Archives for the month of: September, 2014

Has the dog that gives you your orders died?

The is indubitably one of the episodes I rewatch most frequently, and, yet, I still find myself laughing aloud. (Does Netflix count which episodes I watch? I’ll investigate.)

Anyway, it’s Valentine’s Day and Frank really hits the nail on the head when he says, “All we want on Valentine’s Day is to know that someone cares even a little about us.” Too true. So that’s our episode’s theme. The plots:

1. Liz schedules oral surgery for Valentine’s Day so she can avoid the whole day. But then the doctor’s office tells her she needs someone to pick her up from her surgery and she’s just as alone as anyone else. After discussing it with Jon Bon Jovi, she decides to pretend to have a boyfriend, and then after the surgery she hallucinates the greatest escorts ever:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.42.17 PM

That jacket tho

Sadly, they aren’t real, so Jack rescues her instead. #friendship. When his date, Avery Jessup, questions her on what sort of person Jack is, Liz replies, full of drugs, “Who Jacky? He’s the best one.” What a cute moment.

2. Jack goes on CNBC meets Avery Jessup, who is honestly not one of my favorite Jack love interests. Sorry Avery. Though she objectively is a little too young for him, her intelligence is right there with him and she makes him work to impress her. He even uses the aforementioned Jon Bon Jovi, who is NBC’s artist in residence. This will always be one of my favorite “30 Rock” jokes. Always and forever.

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.35.50 PM

Anyway, she seems impressed by him (duh), so they’re on their way.

3. Jenna’s stalker has moved on and she’s really upset about it. He has the best weird person name ever, Maynard. Kenneth does not get it, but Jenna explains, “that weirdo loved me unconditionally.” Poor Jenna. There’s a great montage of her stalking her stalker at work and remembering his creepier acts while Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You” plays. Kenneth stages a fake creepy stalking incident so Jenna will know someone loves her. It’s exactly the right mix of touching and super weird that this show does so well.

So, in addition to being one of the most thematically unified episodes, it’s also just stupidly funny. Everything everyone says is hilarious, but the most iconic moment was probably this one:

Jack: Is that sex Lemon?

Liz: It is the way I do it.

Jonathan is, as always, creepily familiar with Jack, asking if they’ll be exchanging V-Day presents and confiding in him about the one time he hit an old lady with his car and drove away.

If this episode were even slightly less funny, I don’t think it would work. It’s themes would be too sappy. But the humor distracts from the overly sentimental and it all works out. Also, Bon Jovi was there.

Also, maybe the funniest part of the episode was when Dennis, Floyd and Drew appear at the end as dental assistants:

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 9.45.32 PM

Bits & Pieces

Avery Jessup was on Maxim’s I’d Rape That 100. Unclear if that’s more or less prestigious than Jenna’s Maxim list.

On Avery’s show, she asks Jack and the liberal bow tie guy who the next president will be. She and Jack say Mitt Romney’s son Jezba, while the liberal guy says Dennis Kucinich. THIS IS THE SECOND TIME “30 ROCK” HAS MENTIONED THIS PERSON. Kucinich is the Michael McDonald of politics.

Kenneth’s gender neutralizing hood is the scariest thing this show has ever done.

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Frank Hat: Dial-Up Access

Character I related to most: Liz, especially when she was yelling about Valentine’s/Anna Howard Shaw Day.

Literally me every year.

Literally me every year.

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

Arguably, Jack and Avery are more compatible than he and C.C., since they have the same politics, but ugh, it’s too Republican for me.

I would date a Republican if he were exactly like Jack Donaghy in looks, wealth, and temperament.

OK, I cheated. That’s not a quote from this episode, but, rather, from this article on Jezebel about dating up/down. It’s not at all about Jack Donaghy, but that sentence spoke to me on a deep level, so I’m starting off with that. It sort of works because a major plot of this episode included people hitting on Jack.

The episode begins with Liz having a cheesy blasters sweat dream, where she and Jack are married and having a child. The child is meat cat.

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1. Jenna’s mom Verna is visiting. She consults Jack, chief Mommy issue expert, on what she should do. He advises her to “Say no. Talk low. Let her go.” #ElsaJack

Still taking donations to buy Photoshop

Still taking donations to buy Photoshop

But Verna is being really nice and throws Jenna a birthday party. But then she reveals her plan to Jack: She wants a Verna/Jenna reality show. Jack is excited to tell Jenna he was right and moms are evil, but, instead of breaking her heart, he pays Verna to visit on holidays. This feels like when the Grinch grows three heart sizes.

2. Liz and Frank are giving up their vices — junk food and smoking, respectively. It doesn’t go well as Liz sleepwalks and orders a pizza. Frank, meanwhile, has weird Oedipal relationships with the mailroom ladies. Also Liz never finished her duplex because she never got a talk show. 😦

3. Pete’s Pete time is infringed upon by Kenneth. His new releases are sticking himself with thumbtacks and a fight club. #TeamPete #SavePete

Anyway, this episode gave screentime to Frank and Pete (yay!) and it put together Jack and Jenna, which rarely happens. I see you “30 Rock,” shaking things up.

Tomorrow is one of my absolute favorite episodes. Get excited.

I’m halfway through “30 Rock” so let’s take stock of the series/the blog. First, some thoughts on the project. Watching 138 episodes in 138 days doesn’t feel that impressive in the world of binge-watching. One of my friends has been trying to watch all of “Dawson’s Creek” before it gets pulled from Netflix. She did the math — four episodes a day — and she’s making a valiant effort to finish. One ~30 minute episode a day seems little in comparison. But it’s also a big commitment — bigger than I thought when I started — because if I actually take time to write up something good, that can take at least an hour. In June when I started, I wasn’t thinking about how hectic my life would be come September and how precious those ~90 minutes were.

But I’m not stopping; if anything I’m recommitting. In the past ~2 weeks during my time of lapsed commitment, I’ve missed watching “30 Rock” all the time. My general television consumption has gone down, and I think it’s actually noticeably negatively impacted my mood. Is this a weird thing to share with the internet? Is this a sign of actual TV addiction? Are you guys watching “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., because last night’s premiere was awesome?  Could y’all please start watching “The Mindy Project” please?


Basically I like stories, I really like the serialized story-telling of television, I love “30 Rock,” and I really love over-sharing with the internet. So the blog stands.

Here’s my best-of “30 Rock” so far.

My ten favorite episodes so far:

“The Rural Juror” (Day 10)

Rachel Dratch’s cameo as Barbara Walters discussing “The Rural Juror” is her best role on the show. Jenna and Liz’s relationship is wonderfully and hilariously hashed out.

“The Head and the Hair” (Day 11)

Long-time readers know I am obsessed with Gray, Liz’s third-cousin she refuses to date. Tracy sings a song from his Christmas album, and Kenneth defends television.

“Subway Hero” (Day 33)

The photo of Dennis receiving an award from Mike Bloomberg is my Facebook cover photo. Also, sabor de soledad appear! #TeamDennis #TeamSaborDeSoledad In all honestly, this is probably my favorite Dennis episode.

“Succession” (Day 34)

Potentially the nerdiest episode in the history of “30 Rock,” the Frank vs. Tracy as Salieri vs. Mozart plot is inspired. Iconic Liz and Jack lines and Kathy Geiss as CEO bring us over the top.

“Cooter” (Day 36)

Liz and Jack’s friendship goes long distance and I have a lot of feelings about it. Also Kenneth does some fancy tricks.

“Christmas Special” (Day 42)

A really funny Liz plot, a really touching Jack plot, Jenna singing, and it’s Christmas. Literally all my favorite things.

“Apollo, Apollo” (Day 52)

The first episode I ever watched and still one of the best. Jack searches for happiness, Dennis screws with Liz and Jenna, and Tracy goes to outer space. There’s not a wasted moment in the episode.

“Mamma Mia/Kidney Now!” (Days 57/58)

The search for Jack’s dad gives us one of the greatest celebrity charity song parodies of all-time. “Dealbreakers” and my favorite “30 Rock” line (Teach it like you preach it, Liz Lemon) are born.

Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” (Day 65)

Jack is Liz, Liz is Jenna, Frank is Liz, Jenna is sane, and Tracy is trying to EGOT.

Honorable Mentions: “Flu Shot” (Day 44), “Cougars” (Day 28)

Favorite Dennis episode: “Subway Hero” (Day 33) — Dennis is crazy but Liz still thinks maybe she should take him back. I get it.

Best original song: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” (First appeared in “Day 23 – Jack Gets In The Game” but played in a flashback in “Day 26 – Greenzo.”

Best making fun of the Bush administration: “Cougars” (Day 28) where little league baseball becomes a metaphor for the war on terror

Best celebrity cameo: James Carville fixing Jack’s, Toofer’s and Frank’s problems in “Secrets and Lies” (Day 29). This is also the best episode for Toofer and Frank.

Best celebrity cameo with an actual plot: James Franco in “Klaus and Greta” (Day 67).

Best supporting character: Jonathan. Always Jonathan.

My four favorite posts I wrote:

Day 3 – Blind Date on how Liz isn’t ugly

Day 13 – Up All Night on my justification of Jenna and Frank as the greatest couple that never was

Day 51 – The Bubble on how it’s OK that the characters like each other now

Day 52 – Apollo, Apollo on the first episode I ever watched

Creepiest Kenneth moment: Kenneth’s real name is Dick Whitman, which he reveals in “The Ones” (Day 55) when he eats strawberries, which he is highly allergic to.

Disagree with my choices? Comment below!

Here’s to the next 69!

We’re just friends, it’s platonic. I have elaborate fantasies of her husband dying in a boat explosion.


Things have slowed down lately because of some not-fun stuff going on in my life, but we made it anyway. Yay!

And what a great midway point. It’s January and Liz and Pete think it’s a great idea to bring TGS to Miami for a week to boost morale. Jack, desperate to see Julianne Moore Nancy Donovan, makes them bring the show to Boston instead, which makes everyone more miserable.

1. Liz decides to unite the staff around a common enemy, an NBC exec she made up, named Dale Snitterman. Except that’s a real person and they all rally to beat him up. She takes the moral low road and never comes clean. Snitterman is truffle shuffled by Lutz.

Screenshot 2014-09-23 23.13.35

2. Jack tries to buy Nancy’s house so she’ll divorce her husband. She admits she’s not ready. He promises “I’ll wait. Not forever.” She replies, “I’ll try. Wicked hard.” This plot line is worth it for all the Boston jokes.

3. Tracy goes on a Freedom tour and hassles John Hancock about his slaves. John Hancock gets really defensive and even brings his black friend Crispus Attucks around to prove he’s not racist. But Tracy knows Crispus Attucks died in the Boston Massacre so they were never really friends. Tracy’s knowledge of American history is wonderful. Best line though is “Don’t let this slave-owning time traveller fool us again.”

Bits & Pieces

My friends recently went on a freedom tour in Boston. John Hancock was not on it. I’m disappointed.

Toofer is still playing the Obama song.

Lutz orders lunch twice and makes horrible choices. Foreshadowing!

All the guys on “Bruins Beat” are named Sean.

Jenna sends dirty texts to Cheyenne Jackson. No one blames her.

Nancy makes fun of New Yorkers, because they’re all like “Let’s get divorced. You marry the butler and I’ll be a gay octomom.” Jack counters that everyone in Boston names their daughters Bellichek. Valid criticisms on both sides.

Kenneth was really mean this episode. I didn’t like it. #WinterMadness

It started out as a joke but now it’s becoming real.

Ah, sorry for the gap in post. Too much life happening.

But the show must go on! Tomorrow I’m hitting the midway point. Watching one half of “30 Rock” is not at all impressive, so obviously I’m not giving up. Also check back tomorrow for a post about the best of the first half of the season.

But first this episode. I think it’s the only one with a plot that really includes Danny, and we get to see sexy Liz, so, needless to say, I ❤ this episode. Plots:

1. Liz is hooking up with Danny, but Jack doesn’t want to share his new bro. It appears that Liz is going to win this one, until Jack tells Danny he’s in love with Liz and asks him to end it out of friendship. Jack telling Danny “I ache for her sexually” is obviously supposed to be funny (and it is) but with Alec Baldwin saying it, the line between “joke” and “not a joke” is totally blurred. I read somewhere that Alec really wanted Jack and Liz together so he would play it up when he got moments like this. Whether or not that’s true, it feels like he did that here, and I am into it.

2. Jenna reads for a role on “Gossip Girl” — the role of the mother. Gasp! Jenna goes through a crisis, which culminates with her taping her face while singing “Forever Young” in her dressing room. Liz, an amazing friend, tells Jenna that she’ll show her friend Tom to the world if Jenna accepts that she’s old. Tom is Liz’s mustache, Tom Selleck. Jenna agrees and has a great death scene on “Gossip Girl,” where she says:

Don’t cry for me, Tartine. I’ve had a full life. Oh, the things I’ve seen. The first Clinton administration. The Nagano Olympics. Microsoft Windows ’95. But I’m 41 now. Time to die.

3. Tracy adds Sue to the entourage to help him respect women. But then he gets creepy dad about it and she becomes a rebellious teen. At the end they make up and “a nice man” (Liz with a mustache) comes and “take[s] her from you” (back to the writers’ room). There’s a funny montage of all their time together set to “Forever Young,” but it’s literally just scenes from this episode.

This plot would be sort of misogynist if it didn’t have this exchange:

Kenneth: A whole new part of your heart has opened up.

Tracy: Thank God because the doctors keep telling me it’s pretty clogged.

With that, “30 Rock” seems pretty self-aware that the “man gets a daughter and realizes sexism is bad” trope is overplayed, so Tracy doesn’t take it seriously at all.

Bits and Pieces:

Included “young Jenna”:

Screenshot 2014-09-21 14.46.36

Jack takes Toofer to a sports game and he only discusses Quidditch and how its rules make no sense (they really don’t).

Jenna majored in “prom queens and murdered runaways” in acting school.

Danny only plays robots, including in a sketch called “Robot v. Wade.”

Pete’s best line ever: What are you happy about? Did we get cancelled?

Character I related to most: Liz when she dances while making fun of Jack for saying he’s in love with her.

Danny’s best line ever: I want to be TGS’s Steve Nash. Come down from canada, work hard, make the black guy look. good.

Kenneth’s teeth are made of wood, and, when Frank plays a noise so low only people older than 40 can hear it, he hears it. #terrifyingKenneth

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.


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?

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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.


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.”

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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:

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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.


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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:

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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.

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

Kathy Geiss’s lawyer:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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