Those meshuggeners at The O.C. pull off the impossible: they boil 63 years worth of Jackie Mason shtik down to a single one-hour episode. The muse for this fusion of Falcon Crest and Fiddler on the Roofis one Ms. Linda Lavin, who played the title character in the mid-'70s to mid-'80s sitcom Alice. Tonight, the Brooklyn/Yiddish accent she employs is just slightly less annoying than her slow, loungy, tortured version of the Alice theme song in the final seasons--a rendition that stood as the most self-indulgent move by a television star until 1995, when Cybill star Cybill Shepherd performed the aural equivalent of a botched bris to the Gershwin classic "Nice Work If You Can Get It." But enough with the Nick at Nite trivia . . . Lavin, playing Sandy's mom/Kirsten's mother-in-law/Seth's nana, arrives just in time for the Passover seder to drop an oy vey gevalt: doctors have informed her she'll soon pass over to meet Gott! To christen, er, yidden Nana's presence, Summer gives Seth "a Hebrew hernia" as she crams the Haggadah, Kirsten slides effortlessly into the stereotypical alrightnikeh shiksa/lox in the kitchen role and Sandy--who escaped his kvetching, seldom-home parent when he was 16--kicks right back any stereotypical Jewish mother guilt Nana dishes out like so much gefilte fish. With the Cohen manse seamlessly transformed into Nate & Al's, Ryan slips out to Chino to bring home Marissa, who ran away after learning her slutty mom Julie had been kurveh'ing it up with Marissa's ex-boyfriend Luke (the ultimate gontser macher!). Fortunately, everything is a mechaieh by show's end: Nana agrees to shlep back to Brooklyn for chemo, Marissa's dad Jimmy finally agrees to couple with Kirsten's sorta-shayner sister Hailey, and Marissa returns to Newport--after a right proper bitch potching of Luke. Mazel tov!
LINE OF THE WEEK: "Oh God, what am I doing here?! I hate this state, I hate the sunshine, I hate the ocean, I hate Schwarzenegger."--Nana Cohen, blowing up in Sandy and Kirsten's kitchen.