30 Rock, Season 2, Episode 9, “Ludachristmas”
Original airdate December 13, 2007
“Ludachristmas” snarkily attacks Christmas from many angles. Since it’s a workplace comedy, it directly addresses Liz and Jack’s family lives completely separate from their writers’ room holiday party. Liz Lemon comes from a family that is incredibly supportive and friendly, so naturally, she’s excited and happy to see them. Jack Donaghy’s mother, played by the late Elaine Stritch, is such a terror that he hopes a terrible storm keeps her mother from being able to see him. No such luck. She got JetBlue to accept an Amtrak ticket. Jack’s face when he sees Liz greet her family says it all – he has no frame of reference for this type of affection. When her father says he’s proud of her, Jack asks “Were they taunting you?” His mother instantly sees through the Lemon family façade, and after an enormous amount of effort, pokes holes in it for her own amusement.
Back at 30 Rock, plans for Ludachristmas are underway, an annual tradition. Jenna just hopes she doesn’t get drunk and sing Christmas carols again, they order a stripper, Tracy can’t drink due to the new ankle bracelet the police fitted him with, but he figures he can join in with the festivities as long as he cuts off his foot. It should be a wild time, but Kenneth preempts the party in order to educate his coworkers on the true meaning of Christmas. Frank says what all his coworkers (and probably the entire audience) are thinking, “Who cares about the true meaning of Christmas? It’s about getting crap and eating too much. It’s about getting drunk and hugging our cousin until your mom says ‘Frank, enough!’” Against all odds, Kenneth’s plan works. He shows a video of philanthropists giving grateful poor foreign children blocks of wood, which spurs their new passion for community service. They kind of go mad and decide to chop down a tree. Tracy’s ankle bracelet goes off, but the police department seemingly dedicated to monitoring his alcohol consumption is having its own drunken holiday party.
It’s a really fun, ridiculous, over-the-top episode. What it says about Christmas to me is that everyone’s family has its problems, and Christmas should be the time every family gets real about that. Jack’s mom actually does the Lemon’s a service, unearthing buried truths and forcing them to be honest with each other. The Ludachristmas party doesn’t say much of anything positive about Christmas, but it was an excuse for some really hilarious jokes.