It's Christmas. Well almost Christmas. It's the Christmas season, let's… say that about it. And don't worry Billow not "the holiday season" as you so correctly and obsessively point out to Mennonites and non-Mennonites alike.
Of course 30 Rock already has one Christmas special under its belt, the memorably titled Ludachristmas. Terribly, there was no use of that word in tonight's episode. The main storylines get setup by two casual events. One is that Lemon enlists her staff to participate in a charity program called "Letters to Santa." It's where the post office collects letters that poor kids have written to Santa and then the more fortunate among us go and buy them the gifts. Now never mind the fact that I think the federal government identifying poor people in such a way sends a bad message to children. Santa does not exist. I know that's mean but it's also fair. Anyway Liz takes care of that a little later. The other casual event takes place in Florida. Jack finally made it to the sunshine state after his unforeseen detour last week. He's there to visit his dear old mother but is already loading into a car to drive to the airport with an open-ended ticket to Brazil. The land of monkey fighting. He tells this to Lemon over the phone and then hangs up and backs out of the driveway. SMACK! He hit his mother.
From there it goes like this. Jack has to fly back to New York with his mother in tow, charged with the responsibility to take care of her now that she's had hip replacement surgery. She thinks it's an "accident" and even tells Lemon as much. If you've forgotten, Jack and his mother have a not so easy relationship. Jack is tormented by her guilt and anxious to be away from her. In a fit of anxiety he announces to the TGS staff they will have to work overtime through the holidays to put on a special TV Christmas special, initiated by Jack in order to avoid his mother and possibly salve the guilt he feels for waiting eight minutes before he called the paramedics to come aid his mother after he hit her with the car. It also doesn't help when Jack pulls the wool blanket his mother is resting comfortably on from underneath her and breaks her other hip.
Jack throws himself into his work only stopping briefly to complain to Hornberger about his mom's Christmas antics during his childhood. Like the strange man named Schwarz who would come over every year and put his hand on her pale thigh under the dinner table. Mrs. Donaghy eventually shows up at 30 Rock to confront her son. She knows he's been avoiding her and she knows why. She points out that when he hit her with the car it stopped her perfectly timed watch and then fact-checking it with Jack's latest cell phone bill it was not hard for her to calculate the whole eight minutes of silence between the time of her near death and Jack's phone call to 911. It would appear that his mother has Jack in a corner but Jack lashes back hard with a tirade directed at his mother, accusing her of ruining all 50 of his Christmases. It won't happen again and then he walks away while barking commands to the set designers.
Later on the set Jack complains to Lemon that there is no Mrs. Clause in the whole production. She needs to be there to hang up stockings, put out food for Santa, sing songs at the piano, and tuck you in at night. Jack believes it's part of the Christmas tradition but Lemon informs him that it was something his mother did for him, probably to make up for his missing father. And that Schwarz guy? His name was Frederick August Otto Schwarz? That was F.A.O. Schwarz. "Your mother put out on Christmas to get you kids presents. She did it for you." Jack suddenly realizes the great lengths his mother went out of her way to make all his Christmases special. Jack tells his mother that he loves her and then breathlessly admires the song Jenna is singing on set. His mind drifts and imagines he and dear old mum sitting at the piano together with her singing "The Christmas Song" quite elegantly. He chimes in at the end and the duet peaces out the show. Merry Christmas all you bastards out there.
The other plot thread has to do with Lemon's anxiousness to make the most out of what is shaping out to be a lonely Christmas for her. She shops obsessively at a department store. She has an overflow of gifts for her two "Letters to Santa" kids Marcus and DeShawnte. She even plans on delivering the gifts personally to the two lucky boys at their address on 245th Street and Lawrence Taylor Boulevard. "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!" yell out Tracy and DotCom. Tracy is familiar with that neighborhood and insists that it's not a nice place. He and DotCom are going to go along with her "and remember DotCom you are there to protect me." They go to deliver the presents and with a knock at the door Lemon is greeted by two not so young looking dudes. The two men look like they're inside filming a Beanie Sigel music video. One of them takes her wagon full of presents inside the apartment and the other closes the door on Lemon mid-sentence. "What's the past tense for scram?" asks Tracy. "Is it scrumped? Liz Lemon I think you just got scrumped."
Lemon takes her complaint to the neighborhood's local post office only to be greeted with indifference by the clerk behind the counter. Fed up, Lemon vows to shut down the entire "Letters to Santa" program but Kenneth, as always, is the voice of optimism. We've already established in Ludachristmas just how much he believes in Christmas spirit. He tells Liz off by calling her the c-word. Cranky. He is convinced that Marcus and DeShawnte really did get the presents she delivered. Lemon wants to prove otherwise and so they decide to go back to the apartment to prove once and for all to Kenneth that Christmas is a sham.Mo
Where is Josh? I'm just putting that out there.
Lemon walks into the writer's room holding a box. "I have some great news. We are all getting..." They all take a guess: frozen steaks, iPod nothings, colorful sweaters. "Nope." Answers Lemon. They are all getting ... to participate in the "Letters to Santa" charity program. It's when the post office collects letters that poor kids wrote to Santa and gives them to people who can buy the kids gifts. No one is very willing to cooperate until Kenneth steps into volunteer. Tracy and Lutz roll their eyes; Hornberger's head falls back in frustration. Then Lemon reads a letter from one of the poor kids. "Dear Santa, my name is Chanel Jenkins. I would like some new shoes so I can walk to school. My dream is to be a doctor someday..." Tracy's crying interrupts her. "That kid's never going to be a doctor. I better buy her a jet ski." The rest of the staff follows his lead and take letters from the box. Jack calls Lemon in her office. He's in Florida but not for long. He finally completed that trip to the sunshine state that got detoured last week but this time it was to drop off a present to his mother Colleen. Now it's off to Rio where he can tan in the nude and bet on some monkey wrestling. "Just like Norman Rockwell always drew it." Jackie hangs up the phone and starts his car in the driveway. He backs out just in time to hit his mother, out for a jog. He hears the thud and takes a look back. "Mother!"
Lemon is searching for FUBU related products for her charity kids online when a worried Jack interrupts. He tells her about the whole I-ran-over-ma thing. Lemon is worried but Jack reassures her. "She's fine. She's better than fine. They're giving her a titanium hip like the Terminator. It's only going to make her more powerful. It turns out Jack's more worried about his sanity than his mother's health. Colleen's staying at his house until she feels better and it's already driving him insane. Colleen calls Jack's cell phone. "Yes mother. Well why don't you try taking one of the many blankets off you if you're feeling hot." He puts his finger to his head and does the universal gesture for crazy. "No I wasn't. I was just scratching my head." The phone call ends abruptly when Colleen hangs up on him.