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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”:

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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

Does it help if I tell you I thought we were doing sexual espionage?

After yesterday’s masterpiece, today’s episode was decidedly ehhh. Everyone at NBC is experiencing cutbacks, so Jack fires Jonathan (NOOOO) and Kenneth replaces him. Kenneth is mediocre. He needs Tracy to feed his bird for him, but tells Tracy not to go into the bedroom, so Tracy and Jenna become convinced Kenneth is a serial killer. When they open his bedroom, some sort of poisonous gas is released and they accidentally kill his bird. They apologize, but like, did the poison gas not confirm their suspicions that Kenneth is terrifying? Also, his bird is 60 years old. Come on guys. (When they buy him new birds, he names one Lorne and one Michael, which is cute.)

Meanwhile, Liz sleeps with the guy who’s slashing her budget to save everyone’s jobs. Except he thinks she does it because she likes him, and now he’s disgraced his dead wife. Oops. This plot made me sort of uncomfortable, but it will give us a great plot tomorrow AND it hilariously solved Liz’s problems when Jack takes over the budget. The HR guy tells her, “When you harass sexually in the workplace, things do not just somehow work out in the end,” underscoring this great twist.

The best thing about this episode is that Don Pardo shows up. I didn’t mention his passing when it happened earlier in the week because I knew this episode would quickly be upon us.

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Don plays Sid, the TGS announcer who was struck by lightening and screws up everyone’s names.

 

 

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Don was 96 and worked for NBC since the 1940s. I can’t imagine what SNL will sound like now (he announced every season but one). This blog is ostensibly about the influence “30 Rock” has had on me, but it would be an oversight for me to ignore the large influence SNL had on me growing up. Before it was at all age-appropriate, I’d watch classic episodes with my dad on Comedy Central, E! and VH1. The first tv show I bought on iTunes was “SNL: The Best of Will Ferrell,” which I watched like once a week. And Don Pardo’s voice was such a booming part of that. 

The other great thing about this episode is Jonathan serenading Jack as he left:

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#TeamJonathan