode stating that Liz was a girl, and she wasn’t very good. Liz: “We didn’t make the playoffs that year, but I think we led the league in bravery.” I’d still rather read her football column than Peter King’s.

Tracy is having a rough holiday season without drinking. It turns out that football is boring, his wife’s sister isn’t as cute as he thought, AND he can’t play the guitar. Kenneth says he’ll help get Tracy through Ludachristmas with fun party games like Murder, but Tracy says he’s going to go home and do some thinking.

In Jack’s office, Colleen is complaining about her stay at the Ritz Carlton. The TV had over 100 channels and she’s only going to be there for three days! Jack caves and asks her to stay with him, and she relents after token resistance. While she’s in his secret bathroom, the Lemons come by to drop off a little goodbye present (one of those big metal tubs of popcorn/candy corn/cheddar popcorn) and to relentlessly praise his office, his carpet, his girlfriend’s name, her job, and the Lifetime network.

Jenna is with her keyboard player, setting up for the “impromptu” singing to come, and wearing some klassy gold lamé drapes as a dress. Mitch comes up to her, asking where the bathroom is, but Jenna can’t quite accept that he wouldn’t know who she is. “We…know each other.” OK, that’s upsetting. Mitch: “Are you, like, a friend of my mom’s or something? I’ll tell her you said hi.” He spots Cerie and goes to talk to her. “Do you like Wham? ‘Cause I’m kind of like the George Michael of my school.” Too. Many. Jokes. She realizes who he is and asks if he’s coming to the party, but he can’t. Mitch: “Maybe you and I could do something next week.” Cerie: “Definitely. My parents are away next week. You should come over. I’ll be in the hot tub.” He walks away, suitably frazzled. Frank: “That’s a filthy Christmas miracle.” It’s definitely her good deed for the day.

Back in Jack’s office, Liz finally tracks her rogue parents down and apologizing for the way they barged in, but they’ve been having a great time with Jack. They invite him to go along with them on their window shopping trip; Liz says he can talk to Mitch about President Reagan.

The rest of the cast and crew head for Ludachristmas, and Tracy is thrown along, like a grain of sand by a wave. He can’t go to Ludachristmas, since he can’t drink. But he could go to Ludachristmas and not drink. Finally, “I’ll compromise. I’ll go to the party, cut off my foot, and drink all I want!” The mob heads toward the room for the party, only to find it empty but for a few folding chairs. Kenneth orders Grizz and Dotcom to close the doors.

At the ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza, the Lemons and Jack go skating in matching Christmas sweaters. Liz: “It’s nice to have some positive reinforcement, isn’t it?” Jack: “Well, it’s only positive reinforcement when they say it to you. In my case, they’re just stating facts. I do look like the Arrow shirt man, I did lace up my skates professionally, and I did do a fabulous job of finishing my muffin.” Liz: “You wish you were in my family.” Jack: “Don’t be ridiculous. So this Disney cruise in March, are you in or out?” But Colleen has tracked him down. “Jack? Having fun” She spits fun out like it was hand-crafted by Lucifer.

While the Lemons skate, she and Jack talk. He couldn’t say no; they’re very nice people. “Oh, nice? I’ll show you nice. Let’s all meet down at the soda shop while this country turns into Mexico…I suppose you think they’re more ‘nurturing’ than I am.” Jack: “Mother, there are terrorist cells that are more nurturing than you are.” Colleen: “You give me ten minutes with them and I’ll have them tearing at each other like drag queens at a wig sale.”

Not-so-Ludachristmas. Kenneth thanks the Reverend Gary (Remember him from Tracy’s search for religion last year?) for his presentation. Kenneth laments the state of Christmas, decrying the giant tree at Rockefeller Center as a tourist trap. He wants everyone around the circle to talk about what Christmas means to them. Lutz snaps and bolts for the door, but can’t get through Grizz and Dotcom.

At the “Saturday’s” restaurant, the Lemons and Donaghys dine. Colleen starts digging at the fact that Liz lives far from home and that she hasn’t given them any grandchildren. But Dick and Margaret disavow any disappointment there.

The Reverend Gary finishes a song on his acoustic guitar. Tracy and Frank demand that it all stop. Frank: “The true meaning of Christmas is gettin’ crap and eating too much! It’s about hugging your cousin until your mom says, ‘Frank, that’s enough!'” Kenneth thinks it’s a good time for Reverend Gary to show the tape of his mission to Guatemala. Two children are thrilled to receive the gift of the wood they prayed for. Kenneth contrasts that to what they did with their scanner/shredders, and they have a breakthrough, moving through ideas for a more meaningful Christmas, from donating the party money to asking that people not buy them presents to chopping down the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Before Kenneth can stop them, they burst out of the room, Tracy grabbing a fire ax.

Colleen has been hammering on Liz the whole night, it seems. Jack explains she’s trying to prove the Lemons are just as screwed up as they are. And she finally stumbles across a weak point. She asks Mitch if he’s jealous of the attention Liz gets, but he says no, his parents make a lot of time for him. “Just yesterday we went to see Goonies together. Oops, you weren’t supposed to know that, Liz, sorry.” Liz is mad, but not because they went without her. Because that was the day of her one football game. Margaret admits they were a little embarrassed. Dick: “It’s White Haven football, for God’s sake, Elizabeth! It means something! I wore that uniform!” Liz: “I was taking a stand for women!” Margaret: “Are you taking a stand now by not giving us grandkids?” Liz: “Why don’t you ever bother Mitch about that?” Dick: “Because he’s 17!” Liz: “He’s 40!” And then it happens. Mitch snaps back to the present day, remembering the accident as the Lemons snipe at each other. Colleen is pleased with her work.

Kenneth tries to prevent Tracy from making the national news again, but Tracy wants to send a message. But before he can, his ankle monitor goes off. Tracy: “I had a couple of drinks before the meeting.” At the monitoring station in Denver, their Christmas party is in full swing, nobody noticing the alarm going off. It’s a Ludachristmas miracle.

Jenna sings “The Christmas Song” to Reverend Gary’s accompaniment, and the Lemons go nuclear. Ah, the recriminations and bitterness that only the holiday season can unleash.

Good episode this week, and now we’re on a break until January. They have one new episode left in the can, I believe, so the recaps will resume around then. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Yostal for his help.



1. DougOLis - Monday, December 17, 2007

It’s episodes like this that remind me how much of Cerie we’ve been lacking this season.

2. Chad Sexington - Monday, December 17, 2007

“You can’t have a Lemon party without old Dick!” – favorite line…

3. The Bad One - Monday, December 17, 2007

I too would like to see more Cerie. She had the great penguin scene with Schwimmer in the Greenzo episode, and then some wedding stuff in the season premiere, but she hasn’t really had a lot to do.

4. dinosaur fact - Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The main thing i’m enjoying while reading your blog is the way you write, you are a really charismatic person and your posts are wonderful, keep it up!

5. Spas - Monday, April 28, 2008

Very interesting…

6. Inbound - Monday, April 28, 2008

I can’t wait to read the other post!

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