This is decadent and I once went to Miami with Daryl Strawberry.

Screenshot 2014-08-26 20.58.50

 

This wasn’t a very good episode BUT highlights:

Liz and the slanket and night cheese.

Jenna is a sociopath. Or just an aggressive narcissist. 

Tangiers the Lion tattoo.

 Screenshot 2014-08-26 20.51.20

 

 

 

 

Frank’s “Fedora”

Screenshot 2014-08-26 20.55.24

Did Jackie Jormp-Jomp give up when those vampires attacked Woodstocks?

Not the best episode in the world, but one that I enjoy nonetheless. Our plots:

1. Liz is on leave because she sexually harassed that guy yesterday. She joins a group of rich ladies who spend their days getting drunk and spending money. She decides to extend her suspension for as long as possible. But then, the drunk divorcees are really a fight club. Oops.

2. SheinhardtUniversal doesn’t want to release Jenna’s not-Janis Joplin biopic, “Sing Dem Blues White Girl: The Jackie Jormp-Jomp Story.” So she and Jack end up faking her death to promote it. But in the middle of the TGS tribute to her, she runs on-stage during a cello tribute to “The Muffintop Song” to block her real birth year from being revealed. Oops.

3. Kenneth loves one of the TGS dancers, who starts dating Dotcom. Tracy fires her in order to preserve the entourage. All the other dancers go on strike, so he finds some random ladies off the street. He realizes it is a disaster, but Liz isn’t there to fix it. Oops.

It all ends like this:

 

Screenshot 2014-08-24 21.39.26

 

Highlights:

Meredith Vieira is sexually harassing Kenneth.

Jenna gets dissed by Dora’s backpack at the Kid’s Choice Awards.

Screenshot 2014-08-24 21.24.15

Liz dresses in work out clothes and the whole thing is very Alison Hendrix for me:

Screenshot 2014-08-24 21.35.09

Liz’s response when she finds out the group is really a fight club is also perfect. She’s so dejected — not even scared, just defeated.

 

Screenshot 2014-08-24 21.37.11

 

Best Tracy line: Friendship and trust in the entourage is the most important thing, like that HBO show, “John Adams.” This might be like top 10 favorite “30 Rock” jokes ever.

When Liz sneaks into work when she should be on leave, she asks Jack what Frank’s hat says. This is the only textual acknowledgement of Frank’s hats, besides that time Toofer dressed up like him.

 

 

Does it help if I tell you I thought we were doing sexual espionage?

After yesterday’s masterpiece, today’s episode was decidedly ehhh. Everyone at NBC is experiencing cutbacks, so Jack fires Jonathan (NOOOO) and Kenneth replaces him. Kenneth is mediocre. He needs Tracy to feed his bird for him, but tells Tracy not to go into the bedroom, so Tracy and Jenna become convinced Kenneth is a serial killer. When they open his bedroom, some sort of poisonous gas is released and they accidentally kill his bird. They apologize, but like, did the poison gas not confirm their suspicions that Kenneth is terrifying? Also, his bird is 60 years old. Come on guys. (When they buy him new birds, he names one Lorne and one Michael, which is cute.)

Meanwhile, Liz sleeps with the guy who’s slashing her budget to save everyone’s jobs. Except he thinks she does it because she likes him, and now he’s disgraced his dead wife. Oops. This plot made me sort of uncomfortable, but it will give us a great plot tomorrow AND it hilariously solved Liz’s problems when Jack takes over the budget. The HR guy tells her, “When you harass sexually in the workplace, things do not just somehow work out in the end,” underscoring this great twist.

The best thing about this episode is that Don Pardo shows up. I didn’t mention his passing when it happened earlier in the week because I knew this episode would quickly be upon us.

Screenshot 2014-08-23 23.03.58

Don plays Sid, the TGS announcer who was struck by lightening and screws up everyone’s names.

 

 

Screenshot 2014-08-23 22.57.56

Don was 96 and worked for NBC since the 1940s. I can’t imagine what SNL will sound like now (he announced every season but one). This blog is ostensibly about the influence “30 Rock” has had on me, but it would be an oversight for me to ignore the large influence SNL had on me growing up. Before it was at all age-appropriate, I’d watch classic episodes with my dad on Comedy Central, E! and VH1. The first tv show I bought on iTunes was “SNL: The Best of Will Ferrell,” which I watched like once a week. And Don Pardo’s voice was such a booming part of that. 

The other great thing about this episode is Jonathan serenading Jack as he left:

Screenshot 2014-08-23 22.52.09

#TeamJonathan

You cannot go into space. Your contract expressly prohibits dangerous activities like extreme sports or riding the subway on St. Patrick’s Day.

Fifty-two days later we made it: This is the first episode of “30 Rock” I ever saw. At sat at my kitchen table, like I did today when I watched this episode, pulled it up on Netflix and decided this was good enough to keep watching.

Watching now, there are things I remember being confused and impressed by the first time. Like I’ve mentioned, I think the fact that my first episode was a Dennis Duffy episode drastically affected my opinion of the character and made me love him way more than most people.

It’s very possible that my opinion of this episode is colored by sentiment, but this is a very tight, very funny episode. Sometimes, the episode’s plots aren’t connected enough, or one supports another and the third floats out on its own. This episode centralizes the action almost exclusively to 30 Rock, making everything connect inside this one building.

(Not that awards mean that much, but this one episode was nominated for 4 Emmys, winning “Outstanding Single-Camera picture Editing for a Comedy Series.” Robert Carlock, who wrote the episode, won the Writers’ Guild of America Award for Episodic Comedy for this episode. So I feel sort of vindicated re: How much I love this episode.)

Our plots:

1. Jack is turning 50, but a home movie of his 10th birthday — where he was so happy he vomited — poignantly and absurdly brings home for him how lonely he is. He searches for something that will make him that happy he is. He finds it in a bad ad Liz filmed in the 90s.

2. Dennis is back because he’s a sex addict and needs to apologize to all the women he made “victim[s] of [his] sexual charisma.” Liz learns that includes Jenna, who slept with Dennis when they were both “in an emotional place because of Hurricane Katrina.” They fight. They search for something to help them make up. They find it in a bad ad Liz made in the 90s.

3. Tracy wants to be an astronaut and go to outerspace.  He gives a moving space about it. Jack has Liz fake a space launch. Pete does most of the work. #TeamPete

Let me try to recreate for you my impressions the first time. It was summer 2009. I was about to turn 17 years old.

Screenshot 2014-08-22 16.31.21

As soon as I saw this, I immediately thought of Lance Bass. Lance, who is the only gay member of NSYNC, was also my clear favorite. And in 2002, he was training with the Russian cosmonauts to be go to space. In 2002 I was 10 and still had an NSYNC folder, so the band’s dissolution and Lance’s space plans were clearly very scarring, so scarring that I was immediately reminded of it seven years later.

Anyway.

And then we get Dennis. I think I assumed he was a bigger part of this show because this was the first episode I watched. I mean, Liz spends the half hour telling Dennis he’s not important in her life and then reacting strongly to the things he does. Dennis is important in her life, as much as she wishes he weren’t. And she won’t resolve this until season seven.

Oh so the reason I watched this episode is this guy:

Screenshot 2014-08-22 16.54.11

No, not Jonathan (#TeamJonathan), the unnamed blonde guy. In real life, his name is Theo Stockman, and, in the summer of 2009, I saw him perform in “HAIR” on broadway. My best friend and I were obsessed with the show, and Theo was my favorite cast member because he wore this amazing purple jacket and he had so much energy.

This is a photo I took of him when my bff and I saw HAIR perform on "Good Morning  America." Incidentally, this was the day after Michael Jackson died.

This is a photo I took of Theo when my bff and I saw “HAIR” perform on “Good Morning America.” Incidentally, this was the day after Michael Jackson died.

At the end of “HAIR,” after the curtain call, they invite the audience to come on stage and dance with them, so that’s the one time I met Theo and he gave me a hug. It was pretty great. We’re Facebook friends. He dated Lea Michele right before she started dating Cory Monteith. There are lots of photos, if you Google it.

So Theo hasn’t really “been in” that much stuff — he was in “HAIR” and in 2010 he was in “American Idiot” on Broadway . (That soundtrack is actually really nice. Green Day lends itself to Broadway vocals surprisingly well) In 2009 the Internet only told me he’d been in this one episode of “30 Rock,” so I watched it for the maybe 10 seconds he’s on screen.

Would I have watched “30 Rock” if not for Theo’s spot? I probably would have; I’m pretty sure I’d already been thinking about it when I watched this one. It was the inciting incident though, and these two things will forever be linked to me. My obsession with “HAIR” with my obsession with “30 Rock.” My love of musicals with my love of sitcoms. It feels like “30 Rock” is the watershed moment of my life, so I’ll always be bizarrely grateful for Theo bringing me to this. It might seem like an exaggeration, but I’m not sure I can imagine my life sans “30 Rock.”

——

All things considered, this episode wasn’t such a bad place to start. The episode also gives really great insights into the characters. Tracy’s speech to try to convince Liz and Jack to let him go to space is iconic:

“Look, when I was a kid growing up in the projects, I would look up at the stars and dream of going into space. Of escaping the slums. Of killing an Ewok! Now the man that kid has become can make those dreams come true. Do you know what that’s like?”

He also quotes the poet Robert Browning. It’s this very classic Tracy high culture/low culture mish-mosh that makes the character so enjoyable for me.

And we got to see the world through Kenneth’s eyes:

(As an avowed lover of all things Muppet, it really is no wonder that I kept watching after this episode.)

We also get a quick glance at where the relationships are on this show. Jack finds himself all alone, figuring out which relationships matter most (Hint: it’s Liz) and seeking happiness (common theme, obvi). Jenna is less sociopathic than she normally is, and her and Liz bond again. The magic is that neither of these plots is saved by a cheesy speech or a convenient crisis. Instead, it all comes full circle with a horrible ad for a phone sex line from the 90s:

Screenshot 2014-08-22 17.00.22“30 Rock” is sentimental without giving in to excessive sentiment. And that’s magic.

For now, my favorite moment (of the episode. maybe of the series so far?):

Screenshot 2014-08-22 17.02.09

Perfect Pairing

Jim and Pam’s wedding on “The Office,” which was the first episode of “the Office” I ever watched. Yeah, I’m a weirdo.

Bits & Pieces

This is perhaps the most perfect shot in the history of “30 Rock”:

Screenshot 2014-08-22 16.56.24

Alec Baldwin turned 51 in the year this aired, which I found surprising. I thought he was older.

Grizz is Adam West’s agents. #TeamGrizz

So I have a talking Tracy Jordan bobblehead (I neither purchased it, nor was it purchased for me, nor was it purchased for the person who gave it to me. We’ll get there) and one of its quotes is a line from this episode: What is this, Horseville? Because I’m surrounded by neysayers.

Jenna lost her virginity to the “My Fair Lady” soundtrack.

Best Liz and Jack exchange:

Jack: And if that doesn’t work, I’m going to Benjamin Button myself.

Liz: We’re not meeting in the middle!

Character I related to most: Liz, when she keeps having to postpone the run she was planning on.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: When Jenna looks at the ceiling of the studio she sees a lot of dead doves. I’m not sure if we’ve heard about Kenneth’s dove collection yet, but he has one, so there’s really only one logical source of the dead doves.

DO THE DOVES GIVE HIM IMMORTALITY? ARE DOVES TO KENNETH AS UNICORNS ARE TO VOLDEMORT’S FACE IN THE BACK OF QUIRRELL’S SKULL?

Sorry it took me so long to answer i was just thinking about how weird it is that we eat birds.

I really like this episode.

1. Liz realizes her handsome boyfriend, Jon Hamm, lives in a bubble and gets whatever he wants. So he’s never noticed that he’s not good at tennis, has no medical skills (despite his medical career), and that normal people don’t get free appetizers. She helps him see the bubble, but he chooses to stay in it. She cannot join him there.

2. Jack screws up his contract negotiations with Tracy when he points out Tracy doesn’t need the money from NBC. He finally gets Tracy to sign a contract when he tells Kenneth that if Tracy doesn’t work there, they don’t need him to be a Page anymore. Tracy re-signs to save Kenneth. #friendship

3. Jenna tries to get everyone’s attention by cutting off her hair. No one really notices.

I mentioned a couple days ago this article I found on The Atlantic called “The Fall of 30 Rock” by Alyssa Rosenberg and how it noticeably dropped off in season 3. As you know, I really like season 3. But I want to talk about this quote, because I think it’s particularly relevant in this episode:

Perhaps the biggest problem for 30 Rock is that the narrative conflicts established in its first season have largely been resolved.  Jack is no longer the new executive dropped in from above to meddle with the show.  Instead he’s Liz’s mentor and occasional co-conspirator, someone who pats her on the back with a broom when she has food poisoning in a Georgia motel, and blurbs her book with the quote “Lemon numbers among my employees.”  Tracy, the unstable black superstar who joined Lemon’s show (to the consternation of the writers, producers, and other actors) in 30 Rock’s first episode, may still be a disruptive force of nature, but he’s no longer the enemy: his status as an audience draw and his willingness to present them with gold nunchucks and chinchilla coats as thank-you gifts have long since basically won them over. 

First, I completely disagree with this assessment of how Tracy won them over. He won over Kenneth because Kenneth is a good, kind person he sees the good in people. The writers he won over by being funny — and sort of a genius when it comes to porn video games. Jenna, too, was won over by Tracy’s kindness: Remember his birthday wish two episodes ago? Tracy may be frustrating, at times narcissistic, but he’s fun and warm and silly. He’s a disruptive force, but not the enemy.

Rosenberg seems to be upset that the main characters mostly get along; they’re not adversaries anymore. And she’s right: the first season mostly sold us on this idea of Jack and Liz as adversaries, and it would have been easy to think that’s what the show was about.

But it’s not! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having, at the heart of your show, people who really like each other. And I sort of think the magic of “30 Rock” is that they don’t even realize how much they like each other. The lines between love and hatred, between appreciation and frustration are blurred, just like they are in real life.

The head writer of “The Daily Show,” Tim Carvell, told Rolling Stone he loves “Parks and Recreation” because They figured out how to make comedy out of people who like things, as opposed to the usual sitcom where it’s just people being awful to each other.”

I think “30 Rock” is more bitter than “Parks and Recreation.” Jack and Ron Swanson might get along, but Liz would probably find Leslie annoying. But I also think that, at the center of “30 Rock,” everyone likes each other, even though they aggressively pretend they don’t. This doesn’t mean their interactions are healthy, easy, or productive, but there’s a lot of love, especially between Jack and Liz.

External forces on “30 Rock” give us enough conflict as the characters all try to find their own personal happiness. That means relationships, parents, CEOs who never die, evil Pages, and pregnant teens.

What a weird show “30 Rock” would have been if it was just about the adversarial relationship between Liz and Jack. I’m glad that’s not what we got.

(For the record, Rosenberg does raise some good points, like the under-utilization of Pete, the writers, and Josh.)

Bits & Pieces

Tracy Junior was this episode’s Rookie of the Year when he berates Jack for turning him into a stereotype with an unemployed father. Highlight: when he asks Jack if he even voted for Obama.

Kenneth gets Tracy jerk chicken “from that place in Mill Basin.” Mill Basin is a neighborhood over from me, and the closest “30 Rock” will ever get to referencing where I live. I’m OK with that.

There’s this great moment where “30 Rock” sets us up for a montage of Tracy moments, but only gives us Liz and Jack staring into the distance.

Screenshot 2014-08-21 20.39.50

Jon Hamm brings Liz to Plunder for lunch, the restaurant Jack wanted to take Elisa too on Valentines Day.

Liz sees a photo of young Jack and is overwhelmed by how hot he was.

Same Liz.

Jenna is donating her hair to a charity called “Merkins of Hope.”

Also, this is one of my favorite “30 Rock” moments ever:

 

Screenshot 2014-08-21 20.43.26

Character I related to most: Jenna when she’s compared to Miss Piggy.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: Jenna is what he imagines Mary Magdalene looked like. Pete is what he envisioned Judas like. Dun dun.

 

Passing out and cursing on St. Patrick’s day? Is nothing sacred?

It’s St. Paddy’s Day at TGS, though this will only be conveniently mentioned at the beginning and never brought up again. (For contrast, see the season six St. Patrick’s Day episode, which is one of my favorites.)

Our plots:

1) Liz has to deal with the crises at TGS, but has jury duty. She serves on a jury for a woman who starts a fire at her job because no one appreciates her. *dramatic music*

2) Jack has made a mini microwave — with a Ham button, but like Liz suggested! — but can’t think of a name for it that isn’t offensive. He gets the writers to help, taking them away from their TGS duties.

3) Jenna falls asleep as she and Tracy are hosting the St. Patrick’s Day parade because she’s too tired from working TGS and filming Janie Jomplin. Dr. Spaceman gives her experimental military-grade drugs to keep her awake forever, until he realizes they’re killing her.

4) Tracy says motherf—– during the parade and gets fined by the FCC. He realizes he can say whatever wants on TV since he can afford both the fines and the advertising that the show needs.

So Liz copes with these three disasters the rational way: setting a fire in the writers’ room “accidentally.”

As Jack points out, this means everyone will listen to her for about a week. She’ll take it.

This was honestly a return to form for “30 Rock” — season 3 had increasingly moved our action away from production of the show, but here it’s front and center.

Bits & Pieces:

Jenna’s fake Janis songs are the best.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 21.02.07

The “30 Rock” props department is better than you:

Screenshot 2014-08-19 21.05.43

Josh was here again.

You’d think at this point Liz would keep people from going to Dr. Spaceman. I love Parnell too much to really complain, though.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He pickles squirrel meat.

I don’t have a birth certificate because i was born in Yankee Stadium.

I really like this episode. Our three plots:

1. Jack learns Frank was going to go to law school, so he helps him realize his dream after they watch “Harry and the Hendersons” together. But then he learns all of Frank’s relatives were mob lawyers, so he has to let Frank go, just like the Hendersons let go of Harry.

2. Liz befriends a pregnant teen so she can adopt her baby. Jack’s “Harry and the Hendersons” metaphor helps her realize she can’t stay between this girl and her boyfriend.

3. Kenneth throws Jenna a birthday party but makes it a co-party between Jenna and Tracy because Tracy has never had one. Jenna fakes injuries to get attention and no one notices. Tracy’s birthday wish is secretly for Jenna to get better and she is touched. #friends

Like I said, I like all these plots but what I really want to talk about is this:

Screenshot 2014-08-18 22.53.15

JOSH. WHERE DID YOU COME FROM.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 22.55.51

WHAT.

LIKE. HOW DID THIS CONVERSATION EVEN GO.

“IT WOULD BE GREAT IF JOSH WAS THERE.”

“JOSH …. OH MY GOD, WE FORGOT JOSH IS ON THIS SHOW.”

AND JOSH WAS JUST LIKE.

“IT’S COOL YOU GUYS FORGOT ABOUT ME, WHATEVER.”

I mean, it’s not that weird for minor characters to flit in and out, and this really isn’t as bad as anything that happens on “The West Wing” (#DannyConcannon #noonelikedMandyanyway) but they don’t even mention that he hasn’t shown up in an episode since “MILF Island.”

(While googling this, I found an Atlantic article from 2009 called “The Fall of 30 Rock.” In one of the first paragraphs it refers to season three as weak, so I stopped reading.)

(OK I kept reading and it raised some interesting points that I will discuss in the future.)

(The most relevant point for this post is that the author mentions that they drop the adoption plotline in season 3, which they totally do, so it’s sort of weird for it to come back here.)

Perfect Pairing

You thought I’d pick “Juno.” Instead, I’m picking “The West Wing” season 4 episode “Holy Night” where Danny Concannon returns, because that was jarring too.

If Mark Brendanawicz shows up in the final season of “Parks and Rec” I will be so pissed.

Bits & Pieces

Patti LuPone is Frank’s mother. Of course.

Also, it’s amazing how Jack-like Frank ends up looking.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 23.05.36

For a second, I thought this was Cris Chros and was really confused.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 22.49.11

All the writers’ (and Josh’s) dads have what they tell people their sons do:

Toofer – surgeon

Josh – optometrist

Lutz – died

Frank tells himself he’s a space assassin.

Best Jenna one-liner: My heart goes out to all those inner city kids, especially those too fat to dance their way out.

Liz’s idea of bad music is Biz Markie and the Doors. Oh Liz.

Pete tries to convince Liz to let the teens work it out amongst themselves because that’s how he and Paula got together. BUT BY THE END OF THE SERIES HE FAKES HIS OWN DEATH TO GET AWAY FROM HER, RUINING ANY SENTIMENT THESE ANECDOTES COULD HAVE.

Tracy decries his birthday wish as “Malarkey.” Tracy is Joe Biden.

Though Liz implies using the story of “Harry and the Hendersons” to give her advice is crazy, Jack gave good advice this episode. Good job, Jack.

John Lithgow doesn’t know they changed the spelling of Syfy.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 23.12.01

Pregnant teen Becca’s song is amazing to me.

Screenshot 2014-08-18 23.03.01

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He thinks Tracy’s birthday wish was for a new Robocop. We got a new Robocop this year. Coincidence?

I’m saying the Disneyfication of New York is over, everyone. At the stroke of midnight, your Lexus is going to turn back into a hot pile of rats fighting over a human finger.

So while I was watching this episode, Mallory Ortberg, who’s very funny on Twitter and is in charge of The Toast tweeted this:

https://twitter.com/mallelis/status/501171450951106563

As y’all know from my frequent rankings of Liz’s love interests, I TOTALLY AGREE. Gray was so tall and handsome. He was maybe a little too hip for Liz, but it still seems like a missed opportunity.

Moving on to the topic at hand, our episode:

1. Liz has to retrieve her phone from a cabbie in Queens, even though he wants $2000 for it, it contains “an adult photo” of her that Drew took.

2. Tracy goes on Larry King just as the Asian markets suddenly downturn. Larry asks him about it and his answers cause mass panic and rioting in New York.

3. Elisa wants Jack to commit. He tells her he loves her, so she decides to skip her vacation in P.R. to be with him. But when he goes back to work to deal with the aforementioned mass panic, she leaves him. He finds her on the street and proposes, but in the morning she chalks it all up to the crazy emotions they felt during the fake crisis and goes to P.R., telling him they need space to think.

Jack’s plot really focuses on the tension he feels between wanting to be the playboy executive who doesn’t take things seriously and wanting to love someone and be with them. His attempts at commitment are initially framed mostly as a way to finally have sex with Elisa (I was actually really happy that this was the framing, since last episode left me wondering how super Catholic Elisa was OK having sex with Jack), but by the end of the episode he’s visibly upset that Elisa doesn’t want to be engaged right now.

Also, he made them swag with their couple name on it. That’s a man in love.

Screenshot 2014-08-17 20.59.28

 

Liz has to tell Kenneth they’re friends so he’ll go to Queens with her.

JANIE JIMPLIN

JANIE JIMPLIN

When she tells him they aren’t friends, he leaves, only to return and declare his friendship once more. The taxi driver makes fun of her because all the numbers in her phone are work numbers: Does she have any friends?

Does she? There’s Jack, and sort of Jenna, sort of. She confides in Pete sometimes, but rarely do they interact in a meaningful way on camera. By the end of the series, I’d say she really does love her co-workers, but I’m not sure she’s got more than Jack right now.

But I also don’t think that’s as depressing as I made it sound just now. Aristotle thought we could only have as many friends as he could live with — we need that constant contact to keep us together. Jack and Liz constantly contact, making their friendship particularly strong. And I generally believe in quantity over quality.

Still, Jack and Liz continue to search for more. Though, on the whole, season 3 has been way more concerned with Jack’s existential crises than with Liz’s. Jack’s a much more dramatic person though.

Bits & Pieces

Best Frank hat: Emotional Friend

Since Elisa won’t have sex with Jack, Liz bros out because she’s had sex two more times than Jack this year. Things are going well with Doctor Drew, obviously.

After the taxi driver asks Liz for money:

Liz: I’ll definitely do that. On opposite day.

Taxi driver: I’m new to this country. Is that a real thing?

This is an epic Jonathan episode, in which we learn so much about him:

  • He calls him and Jack “Jackonathan.”
  • He keeps a VCR in the office so he can watch Jack’s old football tapes.
  • He secretly tapes himself in Jack’s office playing the flute shirtless.

I will be so sad when Jonathan pulls a Josh and goes mysteriously missing.

Tracy calls himself a “devil’s avocado.” This is funny to me because, in French, the word for lawyer and avocado is the same. Avocat.

Liz knows all the German words to “99 Luft Balloons.”

We never see Liz’s birthday, but Kenneth informed us it’s in November.

Best Jack line: ” I was about to do the whole run to the airport thing like Ross did on Friends and Liz Lemon did in real life.”

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

Elisa, like Nancy will later, helps Jack deal with all his repressed Catholicism.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: His favorite lullaby as a child was “The day is done my sweet for the lambs have been decapitated.”

I found it on my favorite website: Stop showing off Dotcom.

This is obviously not the best Valentine’s episode — we’ve got to wait a season for that one. But it’s still a funny, funny episode.

Our plots:

1. Liz goes out with Jon Hamm – on Valentine’s Day. And then everything moves too fast — he sees her boob, he sees her poop, she meets his daughter, his mother confesses a terrible secret to Liz before dying. Awks.

2. Jack wants to take Elisa out for Valentine’s Day but she insists on going to church first. He uses confession to torture a priest with stories of sex, including confessing to have gay sex with Dick Cheney. It seems they might break up, but McDonald’s McFlurries, the greatest dessert of them all, reunites them.

3. Kenneth falls in love with a blind girl but can’t manage to speak to her, so Tracy does all the talking for him. This is already funny because Tracy’s Kenneth is amazing. Dotcom, Grizz, and Jenna (and Jeff Richmond!) are all recruited to help fake a nice French dinner. After the dinner, blind lady touches Kenneth’s face, realizes he’s ugly, and peaces out. A vain blind person. Only on “30 Rock.”

First, it’s really just a pleasure to see Jon Hamm as not a total jerk, like he is on “Mad Men” and in “Bridesmaids.” I don’t feel bad for liking him. Jack points out how insanely attractive he is, hoping he’s not a serial killer who plans on eating Liz, which seems like an appropriate way to address his insane good looks.

While I find the way they’ll end this relationship very funny (we’ll get there), it sort of logically doesn’t fit in with the way he’s characterized before then, like in this episode.

Also, I noticed that Liz is wearing this really pretty necklace with two circles with L’s on them. Google makes it seem like other people noticed this before now, so I don’t know how I missed it.

Jack, meanwhile, sort of deals with his Catholic demons for neither the first nor last time. Elisa hilariously asks him, “Don’t tell me you’re one of those convenient catholics that only goes to church every Sunday.” This is funny because most “religious” Catholics think the convenient ones are those who only go on Christmas, Ash Wednesday, and Easter. (I know that explaining the joke makes it not funny, but I’m too Catholic to let that one slip.)

But also, shouldn’t Elisa have figured out Jack’s not very Catholic by now? “30 Rock” isn’t too interested in continuity, but that sort of annoyed me.

Anyway, Jack’s God is capitalism, Elisa’s is God, and both their Gods lead them to the same McDonald’s to buy McFlurries. Worse things could happen.

Perfect Pair

Bits & Pieces

“30 Rock” is very obsessed with Michael McDonald. In “Cleveland,” Tracy mentioned wanting to do a Michael McDonald cover album. In this episode, he forces Jenna to do a Michael McDonald impression. And a few years later, he shows up in an animated “30 Rock” webisode.

Dotcom is in love with Grizz’s fiance. All tidbits on info about Grizz and Dotcom are greatly appreciated by me.

Best Elisa line ever: [Translated from Spanish] I’M SO MAD AT YOU THAT I’M YELLING AT YOU IN SPANISH JUST LIKE RICKY RICARDO.

Best ’00s reference: Jon Hamm’s daughter has bracelets whose colors code to the sex acts she has performed on her bus. I remember, in 6th grade, a boy telling me that my bracelets meant sex stuff and being really offended. For more info on this hilarious “parents freak out about nothing” moment, read Wikipedia.

Tracy refers to the blind girl as Kenneth’s Ms. Magoo. As an avid lover of Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, I don’t know how I never noticed this, but Imr. m laughed a lot this time.

Everyone’s favorite selectively blind cartoon character!

Character I related to most: Jenna, who is alone on Valentine’s Day and has nothing better to do than serenade Kenneth and blind girl.

Hi Jeff!

Hi Jeff!

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: HE HAS A SECOND MOUTH ON HIS BACK. It’s sewn shut, but….

I don’t think you should come to my cousin’s police academy graduation or my other cousin’s parole party. Boy, I hope those two don’t eventually have a showdown that pits family against justice.

Another great episode. It’s looking like season 3, after an ehh start, is, in fact, my favorite season.

But before I talk about this episode, I want to tell you that today I saw paradise.

30rock

This wasn’t my first time by 30 Rock, obviously, but I still couldn’t help but get excited just seeing it there. And I figured this blog deserved a record of my hijinks.

Our plots:

1. Elisa’s grandma hates Jack because he looks like the bad guy on her telenovela, The Generalissimo. He gets Sheinhardt to buy the show so he can change the character and make grandma like him.

2. Liz accidentally gets the mail of her neighbor, who, she discovers, is a divorced doctor who loves “Muppets Take Manhattan,” “Caddyshack,” and “a document about how pies are made.” She uses the mail to turn herself into his ideal mate, with disastrous results, including accidental roofies.

Also, did I mention it’s Jon Hamm?

Screenshot 2014-08-15 21.16.49

3. TGS has new interns — former Wall Street bankers who have no skills but partying, but Tracy struggles to keep up with them. He buys and reopens Lehman Brothers so they will leave him alone.

I really appreciate Jack’s plot because everything had gotten so heavy with him lately. We’re taking a step back from the edge of his mid-life crisis-ness and having fun again!

Also, I will offer an anecdote to vouch for the validity of this plot. My own grandmother also has a crazy love of soap operas. She now hates James Franco because he played a serial killer on “General Hospital,” her favorite show, and he was really mean to her favorite character, Jason Morgan. Any time James Franco is mentioned on the news or in a commercial, she mentions how much she hates him.

Soaps are serious.

Meanwhile, Liz continues her socially awkward streak. It’s the crazy, surreal conclusion of what we’ve all done. OK, what I’ve done — pretend to like something because the person you like it into it. But who can blame her for going crazy in order to get a chance with Jon Hamm?

And Tracy’s plot actually only brings home my point from yesterday, that this show is lampooning rich white men just as much as anyone else. Finance bros really are as awful as “30 Rock” makes them seem.

Perfect Pairing

“Arrested Development” has had a lot of episodes with roofies; G.O.B. even starts calling them “Forget-Me-Nows.” But I just watched the episode with the first roofie-centric plot last weekend: “For British Eyes Only.”

Bits & Pieces

Jack: Only the special tours get to see Conan without his wig.

Running gags about Conan are the best.

Jack blames Nancy Pelosi for the economic downturn.

The Generalissimo is the spokesman for everyone’s favorite fake Cheetos:

Screenshot 2014-08-15 21.25.00

 

Jack doesn’t believe Metrocards are real.

Tracy hates the bro life: Have you ever tasted scotch? It’s terrible! And this thing they call box seats at the Rangers game? It’s so cold!

Jack gets Liz to write the soap scripts and Elisa has to edit out the “Star Wars” references.

Jenna has both been drugged and drugged other people.

Abuela tells Jack NBC news is too sad, so the TODAY Show adds a segment that’s just pictures of cute Latino babies. Matt Lauer is not into it.

Character I related to most: Liz when she ends her description of her seduction plan with, “AND THEN I WILL PUT MY MOUTH ON HIS MOUTH.”

An updated ranking of all of Liz’s love interests from best to worst: Drew, Gray, Stewart LaGrange, Floyd, Dennis, Jamie, Conan, Gretchen the lesbian, that guy Wayne Brady played, Gavin Volure.

Drew skyrockets to the front because he’s so full of promise. The promise will be quickly squandered, but #spoilers.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None.

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