Archives for posts with tag: black crusaders

“Work is the only thing I’m good at, Lemon. You and I have that in common.”

Here we are, at the end of season one. What a great 21 episodes it was.

Last episode left us with a cliff-hanger, so this week gave us with what I think is the only “Previously on ’30 Rock'” in the history of the show. Of course, it doesn’t play this straight either: first they show a random scene before the real highlights, and Kenneth asks at the end of the montage, “Where was Kenneth? Let’s find out!”

Instead of jumping right into the plot, we get two scenes intercut with each other. Jack is visiting Dr. Spaceman, who mostly just gives him sex advice, while Liz visits her doctor, played by Rachel Dratch, who I had feared had left us forever. Thankfully not so.

Dr. Rachel: Still not eating right, huh?

Liz: No but I am eating a lot.

Anyway, Liz breaks down because Jack is mad at her and her boyf is in Cleveland and “it’s the season finale of my show this week and the star is missing and may have been abducted by a cabal of black celebrities.” That’s a lot to handle.

Jack also reveals that his mom is coming to New York for Bianca’s wedding, which gives us:

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Honestly, I could write 138 posts about how amazing Colleen is. Elaine Stritch won an Emmy for her performance in this very episode. And she’s 89. And 89 times better than you.

Colleen, queen of my heart, immediately likes Liz and can’t stand Phoebe — like any sane person — especially after British bird bones calls her “Mother Donaghy.” JUST LEAVE ALREADY.

Eventually, the stress of his mother, his crazy fiance, and Tracy’s disappearance are too much for him, and Jack has a heart attack. The phone call from the hospital breaks up Liz’s pathetic video chat with Floyd because Liz is Jack’s emergency contact!

The first time I watched this, I was probably like, “OK, whatever,” but now I’m like, “SHE’S HIS CONTACT THEY’RE BEST FRIENDS AH WOW.” There were a lot of <3’s in my notes.

And that’s the power of these characters and this storyline for me. Jack and Liz’s friendship is the heart of this show.

But that wasn’t necessarily as clear way back in 2007. Jack tells Liz, “Work is the only thing I’m good at, Lemon. You and I have that in common.” And in 2007, it’s true. Liz sucks at being a friend (see: the “Rural Juror” fight). Jack sucks at being a boyfriend (see: his relationship with Condaleeza Rice and his failed marriage). Jack can invent the popcorn button on the microwave, but he doesn’t know what it means to be happy.

His life flashed before his eyes and, in an exact reversal of every other hospital bed scene ever, he says, “I should have worked more.” It’s a funny moment, but it’s also intensely sad. I’ve talked a couple times about how great it is when “30 Rock” knocks Jack down from his pedestal, and in this scene his misery is cast in vivid color.

Eventually, Colleen realizes Jack’s heart races when he’s lying and his hospital heart monitor becomes a lie detector. And when he admits he loves his mother, he’s telling the truth! This moment is definitely more powerful seven seasons later, but it’s still cute in context.

And thankfully he doesn’t love Phoebe. Bye bye, boring British bird bone lady.

And when Liz asks Jack how he liked the show, he tells the truth again: “I no longer think you’re doing a terrible job and I’m very proud of you.” I literally wrote “<33333.”

Meanwhile, Tracy’s subplot focuses less on the Black Crusaders of America (sadly) and more on his burgeoning friendship with Kenneth, who has hid him with his cousin in a small Pennsylvania town with no dancing or liquor and a lot of wolves.

When Tracy decides to go back to New York — he’d rather die famous than live to 100 unknown — Kenneth’s cousin ties him up and threatens him with some scary stuff:

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Kenneth, assisted by Grizz and Dotcom, saves Tray, only to get stuck in traffic in Manhattan. They try to convince an ambulance to help them, but they’ll only turn the lights on if someone is seriously injured.

So Kenneth throws himself down a flight of stairs.

Tracy tells Liz to recommend Kenneth for the NBC Medal of Excellence, which does not exist. But it should. I would give it to Questlove.

And that’s season one. Watch out this week for a season one recap video, where I’ll summarize and extrapolate and maybe be funny.

Bits & Pieces

Colleen had “the only marriage in the history of St. Helen’s Church where the priest recommended the divorce.” But given how awful Jack’s dad is, can anyone blame her?

Best Frank hat: Force Field

Best description of Phoebe: When Liz calls her a white geisha

Best dialogue exchange:

Josh: Can I play Barack Obama?

Liz: No, it’s bad enough that Tracy plays Barack Obama

Things we know about Josh: Wants to play Barack Obama in a sketch. Want to do a Robocop walk on the show.

Star Wars references: Liz – “Is that how far apart my eyes are? I look like Admiral Akbar.”

When his hick cousin shoots at his car, Kenneth also shouts, “By the Hammer of Thor!”

When Jack’s life flashes before his eyes, one of the moments he remembers most clearly is when he participated in Hands Across America. No one else makes jokes like that. Bow down to Tina. And Robert Carlock. Mostly Tina.

Favorite Spaceman line: “He might have scurvy because he keeps asking for Lemon.” Awwwwww

Favorite Colleen line: When Liz goes to visit Jack – “Tell him his mother’s here and she loves him. But not in a queer way.”

Character I related to most: Liz when she avoids Floyd’s calls because she knows they have to break-up, but she doesn’t want to have the conversation

I’ll miss you Floyd.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He asks Tracy to take care of his birds if he doesn’t make it. Not proof that he’s immortal, but the birds will return in creepy, creepy ways.

It took a lot of self-control to not watch the next episode, since this one left us with a cliffhanger.

But before we get to that let’s talk about this completely amazing episode. Our three plots:

1. Liz visits Cleveland with Floyd and considers moving there.

2. Liz tries to figure out what Phoebe wants from Jack.

3. Tracy runs from the Black Crusaders.

Good timing to watch this episode after the big Cleveland news this weekend. Liz’s Cleveland adventure mentions the Indians, but the Cavaliers have no headline position, which is weird, since Lebron was there and, ya know, amazing.

But first, Tracy. Bill Cosby is quoted in an article as hating Tracy Jordan and suddenly Tracy’s plans for his career comeback are gone. He blames the Black Crusaders. Liz thinks this is a joke, but Lester Holt literally warns Tracy that they’re coming for him in the middle of an episode of the “TODAY Show.” And Jack is terrified of their power. This will play out next episode.

So, Floyd and Liz on vacation to Cleveland because New York is awful. How wonderful is Cleveland?

Even Jack admits that it’s a rocking place, saying, “We’d all like to flee to the Cleve and club-hop down at the Flats and have lunch with Little Richard, but we fight those urges because we have responsibilities.” Valid.

So Floyd suggests that they live together in Cleveland. My friend, who I watched with, pointed out that this is sort of crazy person behavior. I don’t disagree, but I think by the end of the episode he realizes it. Which is why he’s not surprised when Liz doesn’t want to join him. And thus the Floyd-arc wraps up. I’ll miss you, you handsome, wonderful man.

Liz almost wishes she could be like Jack and do something crazy, like get married to someone she doesn’t know.

But then she remembers that the Jack and Phoebe thing is crazy. For example:

Phoebe: l care about Jack. l make him a better man. You know how John Lennon was better than the rest of the Beatles but didn’t realize it until he met Yoko Ono? Well, l’m Jack’s Yoko.

Liz: You want to be Yoko?

In her attempts to find some evidence of Phoebe’s untrustworthiness/craziness/weirdness she makes friends with Jonathan, the pair finally united by a common cause, instead of hating each other, like basically every other episode. Imagine what a powerhouse they’d be if they’d always combined their forces though. Jack’s life would definitely better.

Anyway, I immediately hate Phoebe because Emily Mortimer of on “The Newsroom” and that show is such a massive disappointment.

Boooooooooo

Anyway, Phoebe’s the worst. When she doesn’t get a Looney Tunes reference, she explains that “both my parents were poets.” Ewwwwww.

Also she doesn’t laugh at this amazing Liz line. Bianca suggests she buy some sexy lingerie and Liz says:

If I was gonna spend $600 to have my boobs pinched I’d have gone to that fundraiser at the Clinton’s home.

Come on.

So Jack pushes Liz to tell him what she really thinks and she finally admits it: Phoebe is weird and probably using him and obviously completely wrong for him.

It was an interesting moment because lately I’ve been sort of obsessed with re-runs of “Who’s The Boss,” this really amazing 80s sitcom where Tony Danza is a house cleaner for this strong, powerful working woman. In an episode I watched yesterday, his boss, Angela, is about to accept a proposal from this guy who’s completely wrong for her, and he convinces her not to.

That move has tons of subtext. Tony loves Angela, and their flirtation is at the core of the show. His protestation that the engagement is wrong has just as much to do with his love for her as it does with the mismatch.

So when I watched Liz tell Jack that Phoebe was wrong for him, I couldn’t help but think of that scene because this one wasn’t full of subtext. It was friend to friend.

Until Jack says that Phoebe told him Liz was obsessed with him and her protestations are the last proof he needed. Oh no. Jack apparently isn’t assured of the platonic nature of their friendship yet.

And then the episode ends. One more episode of season one left!

Bits & Pieces

Tracy’s “Jefferson” movie would have included multiple claymation sex scenes. What a tragedy that we never saw this film.

Tracy plans on recording a Michael McDonald cover album, giving us our first M McD reference. This is not our last. I literally wouldn’t know who that is without “30 Rock.”

There’s this recurring joke where Phoebe keeps asking Liz if she remembers them meeting. It’s really weird and thus funny.

Phoebe’s not the last person to express their desire to be someone’s Yoko…

Favorite1 Jack line: “Who told Tracy about anagrams?”

Best Tracy line: I’m gonna have so much money my grandkids are gonna play lacrosse. Lacrosse, Liz Lemon!

Number of times Liz says, “By the hammer of Thor!” instead of a slur: 2

How much I want to incorporate “By the hammer of Thor” into my daily vernacular, on a scale of 1-10: 8

Best potential “TGS” sketch: Hot babies

Best gag: Floyd is sick of the rat race: the literal rat race outside his apartment’s door. Old men bet on rats who race each other. Chill.

Jack plans on getting married the same day as Bianca. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad that later seasons will give up his resentment toward his ex.

Character I related to most: Liz, because of her love-hate relationship with New York

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

1. Please not the difference between best and favorite.