Thursday, October 11, 2007

"I see you ate one. Am I?": 30 Rock

I haven't laughed as much at an episode of television as I did at tonight's 30 Rock in a long, long time. The final third of the show wasn't quite as laugh-riffic as the first two acts (even if it did have Dr. Spaceman discussing the ACTUAL nutritional benefits of food), but those first two thirds were just 30 Rock genius, the jokes flying fast and funny, reminding me of the show's finest (half) hours from season one. I thought it might take the show a few weeks to find its rhythm again (it often does for comedies), and I didn't think that rhythm would be found in week two.

For starters, the show put Jack in a corner and let him fight his way out. The show is always at its best when Jack is calculating and scheming, not caving to someone more powerful than him. Here, Jack saw what he wanted (to be the head of the company someday) and was unapologetic in going after it, even when Devin (the good-time-guaranteed Will Arnett) tried to get him to overexert himself and blow out his heart (still recovering from his season-one-ending heart attack). Jack's gotta be something of a straight man for the show to work, and watching him cruelly one-up Devin at every turn (but somehow righteously -- Jack's way better than Devin) gave this episode an engine that kept it going. I especially liked the newly-straight Devin's attempts to avoid contact with strapping, virile young men who seemed to be everywhere. (Even better to have him still lusting after poor, bejiggered Kenneth.)

Even though Liz had very little to do in this episode, I really liked her story as she tried to help Jenna fight the power, only to find her good intentions subverted when Jenna became the subject of a new T-shirt sporting her catchphrase (shown above). Jenna's desire to sing and roller-dance at the same time was funny; seeing it in action was hysterical. And her sessions with Dr. Spaceman (who apparently has done work for both ALF AND the Unibomber) were funny too, if only because Chris Parnell has created such an amusing character, unhindered by facts or medical opinions or anything like that.

Liz's attempts to create a more just world backfire, of course, and her refusal, still, to get rid of the wedding dress (which comes in handy when she needs to assemble her Blerg) is funny as well. (Basically, I'm just going to say that everything in this episode was funny, apparently. But that's the way it was!)

Finally, we come to Tracy, who had one of those odd storylines that could only apply to him. I think the biggest laugh of the episode for me (indeed, of the whole television season so far) came from Tracy's "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" video ("Boys becoming men; men becoming wolves"), which only didn't get the quote spot because his "inscrutable" vanity license plate was so, well, inscrutable. Props to Sherri Shepherd, good yet again as Tracy's wife, especially in how she reduced Kenneth (yet again) to a quavering mess.

Sadly, not every episode of every show can be as good as this episode was. This is why you must hoard it on your TiVo and watch it over and over.

Crap. I deleted it.

Favorite lines? Sight gags?


Carrie said...

This episode was freaking hysterical.

My favorite parts were the foreign street vendor who said "I am wanting the food" or something like that, and the "Blerg" Ikea furniture. And anything to do with Dr. Spaceman.

Carrie said...

Oh, and I forgot: "There's mayo on this grilled cheese!"

I love Kenneth.

Bianca Reagan said...


I loved that Jenna ended up loving her fat because it made her stand out in a good way. It made me feel better about myself because I'm chunky and funny too. Now I don't have to look like everyone else to feel acceptable.

Though I did find it hypocritical of Liz to keep trying to fight the power, because Tina in real life used to be twice the size she is now. I've seen the pictures on, but for some reason they have disappeared. Hmm . . .

Ooh, and Winthrop. Yummers.