What makes the 30 Rock Christmas episodes work so well is a double fakeout of holiday spirit. Typically, an episode begins with the saccharine TV merriment that accompanies the usual “Hey, guys, it’s our Christmas show!” episode. Next, the episode quickly heads for a cynical, dark space, often accompanied by drunkenness, family dysfunction, or even a brush with racial humor. But then the episode always ends on a truly sentimental note (usually with a song), which is what makes the episodes so legitimately heartwarming. We don’t need to pretend it’s the 1950s and everything is perfect in order to really enjoy the holidays; we can admit that we’re a bunch of messed-up sickos, but once a year, we’re capable of getting mushy and merry in our own way.
— The A.V. Club
She takes touches of all of us for sure: Liz’s love for cheese, Alec’s desire to advise, my overeagerness to perform, Tracy’s gift for saying the wrong thing; always these little bits and characteristics. And then the choices we make as actors come from someplace where there is a truth within us.
I think we’re a lot like our characters and a lot not like them as well. You have to be willing to make fun of yourself on 30 Rock. Self-deprecation is a very big part of the whole thing. And no one does it more bravely than Tina and Alec. We see them taking chances and we’re all like, ‘We’re so going there!’