Despite my oft-mentioned love of Dennis Duffy, I was excited when I saw the episode’s title. Liz needed to move on.

But before I get to the episode, an aside about Rachel Dratch:

I didn’t plan on talking about the Rachel Dratch-thing, but then my friend — and most loyal reader, probably — asked who the “extra” was that kept showing up, so I felt bad not explaining.

Said friend hates SNL, so she didn’t know that Rachel was a long-time SNL castmember. My favorite Rachel Dratch character is forever the Boston teen, Denise, who made hilarious videos with her boyfriend Sully, played by my fav Jimmy Fallon. Here’s a link to one of those sketches.

Rachel Dratch was originally cast as Jenna on “30 Rock.” In fact, the Liz-Jenna backstory is clearly at least inspired by Tina and Rachel’s real life friendship: They met in Chicago, did comedy together, and came up with a critically acclaimed two-woman show.

The original pilot isn’t online (that I could find, at least), but here are some clips of Rachel as Jenna:

Anyway, then they swapped Rachel for Jane Krakowski. Rachel has a great, passive aggressive interview with “New York Magazine” from right after the show debuted.1 An excerpt:

What happened there? 
I think the big thing was—at least what they told me—that at first they wanted to have more comedy sketches in the show. Then they decided they weren’t going to focus on the sketches, so they needed more of a sitcom actress, as opposed to a character actress.

That’s very diplomatic. Ha! Yes, I’m phrasing this all very nicely. That’s the party line, at least—it’s what I can tell my parents!

Were you pissed? 
Well, when Tina told me I was going to play different characters each show, I was actually psyched about it, because it sounded really unique. But then the media kind of ran with this “demotion” thing, so that was kind of a bummer. But whatever, I’m over it.

How many episodes will you be in? 
Six, but that’s a whole other thing. I was kind of like, Why do I only have six? But then I decided I shouldn’t open my trap too much, so I just left it at that.

Then there was all this dumb media stuff about whether Rachel is too ugly for Hollywood. She talks about it elegantly here.

Anyway, I don’t have any interest in discussing whether Rachel is too ugly to be Jenna, because she’s obviously not. It would have been a very different show with Rachel as Jenna  because she has different strengths and a different personality.

Moving on!

Liz broke up with Dennis and is having doubts. This leads to the creation of an amazing Pro/Con list about Dennis, which I have partially transcribed for your benefit.

Pros

– good chili

– remembers my birthday

– rarely wants to do it

– doesn’t care about money

– loyal

– too lazy to cheat

– loves The Simpsons

– has already seen me throw up two times

– good hair

– fixed tv

Cons

– dental hygeine

– wears acid wash

– not much money

– Catholic

– doesn’t like his mother

– I don’t like his mother

– his mother doesnt like me

– loves Family Guy

– reads The Post

– insists on spending the holidays with his mother

– has seen me throw up

– attempted threesome

– racist

“Jack likes Dennis” ends up on both sides of the list. In the words of future Liz:

And the final Dealbreaker? Dennis ends up on an episode of “To Catch a Predator,” complete with the real Chris Hansen. 2006. What a simpler time.

Screenshot 2014-07-01 21.19.14

(This reminds me that BJ Novak’s book of short stories, “One More Thing,” which I highly recommend, has a really funny story about Chris Hansen at a Justin Bieber concert. You should check it out.)

Anyway, I will miss you Dennis Duffy and your attempts to claim that both love and squatter’s rights should keep Liz from kicking you out. What a treasure.

I mentioned that Jack likes Dennis. Why the sudden turnaround of opinion? Dennis gave Jack some advice about his ladyfriend: Condaleeza Rice.

Jack is on point this episode.2  He thinks Condi might be cheating on him with Putin when he sees Vlad squeeze her butt on TV. When Liz mocks her, Jack calls Liz a “godless, glassy-eyed Clintonista,” a description with which she vigorously agrees.

Meanwhile Toofer and Tracy are at an impasse re: their different expressions of black masculinity. This leads to Jack explaining to Toofer the re-appropriation of the n-word, which is a completely hilarious moment. But their inability to find common ground is clear: Toofer refers to Bill Cosby as “Dr. Cosby” while Tracy quotes “Professor Martin Luther King” as having said “I have a feeling.” Awkward.

Bits & Pieces:

Everything we know about Josh: His parents raised him as a girl for ten years. End list.

Best Frank line: “Everybody loves a dude in a dress. Those are the best Bugs Bunnies.”

A selected excerpt from Dennis’ goodbye letter: “And for the first time since the ’86 Series I cried … but there’s a new thing called ‘women’s liberation’ and you have chosen to abort me.”

Character I related to most: Liz. Not only is she rude to all the straight men at the bar, but the only guy she “clicks” with is gay. And she utters perhaps my favorite Liz line: “But I already have a drink…”

Screenshot 2014-07-01 21.01.06

 

Tracy’s goatee is mercifully gone.

Best Frank hat: E.S.P. tutor

“Mean Girls” reference that is not really a “Mean Girls” reference: The song Liz sings at karaoke is by Janis Ian:

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: Sadly there was no Kenneth this episode. I also think this was the first Pete-less episode. I am less sad about this. Sorry Pete.

 

1. Also, in retrospect the question about “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” is hilarious. Tina Fey > Aaron Sorkin every day.
2. I squealed when he asked Liz if she was crying because the Liberty lost last night, a plot thread that will get picked up in a later season.

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