Friday, December 14, 2007

Spiked Eggnog

I love 30 Rock and hate Christmas episodes, so it was a kick to see the lump of coal Tina Fey dumped in our stockings with last night's episode. The depiction of the Lemon family (amusingly played by Buck Henry, Anita Gillette and Andy Richter) nailed a certain type of middle American persona -- when the cheeriness of your demeanor is in direct proportion to the pain and anger roiling beneath the surface. It was funny when Jack's ghastly mother (Elaine Stritch) called them on this, and fascinating to compare how Jack and Liz's respective upbringings led to who they are now: Did familial dysfunction and constant criticism pave the way for Jack's rise to the top, or did he succeed despite it? And while Liz is certainly successful in her own right, how much of her household's repression-denial caused her to rebel against it, and how much of it has created a woman who forgets her own birthday and tapes her bra?

This is apparently the last completed episode of 30 Rock of the season, meaning we'll have to find the funny elsewhere while Tina Fey's comic genius is confined to the picket lines. I'll be curious to see how the strike plays out, and whether reality-shows will become more real in the coming season or if all those Machiavellian theatrics write themselves?

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