Archives for posts with tag: angie jordan

We never had any cookie jars in my home because my mother never baked us any cookies cause she never felt we deserved any cookies so obviously it has nothing to do with my childhood.

What a bad day. I don’t even mean personally – the world is apparently just going to hell. And Elaine Stritch died.

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I really wanted this to be a Colleen Donaghy episode; sadly, she wasn’t there, though she was mentioned (see above).

What a rich, vivid life, though. When people die, I always want to immerse myself in their work, and then I feel bad about it, because shouldn’t I have appreciated it when they were alive? I think this is a silly thought, but I still have it every time. So I’ll report back after I watch the documentary about her on Netflix.

But on “30 Rock,” she really is hilarious. “30 Rock” worked because of this large ensemble it could pull on, from Grizz and Dotcom to Dr. Spaceman, from Frank to Colleen. And then there were the famous people who showed up for very short arcs.

But Colleen added so much to my understanding of Jack. Throughout the course of the series, he’s constantly learning things about his mother he never knew. Some of those things are gross, some are sentimental. The third season Christmas special “Christmas Special” is probably my favorite sentimental moment, but we’ll get there in ~1 month.

Jack and Colleen perfectly (and hilariously) explore the complicated relationship that most people have with their parents. Colleen says in her first appearance, the season one finale, that she loves Jack, and Jack admits he loves her back, but that doesn’t fix things between them. It’s a very mature and reasonable portrait of familial love, even if it becomes ridiculous at times. In Colum McCann’s amazing novel “Let The Great World Spin” (coincidentally also about Irish people in New York) a character visits her dying aunt and thinks, “The person we know at first … is not the person we know at last.” And I think that’s true of basically all relationships, but especially of parent-child ones. And Jack and Colleen beautifully illustrate that.

Thanks Elaine for being an integral part of one of my favorite things.

——

So this episode!

1) Jack has Steve Buscemi (in his first appearance as Jack’s super weird P.I.) investigate himself so he can see if there’s anything that will keep him from getting promoted. There is: His massive collection of cookie jars

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2) Jenna is accidentally losing weight. Kenneth tries to help her put it back on.

3) Angie tails Tracy all day to make sure he’s faithful to her. She and Liz butt heads.

First, you’ll notice that there is no real “Liz” plot this episode. Lately, Liz had becoming more secondary — more the glue that holds the episode (and characters) together than the driver of the action. The crazy people around her do things, and she responds.

Jack’s plot is great. As I’ve mentioned, I love when Jack’s veneer cracks and he goes totally crazy. There’s also a sort-of poignant moment when Steve Buscemi shows him a photo with Giuliani with a wooden doll collection, a collection he had to get rid of to be mayor of New York, and Jack wistfully responds, “He looks so happy.”

The first time I watched, I think I only saw Jack’s plot as him trying to be the head of G.E., but this time I’m struck by how constant Jack’s struggle to be happy appears, even in small moments like this.

I really liked that Kenneth ended up with the cookie jars, since he eventually becomes an executive too, and Jack got rid of them because they were a barrier on his path to power.

The P.I. plot also lampoons typical P.I. cliches. When they meet at a private location, it’s not for secrecy: It’s because Buscemi’s gym is nearby. He smokes a cigar — one that Jack dropped on the ground.

Tracy’s plot is also funny. Sherrie Shepherd is very funny as Angie. At one point, she’s angry at Liz for casting Tracy as black stereotypes. When she counters that they support Kucinich, I literally had to Google it to find out what she meant.

And the answer was hilarious and informative! He was this super-liberal Congressman from Ohio who ran for president twice. He was the only Democrat in 2008 who voted against Iraq! And he wanted all these crazy liberal things like single-payer healthcare, abolishment of the death penalty, a repeal of the Patriot Act, legalized gay marriage, ending the War on Drugs, and lowering the voting age to 16! He also was sort of economically isolationist, so that’s weird. Still. I literally knew nothing about this person. Thank you “30 Rock.” Thank you Angie Jordan.

Also when Liz fails in her Tracy-watching duty, Angie says, “I trusted you. You wear glasses.” Truth.

Jenna’s plot though? Ehh. I’m really excited for her to lose the weight.

I mean, some of the jokes are funny! Jenna’s commercial for the best-selling perfume for plus size women, Enormé? Funny!

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Maybe the problem is that Jenna’s fat suit is just awful? And I get that they still wanted her to wear tank tops and stuff, and facial prosthetics would look weird, but she’s still so thin everywhere else.

Add that to the fact that one of the episode’s main plots involves a fat woman, Angie Jordan, being seen as sexually desirable, and Jack’s comments about Jenna being unattractive when she’s fat are even weirder. And I know that Jack is supposed to have messed up standards of beauty, but it’s not like a muffintop (HA!) makes her substantially less hot. Maybe that’s the joke? Everyone overreacting to Jenna’s small weight gain?

I’m confused!

Bits & Pieces

We haven’t seen Josh once all season. The writers in general have been much less present. I miss you guys.

This episode was chock full of funny lines:

Angie: Tracy’s like a horny child. He needs constant adult supervision.

Steve Buscemi: You’re like Kerry with his windsurfing. I warned him too.

Jack: Every time I meet a new person I figure out how to fight them.

Jenna, on giving up on David Blaine: He drove a wedge between us with his magic!

Tracy: Do i have to fix this situation? I am the immature one, but the two of you, you’re making me act like an adult. An adult!

Kenneth, after presumably having sex with Jenna: It turns out she’s the wrong kind of crazy. And I guess we have to get married now.

But the best exchange?

Kenneth repeatedly mentions his mom’s “friend” Ron. #foreshadowing

Angie figures out that Tracy went to a strip club because she smells like Enormé and brass polish. I appreciate the in-episode reference.

Liz describes Jack’s spirit animal as “an eagle with the head of a bear.” I mostly agree.

Jenna almost plays Ms. Pacman in a live-action Atari movie. If only “30 Rock” had made a trailer for that.

Tracy always goes to strip clubs, but do people actually enjoy going to strip clubs? This is a real question.

Character I related to most: Hmmmmm. Maybe Jack re: his secret love of nerdy, weird things.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None. Disappointed again.

Did you know, scientifically speaking, that humans want food but don’t need it?

Alright, let’s just talk about the greatest thing to come out of this episode:

In the episode, we only hear the chorus, but it is a great song and I make all my friends listen to it on Halloween.

Who’s the second voice in that song? Donald Glover, who was a writer on “30 Rock” at this point. His parts really just elevate the whole thing, his sort of “Tracy, what are you doing why does this song exist” thing.

So. Good.

This episode gave everyone a lot to do.

1. Jack finds out Devon is engaged to Kathy Geiss (who doesn’t do interesting this episode but I am SO EXCITED) and fights him for Don Geiss’ favor.

2. Jenna deals with her weight gain. Dr. Spaceman is heavily involved.

3. Tracy continues his fight with Angie. Kenneth tries to save his marriage.

4. Liz tries to put her life together and to deal with the Jenna thing.

This episode was particularly notable for the number of references it had to things from season one. All the ones I caught:

  • Devon claims he isn’t gay anymore because he joined the Church of Practicology. Tracy tried to join that church in “The Fighting Irish.”
  • When Jack is talking about secrets people at G.E. have: “Alan Garkel in legal? I don’t think he really needs his wheelchair.” Alan Garkel is the black guy in a wheelchair who gets the job Floyd was gunning for, which inspires him to move back to Cleveland.
  • When Tracy wants to talk to Kenneth, he tells him, “I’ve got something on my mind grapes.”  Jack coined the term “mind grapes” in episode 7 while trying to come up with a speech about Don Geiss. Tracy uses it in that episode as well.
  • When Liz tries to assemble her Ikea office furniture — named blërg — the song from the pilot plays. This is amazing.

So that was pretty cool.

 

Anyway, Devon tries to use Jack’s heart attack against him. He tells him, “I’m gonna make your heart explode,” and I was struck by how, in another context, that could be sort of romantic? Jack tries to use Devon’s homosexuality against him. This includes having someone named Winthrop tackle Devon shirtless:

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You might have noticed that Winthrop is Luke Cafferty from “Friday Night Lights!” I freaked out when I realized this. If you’ve never watched “Friday Night Lights” you should do that right now. Wow. What are you doing with your life.

Don Geiss is in this episode too, which always strikes me as odd because I think I thought that we never saw Don Geiss and he was this sort of ethereal being that was only mentioned and never seen. This is false, obviously. I have no idea why I thought this. Anyway, Don tells Jack he’s on his list and Jack is pleased, even though he still can’t eat red meat.

Meanwhile, the Jenna plot was weird. A lot of funny things happened, like Dr. Spaceman suggesting “crazy surgical options” and meth as weight loss tools:

Meth puns are always funny.

Meth puns are always funny.

Liz is trying to get Jenna to embrace her fatness and not make it the joke, but it doesn’t work out so well. “Me want food” becomes Jenna’s catchphrase and finally gets her noticed. Liz is insightful as always: “You just can’t be a real woman in this country. It’s like those Dove commercials never happened.” I snorted.

Anyway, Jack encouraged Jenna to do this to begin with, and Liz asks him, “How come men can be heavy and respected like James Gandolfini or Fat Albert?” OR ALEC BALDWIN. I mean, Alec is sort of heavy and gets to play this rich sex god, and I feel like this plot, or at least this moment, could have let them be a little self-aware about that, but they missed it.

Overall, I didn’t know what the point of this storyline was. On the one hand Liz, the voice of reason, is mocked for being idealistic, but on the other Jenna doesn’t come out looking so great either. I suppose they’re not championing anything and just exploring a funny situation, but I’m still sort of uncomfortable and don’t know why.

The best part of Tracy’s storyline is when Kenneth tries to seduce Angie and says, “I like your top. I’m a real good sex person. I do it all the different ways.” And he’s visibly shaking as she walks away. Poor Kenneth.

Bits & Pieces

Don Geiss technically died twice.

Kenneth eats grilled cheese with mayo at Tracy’s house. I want to try this now? Will report back.

As the above video shows, Tracy has a key to the city of Gary, Indiana. Another of my favorite NBC sitcom character has a key to an Indiana city.

Best Tracy one-liner: Angie is in the past, like Dracula and broadcast television.

Character I related to most: Liz, during the entire episode. At work she’s great, but in her personal life she’s messy, unorganized, plans stuff that she never gets around to, single… Wooooo.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None.