The Christmas episode has been a staple of "30 Rock" since Season 2, but the show doesn't exactly do the sentimental look at the holiday. No, instead, "30 Rock" uses Christmas to shine a spotlight on the disfunction in the various family units on the show. Thursday's episode, "Christmas Attack Zone", recalled Season 2's "Ludachristmas", as far as the Jack-Liz dynamic was concerned. However, instead of Colleen destroying Liz's family, it was Jack trying to destroying Colleen.
Liz was trying to avoid any kind of family drama, traveling to her family's home on Christmas day, and agreeing to have Christmas Eve dinner with Jack. But what was supposed to be a quiet dinner turned into disaster when Colleen found out Avery was pregnant and began judging Jack. That led Jack to turn the dinner into a war against Colleen, using Milton (his long-lost father) as his weapon of choice -- and the dinner table as his "Christmas Attack Zone", giving us the title of the episode.
The back and forth between Jack and Colleen is always good for comedy, particularly in the Christmas episodes, and Thursday was no exception. The fact that even Avery fell for Colleen's act added to Jack's frustration, which was flat-out funny.
While all that was happening, Jenna was heartbroken about her breakup with Paul. Not because she broke up with him, but because she didn't have a partner for her couples' costume for New Queers Eve (or so she kept telling everyone), and she kept calling Liz for advice. Finally, Paul came over and they re-united... not because they love each other, but because they each independently came up with the same perfect costume for the party: Paul as Natalie Portman from "Black Swan" and Jenna as former Steelers WR Lynn Swann... two black swans! I'd like to thank "30 Rock" for ruining "Black Swan" for me before I could even see it. Nice job.
Lastly, Tracy's story was the most minimal in the episode, with him trying to be a serious actor thanks to his Golden Globe nomination, but eventually giving in and going back to comedy, showing a shelter his unreleased comedy, the obvious "Nutty Professor" knockoff "The Chunks 2: A Very Chunky Christmas." It was good as far as third-level stories go, but not great.
The quotable lines, however, were great. And here they are:
Pete: Ever since Tracy got nominated for a Golden Globe, he thinks he's Sean Penn.
Liz: Well, they have both had screaming fights with Wyclef Jean.
Avery [reading their Christmas card]: "Happy Holidays… is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas from Avery and Jack."
Liz: I have been watching "The Mentalist" a lot lately because my TV's on CBS and I lost my remote.
Tracy: From now on, the only movies Tracy Jordan makes are about The Holocaust, Georgia O'Keefe, or both!
Milton: We have a tradition in my family where we let the child name itself.
Avery: Oh, yeah, that's hippie nonsense.
Jack: Absolutely not.
Milton: Well, suit yourself, but my son Spider-Man turned out just fine.
Avery [to Colleen, who is faking a heart attack]: Do you have shortness of breath? Are you sweaty? Do you have neck or jaw pain? I had a couple rich men die on top of me.
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 whether the '60s were awesome or not?!
Milton: They were!
Jack: Milton, the Clinton boom years were just an aftereffect of Reaganomics. And, mother, you cannot invite anyone to the wedding.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.