This is one of my absolute favorite “30 Rock” episodes. The episode’s three plots are all strong: Jack has to overcome his stage fright to act in a sketch, Jenna tries to “use [her] sexuality” to keep from getting fired, and Liz thinks Tracy might be illiterate. And the last two minutes are dedicated to the greatest song ever written1:

The in-episode version doesn’t have all those soulful strings, but they make sense in context of the episode! Three times during the episode, the P.A. calls Jenna to the stage to rehearse the song. The first time, they call just Jenna. The second time they call Jenna and Ghostface Killa, who provides the bizarre rap at the end of the song. The third time, they call Jenna, Ghostface Killa (which is tragically missing from the Youtube video), and Yo-Yo Ma. If we had to miss Jenna for two episodes, I’m glad her return was so triumphant.

And now, a lyrical analysis of “The Muffintop Song”

Everyone knows the most delicious part of the muffin is the top.

Preach Jenna.

My muffin top is all that / Whole-grain, low-fat.

Jenna makes such great muffins!

I know you wanna piece of that / But I just wanna dance.

She wants to close the bakery so she can go out.

Ch-checkin’ out my sweet hips / My sugar-coated berry lips. / I know you wanna get with this, / But I’m just here to dance.

No offense Jenna, but maybe don’t cover your lips in sugar if you don’t want someone to lick it off.

So back up off of me / You’re weirding me out.

Jenna is a respectable bakery owner! Leave her alone, sleazy men.

I’m an independent lady. / So do not try to play me. / I run a tidy bakery. / The boys all want my cake for free

Jenna Maroney, The Business Bitch, is not giving you any muffins you didn’t pay for.

But if you can’t shake your fakery / Then kiss my muffin top.

But then they got the muffins for free! Come on Jenna!

Anyway.

The “Tracy can’t read” plot is probably my favorite because Tracy and Liz say so many ridiculous things. Liz asks Tracy if he’s illiterate, and he realizes that pretending to be will get him out of work, so he agrees. He runs through the halls declaring all the dumb things he’s done because he can’t read including, “I THINK I VOTED FOR NADER. NADER.” He also calls Liz “One very, very special white lady.” Liz realizes he can read when she sees him with a newspaper saying, “Damn, George Will just gets more and more conservative.”

And when Liz and Tracy finally confront each other, he tells her, “That’s the subtle racism of lowered expectations. Bing Crosby said that.”

That’s what I love about Tracy. Half the things he says are things you would find on a middle-aged soccer mom’s Facebook page: Misquotes and confused ideas that he misinterprets to justify his actions.2 He’s just a little confused, but not much more confused than someone who attributes fake quotes to Gandhi all the time.

Liz also says about the situation, “Tracy took advantage of my white guilt, which is supposed to be used for good, like over-tipping and supporting Barack Obama.” The show’s constant mocking of Liz’s liberalism is always awesome in my book.

The Jack plot has some great moments too, especially all the Snapple jokes. Jack tells the staff they have to add product integration into the show, to which Liz vehemently rejects on principle. Then the characters start praising Snapple. Later, a Snapple bottle comes out of an elevator during a similar conversation. I can’t help but wonder if this was “30 Rock”‘s response to a similar edict from their NBC/G.E. executives.

Bits and Pieces

Jenna’s former fiance, David Blaine, gets a mention.

Jack’s example product for NBC product placement is a G.E. oil driller.

Number of Star Wars references: One

Screenshot 2014-06-28 11.50.21Jack calls Liz “such a Monica,” which she is.

Jonathan remains a national treasure.

Best gag: Jenna eats a spoon of non-dairy creamer in her attempt to seduce someone, then chokes on it.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None. He’s not in this episode. 😦

1. Alright, it’s in a deadheat with “Rural Juror.”
2. Last week’s “Live every week like it’s Shark Week” is perhaps a more iconic example of what I mean.

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