Archives for posts with tag: jenna maroney

I’m thirty-seven, please don’t make me go to Brooklyn.

I got into an argument with one of my best friends. Does Jack actually give good advice? I remarked that I was impressed that he has successfully mentored someone in the past, while he staunchly defended Jack. I’ve decided that I need to keep track of Jack’s advice each episode. Thankfully, he gives a lot of advice this episode! But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Our three plots:

1. Liz dates the coffee boy, Jamie, who is younger than her. Liz: “He is cute. He looks like Zac Efron. That’s a thing, right?” Jenna is jealous of her cougar status.

2. Tracy coaches a little league team in Knuckle Beach, a “bad neighborhood” which I have always assumed is a stand-in for Far Rockaway, and Jack tries to help.

3. Frank is gay for  Jamie. Just Jamie.

(Note: I keep spelling Jamie like Jaime Lannister. Jaime > Jamie. Sorry Jamie.)

So Jamie the coffee boy asks out Liz, who he thinks is 29. He says he’s 25. Not bad.

Except she’s 37 and he’s 20. I am older than Jamie. I am not OK with this.

But Jack convinces Liz to go with it, because it’s fun and she’s, in fact, a catch (I feel vindicated, I guess), and she needs to put herself out there. So she goes with it, and it works out pretty OK.

Until she meets his mom:

Screenshot 2014-07-21 23.06.45

Bye Jamie and your mid-2000s blond highlights.

Meanwhile, Jenna dates a “freshman at NYU” who is clearly no older than 14. He rides away on his Heelys. It’s great.

Meanwhile, Tracy’s little league team quickly gets out of hand. Only “30 Rock” could make little league baseball a metaphor for the war in Afghanistan.

Tracy tells Jack he can’t help the team because he doesn’t understand them. Jack responds:

I don’t have to understand their world in order to help them. It’s like this great country of ours. We can go into any nation, impose our values, and make things better. It’s what Bush is doing all over the globe.

And then we get visuals like this:

Screenshot 2014-07-21 22.56.28

The thing gets really heavy-handed, and that makes it funnier, honestly. He asks Tracy to make a coalition. He fixes the problem with a surge — Grizz and Dotcom join the team. I once read an article about how “Arrested Development” was really important to liberals during the Bush years because it helped them realize they weren’t that crazy and there were other liberals out there. “30 Rock” is for the post-Bush liberal, confused and excited, but also kind of dumb.

Plot three is also amazing. You may have realized that I love Frank a lot. and finally he got a plot all his own, where he does things like paint one-armed unicorn mermaids with bigfoot for Jamie.

Screenshot 2014-07-21 23.03.01

Liz: “You can’t be gay for one person. Unless you’re a lady and you meet Ellen.”

But Frank apparently really is gay for one person, announcing to his new friends at a gay bar, “You guys are great, a lot of fun to dance with, and you smell great,” but he’s just not into them.

As he leaves the bar, Muffintop blasts. Yessssss.

Back to the question at hand: Did Jack give good advice this episode? I’m blue, my friend is gray.

Screenshot 2014-07-22 00.11.24

Yooo actually everyone should listen to that song. Here’s a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8twpQTna_9w

Now, our general conversation was about whether Jack is a good mentor. Technically he’s not Tracy’s official mentor, so should his missteps in that area count against him? Not sure.

Bits & Pieces

Bald writer/Kevin Miller appears!

sup.

sup.

Best Frank Hat: In an episode of greats, the winner is “Burrito.”

Jamie has never been in a cab with less than seven people. Same, dude.

Best Jack line: “Where did you two meet, an AMBER Alert?”

Jack sponsors a charity to give tuxedoes to homeless people. ***flawless

The ballpark at Knuckle Beach is Jefferson Davis Park. Best show.

Character I related to most: Liz when Jack accused her of not being fun, and her defense was that she goes on her roof sometimes.

A ranking of all of Liz’s love interests from best to worst: Floyd, Gray, Dennis, Jamie, Conan, Gretchen the lesbian, that guy Wayne Brady played

A note about the above rankings: I feel like I might switch Gray and Floyd. Hmmm. And I feel like I’m forgetting someone. Am I?

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: HE SHOWS US THIS REALLY WEIRD DRAWING OF A MONSTER, THEN SAYS THAT’S FROM HIS DREAM JOURNAL. THEN TELLS US THAT ALL HIS DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE. TERRIFYING.

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Are you saying actors can’t change the world? Tell that to Sharon Stone.

The only thing i remembered about this episode was that it’s the one with David Schwimmer.

Screenshot 2014-07-19 21.49.29

He plays Jared, cast by Jack as Greenzo, the face of G.E.’s environmental campaign.  He’s “America’s first nonjudgemental, business-friendly environmental advocate” who  says things like, “The Market will solve global warming, if it even exists.”

Greenzo gets carried away and goes insane, saying things like, “When I die they’ll want to put my face on money, if there were money in the future instead of just hugs.” I’m impressed by his proper use of the subjunctive though.

This plot was funny, but I couldn’t help but thing how much funnier it’d have been if it was David Schwimmer as himself, instead of as a random loser. Like, they actually would have had to change one sentence to make it about Schwimmer, so my theory is they wrote it that way, and then Schwimmer didn’t want to make fun of himself. Either way, it was a missed opportunity.

The whole plot ends with Al Gore appearing to potentially replace Greenzo. He reveals that he met Jack when Jack interned for Ted Kennedy in his liberal days(!). Jack quickly shuts him up, but oh man, if I were Liz, I’d never let that go. Ever.

Anyway, Al Gore doesn’t do it because he has to go save a whale that’s in trouble. Bummer. He does get a great meta-monologue about how NBC should really affect change by having characters on their shows talk about the true importance of battling global warming. It was smart and funny.

Also, Greenzo’s logo looks super similar to Georgetown’s sustainability logo, and it sort of freaks me out.

Meanwhile, Kenneth is having a party and Tracy spreads rumors about it so people will go. This plot gives us this iconic gif:

The party is a shitshow and Jack has a meeting about it the next day, revealing some of the crazy things that happened:

  • Pete forgot his wife, Paula, at Kenneth’s
  • Tracy stole a sink
  • A Harlem Globe Trotter disgraced the Harlem Globe Trotter name
  • Liz made Grizz and Dotcom cried. Unclear how, though we do see her trying to kiss Grizz
  • Someone wrote “Tool” on Jonathan’s head 😦
  • Everyone threw up everywhere, basically

The bizarreness of the party makes it amazing.

Bits & Pieces

Things we know about Josh: loves Fall Out Boy

Jack’s devious business face needs a moment of admiration.

Screenshot 2014-07-19 21.53.10

In a flashback to Kenneth’s Halloween Party, at which Liz was the only guest, Kenneth plays “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”

Jenna’s lipstick is called “Tiger Orgasm.”

Best Tracy line:

Liz: People are going to show up expecting all this great stuff and they’re going to be disappointed and angry.

Tracy: Just like colonial Williamsburg

Character I related to most: Probably Greenzo getting incredibly carried away with something.

Hints Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None, though maybe he did something insane at the party. We can only hope.

Wait! Maybe he roofied everyone and that’s why everyone went crazy. It’s fact now.

“Come on Liz, it’s the 90s.”

Today’s the first day I almost forgot that I had to do this, and then suddenly I remembered. That seems appropriate, because I had basically forgotten this episode existed, until I rewatched it for the first time about two months ago. I’m sorry I forgot you, episode, because this was funny.

1. Liz hires her comedy-writing hero Rosemary Howard (Carrie Fischer/Princess Leia) to work on the show. Rosemary is a hot mess and they both get fired.

2. Jenna burns Kenneth’s page jacket and tries to get him a new one from the creepy head page.

3. Jack tries to help Tracy resolve his daddy issues.

All three plots are really funny!

Liz meets Rosemary at a book-signing where she babbles and babbles and babbles. Rosemary replies, “You’re going to kill me, aren’t you?” I may have basically lived this in real life when I met Colum McCann at the beginning of May and rambled for like three minutes before running away. Not my best moment. Go read his books, though.

Anyway, this plot is great because it shows what Liz doesn’t want to be — lonely and old and insane. Visually this story is told really well since Rosemary and Liz both wear brown while Rosemary tries to convince Liz they’re the same.

Screenshot 2014-07-18 23.42.53

And then this happened:

Meanwhile, the page plot ends in a page-off, advertised on a sign as a “Page Dogfight.” But Pete shows up and breaks it up because “This is a billion dollar company” and shit like this is not supposed to be going down. Of course, this isn’t even the third craziest thing to happen at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, but it’s good to know they have limits.

And Tracy’s plot ends with Jack role-playing as all his family members. It’s super weird and completely hilarious.

Bits & Pieces:

Line of the episode: After Liz tells Jack how crazy Rosemary’s apartment was, he says, “Never follow a hippie to a second location.”

Tracy wants to dog fight, so Grizz and Dotcom get him tiny dogs to fight with.

Rosemary Howard’s apartment is in “Little Chechnya.” This reminded me of Mindy’s apartment hunting on “The Mindy Project” when she looks at an apartment in Little Chernobyl.

When Tracy meets the NBC therapist, he asks who’s crazier, “me or Ann Curry?”

Character I related to most: Liz. Not just when she was fangirling, but also when she said, “I have to make money and save it. And I have to do that thing that rich people do where they turn money into more money.” #financialilliteracy

After the season opener mention repeatedly that Jack can’t drink, he’s been drinking a lot.

Jack’s father, “belongs in the Smiling Irish Bastard Hall of Fame.”

Best 2007 reference: When Jenna says, “If I can’t be Mo’nique fat I have to be Terry Hatcher thin.”

Bald writer was in the writers’ room when Liz got her G.E. Followship Award. For excellence in following.

Jack pretends to fire Jonathan. It is sad.

Best Carrie Fischer exchange:

Liz: I grew up wanting to be you.

Rosemary: I grew up wanting to be Samantha Stevens on “Bewitched.” The closest I got was being married to a gay guy for two years.”

Best Dotcom line: “Man this is Phil Spector’s entourage all over again.”

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: Had he fought the head page in a page-off, there may have been some. Alas, we’re left empty handed.

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.

Screenshot 2014-07-14 19.48.34.jpg

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

Screenshot 2014-07-17 19.08.06

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!

Screenshot 2014-07-17 18.57.47

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:

Screenshot 2014-07-16 23.39.46

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.

“Life is a pizza with everything on top.” Mystic Pizza, the musical

Welcome to season two.

Before I get started, I want to talk about this interview I listened to today with former “30 Rock” and current “Mindy Project” writer Tracy Wigfield. Tracy first entered my field of knowledge when she won an Emmy with Tina for writing the last episode of “30 Rock.” I definitely didn’t cry when that happened…

Anyway, the podcast is called “Act Three” and the guy, Chris Dwyer, interviews comedy writers. I originally downloaded this episode way back in December when it came out, and then kept putting off listening to it. I have listened to no other episodes (yet), so I can’t exactly recommend it, but as someone who wants to be a comedy writer, it was informative and interesting.

Oh, and as a “30 Rock” fanatic. Tracy was originally a writers’ assistant until she got hired as a staff writer right before season four. And then when that show ended, Mindy hired her. Even if she didn’t work for two of the famous women I admire most, I’d be jealous of her.

Anyway, in addition to sharing a few cute stories about the “30 Rock” writers’ room — mostly about everyone being nice and Tina and Robert being completely amazing — Tracy ends up talking about sitcom season arcs. She paraphrases something she heard Julian Fellowes (“Downton Abbey”) say — if the season ends exactly as you thought it would, you probably screwed up. So while, as Tracy says, Tina might know that she wants Liz to be working but married with kids or for Jack to be mayor of New York, that changes and grows, and their conversations are mostly focused on what issues that character will be dealing with all season long.

First, what? Did Tina want Jack to become mayor of New York at some point? Woah. This would have been hilarious. But I can also see why that wasn’t the show’s ending: Jack’s story isn’t about his career growth. It’s about him figuring out what makes him happy. Jack as the mayor of New York for an episode might have been funny, but that’s also not the sort of plot you can have for just an episode.

Tracy also talks about how season one of “30 Rock” involved them figuring things out a lot, similar to the experience she had on the freshman year of “Mindy.”

So, with season arcs in mind, and inspired by Tracy’s story to follow my own dreams, I begin season two of “30 Rock.”

—-

The season’s arc is apparent. Jack and Liz are both convinced that this is their year. Jack had a great summer, coming up with such great shows as “America’s Next Top Pirate,” “Are You Strong Than a Dog,” and, of course, “MILF Island.” Liz’s summer was less perfect — she broke up with Floyd — but she did read two books! So there’s that.

But things fall off really quickly from there. Jack’s newest idea, SeinfeldVision, in which he digitally inserts Jerry Seinfeld into NBC shows seems to be going well…

During an interrogation on "Law & Order SVU"

During an interrogation on “Law & Order SVU”

"Heroes." 2007 was a simpler time.

“Heroes.” 2007 was a simpler time.

I used to watch "Deal or No Deal" all. the. time.

I used to watch “Deal or No Deal” all. the. time.

Screenshot 2014-07-15 20.23.29

Until Seinfeld finds out, and he’s not happy. Maybe if he could be on “Lost”…

So Jack jumps off the deep end trying to find solutions, which basically all include killing Seinfeld and then committing suicide. Idea number 71 is making up a hurricane to pre-empt all the regularly scheduled programming. We find him balled up on the floor watching “Bee Movie,” which stars — you guessed it — Jerry Seinfeld.

On a completely different note, “Bee Movie” is probably the weirdest movie ever and includes multiple instances of Bees suing in the court of law and a Bee-Human romance. So.

Anyway, Jack manages to trade some TODAY Show promotion of “Bee Movie” — which will include Al Roker in a bee costume — for one night of Seinfeld vision. The crisis may be averted, but it seems obvious that this really might not be Jack’s year.

Meanwhile, Cerie asked Liz to be a bridesmaid and Liz ends up buying a wedding dress because it’s on sale and “I will marry myself” and and and. She ends up crying to Jerry Seinfeld in a Seinfeld-voice and it’s very funny.

Jack gets her out of her funk momentarily, but if this is setting up the season arc, things aren’t going to go too well this year. They should probz just listen to The Mountain Goats and try to power through:

Bits & Pieces

Season 2 gave us two great upgrades. Jack got a new office — the office we know and love — but he also got a new spot in the opening spot. Before he just sort of smiled and was boring:

Screenshot 2014-06-30 09.44.09

Now, he turns around quickly with this sort of crazed look on his face:

Screenshot 2014-07-15 19.51.14

It’s super hot, basically. He can get it.

Is there anything better than the way Jenna says “Broadway?”

No.

I didn’t talk about Tracy or Jenna even though they both had plots. Angie kicked Tracy out and Kenneth becomes his work husband while Jenna gained some weight while working on “Mystic Pizza, The Musical,” this summer. The best line to come from either plot:

Jack: She needs to gain 30 pounds or lose 60. Anything else has no place on television.

Liz is the something old in Cerie’s wedding.

Best “Pride and Prejudice” (2005) reference:

Screenshot 2014-07-15 20.06.31

 

Character I related to most: Kenneth, when he met Seinfeld and could only make weird noises at him.

Seinfeld’s love advice: No, it’s not over till you pick up the phone, you say, ”l don’t love you anymore.” They say, ”l don’t love you anymore, either.” You go, ”Great. l’ll pick you up in 20. Let’s grab a scone.”

Jonathan’s description of angry Seinfeld to Jack: “He looks the way you did when I tried to hold your hand on the jet.”

Best Cerie one-liner:

Liz: This veil costs more than my couch!

Cerie: Is that comedy or do you really have a $300 couch?

After seeing Jack and Liz cry, Jerry exclaims, “What is wrong with you people? What has happened to this network?” No one knows.

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

Have i really been doing this two weeks? That’s impressive commitment for me.

—-

Before I begin, I have a pretty unrelated aside. Last night I watched the end of “27 Dresses” because I hate myself and I, like Liz, love James Marsden. But he was not the only “30 Rock” alum — can I call him that if he shot this film way before his “30 Rock” tenure — to show up. Because who was the best man but our very own…

JONATHAN.

Apparently right now he voices an Indian kid with an anthropomorphic snake on a Nickelodeon show called “Sanjay and Craig.” Good for you Jonathan.

—-

Like I mentioned on Day 1, “30 Rock” is a sitcom about a working woman that’s very interested in subverting the classic working-woman sitcoms. And this episode does that in a very clear way.

At the episode’s start, Frank mentions catching a “Designing Women” marathon on TV the night before. It’s about a sharp, liberal working woman and her more conservative, looks-obsessed sister as they run an interior design firm. The show became well-known for speeches the main character would make at the end of the episode, espousing her liberal beliefs and telling people off.

Are Jenna and Liz the modern versions of those sisters? We have no way of knowing. Liz also frequently goes into long, explanatory rants at the end of the episode that either she or another character subverts. “30 Rock” isn’t interested in Liz’s triumphs.

So in this episode, the writers criticize Liz for being too mean, which she kind of is sometimes. But then Lutz calls her the “C” word. Rachel Dratch, in her third appearance as the cat lady Lagreta Johansen, conveniently named one of her kittens “Runt” to help you figure out what the word is.

Anyway, Liz ends up doing all of the writers’ work because she wants them to like her, and Pete tells her to stick up for herself. The next day, she, half-asleep and full of garbled ideas from the “Designing Women” marathon she caught the night before.

She delivers this epic:

And then she subverts the brief moment of fulfillment by crying and falling asleep! Brilliant.

But that was only one hilarious half of a great episode.

The other main plot involved Jack taking Tracy to Don Geiss’ golf tournament so he can entertain Don with his “grandchildren’s favorite movie star.”

Jack painted this really terrifying portrait of Don:

Screenshot 2014-07-07 10.01.41Jack also gets some great double entendres in about Don:

Being in a foursome with this man can change your life

Tomorrow I’m going to be in an intense 6 hour foursome with 3 other men and Don Geiss is going to get all my attention and you’re just going to sit back and watch.

Next weekend Tracy and I are going to double team Don Geiss with our big ideas.

But the real gem is Tracy. When he meets Don, he asks him, “How come there’s no black people here? Black people can’t make light bulbs?” Then he calls the one black guy in the Don Geiss entourage “Carlton,” which Jack tries to save by reminding Don that “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” was on NBC. It doesn’t work.

Tracy refuses to play the role Jack wants him too, and embarrasses him as much as possible. Until Jack reminds him that he’s not a movie star anymore, since he hasn’t been in a movie in two years, and it might be in his best interest to suck up.

But I really like this Tracy plot because it reminds us that Tracy isn’t an idiot, that he’s very self aware about the way he portrays himself, and that he has moments of shrewd business acumen.

Bits & Pieces

Kenneth is in love with another page who has these really great NBC logo earrings. I want them. They also shared this amazing awkward movie quote exchange:

You make me a complete person.

When you said hello, you had me.

Best Pete one-liner: “If you’re worried about disgracing the National Broadcasting Company, you’re too late.”

Best Lutz sketch ideas: “Dancing With The Hobos,” “America’s Next Top Hobo,” “Hobo Eye For The Straight Guy,” and “The Amazing Hobo.” Again, it is a travesty that we never get to see these performed.

Best Frank hat: 1,000,000 Points

Kenneth allegedly majored in television theory at Kentucky Mountain Bible College. While KMBC does exist — and I encourage you to explore their website — that major sadly doesn’t.

BALD WRITER SPOKE.

I HAVE WEIRD SINUS STUFF.

I HAVE WEIRD SINUS STUFF.

Character I related to most: Liz. Being a woman in charge is hard.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He’s pretty cut throat when it comes to page-related tasks, even when the girl he loves is involved.

And it’s Valentine’s Day at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. “30 Rock” tends to do Valentine’s Day episodes really well.1 This isn’t my favorite Valentine’s episode, but it was pretty good.

This is probably the least Liz-focused episode to date because every cast member has some plot to deal with. The overarching theme is that the writers have to stay up all night to finish the episode after some food-poisoning caused by Cleveland clams set them back.

1. Jack finalizes his divorce from Bianca and then wallows in a sea of pity and booze.

2. Tracy tries to spend the night with his wife, finally played by Sherrie Shepherd. Weird roleplaying ensues.

I am very annoying in real life, but very funny on this show.

I am very annoying in real life, but very funny on this show.

3. Jenna doesn’t understand why Frank always kills her when playing “Boff, Marry, Kill.”

4. Kenneth tries to get with Cerie after she says she would do him while playing “Boff, Marry, Kill.”

5. Liz receives flowers from a mystery person.

6. Pete forgot to get his wife a Valentine’s/Birthday gift.

7. Cerie is fighting with her fiance because she refuses to have a Greek Orthodox wedding because she disagrees with the church’s stance on Cyprus.

The main thrust is plot 1, which continues yesterday’s theme of humanizing Jack. He’s still a crazy rich person — a main asset in his divorce is an Arby’s he and Bianca bought because they love hamburgers — but he’s a flawed, broken, crazy rich person. He also mentions the love letters he wrote Bianca, which made me think of a young, romantic, hopeful Jack, and then I got sort of sad. He also specifically mentions making love on the floor of the Conchord with Bianca, and all references to the Conchord make me giggle.

This relationship is crazy screwed up though. No wonder Jack struggles to figure out what happiness is; he thinks this sex/hate/murder thing is love. I’m not sure I was struck by how sad Jack’s life is the first time I watched. So much focus is on Liz’s misery, but Jack isn’t doing better.

Also, Rachel Dratch appears again as his prostitute.

Never leave me Rachel

Never leave me Rachel

The other plot I find interesting is the Frank and Jenna plot. it all starts with the writers playing Boff, Marry Kill. Let’s talk about the two trios they consider.

The women: Jenna, Liz, Cerie.

Frank marries Liz, boffs Cerie, and kills Jenna. I’m not sure my choice would be the same. Liz and I are pretty similar — would our relationship go down in Jack and Bianca-esque flames? Potentially. I might just try to marry whoever was richest. In season one that might be Liz, but Jenna probably isn’t hurting financially either. And Jenna would probably do a lot of crazy stuff in bed…

So! Marry Liz, Boff Jenna, Kill Cerie. Sorry girl

The men: Toofer, Lutz, Kenneth. Cerie marries Toofer, kills Lutz and gets with Kenneth. Considering Kenneth in any sort of sexual way is weird, though. If I consider Kenneth’s future career, then I’d marry Kenneth, get with Toofer, and kill Lutz. Otherwise, Cerie is right.

Anyway, so Jenna confronts Frank about why he keeps hypothetically killing her, and he explains that she’s too fake. Honestly, he’s completely right. I think that’s part of the reason why the Liz and Jenna friendship falls a little flat sometimes. Jenna is so rarely genuine, and she might only become faker as the seasons continue and she becomes more famous.

Jenna is also right when she tells Frank, “You spend just as much time and energy trying to look look as I do trying to be beautiful.” But she’s still missing the authenticity point, though.

But I left this exchange thinking about what an amazing couple Frank and Jenna would have been. A quick perusal of Tumblr leads me to believe that literally one other person thinks this is a good idea. There appear to be no fan fiction stories about this couple.

But it actually feels like a really interesting couple. There are so many things Jenna thinks she wants, and Frank is none of those, but I think it would have helped her get in touch with her more authentic side. And Frank would have had to clean up his act. True love!

Alright, this mostly would have just been funny. But the actors have really good chemistry — which is why they end up with a lot of plot lines together — and seeing that turn into a long-term, romantic situation would have been funny.

But the biggest long-term plot development happens at the end, when Floyd walks in, having sent his flowers to Liz Lemon instead of his girlfriend, Liz Lemler.

And man, Floyd is gorgeous. And funny. This is the Liz relationship that I mourned until Kris arrived.

But our last moment of the episode was really weird because of this caption:

what.

what.

This has not appeared in any other episode’s captions. Also, the “30 Rock” captions, as I’ve mentioned, are full of things that people don’t say. Not mistakes, just words that aren’t said or are suddenly changed. An instrumental rap track has lyrics, an orgy at Elizabeth’s turns into an orgy at Elizabeth Hasslebeck’s. WHAT IS CAPTION MAX DOING?

Bits & Pieces

Jack goes on a long rant about Bianca while suddenly moving from place to place, indicating the passage of time. A similar montage showed Liz stealing a baby a few episodes ago. I never noticed how iconically “30 Rock” that narrative move is.

Best Liz one-liner: When she calls the flower shop to find out who send the flowers, she says, “No, I’m not with so many men that it’s impossible to tell who it’s from.”

Liz is taking off her bra when Floyd walks in. Classic Liz. Props to “30 Rock” for subverting the meet-cute.

Jenna participates in Vagina Day: “A group of celebrities who have never been invited to do the ‘Vagina Monologues’ improvise monologues about their lady parts for the homeless … just for them.”

Character I related to most: Liz because she’s alone on Valentine’s Day.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: When Cerie calls him an old-soul, he says, “My mama thinks so too. In fact, she’s pretty sure I’m the reincarnated soul of Adren Twyfer. He was our town minister who died in an organ fire.” ……….

1. I also love their Christmas episodes, season 6’s “St. Patrick’s Day” episode is amazing, and it’s probably the only show that has a Leap Day episode. I love you “30 Rock.”
2. We’re going to take a moment here to appreciate Cerie. She’s often just the silly millenial — before that word was in our lexicon — but she’s also pretty smart and funny.

This episode’s summary got me really excited and I wondered why I’ve never re-watched this episode. Then I watched and realized this episode is only OK.

Jack asks Liz to be his date for a Hapsburg prince, Jenna sneaks into the party to try to seduce said prince, and Tracy throws a party so Pete can get some.

This has to be the nerdiest set up for a sitcom episode ever. Has the Defenestration of Prague ever been mentioned on a TV show before? The main joke is that the Hapsburg’s tendency for inbreeding left them with a monstrous prince as the last of their line.

Baby hands forever remind me of Kristen Wiig.

Tiny hands forever remind me of Kristen Wiig.

Two incest plots in the last two episodes? What a crazy, random happenstance.

But the real focus of the episode is the relationship between Jack and Liz and Jack’s ex-wife. Jack, apparently, only sleeps with models and other assorted hotties because he’s afraid of love and commitment after his “surprisingly age-appropriate” ex-wife left him.

I only refer to Jack as John and it is weird!

I only refer to Jack as John and it is weird!

Jack pretends Liz is his live-in girlfriend to save face, but then Bianca tells Liz how unhappy this makes her. She says, “I can take the models, the Rockettes to Shakira, because ultimately I know they are going to leave him, but you? You can actually make him happy and that makes me want to sit on a knife.”

She also proclaims, “I can tell from the way he looks at you that he’s serious.”

Confession time. When I started “30 Rock,” I really wanted Jack and Liz to get together. I’ve heard that Alec Baldwin also wanted this, and you can sort of see it in his acting.

YOU GUYS ARE SO GOOD-LOOKING.

YOU GUYS ARE SO GOOD-LOOKING.

This episode both plays with the idea while also mocking it. Jack keeps telling Liz that she’s not his type — he dates models — and every time something sort of romantic-ish might happen, it’s played for laughs.

“30 Rock” also isn’t the type of show that’s interested in a slow-burn romance. This isn’t “The Office.” Jack and Liz actually getting together would only be weird. I’ll discuss this more eloquently when I get to season 7.

I was just discussing “When Harry Met Sally” with one of my best friends — who’s a man — so this episode is a really good counter to that movie. WHMS is one of my absolute favorite movies, but I don’t think its “Men and women can’t be friends thing is true.” I also hate the way Harry explains that philosophy. According to Harry,  those friendships don’t work because obviously the men will want to sleep with any women they spend time with. It’s a gross way to speak about men.

Liz and Jack are the proof that this isn’t true, and as Jack will say in six seasons, something happening between the duo would have cheapened what they had.

But can you blame me for sort of wanting it to happen?

Bits & Pieces

Will Forte is amazing as the Prince’s body man/announcer/thing.

Screenshot 2014-07-05 22.01.22

Character I related to most: Liz, when she was upset that she’d have to wear high heels to the birthday party. Down with foot oppression!

Pete does a crazy disturbing Elmo impression.

Best Jenna one-liner:

Liz: Maybe I’m Cinderella this time.

Jenna: No Liz, Cinderella is blonde.

At one point the music Tracy plays has no words, but the captions gave lyrics. It was weird.

Jack technically introduces Liz as “my live-in girlfriend Lemon,” apparently forgetting that she has a real name.

Jack dated Beyoncé. The captions at least got the accent mark right.

Jenna does some pretty hilarious dances to win over the prince. Sadly, I could not find a video of this. I should work on my gif skills.

The Hapsburgs also use Dr. Spaceman.

A scientific ranking of Jenna’s known exes from most to least attractive: The creepy Hapsburg prince, David Blaine.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: When he says, “Do you remember that movie ‘Footloose’ where those evil kids won in the end?”

Such a good episode. Obviously, this is the episode when we finally get the details on Jenna’s amazing movie, “The Rural Juror,” based off a Kevin Grisham novel.1  Apparently, Tony Hawk plays a blind character.

But this episode is actually the most essential piece in the puzzle that is Jenna and Liz’s relationship. When Liz hates “The Rural Juror,” she compares it to other things she say Jenna in back in the day, things that were also awful, forcing Liz to come up with bland compliments. Liz remembers herself as supportive, while Jenna remembers her as mean.

In Liz’s defense, the three flashbacks are to Jenna’s performances in “The Jenna Chronicles,” “Con-Air: The Musical,” and at a freestyle rap contest. “Con-Air,” of course, is a Nicholas Cage movie about a prison riot on an airplane. This isn’t the last time we see Liz remember herself as nicer than she really was, and it’s a good reminder that our narrator is pretty flawed.

Also, past-Liz looks like Velma from Scooby Doo:

Jinkies.

Jinkies.

Eventually the writers verify that “The Rural Juror” is a decent movie, and that Jenna is pretty good in it. Teenmoviescene.com even gave it five out of five iPods!

Anyway, Liz finally admits that she is sort of jealous, because even though she’s happy with her job, because the dream was for her and Jenna to be famous together. Of course, Jenna pointed out the impracticality of that dream: “You couldn’t have been serious about acting. you have brown hair.”

But I actually think this is the height of Liz and Jenna’s friendship on the show. Last episode I noted how bizarre it was to see Jenna in Liz’s apartment; I’ll let you know if it does, in fact, happen again. In season one, their relationship is about friendship, even if work stuff gets in the way of that sometimes.2  But in later seasons, their relationship becomes increasingly boss-employee. Liz is constantly “handling” Jenna’s drama, which isn’t the right verb for friendship. As she becomes better friends with Jack, her friendship with Jenna loses its oomph.

Of course, Jenna is to blame too. As she points out at the episode’s beginning, “TGS” has two movie stars now, and Jenna will use that for every piece of diva behavior she can. This episode, then, is the turning point.

Speaking of Tracy, this episode he and Jack have a scheme to get him some money quickly: the Tracy Morgan meat machine, which uses meat instead of bread to make sandwiches. Did no one at KFC ever see this episode? Did they watch it and think “what a great idea?” Is Tina a psychic? We have no way of knowing.

The meat machine’s shoddy craftsmanship and propensity to cause severe burns reminded me of The Cornballer on “Arrested Development.” But this plot line is actually ridiculous and I almost want to quote the whole thing to you. Instead, three highlights.

Tracy asks Dr. Spaceman if bread rots your brain, to which he replies, “We have no way of knowing because the powerful bread lobby keeps stopping my research.” This is actually one of my favorite quotes and I continually reference it in real life, often to people’s confusion.

Tracy offers to repay Jack for his help by making him a mix CD.

Tracy: You like Phil Collins?

Jack: I’ve got two ears and a heart, don’t I?

The window shade behind Jack contains a flow chart of GE’s many subsidiaries:

Screenshot 2014-07-03 19.00.43

NBC, you’ll note, is classified as a domestic appliance, and, as is frequently mentioned on the show, controlled by Sheinhardt Wig Company.

And one more thing:

Rachel Dratch’s best cameo was as Barbara Walters on “The View” rambling total nonsense at Jenna in the vain of the now-iconic “Rural Juror” song. Did the finale make me obsessed with all “Rural Juror” mentions or did Tina just inherently know how much the world loves that plot line? We have no way of knowing.

Bits & Pieces

Most ridiculous sketch title: “MTV Darfur”

Tracy’s goatee is back. Of all the actors, I would say he seems to have aged the most since 2006.

Things we know about Josh: He let Tony, the creepy security guard, watch him pee so he could get the screener of “The Rural Juror” from Liz’s office.

Jack has moved from Condaleeza Rice to Maureen Dowd.

Best Pete one-liner: “For the first time in your life you’ll be in a room full of women and you’ll be the least crazy one,” about Jenna’s appearance on “The View”

Continuity: Liz is outraged that Jenna slept with her brother because he was “in a really bad skiing accident.”

Character I related to most:

Grizz invested all of Tracy’s money in Worldcom.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: He’s in an intense feud with one of the prop guys.

1. B.J. Novak’s book of short stories, “One More Thing,” also has a short story about John Grisham, which is very funny. Did B.J. just watch “30 Rock” until he got enough short story ideas? We have no way of knowing.
2. Liz uses her position to her advantage brilliantly, though, during her fight with Jenna. She gives her impressions she can’t do, like Bill Clinton. I think I read a Mike Schur quote once about how he writes impressions Amy Poehler can’t do into “Parks and Rec.”