The first episode I ever saw — which, again, will be revealed in time — was very Dennis heavy, so I get inordinately excited when an episode features a strong Dennis plot. After a couple of name drops in the first five episodes, we see him in the flesh.

What a vivid character Dennis is. Through Dennis, we learn so much about what Liz thinks of herself. “The only beeper salesman left in Manhattan” is a decidedly horrible boyfriend. The best thing he contributes is the ingenious game “Daughter or Mistress,” in which he and Liz look at old men and predict their dates’ identities.1

Dennis is both the source and subject of some of the episode’s best lines. His obsession with rats — “You know there are 17 rats per person in New York” — included a particularly vivid description of a rat king.2 He also claims that beepers will come back because “Technology’s cyclical” and orders chicken nugget-like cod at a fancy restaurant because “I’m actually allergic to fish unless it’s fried.”

This serves as further reason for Jack to try to bring Lemon under his wing as a successful mentee. He even introduces Liz to a former, successful mentee as an example, but how Jack managed to actually help someone remains a mystery, since, as we and Liz realize, he’s “just an alcoholic with a great voice.”

Liz accepts Jack’s tutelage because “Sadly you might be the most stable person I know right now.”3 That’s because Jenna has gone off the deep-end trying to make herself seem young. There’s a hilarious exchange where Jack asks her how old she is; she says 29, so he asks for her year of birth, prom theme, teenage crush, and what movie she lost of her virginity to. Her answers are immediate. He doesn’t believe her, so she goes to some extreme surgical measures:

Ouch.

Ouch.

Meanwhile Tracy is trying to regain his street cred after a magazine called him normal, so he gets matching face tattoos of a “biblical dragon from face.” His justification?

Tracy: You take away my street cred and I am Wayne Brady.

Liz: No, Wayne Brady has three Emmys. You have a People’s Choice Award that you stole from Wayne Brady.

Liz eventually  finds out he drew the dragons on with Crayola markers.

Iconic

Iconic. Also, that season one goatee is hilarious.

Even Josh, the most forgotten castmember, gets something funny to do this episode. Apparently he occasionally makes fun of Liz Taylor on the show and she is not amused. She shows up at the studio to beat Josh with a fire extinguisher while yelling White Diamonds, the name of her perfume.

We only see Liz’s eyes:

This is probably my favorite Rachel Dratch moment of the show. I'll let you know if that changes.

This is probably my favorite Rachel Dratch moment of the show. I’ll let you know if that changes.

Overall, great episode. Dennis Duffy is a national treasure.

Bits & Pieces

Frank wears his Ninja Expert hat again. It’s the first hat we saw him in, and also appeared in episode four.

Best Islanders dig: Dennis is suicidal because the islanders lost. Liz replies, “Doesn’t that happen a lot?” It does Liz. It does.

Foreshadowing: Tracy tells Liz she can’t cover his tattoos because it’s in his contract. When Liz contests this, Pete says, “Actually, he’s got a pretty weird contract.”

Character I related to most: Liz when she sat at her desk writing and singing “Maybe” from “Annie” aloud. I have definitely done this before.

Most bizarre pop culture reference: Liz tells Jenna she can’t judge Dennis because Jenna “wrote Scott Peterson a letter once.”

Most bizarre literary reference: Liz apparently let Tracy do a tribute to August Wilson only to find out that Tracy didn’t know who that was.

Best one-liner: When Jack sees Dennis’ dinner and comments “I didn’t know they sold chicken nuggets at this restaurant,” it wasn’t particularly quotable, but it stung.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None. He was only in one scene, giving a tour.

A scientific ranking of Liz’s boyfriends from most to least hilarious: Dennis Duffy, Conan O’Brien

1. In Dennis’ defense, this is a pretty amazing game that I plan on playing whenever possible.”
2. When the tails of a group of rats become entangled and then the bodies fuse together, they’re a rat king (May or may not be an urban legend).”
3. Did I point out that this has been one of the most quotable episodes so far? The dialogue was snappy.

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