Archives for posts with tag: kenneth the page

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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“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.

Let’s start this post with something very important: I really need a Judah Friedlander hat. They’re not only hilarious, but I’ve been meaning to try to wear more hats. Just saying, my birthday is in five weeks.

So! “Jack the Writer” continues the theme of Jack trying to assert himself in part of TGS where he doesn’t belong, this time the writers’ room. The season one writers’ room is full of people I don’t recognize, like this guy. Who is this guy?

WHO ARE YOU.

WHO ARE YOU.

I think Jack said his name in episode 2, but bald white guy has yet to utter a line, and if he’s in any episode after season one, I have absolutely no memory of him.

The flip side of Jack’s “intervening with the show” plot line is that this is definitely the most actual television producing we see these characters do. Does any other episode spend time watching the writers’ actually write for an extended period? Mostly they screw around. No wonder they come up with such horrible sketches. The early episodes also have so much Jonathan in them! What a treasure.

This episode had a really high quotient of nerd references. When Jack mentions Six Sigma,1 Frank thinks it’s a special kind of G.I. Joe. Liz compares Jack to Darth Vader twice, and Pete calls Liz Captain Needa to scare her, Needa having been killed by Vader for his incompetency.2 During one of these conversations, the announcer in the background calls Josh to the stage to rehearse a sketch called, “Homophobic Hague,” which I really wish we’d gotten to see.

I mean, can you imagine what might possibly happen during that sketch? Is it basically an extended version of the “Legally Blonde” joke that it’s hard to tell if someone is gay or European? And the judges on the International Criminal Court make all their decisions based on how gay they think you are. And all these gay people just try to seem really Italian? It sounds like some really tragic black comedy that we have TRAGICALLY been denied. I bet Lutz wrote it.

The B-plot involves Liz trying to get Cerie3 to dress more appropriately, which is actually really funny because Cerie wears things like this:

Page boy hat, low rise skirt, and Avril Lavigne tie. This is so 2000s it hurts.

Page boy hat, low rise skirt, and Avril Lavigne tie. This is so 2000s it hurts.

And Cerie gets Liz to wear this:

Dayum girl.

Dayum girl.

When Liz tells Cerie she has to dress seriously to be taken seriously, she responds, “Career-wise I’m just gonna marry rich and design handbags,” which is accurate. Liz eventually tells her, “You need to dress like you have a job and parents who raised you in some kind of shame-based religious tradition,” which made me snort.

The C plot involves Kenneth doing a lot of things for Tracy, including getting him nachos from a closed Yankee Stadium and getting him an illegal fish. Also notable is the first appearance of Tracy’s wife.

This is not Sherrie Shepherd.

This is not Sherri Shepherd. “30 Rock” is the only thing that makes Sherri even remotely bearable.

Tracy also gives Kenneth great advice like, “Dress everyday like you gonna get murdered in those clothes.”

But that’s not the only blossoming friendship this episode. When Jack is mean to Liz in order to impress some Six Sigmas, he whispers to her, “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.” She tells him she doesn’t like him anymore and he responds, “I don’t believe you.” And the audience doesn’t either. #bestfriendsforever

Bits & Pieces

Another Jane Krakowski-less episode, sadly. The Entourage was also M.I.A., but if they had been there the “Kenneth does everything for Tracy” plot would have made much less sense.

Number of times Chamillionaire is mentioned this episode: Four

Number Chamillionaire songs played: Just one

Number of Aaron Sorkin references: One, when Liz and Pete have a conversation while walking in a circle, realize their mistake, and conclude, “Good walk and talk.”

Best Frank Hat: Bigfoot Expert

Best Tracy one-liner: “Live every week like it’s shark week.” Iconic.

Character I related to most: Kenneth when he said, “When I get nervous I ask a lot of questions.”

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None? If I’m reading into it, he only survived his encounter with the Chinese mafia because he’s immortal, but that’s a big stretch.

1. Only in the last twelve months did I find out that Six Sigma is real and not just a joke “30 Rock” made up. I’m forever amazed at the liberties this show took when it came to making fun of G.E. and NBC.
2. Sadly, I wasn’t nerdy enough to recognize the character by name. He has a really long “Star Wars” wiki page, if that interests you.
3. Every time I tried to write Cerie, I wrote Cersei instead. Damn you, “Game of Thrones.”

The episode opens as many episodes ended up opening: Liz is on the streets of New York, interacting with New Yorkers. This time, she’s waiting in line to buy a hot dog when some finance-type jerk cuts in front of her. Liz retaliates by buying all the hot dogs and trying to hand them out to people on the street, who mostly throw them back at her. That moment is really Liz in a nutshell.

As she walks, an upbeat theme song plays. Some of the lyrics are, “Who’s got the kind of charisma that the boys prefer? / Who’s hot and you know that she knows it? / That’s her!” It feels like a parody of “The Mary Tyler Moore” theme, another show about a single woman working on a TV show, whose credits included someone walking to work in the midst of busy city streets.

“30 Rock” subverts this two ways, though: Liz’s walk to work is less than ideal (i.e. people throw hot dogs at her) and it turns out that the theme is really for “Pam, the overly confident morbidly-obese woman,” one of the horrible characters Jenna plays on the show.

You totally didn't remember who Josh was until you say this photo. Don't lie.

You totally didn’t remember who Josh was until you say this photo.

The song is sung by Josh, who I rarely remember was on the show, even though one time my friends and I saw him playing frisbee in Central Park.1

Anyway, in case that intro wasn’t enough to make you see what sort of character Liz is, Jack Donaghy hits Liz on the head for us: “New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, overscheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says ‘healthy body image’ on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for…a week.”

This works in two ways, because it tells us a lot about Liz,2 and because it tells us about Jack’s uncanny perceptiveness, which comes up a lot. Jack also knocks down a piece of dry wall to enter the room, which is pretty badass. He also won’t stop babbling about the trivection oven and introduces himself as the VP of “East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming,” which is a joke that never gets old.

Sort of? Maybe?

Sort of? Maybe?

Jenna says Jack reminds her of Scotty from “General Hospital,” which was really funny to me, because my mom and grandma love GH. The internet seems less knowledgeable of who Scotty is, since Google auto-filled “30 Rock’ when I searched for a photo of him to show you that he does, in fact, sort of look like Alec Baldwin, ish.3

I can’t help but wonder how I would have received this episode if it was the first one I’d ever watched; would I have stuck with it?3 No clue. But I’m surprised by how well-defined the characters are in the pilot. A lot of shows change characters a lot from the way they originally imagined them in the first few episodes or first season.5 And while the minor characters shift in and out of focus, Liz, Jack, Tracey and Jenna really don’t. I mean, they develop as characters, but they don’t have sudden shifts in characterization. That’s pretty cool.

Bits and Pieces:

Pete and the writers have a pretty strong presence in the episode, which isn’t true of the later stuff. Kenneth, meanwhile, is on screen for maybe two minutes total, but memorable utters “I just … I love television so much,” while fighting back tears. I feel you Kenneth.

Dot Com was in Tracy’s entourage, but Grizz was noticeably missing. Granted, there are like 3 people in the entourage who we never see again, so it wasn’t exactly a settled group.

Jack hits on the TGS dancers by talking to them about Afghanistan.

Liz has a Razr phone. #throwback

Best Jack one-liner: “I like you. You have the boldness of a much younger woman.”

Character I related to most: Probably Liz . She explains that she bought $150 worth of hot dogs because she “hate[s] it when people cheat or break the rules.” Right there with you.

Hints that Kenneth is immortal/mystical/terrifying: None. I really want to keep track of this bizarre progression.

Until tomorrow.


1. I’m like 99% sure it was him.

2. Obviously.

3. Generally I find it really disappointing that “General Hospital” has fallen out of our cultural consciousness. “American Horror Story” ain’t got nothing on that campiness.

4. We’ll talk about the first one I watched when we get there.

5. Leslie Knope, Kelly Kapoor and Dr. Jeremy Reed are the first three I think of, but that’s not even close to a complete list.