I CAN’T SUFFER THROUGH THE LONDON OLYMPICS. WE’RE NOT PREPARED LIZ.

Episode 78 gave us the finishing touches for the two-part season 4 finale, so I’m writing these up together. Also I just watched them back-to-back-to-back. So!

Episode 78 it’s mothers’ day and all the mom’s are appearing on TGS to give NBC some good PR. And all the mom’s are convincing Liz she needs to settle. They tell her she’s not waiting for a prince. With hind sight, we know she literally is though.

Sup

Anyway, Liz finds out that the love of her mother’s life was Buzz Aldrin and then she literally visits him at his apartment and they yell at the moon together. It’s honestly one of the best moments in all of “30 Rock.”

Stupid moon! I walked on your face!

And we find out that Liz’s mom was a receptionist at Sterling Cooper. “30 Rock” <3’s “Mad Men.”

Meanwhile, Colleen figures out that Jack has two ladies and tells him he has to pick, and alerts Avery to Nancy’s existence. Honestly, it’s a pretty good parenting moment for her.

In Part 1 of the season finale, Liz revisits Dennis (<3) and Jon Hamm to see if maybe they’re the one she should settle with. Dennis is trying to recreate the balloon boy stunt in a public park named after Ron Artest, and Jon Hamm now has hooks instead of hands, so both those options are out.

(Really, you have to watch this Ron Artest video.)

Which leaves Wesley Snipes. The British one. Even though Liz CLEARLY should have called Gray up. Or Peter Dinklage.

Anyway, Wesley gets some great lines, like the aforementioned fear of the London Olympics and an excited rendition of the “Chums” Theme Song: “I’ll be here always, while the rains fall in Whales.” Love it.

Tracy, meanwhile, is either going to shoot “Garfield 3″ or “Hard to Watch,” based on the novel “Stone Cold Bummer” by Manipulate. Dotcom and Kenneth bring him to the building where he grew up, on Lieutenant Uhura Avenue (which is amazing wow). Then, when trying to film “Garfield 3″ and ignore his past, he freaks out and starts screaming about lasagna and I laughed so hard I had to pause the episode.

And in the second half, Jack chooses Nancy, then switches to Avery when he finds out she’s pregnant. Cerie’s fiance’s groomsmen really are Somali pirates. And Liz meets Matt Damon, leaving Michael Sheen behind.

With three weddings behind us (Floyd, Cerie, and Grizz, for those keeping track at home) we’re finally up to season 5.

We’re not putting labels on anything yet because the glue is abrasive.

Don Geiss puts Jack in his will and gives him a peacock named Argus. Jack claims it’s not an NBC thing, but come on.

No one addresses the peacock’s name in the episode, so I will. In high school, our Latin book was about a fictionalized version of the real poet, Horus, known in his time as Quintus Horatius Flaccus. Quintus has a dog named … Argus. So umm it’s important to me that the peacock’s name is Argus.

Anyway, Jack totally spirals because he never dealt with his grief and Liz uses Kenneth to convince Jack that Don’s spirit has moved into the peacock so he can find peace. It’s pretty hilarious.

Meanwhile, Liz is mediating entourage drama. Grizz wants Dotcom to be his best man when he marries his fiance Feyoncé, but he doesn’t know that Dotcom is, in fact, in love with Feyoncé. Liz mediates so well that Grizz decides she should be the woman of honor instead, despite their sexual history. He compares them to Sam and Diane on “Cheers,” which is amazing.

And Jenna gas a new boyfriend, who works as a Jenna impersonator. When I first saw this I was weirded out, which is probably the reaction they wanted, but now I’m just struck by the genius. Of course Jenna’s soul mate is someone who is so completely obsessed with her that he dresses as her.

Unrelated but Jack won’t let Jenna do a Kardashian sketch because he’s friends with Lamar. I just read in “Poking a Dead Frog” that James Downey and Norm MacDonald got fired from SNL for making too many OJ jokes because an NBC exec was bffs with OJ. Was “30 Rock” alluding to this? We have no way of knowing.

Also Grizz and Dotcom met at a summer camp for giants.

Ever since i was a little boy, I dreamed of hosing the tonight shift.

Not my favorite episode. Our plots:

1. Liz finds out the cast and crew don’t party with her. She feels betrayed since they’re her family. So, when Cerie announces that her wedding is back on, since her fiance was rescued from the pirates that kidnapped him (though he has a little bit of Stockholm Syndrome still, so there may be some pirates in the wedding party), Liz throws her a work party to prove how fun she is. This doesn’t go well, but she does realize she’s the mom of the family and seems ok with that.

2. Jack can’t choose between Jack and Nancy, so instead he gets involved in janitor drama that pokes fun at the Leno/Conan situation.

3. Angie wants Tracy to help her since she’s on bed rest. Kenneth ends up giving him a shock collar so he’ll stay put.

This episode mostly made me think of this Mitch Hurwitz interview I listened to lately. He said that on “Arrested Development,” if the characters had heard there was a TV show about them, they’d all think they were the main character. “A magician deals with his uptight brother, wacky sister,” etc.

“30 Rock” works exactly the same way. Jack would think the show was about a handsome, charming executive and the zany creatives and co-dependent assistants he has to deal with. Tracy would think the show was about a hilarious comedian and all the serious people trying to bring him down. Jenna would think it was about a glamorous television star and … would Jenna notice the other people were there? Unclear. But even the more minor characters — Pete would think it was about a tv producer at the end of his rope and the people around him who ignore him.

Anyway, it’s a fun way to think about comedic perspective: Every character on “Arrested Development” and “30 Rock” has a strong enough comedic perspective to center them in the action (though obviously Liz is the best choice).

You always know you’re at the right party when it feels like the riddler is about the attack.

I have literally never related to Liz more than I did in this episode. She attends a bunch of singles events at the Y, but is way too competitive during dodgeball, only meets gay men during square dancing, and is super judgmental during wine and cheese (which is literally my favorite activity, being judgmental while drinking wine).

But this is me. Oh, I’m romantically interested in someone? Let me show how great I am by kicking his ass in Mario Kart, or taking a board game too seriously. I’m not even good at sports and I’m competitive about them!

And then Liz describes my ideal man:

I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching “Lost.” And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame, and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed – like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms, like a damned Disney prince. And I want him to genuinely like me. Even when I’m old. And that’s what I want.

This is literally Cris, by the way.

Don’t worry baby — happiness is coming. Just hold on —

(This episode was mostly about the Jack – Avery – Nancy triangle. This triangle annoys me because Nancy is the clear winner. This is all I will say.)

Can I have your weakness files on Frank, Toofer and Lutz?

Ugh. Floyd. Once so revered and loved by me (and Liz, I guess) you have tragically fallen in my esteem because you are unfair and mean. Let’s lay out the episode.

Floyd calls Liz because he’s in town. She gets her hopes up. Since he’s engaged at this point and he’s calling his ex-girlfriend, I feel like he has some obligation to let Liz know this is just a friendly call. Anyway, she looks at the TV and he and his fiance are in a contest to get married on the Today Show.

(At this point, we need to suspend our disbelief, since former NBC employees definitely can’t win NBC contests. I digress.)

Liz is upset because Floyd is The One That Got Away (TM). She imagined it’d always be a movie, where Christopher Cross sings the love theme.

Screenshot 2014-10-07 22.46.24

(Don’t worry Liz bby. Criss Chros will be here soon.)

So they get dinner and Liz is upset that not only is he marrying someone outside her window, but he’s also moving to New York for her, when he wouldn’t stay in New York for Liz. :(

So she accidentally gets him drunk when she’s trying to give him food poisoning. So then he’s drunk on the Today Show and Liz feels bad and apologizes, but like it is totally not her fault he got drunk. What alcoholic knows there’s a sauce on a fish, asks for it on the side, but doesn’t ask when it’s called Jack sauce what’s in it? Floyd. Ugh. That guy.

So they get into this big fight where he complains about how awful Liz is, and, sure, she’s not perfect but why do all the Floyd episodes end up with Liz apologizing when Floyd was also wrong?

But, hilariously, Liz agrees to do a reading at the wedding. This is the first piece of our season finale, which I remember as a wonderful episode.

One more thing: Frank’s dying regret is that he wasted so much time putting things on hat. Never wasted, Frank. Never.

Your Ben and Jerry’s flavor is called adulte-raisin.

Jack is reeling from the Kabletown buy out, Liz and Wesley Snipes (no, not that one) might be settling soulmates, and Tracy has never cheated on his wife.

The other day, I read that since his car accident Tracy might never be able to perform again. Since then, Tracy plots make me so deeply sad. He’s so funny. Just when you think you know what he’ll do next, you don’t at all. This plot is kind of the epitome of that. After seasons of Tracy’s philandering ways, we find out he really did love Angie this whole time. When Dotcom proclaims, “Yet another black superstar taken down by his personal life,” I basically always laugh.

Michael Sheen continues to be really funny because of all his not-real British-isms. It’s really refreshing to see a British person who’s not charming and romantically desirable (and I am usually totally into the whole British and romantically desirable thing).

Kabletown isn’t my favorite plot ever, though hearing Liz taunt Jack during a company-wide meeting about Phillie is wonderful.

If anything should happen to me, i want you to read “Oh the places you’ll go” at my funeral.

I’ve spent a lot of the last two weeks watching new TV shows, so instead of a recap/whatever you want to call what I normally do, I’m going to advocate that most of the ideas I saw on these shows come from this one episode of “30 Rock.” How so?

In our main Liz plot, she meets her “future husband,” Wesley, played by Michael Sheen. I’ve been meaning to watch “Masters of Sex,” so that’s where the idea for this post came from. The two have a horrendous first date, but end the episode deciding to try again.

This is literally the plot of “Manhattan Love Story.” Except that, because we hear the characters’ thoughts (that’s the gimmick) we know they at least find the other person physically attractive. Otherwise, same thing: We hated each other but we’ll try again. This is also how “A to Z” starts: Andrew and Zelda have a disastrous first date but try again. In that show’s defense, it’s not because they don’t like each other, but because Andrew gets a little creepy about destiny.

Meanwhile, Jenna becomes Tracy’s acting coach so he can EGOT. This is like “Selfie,” where John Cho is Karen Gillan’s life coach/image consultant so she can be a not horrible person.

Jonathan is excessively amazing this episode, comparing himself at Jack to Will Smith and his dog in “I Am Legend.” “Forever,” about a medical examiner that can’t die, also features a precocious and quirky assistant. Also, the main actor is Welsh, just like Michael Sheen.

Jack Donaghy is questioning all his life choices as G.E. sells NBC to Kabletown. A world he once knew now seems corrupt and unfair. Also his girlfriend is blonde. This is just like Jim Gordon on “Gotham,” who’s realizing how corrupt the GCPD and the city is. And his girlfriend is blonde. Jack hasn’t been almost murdered, but, like, would anyone be surprised?

Kenneth has some mysterious condition where his not taking drugs makes him have “Donkey spells.” They’re pretty terrifying. “Mysteries of Laura” is apparently terrifyingly bad. So.

Mulaney is inherently “30 Rock”-influenced since John worked for “SNL.” That is a concrete argument in which you can poke no holes.

So, the fall TV season is just a punch of “30 Rock” rip-offs. Case made.

Unrelated, Jenna uttered my favorite Jenna line this episode: “I know the Tony rules because i’ve been petitioning them to add a category for living theatrically in real life.

Has the dog that gives you your orders died?

The is indubitably one of the episodes I rewatch most frequently, and, yet, I still find myself laughing aloud. (Does Netflix count which episodes I watch? I’ll investigate.)

Anyway, it’s Valentine’s Day and Frank really hits the nail on the head when he says, “All we want on Valentine’s Day is to know that someone cares even a little about us.” Too true. So that’s our episode’s theme. The plots:

1. Liz schedules oral surgery for Valentine’s Day so she can avoid the whole day. But then the doctor’s office tells her she needs someone to pick her up from her surgery and she’s just as alone as anyone else. After discussing it with Jon Bon Jovi, she decides to pretend to have a boyfriend, and then after the surgery she hallucinates the greatest escorts ever:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.42.17 PM

That jacket tho

Sadly, they aren’t real, so Jack rescues her instead. #friendship. When his date, Avery Jessup, questions her on what sort of person Jack is, Liz replies, full of drugs, “Who Jacky? He’s the best one.” What a cute moment.

2. Jack goes on CNBC meets Avery Jessup, who is honestly not one of my favorite Jack love interests. Sorry Avery. Though she objectively is a little too young for him, her intelligence is right there with him and she makes him work to impress her. He even uses the aforementioned Jon Bon Jovi, who is NBC’s artist in residence. This will always be one of my favorite “30 Rock” jokes. Always and forever.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.35.50 PM

Anyway, she seems impressed by him (duh), so they’re on their way.

3. Jenna’s stalker has moved on and she’s really upset about it. He has the best weird person name ever, Maynard. Kenneth does not get it, but Jenna explains, “that weirdo loved me unconditionally.” Poor Jenna. There’s a great montage of her stalking her stalker at work and remembering his creepier acts while Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” plays. Kenneth stages a fake creepy stalking incident so Jenna will know someone loves her. It’s exactly the right mix of touching and super weird that this show does so well.

So, in addition to being one of the most thematically unified episodes, it’s also just stupidly funny. Everything everyone says is hilarious, but the most iconic moment was probably this one:

Jack: Is that sex Lemon?

Liz: It is the way I do it.

Jonathan is, as always, creepily familiar with Jack, asking if they’ll be exchanging V-Day presents and confiding in him about the one time he hit an old lady with his car and drove away.

If this episode were even slightly less funny, I don’t think it would work. It’s themes would be too sappy. But the humor distracts from the overly sentimental and it all works out. Also, Bon Jovi was there.

Also, maybe the funniest part of the episode was when Dennis, Floyd and Drew appear at the end as dental assistants:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.45.32 PM

Bits & Pieces

Avery Jessup was on Maxim’s I’d Rape That 100. Unclear if that’s more or less prestigious than Jenna’s Maxim list.

On Avery’s show, she asks Jack and the liberal bow tie guy who the next president will be. She and Jack say Mitt Romney’s son Jezba, while the liberal guy says Dennis Kucinich. THIS IS THE SECOND TIME “30 ROCK” HAS MENTIONED THIS PERSON. Kucinich is the Michael McDonald of politics.

Kenneth’s gender neutralizing hood is the scariest thing this show has ever done.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.30.54 PM

Frank Hat: Dial-Up Access

Character I related to most: Liz, especially when she was yelling about Valentine’s/Anna Howard Shaw Day.

Literally me every year.

Literally me every year.

A ranking of Jack’s love interests from best to worst: Nancy, C.C., Avery, Elisa, Condaleeza Rice, Bianca, Maureen Dowd, Phoebe.

Arguably, Jack and Avery are more compatible than he and C.C., since they have the same politics, but ugh, it’s too Republican for me.

I would date a Republican if he were exactly like Jack Donaghy in looks, wealth, and temperament.

OK, I cheated. That’s not a quote from this episode, but, rather, from this article on Jezebel about dating up/down. It’s not at all about Jack Donaghy, but that sentence spoke to me on a deep level, so I’m starting off with that. It sort of works because a major plot of this episode included people hitting on Jack.

The episode begins with Liz having a cheesy blasters sweat dream, where she and Jack are married and having a child. The child is meat cat.

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 10.57.07 PM

Anyway:

1. Jenna’s mom Verna is visiting. She consults Jack, chief Mommy issue expert, on what she should do. He advises her to “Say no. Talk low. Let her go.” #ElsaJack

Still taking donations to buy Photoshop

Still taking donations to buy Photoshop

But Verna is being really nice and throws Jenna a birthday party. But then she reveals her plan to Jack: She wants a Verna/Jenna reality show. Jack is excited to tell Jenna he was right and moms are evil, but, instead of breaking her heart, he pays Verna to visit on holidays. This feels like when the Grinch grows three heart sizes.

2. Liz and Frank are giving up their vices — junk food and smoking, respectively. It doesn’t go well as Liz sleepwalks and orders a pizza. Frank, meanwhile, has weird Oedipal relationships with the mailroom ladies. Also Liz never finished her duplex because she never got a talk show. :(

3. Pete’s Pete time is infringed upon by Kenneth. His new releases are sticking himself with thumbtacks and a fight club. #TeamPete #SavePete

Anyway, this episode gave screentime to Frank and Pete (yay!) and it put together Jack and Jenna, which rarely happens. I see you “30 Rock,” shaking things up.

Tomorrow is one of my absolute favorite episodes. Get excited.

I’m halfway through “30 Rock” so let’s take stock of the series/the blog. First, some thoughts on the project. Watching 138 episodes in 138 days doesn’t feel that impressive in the world of binge-watching. One of my friends has been trying to watch all of “Dawson’s Creek” before it gets pulled from Netflix. She did the math — four episodes a day — and she’s making a valiant effort to finish. One ~30 minute episode a day seems little in comparison. But it’s also a big commitment — bigger than I thought when I started — because if I actually take time to write up something good, that can take at least an hour. In June when I started, I wasn’t thinking about how hectic my life would be come September and how precious those ~90 minutes were.

But I’m not stopping; if anything I’m recommitting. In the past ~2 weeks during my time of lapsed commitment, I’ve missed watching “30 Rock” all the time. My general television consumption has gone down, and I think it’s actually noticeably negatively impacted my mood. Is this a weird thing to share with the internet? Is this a sign of actual TV addiction? Are you guys watching “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., because last night’s premiere was awesome?  Could y’all please start watching “The Mindy Project” please?

Anyway.

Basically I like stories, I really like the serialized story-telling of television, I love “30 Rock,” and I really love over-sharing with the internet. So the blog stands.

Here’s my best-of “30 Rock” so far.

My ten favorite episodes so far:

“The Rural Juror” (Day 10)

Rachel Dratch’s cameo as Barbara Walters discussing “The Rural Juror” is her best role on the show. Jenna and Liz’s relationship is wonderfully and hilariously hashed out.

“The Head and the Hair” (Day 11)

Long-time readers know I am obsessed with Gray, Liz’s third-cousin she refuses to date. Tracy sings a song from his Christmas album, and Kenneth defends television.

“Subway Hero” (Day 33)

The photo of Dennis receiving an award from Mike Bloomberg is my Facebook cover photo. Also, sabor de soledad appear! #TeamDennis #TeamSaborDeSoledad In all honestly, this is probably my favorite Dennis episode.

“Succession” (Day 34)

Potentially the nerdiest episode in the history of “30 Rock,” the Frank vs. Tracy as Salieri vs. Mozart plot is inspired. Iconic Liz and Jack lines and Kathy Geiss as CEO bring us over the top.

“Cooter” (Day 36)

Liz and Jack’s friendship goes long distance and I have a lot of feelings about it. Also Kenneth does some fancy tricks.

“Christmas Special” (Day 42)

A really funny Liz plot, a really touching Jack plot, Jenna singing, and it’s Christmas. Literally all my favorite things.

“Apollo, Apollo” (Day 52)

The first episode I ever watched and still one of the best. Jack searches for happiness, Dennis screws with Liz and Jenna, and Tracy goes to outer space. There’s not a wasted moment in the episode.

“Mamma Mia/Kidney Now!” (Days 57/58)

The search for Jack’s dad gives us one of the greatest celebrity charity song parodies of all-time. “Dealbreakers” and my favorite “30 Rock” line (Teach it like you preach it, Liz Lemon) are born.

Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” (Day 65)

Jack is Liz, Liz is Jenna, Frank is Liz, Jenna is sane, and Tracy is trying to EGOT.

Honorable Mentions: “Flu Shot” (Day 44), “Cougars” (Day 28)

Favorite Dennis episode: “Subway Hero” (Day 33) — Dennis is crazy but Liz still thinks maybe she should take him back. I get it.

Best original song: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” (First appeared in “Day 23 – Jack Gets In The Game” but played in a flashback in “Day 26 – Greenzo.”

Best making fun of the Bush administration: “Cougars” (Day 28) where little league baseball becomes a metaphor for the war on terror

Best celebrity cameo: James Carville fixing Jack’s, Toofer’s and Frank’s problems in “Secrets and Lies” (Day 29). This is also the best episode for Toofer and Frank.

Best celebrity cameo with an actual plot: James Franco in “Klaus and Greta” (Day 67).

Best supporting character: Jonathan. Always Jonathan.

My four favorite posts I wrote:

Day 3 – Blind Date on how Liz isn’t ugly

Day 13 – Up All Night on my justification of Jenna and Frank as the greatest couple that never was

Day 51 – The Bubble on how it’s OK that the characters like each other now

Day 52 – Apollo, Apollo on the first episode I ever watched

Creepiest Kenneth moment: Kenneth’s real name is Dick Whitman, which he reveals in “The Ones” (Day 55) when he eats strawberries, which he is highly allergic to.

Disagree with my choices? Comment below!

Here’s to the next 69!

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