I don’t care if you’re making an omelet, a baby, or a television show. Things are gonna get weird.

Dennis is back!!!!! Maybe it’s episodes like this one, which is firing on all cylinders, that makes me love Dennis so much. Or maybe it’s a subconscious thing. A few weeks ago, a friend brought this tweet to my attention, asking who it was referencing:

The only answer is Dennis. Is my love of Dennis subconsciously tied to my love for Jimmy Fallon? Are Liz and I just both suckers for dumb Irish guys? We have no way of knowing.

So! Dennis has returned because he is our eponymous Subway Hero because he saved someone who fell on the subway tracks. (Am I the only person who thinks that title is amazing? Because Subway makes sandwiches which they call subs, but New Yorkers would call them heroes…) Like the maple syrup plot before it, this is a very real thing that happens all the time. People save people who fall on the tracks, are in the media spotlight for a few days, and then fade from view.

Dennis’ fame means that Jack wants him on TGS, so he’s back in Liz’s life.

Luh dat news crawl

Luh dat news crawl

In case you were wondering what happened to Dennis after his “To Catch a Predator” appearance, Jack lets us know he was exonerated. “The whole thing was one big misunderstanding. Like the Giuliani campaign.”

And then Dennis pulls out some classic Dennis lines: He’s teaming up with the Stanley Cup to fight illiteracy. He was inspired by Derek Jeter to save that person — his hatred of Derek Jeter.

Jenna appears as the voice of reason, which, you may have noticed, literally only happens when Dennis is around. Jenna is completely insane and narcissistic every other episode, but Dennis shows up and she’s laying down the law. I think this might be a weakness: the show wants Liz to have a female friend, but they also want Jenna to be crazy. But “30 Rock” isn’t real life — it’s some heightened, absurd form of reality — so it gets away with it. Anyway, we get exchanges like this so it’s OK:

Jenna: Dennis is like those spanish Cheetos … You know those are bad for you but you keep stuffing them into your mouth because it’s easier to do that than to bother to eat well.

Liz: That’s a weak metaphor.

And those Mexican Cheetos? The iconic Sabor de Soledad!

I love this show.

Sabor de Soledad translates roughly to “the taste of loneliness.” I love this show.

And thankfully, Jenna’s advice gets even worse. Liz says Dennis isn’t so bad because she doesn’t have to try with him, and can not shave and sleep all the time and eat junk food, and isn’t love about being yourself? Cue Jenna’s craziness:

Love is hiding who you really are at all times, even when you’re sleeping. Love is wearing makeup to bed and going downstairs to Burger King to poop and hiding alcohol in perfume bottles. That’s love.

The magic of “30 Rock” is contained in the fact that they’re both wrong. No one on this show is able to give good advice for more than a second, and there’s something deeply human about that.

Anyway, I literally wrote, DENNIS IS THE RAT KING, RUN LIZ. So you can imagine how this was going.

So then Jack accidentally/maybe on purpose inspires Dennis to seize the moment with Liz, so he decides to stop overthinking (which, as Liz opines, was never his problem) and proposes in front of a large crowd. Thankfully she says no, and the crowd boos. But the mob turns their vitriol on Dennis when he says, ” I could get any girl here I want. And not just the fatties and the butterfaces.”

So Jack bumps Dennis off the show because the Subway Hero’s minute is over and America now obsessed with a bird that dialed 9-1-1 and yelled, “Fire!” Jack scoffs at Liz when she suggests he made this business decision for her, but then he makes this face when she isn’t looking:

I once read that Alec Baldwin, like me, really wanted Jack and Liz to be a thing, and it's faces like this that make me believe that.

I once read that Alec Baldwin, like me, really wanted Jack and Liz to be a thing, and it’s faces like this that make me believe that.


So Liz tries to comfort Dennis about his loss of fame, saying, “If reality TV has taught us anything it’s that you really can’t keep people with no shame down” and then he tries to throw her in front of the subway. And I cackled. Oh Dennis. Until we meet again.

Our other two plots:

1) Jack tries to get Tracy to be the new celebrity face of the Republican party.

2) Kenneth gives a tour to an old NBC star, Bucky Bright, and is scandalized by his stories of old NBC, until he realizes that present day NBC is just as weird.

The first of those involves a lot of great jokes, like McCain’s campaign being funded by the Committee to Reinvade Vietnam, Bruce Willis insisting he gets to sing if he’s going to appear at the McCain fundraiser, and Tracy trying to tell “Blackmericans” that MLK hates the estate tax. He also has a “We Didn’t Start The Fire”-inspired dream in which Jack plays Nixon and Toofer plays Sammy Davis Jr., who was, apparently, a Republican.

Screenshot 2014-07-31 21.37.19 Screenshot 2014-07-31 21.37.53


Anyway, they realize that black people will never vote Republican, so instead they record an ad telling black people to just not vote. Don’t do it.

The other great thing about this plot is that DotCom finally shows off his trademark intelligence when Jack tells Tracy that Lincoln was a Republican. DotCom tells him that today’s Republicans “would be unrecognizable to Lincoln”

Screenshot 2014-07-31 21.33.49

DotCom ❤

Perfect Pairing

So this is a new thing I’m going to try where I match “30 Rock” episodes to other TV episodes. This one reminded me of the season two “Mindy Project” episode “L.A.” where Mindy reconnects with her ex-boyfriend Casey (who sucks, and not in a charming Dennis Duffy way) when she goes to L.A., knowing that it’s a bad idea. Mindy and Liz both know that they shouldn’t do it, and they do anyway. Sigh.

Bits & Pieces

Jack refers to Chuck Norris as C. Norr.

Most iconic exchange:

Kenneth: Choosing is a sin so I always write in the Lord’s name.

Jack: That’s republican we count those.

Bucky Bright calls jeans dungarees, which was cute because my grandmother also does that.

Best Frank hat: Exactly

Bucky Bright finds a “gigantic lesbian” at 30 Rock. “Who is Conan O’Brien and why is she so sad?” 😦

Dennis says a lot of amazing things this episode, but my favorite might be when he describes his political views as socially conservative and fiscally liberal.

My second favorite is when he accuses the firefighter’s exam of bias against Irish people.

Frank is not a hero and has watched seven people die in subway stations.

Character I related to most: Liz when she realizes the Mexican Cheetos are junk, but can’t stop eating them.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He’s the only one who recognizes Bucky Bright, who was “famous” way before he was born.