12 Days of Christmas Episodes – Day Seven: 30 Rock & Him and Her
I don’t like Christmas. But in an attempt to be less of a Scrooge, I have decided to spend the 12 days leading up to Jesus’ birthday doing one of the few Christmas-related activities that doesn’t make me want to run away and hide: watching Christmas episodes of television shows. And I’m going to write about it, because that’s just what I do. Will this activity instil the spirit of Christmas within my cold, uncaring heart, or will I grow even more bitter toward the festive season? Only time will tell…
Recurring themes in Christmas television: heavy-handed moral tales about the importance of family, Christmas carol singalongs and/or cheesy montages set to holiday music. Recurring themes in my blog posts about Christmas television: comments about how busy I am, hastily-written episode analyses and/or apologies for how tired I am.
Tonight’s edition is no different. I’ve had a very full day, and I need a good night’s sleep before another busy day tomorrow. Luckily for me there was a Christmas episode of 30 Rock on the telly this morning, so I managed to get my minimum viewing over and done with before 8am. In order to keep things the slightest bit interesting, I decided to also watch the first <30min Christmas episode I could find on BBC iPlayer, regardless of whether I knew the show or not.
[image: 30 Rock Wiki]
Season 3, episode 6: “Christmas Special”
This episode ends with a dual-layered singalong of “The Christmas Song”: Jenna, on set for TGS, and Colleen/Jack. Thanks to this, I have had the very end of this song (“Merry Christmas, merry Christmas to you”) stuck in my head all day.
Covering all the Christmas episode bases, “Christmas Special” deals with giving and charity, the importance of family (and not waiting 8 minutes to call an ambulance after hitting your mother with your car), and television Christmas specials. Along with the aforementioned singalong, it also has a strong moral backbone: both Jack and Liz learn important lessons that can only be taught at Christmas. All it needs is magic, and then it would pretty much cover every Christmas television trope.
Despite containing all of these annoying things, “Christmas Special” is still a good episode. Co-written by Tina Fey and Kay Cannon, it was apparently the highest-rating episode of season three. But it’s not the 30 Rock Christmas episode that I wanted to write about – that honour goes to “Ludachristmas”, which I shall hopefully cover at some point in the next five days.
[image: Digital Spy]
Him & Her
Season 3, episode 7: “The Christmas Special”
It is a complete coincidence that both Christmas episodes I’ve watched today have practically the same title and nearly the same season/episode number. Him & Her has been thrown in here because I didn’t want to just have a 30 Rock episode, so I threw on something short and Christmassy from the front page of iPlayer, and this was it. Not being terribly familiar with this series (in that I’ve never seen an episode of it before tonight), I can’t really put this episode into the context of the show as a whole, but I’ll try to think of something interesting to say all the same.
Featuring a cast of familiar faces, Him & Her appears to be a low-key comedy that fairly accurately portrays the relationship between a slightly pathetic twentysomething couple, and some of the other people in their lives. The main couple, Steve and Becky (Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani), seem to be the straight men of the operation, and their friends and relatives are all a bit mad.
This particular episode opened with Steve singing “Merry Christmas To You” to the tune of “Happy Birthday”, which I thought was an interesting choice. Not only is it really weird, as was pointed out by Becky, but that song is notoriously expensive to use in television. Why pay the high royalties for what seems to be a fairly low-budget comedy series? The joke wasn’t even worth it; it wasn’t the worst joke in the world, but it could have been a lot better.
With a kitchen cupboard full of Pringles, and the serving of champagne in an assortment of stolen pint glasses and coffee mugs, there were certain parts of this episode that I found endearing. There weren’t any laugh-out-loud moments, and some of the supporting players were bloody annoying, but based on this one 27 minute episode, I’d certainly consider watching more of the show.
In terms of the Christmas television tropes used, there was a bit of family drama, but the whole thing seemed fairly atypical until the very end, where there was a singalong followed by a montage. Just making sure they ticked a couple of extra boxes before the closing credits.
If you’ve got a Christmas episode that you’d like me to watch, or if you’d like to write about one of your own, leave a comment here, or tweet @brittinboots, and we’ll make it happen. I’ve already got a few requests in the pipeline, one of which you may just see tomorrow. Until then, have a good evening, and try not to get caught up in too many spontaneous Christmas singalongs.