So some family emergency stuff got between me and “30 Rock” the last few days, but I’m back. So.

Jack asks Liz if her 2010 is off to a good start right at the start of the show and I had this moment of “Wow, it’s 2014, this was almost 5 years ago at this point.” This was sort of telling because quite a few things in this episode felt very 2010.

First our plots:

1. James Franco hires Jenna to be his beard so he can hide his relationship with a Japanese body pillow. This is one of my all-time favorite plots because self-aware James Franco is the best Franco. Also it ends in the greatest threesome of all time:

Screenshot 2014-09-14 22.03.04

2. Liz’s gay cousin Randy comes to visit New York because he’s fighting with his parents since Liz outed him at New Year’s. He wants to run around and party and Liz wants to “stay here, make nachos, and see who can fall asleep the earliest.” Obviously Liz’s idea is much better. Then he locks her in a closet and tries to runaway with a gay sailor who’s quitting the Navy so they can get married in Massachusetts. THIS IS SO 2010 because Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still a thing and you couldn’t get gay married in New York. You could only get gay married in five states. Now almost half the country lives in a state with gay marriage. Yay!

3. Jack and Kenneth break into Nancy’s house to delete “an answering machine message” he drunkenly left for her. He is surprised that she has a voicemail and not an answering machine. Jack, what r u doin. Jonathan did not do well this episode as Jack drastically favored Kenneth over him. :(  Anyway, Jack realizes Nancy is effectively divorced but figures she’s not interested in him UNTIL Kenneth realizes her voicemail password spells out his name from German class, “Klaus.” We need a moment to acknowledge that this is the weirdest thing ever.

Bits & Pieces

Liz leaves drunk messages for Cerie

People have started using “Lemon” as a verb to mean screwing up. She and Britta should start a support group.

Randy sees a Hassidic Jew and asks “You have amish here?” I snorted.

Character I related to most: Tracy when he tells everyone his wife is pregnant, then adds, “And it gets better. I just had a burrito.” #teamburritos

Randy: “The local television station edited down ‘Will and Grace’ so much that it was just called Karen.”

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

NANCY IS CLEARLY WHO JACK SHOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH. #TEAMNANCY FOR LIFE.

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

I’m not sure about Drew’s placement. He’s so hot, but so, so dumb.

Here’s a special treat. My bff Emily joined me via Skype for this episode, and what follows is a transcript of her best comments about the action (with edits for context). She’s a native Bostonian (but she’s really from the suburbs, but she lives right on the border. She’s way more legit than those Worcester jerks.) who always complains about Julianne Moore’s Boston accent, so this was a particularly great episode for her to guest on. 

On Cerie’s comment that Liz’s hair looks less weird: Oh her hair is not looking less weird. I think cerie is the best part of this show. Oh she was the greatest part of this show until jonathan showed up

Liz: Those sites are for horny married chicks with kids who want to exchange pervy e-mails with their old high school boyfriends.

Emily: I do that.

I really like how you talk about when you’re taking photoshop donations.

You know how I’m really attracted to the gay guy on “Dawson’s Creek”? This guy [Cheyenne Jackson/Danny] is doing the same thing for me Jack (the guy on “Dawson’s Creek”) does.

East Sadchester High School. my family summers there.

On Jack saying Nancy Donovan’s name: If he was actually from Boston he would say Dunavan. Actually that might be a Long Island thing.

Frank’s hat: PG-25. Can you go back to listing Frank’s hats every episode?

I think this show would be a lot better without Lutz in it. I hate Lutz.

[After being reminded of the finale plot] Ok he’s worth it for that one thing. It’s like Toofer is worth it just for that episode wear he dresses up like Frank. Though obviously Frank is the better part of that episode. But people from Harvard are really like that.

Liz’s hair looks like she pomaded it then crimped it than pomaded it again.

[After seeing that the captions designated Nancy's Boston accent] It’s not a Boston accent even for hearing people.

“Good merlinpeen,” I forgot about that. I might make my Tinder profile good merlinpeen.

I really like the idea of tracy playing Josh Groban. I would like to donte to your photoshop cause so I can see what Tracy would look like as Josh Groban.

[After Danny mentions he doesn't get sarcasm because Canada doesn't have Jewish people] I did this project in high school about the Jewish population of Canada and at some point in the 1800s there were like 80 of them.

[After Nancy asks Jack what happened to his accent] What happened to your Boston accent, bitch?

Every time I try to remember her name I think it’s Nancy Kerrigan.

If you’re going to get one word right in a Boston accent it should be “sure.”

Did you know that I do not like french kissing? I think it’s gross

Jack sounds like Batman.

i dislike everything about that exchange

Why does Jenna wear those stupid little vests? And why do people wear jewelry?

Screenshot 2014-09-10 23.24.40

if Jenna was brunette she would not be noteworthy.

Honestly Jenna’s character gets so much better as they reveal overtime how terrible her childhood was.

i would listen to this song in a nonironic way:

Even though her accent sucks I think she is, personality wise, extremely Boston.

[After Liz calls in a bomb threat to Penn Station to get Nancy to stay in NY] I should have done that when you tried to go back to New York.

[When Liz and Danny are singing back-to-back] That’s like the monster mash, back-to-back, belly-to-belly.

To which I say, NO THAT’S THE ZOMBIE JAMBOREE.

You’re like a swarthy, big-hipped Kelly Ripa.

Two of this week’s plots focused on our beloved characters switching jobs, and the other launched Tracy Jordan on the greatest quest of all time: an EGOT. Suffice it to say, I love this episode.

At the episode’s start, Jack and Liz are gearing up to film the pilot for “Dealbreakers” (are they called pilots if they’re for talk shows?) and everything is great. Until Devon calls to tell Jack that, since they received stimulus money, if the talk show doesn’t work out, he’ll take the fall in some public and embarrassing way. It was a little contrived, but it raised the stakes, so I won’t complain too much.

Jack, panicked, gets in Liz’s mind grapes and freaks her out a little. She gets off-brand eye surgery from Dr. Spaceman (#poorchoices) and gets a really awful haircut that reminded me a lot of Hannah Horvath’s similarly horrible ‘do on “GIRLS.”

Screenshot 2014-09-09 13.12.09

Liz turns into Jenna and locks herself in her dressing room, crying out of her mouth (thanks, Dr. Spaceman) and Jenna has to help get her out (they just take the door off its hinges).

So Jack is Liz and Liz is Jenna and Frank is Liz too because she left him in charge and the pressure has changed him:

Screenshot 2014-09-09 13.03.37

One of the great side effects of this Liz plot is that it helped humanize Jenna, since the job of an actress was portrayed as pretty sick and inherently crazy. Liz’s mental breakdown helps us get why Jenna is so unhinged. Unclear if that was the intention, but works belong to their readers watchers.

Meanwhile, Angie won’t give Tracy the daughter he wants until he steps up his parenting game. He agrees to buy the Christmas presents to prove his responsibility. Instead he buys this:

Screenshot 2014-09-09 12.57.31

Emmy. Grammy. Oscar. Tony. Wikipedia calls it the “Grand Slam of Show Business.” The most recent member of the club is Robert Lopez, who wrote “Let It Go” (and all the other music from Frozen”), the Score for “Avenue Q” and “The Book of Mormon” and won Emmys for writing the music for “The Wonder Pets.” He’s also the youngest member of the club, the person who did it fastest, and his kids go to the school I attended for high school. (Poly Prep, where you at?) (Right here.)

Anyway, Angie tells Tracy he can have a duaghter after he EGOTs. Tracy gets that musicians win this award the most easily, so he tries to write the most popular song of all time. Which isn’t easy. So EGOT member Whoopi Goldberg tells him his EGOT needs to come from the heart, so he decides to work at the EGOT thing, and Angie agrees to try for a girl too. Yay!

So while the Dealbreakers plot comes to a close, the Tracy-EGOT saga is just beginning. Fasten your seatbelts, nerds.

Bits & Pieces

Star Wars reference: Tracy wants to name his daughter Chewbaquina.

ASTRONAUT MIKE DEXTER APPEARS IN LIZ’S FANTASY.

Screenshot 2014-09-09 12.48.23

Jenna’s nemesis is Jenny McCarthy, which I think is really a reflection that Jenna is deeply insecure, because Jenna is so obviously superior to her. I mean, Jenna can sing like an angel, did some solid acting work in “The Rural Juror” and is presumably funny. Jenny McCarthy is … blonde.

Pete again mentions his mental breakdown, like how he’s “been shop lifting just to feel in control” and how he got a back tattoo that says freedom in Chinese. Jack and Liz actually back away slowly. I am forever #TeamPete.

Character I related to most: Liz when she compares something to a movie, Jack says he’s never seen it, she tells him the ending, and he says, “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to see it.” I do this to people all the time. Oops.

Kenneth didn’t do anything scary.

If a patient’s friend runs into the operating room and yells at you, you have to stop.

The episode’s title comes from the one and only Frank Rossitano, who Liz discovers peeing into jars he keeps around his office. She thought it was sun tea. Some of it was. 

When I read Tina Fey’s article in “The New Yorker,” “Lessons in Late Night,” I learned this was drawn right from SNL (this may have also been in her book, but I’m too lazy to go check):

Here’s the truth: There is an actual difference between male and female comedy writers, and I’m going to reveal it now. The men urinate in cups. And sometimes jars. One of the first times I walked into the office of my old boss Steve Higgins, he was eating an apple and smoking a cigarette simultaneously. (When I started at “S.N.L.,” you could still smoke in an office building. I might not be young.) I had been there only a few weeks, and Steve had been very encouraging and supportive. I forget what we were talking about, but I went to get a reference book off a high shelf in his office. When I reached to move a paper cup that was in front of it, Steve jumped up. “Don’t touch that,” he said. “Hang on.” He grabbed the cup, and a couple of others like it around the office, and took them out of the room to dump them.

“Oh, yeah, that’s pee in those cups,” my friend Paula Pell later informed me. [Editor's Note: Paula plays Pete's wife, Paula!] I could not believe it…

I told a male co-worker about what I had seen. Was it not the grossest thing he had ever heard? He answered matter-of-factly that he occasionally did it, too. He said it was just something guys did when they were too lazy to go to the bathroom. The bathroom, I should point out, was about as far away as you are from this magazine. I started to feel as if I were from space.

I called my boyfriend, Jeff, back in Chicago. “You grew up way out in the country with a bunch of brothers. Did you ever pee in cups and, like, leave them around?” Jeff was incredulous. “What! No. That’s disgusting.” A thousand points for Jeff.

Once I became aware of this practice, I started noticing cups in other places. In the “Weekend Update” offices—which were like the smarter but meaner older brother of the regular writers’ offices—there weren’t any cups. There was a jar. It was a jar of piss with a lid on it, and, judging by its consistency, I suspect that the writers sometimes spat into it. Or that one of them was terribly ill. You could see it when you came in the door, backlit by the afternoon sun, and at first I thought it was a test. If you saw the piss jar and dared to ignore it and continue into the room, you were welcomed. “Welcomed” is too strong a word. You were . . . one of the guys? Nope, you know what? I’m just projecting. It couldn’t have been a test, because they really didn’t give a fuck whether you came into the room or not.

Not all the men at “S.N.L.” whizzed in cups. But four or five out of twenty did, so the men have to own that one. Anytime there’s a bad female standup somewhere, some idiot Interblogger will deduce that “women aren’t funny.” Using that same math, I can deduce that male comedy writers piss in cups.

That back story only makes an already rich episode even better.

Our three plots:

1) Liz’s apartment is converting to condos, and she wants the one above hers so she can make a duplex. When she goes to bribe the guy, she pretends to be a hipster to win him over, but instead he asks her to move in with him, since he won’t be able to afford the rent hike. She then tries to get him to move out using drama (Jenna’s idea) and a black guy (Tracy’s idea). But the gay hipster cop takes it all until she uses the Frank method and pees in a vase.

2) Don Geiss’ family is dragging him through the mud, so Jack decides to get a vasectomy so he never has kids. Tracy joins him, since Bill Cosby lied to him and being a dad isn’t fun. But his surgery-induced fever dream makes Tracy realize he wants a daughter, and reading Tracy Jr.’s touching poem makes Jack want kids too.

Well, it’s mostly touching until you get to the end:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.21.30

3. Tracy is trying to make TGS more eco-friendly. Apparently Frank is the most green person at TGS because he eats garbage and uses the pee to fertilize plants (which I thought was fake but apparently isn’t. “Wish you could feritilize crops with pee? Urine luck” is headline of the year). Then Al Gore shows up again! This time, he stresses that we don’t just need individuals making small changes, but legislative action, to change the environment.

He tells Kenneth, “Recycle everything, including jokes,” and then does just that, exiting the same way he did last time:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.22.42

Kenneth also has these really amazing NBC themed pamphlets which give us a wonderful glimpse into 2009. First, a Minka Kelly one:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.09.41 Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.09.49 Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.09.57

#TeamFridayNightLights #forever

And then a “Heroes” one:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.17.25

Bits & Pieces

This episode opens with one of my least favorite “Orange Is The New Black” characters:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.00.01

No one wants you here Fig.

Best Frank Hat: Shark Cop. This is great in retrospect, because he was in “Sharknado 2.”

Tracy as Bill Cosby is precious.

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.14.40

 

Perhaps my favorite Jenna line ever was uttered this episode: “Drama is like gay man Gatorade. It replenishes their electrolytes.”

Kathy Geiss’s lawyer:

Screenshot 2014-09-08 21.03.26

 

#TeamKathy

THIS EPISODE IS THE FIRST NON-APPEARANCE OF ASTRONAUT MIKE DEXTER.

Liz Lemon you are blowing up like a balloon with a grenade in it.

Things have been sort of crazy the last few days, so I fell behind. Sorrz dudes.

(But I did see Mike Birbiglia’s “Thank God For Jokes” tour and I cannot recommend it enough. Watch My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend on Netflix, at least.)

Also! I’ve been reading this book The Comic Toolbox that one my besties got me as a graduation present, and it’s really great. So I’m going to use one of the frameworks it taught me — its deconstruction of comic conflict — to talk about this episode and what makes it work and not work.

Our first conflict is between Jack and Liz. Jack pitches Liz the idea of a Dealbreakers talk show, produced by him. Jenna and Tracy advise her to shop around though, and not let Jack take advantage of her. Jack is hurt by her decision to get an agent and see her options.

Thus, the main conflict in this plot is interpersonal. Two best friends both want the same thing — for Liz to be successful — but are unable to communicate this to each other and get caught up in petty things. My screenwriting professor always called this contact/conflict — two people want to contact each other, to be together in some way, but instead they fight. It’s always more interesting when two people who care about each other fight than it is when two strangers do.

But this plot has the two other forms of conflict — global and personal. When Liz argues with her young, inexperienced agent or gets dinner with a very annoying producer, the conflict is with the entertainment industry writ large. And Jack and Liz are both innerly conflicted: What matters more, business or their BFF?

Of course, all these conflicts are handled hilariously. Jack gets Padma from “Top Chef” to host the show, since that will ruin “Top Chef” for Liz. The agent and producer Liz deals with are amazingly horrible. And their reconciliation is framed like a rom-com ending:

Screenshot 2014-09-07 13.36.38

my perfect babies

So this plot works not only because it’s hilarious but also because the audience is really invested in their friendship.

But the second plot is a lot less stream-lined. Cheyenne Jackson has arrived as the new castmember, but he won’t let Kenneth help him do things. Kenneth is thrown for a loop. Jenna and Tracy then realize that all the people they are mean to might be their bosses one day, so they don’t want to use Kenneth either. Kenneth realizes Danny is the problem and gets Danny to yell at and insult him, thus making him “an actor.” Then he gives the actors waffles.

So what’s the conflict here? Kenneth is in conflict with Danny because Danny is being nice to him, but Danny doesn’t actually take part in that conflict until the very end. Then he’s also in conflict with Jenna and Tracy, which is a little stronger because Jenna and Tracy are worried, but again, it’s sort of weak. The main conflict here, then, is Kenneth’s inner turmoil about not getting to help the actors, and it’s wrapped up with him basically asserting, “I will help you because that’s what I do.”

And now I understand why I didn’t love this plot. It was boring and lacked compelling conflict. There were some good gags in it though, like Jenna and Tracy’s problem solvers tee shirts and the two major hints at Kenneth immortal terror:

Screenshot 2014-09-07 13.15.42

And when Danny says Kenneth will be head of the network one day. *foreshadowing*

Bits & Pieces

I sort of vaguely miss Josh, but wow Danny is so much better. So attractive.

The Chinese knock-off of “Dealbreakers” translates Liz’s name to “Lesbian Yellow Sourfruit.”

The TV show “Sports Shouting” is almost too on the nose.

Screenshot 2014-09-07 13.11.55

Best one-liner: The future is like a Japanese game show, you have no idea what’s going on.

It’s as useless as the Winter Olympics. This February on NBC.

TGS is auditioning new actors for Jack and Jack has bed bugs. This episode was my favorite of season 4 so far, partially because it centralized all the action. The auditions spiral out of control as Liz lets Dotcom try out and everyone else — Kathy Geiss, Brian Williams, Toofer, Lutz, Frank, some people Jenna and Tracy recruit — joins in. The guy Liz and Pete picked — Jayden — turns out to be a total lunatic.

Thankfully, Jack picks this robot guy, because he’s the only one who would shake his hand, eve though he has bed bugs:

Screenshot 2014-09-03 23.34.49

Robot guy will be revealed as Cheyenne Jackson in the next episode:

Except that robot guy is clearly NOT Cheyenne Jackson, and it bothers me a lot.

Tracy uttered one of my favorite “30 Rock” lines of all time:

He’s evil Tracy!?

Screenshot 2014-09-03 21.28.46

And Pete was my favorite dad again, when he said, “The more people you add the less effective it is, like a neighborhood dad garage band.” #teamPete

Also, Kenneth speaks Latin, proving again how vaguely terrifying he is.

What really made this episode work was how it drew on every member of the ensemble. Tracy and Jenna troll the city looking for funny people. Dotcom intimidates Tracy with his acting skills. Jonathan is concerned for Jack’s bed-bug woes. Frank, Toofer, Lutz, and Pete all get things to do! All the pieces connect together into a well-oiled machine, giving every one a moment to shine this episode.

And this happened during the credits.

Blam-o, another successful interaction with a man!

I skipped an episode. Oops. This one was more enjoyable than “Stone Mountain” though!

Liz’s book has come out, and every man she knows is pissed, since multiple dealbreakers apply to each of them. This includes the guy in the bookstore.

Screenshot 2014-09-02 21.21.25

Wait … is that Councilman Jamm?

Screenshot 2014-09-02 21.24.01

IT IS. 

Today on my first day of grad school I learned that we assume visual images are linear/temporal, but really they aren’t, so I’m creating my own visual timeline for this image. Councilman Jamm lost his position on the city council and now works at Barnes and Noble. He is bitter and sad. 

Moving on! Our plots:

1. Devin is in charge of a government oversight committee that’s going to take Jack and GE down. Jack gives Jonathan to Devin (:'() to get Devin to leave. This plot is funny, even if it’s hastily resolved.

2. Liz deals with Tracy, who Angie kicked out after reading “Dealbreakers.” Since she based a lot of the dealbreakers on Tracy, she gives Tracy her life rights and lets him make a Liz Lemon porno 

3. Liz deals with Jenna, who is filming a werewolf vampire movie in Iceland to spite Liz’s new castmember search. They make up as they watch porn versions of themselves make out. 30 Rock!

We also got a glimpse of porn Jack and porn Liz:

Screenshot 2014-09-02 21.55.15

And Kenneth is really old, appearing in this flashback:

Screenshot 2014-09-02 21.27.03

Also, he works for Big Brother, monitoring people’s actions secretly. Kenneth has slipped into openly terrifying territory.

Jack is pretty concerned that Americans don’t love microwaves enough, but microwaves are magic. Last year I didn’t have one, and it sucked. I had to use a stove and oven to heat food? I burnt a lot of things.

Also, by far the character I related to most this episode was Frank, when he started crying about a poorly heated burrito. Burritos are serious business.

Orange and black decorations, is this Halloween or prison parents day?

Orange is the new Jack? Also, still taking those Photoshop donations thanks

Orange is the new Jack?
Also, still taking those Photoshop donations thanks

I remembered disliking this episode, and found it more pleasant than I remembered, though still a bit of a clunker.

Plots:

1. Jack and Liz travel to Stone Mountain, Kenneth’s hometown, to find a comic from “real America.” Liz tries to tell him that there are bad people everywhere, but he doesn’t believe her until a ventriloquist makes some gross jokes at Liz’s expense.

2. Two celebrities have died and Tracy is terrified that he’ll be next, thanks to the rule of threes. This is the best plot, since Betty White and Jimmy Fallon show up.

He calls Betty to see if she’ll be dying soon, and she promises to bury him.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 22.23.58

And he and Jimmy Fallon end up trying to kill each other. This is right after Jimmy got the Late Show, so this is pretty cute.

Screenshot 2014-09-01 22.36.38

3. Jenna tries to befriend the writers so they’ll help her out when the new castmember comes. They use her to try to get invited to gay Halloween, where all the hot girls are. They agree to use each other. I was glad Toofer, Lutz and Frank got some plot, but it was only sort of funny.

About the rule of three: My grandma believes this applies to real life, so if she hears two people she knows died, she is immediately on edge until she hears about a third person. This is real.

My favorite exchange in the episode was:

Jack: Your elitist, intellectual, left-wing —

Liz: Just say Jewish, this is taking forever.

This reminded me of one of my favorite moments on “The West Wing,” from the pilot, when Toby gets super annoyed at this right-wing Christian lady and says to Josh (#teamJoshLyman):

“She meant Jewish. When she said New York sense of humor, she was talking about you and me.”

(Should I do 154 days of “The West Wing” after this? That’s a lot of television…)

Also in this episode we learn Pete has a cover band. #teamPete for life.

Looking forward, here are some things I’ll try to talk about soon:

  • This AV Club article about how sitcoms need more conflict
  • This episode of the Scriptnotes podcast where John and Craig assert that sitcoms are just one long second act of a three-act story
  • Why I keep writing a blog no one reads
  • Some rankings and round-ups as I approach the midway point in 9 days

Bonus means extra. I know that from game shows.

Season four! Funny episode too, giving us a new conflict for the season.

Jack wants TGS to go more mainstream to attract new viewers. That means Jenna is dressing up as a cowgirl, Tracy is roaming Rockefeller Plaza to connect with normal people, and Pete and Liz are sneaking around to comedy clubs to find a new castmember (#RIPJoshplots) Meanwhile, Jack has cut overtimes for the Pages, but when Kenneth sees Jack’s bonus, he organizes a Page strike, which merges with a Santa Claus strike. Jenna and Tracy join to protest a new cast member. The strike ends when Jack admits he’s a liar, which is all Kenneth wanted.

The best thing about this episode is that we see lots of Pete as he and Liz try to sneak around. The writers catch on and ask what’s up, so they pretend they’re having an affair, which gives us this amazing Paula moment:

Screenshot 2014-08-31 23.54.53

Also this happened:

We let things fester until they erupt in inappropriate anger, preferably during a wedding or an elementary school graduation.

I watched Mamma Mia last night, but my computer freaked out while I was trying to write up the post, and the episodes compliment each other more than they stand alone, so the dual post works well here.

Our plots:

1. In the first half hour, Jack meets his father. Steve Buscemi, the world’s greatest P.I., narrows it down to three men, who Liz then excitedly “Mamma Mia”‘s. The winner is Milton Greene, aka Alan Alda, aka presidential runner-up Arnold Vinnick. He’s a big liberal professor, and he also needs a kidney. Jack isn’t sure if he’s OK giving this stranger his kidney, but after some bonding, he’s down with the idea. When he isn’t a match, he arranges the greatest celebrity charity song ever: “He Needs a Kidney.”

2. Liz writes Jenna a sketch, “Dealbreakers,” that goes viral. Jenna gives relationship advice, then proclaims, “That’s a dealbreaker ladies.” In episode one, Liz fights Jenna for media attention, feeling she deserves some kudos since it was her idea. In the second episode, they go on a talk show and Liz shines, giving hilarious and pointed advice. At the end of the episode, she’s meeting with a book agent about a “Dealbreakers” book. Life is happening.

This plot also gives me one of my favorite “30 Rock” lines ever, one that is criminally underused:

Screenshot 2014-08-30 22.27.00

3. In episode one, Tracy meets his secret son, and Liz and Pete are afraid he’s being scammed, since his son looks pretty old. Then they decide that since Tracy can’t use the TV, the Internet, is always falling asleep, and has diabetes, that he could easily be an old person. But he’s not, and he’s getting scammed and he knows it and considers it charity. It’s cute, honestly. In the second episode, he conquers his shame at having dropped out of high school because he couldn’t bring himself to dissect a frog and gives the graduation speech.

I really like Liz’s plot because it gives us some momentum going in to the next season, and is a pretty logical place to go. As Jack tells us this episode, TGS has two more years, tops. I mean, no one watches this show.

But the real winner is that song and the self-awareness of those celebrities. I actually love celebrity charity songs in some ironic, weird way, so here’s a brief run down of the best songs and the best parodies.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas” was the first one, and also the one I listen to most because the Christmas radio station plays it pretty frequently at Christmas. They shouldn’t though, since it’s super racist and weird. First off, obviously it snows in some parts of Africa. They’re won’t be snow in Africa? Are you serious? Second, Bono has this part where he sings, “Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you,” which is hella insensitive.

Dear God, please help the victims of the famine. Also, wow, thanks for not making me African so I don’t have to deal with it.

The cast of “Glee” sang this at a homeless shelter in one of their Christmas episodes, which was also bizarre.

Anyway, America was jealous of this song, so they came up with “We Are the World.”

It’s stacked with famous people, but the song is pretty lame.

Then come the parodies. I’m a HUGE sucker for song parodies; I spent a lot of time in middle school listening to Weird Al and writing my own “Harry Potter” themed song parodies, so…

This “In Living Color” spoof is great:

And this is one of the first SNL sketches I ever remember watching. Michael Bolton really elevates it:

Then after the Haiti earthquake, which happened after this episode aired, the world decided we needed more charity songs:

And then Canada was jealous, so they did this:

(Fun fact: That was my high school graduation song.)

SNL masterfully parodied the “We Are The World” situation:

And then some comedians, including Chris Hardwick, Weird Al, Garfunkel and Oates, and Sarah Silverman, did this version of the song which I can’t figure out how to embed. It’s pretty great.

(Chris Hardwick also did this one with Jimmy Fallon and Felicia Day. Spoiler alert: I love Chris Hardwick.)

So where does Kidney Now fall? It’s definitely one of the funnier parodies, if not my favorite, since it makes fun of the concept, rather than a specific song. The use of real celebrities, including those who appear in the real songs, elevates the whole thing to completely insane.

Jeff Richmond is really talented, basically.

Bits & Pieces

Toofer refers to Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Jackson. Never change.

Episode one had some great Pete stuff, and we all know I am #TeamPete. When Pete calms Liz down, she says, “I like it when you use your calm, reasonable dad voice,” which YES, I love that, and I never had the words to describe it. And then we get our first hints of crazy, unhappy Pete when he tells Liz you can’t just get someone’s birth certificate:

I know because I’ve been trying to steal my dead neighbor’s identity and sometimes it just feels like too much and maybe daddy just need to get in the car and drive.

Awks. I wish there was an episode where Pete yells at Liz for never paying attention to the mental breakdown he’s having.

Moment I related to most: When Liz uses the Sims to give Jack advice, and he wonders why he doesn’t have any other friends

When giving someone advice, Liz tells someone to dump her boyfriend because he’s given her “sexually transmitted crazy mouth.” This is an amazing phrase that I need to use more.

MICHAEL MCDONALD IS IN THE KIDNEY SONG.

Donald Glover showed up on screen again!

Screenshot 2014-08-30 22.27.48 Screenshot 2014-08-30 22.27.54

 

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