Well, if there was any doubt left that this is the successor to "Arrested Development" -- in spirit if not always in execution -- this episode should put an end to that. This was the most anarchic and joke-filled "30 Rock" has been so far, and Paul Reubens' character could have been second cousin to Martin Short as Fake Uncle Jack. ("Shoot me!")
In my review, I pointed to the "Pretty Woman" jewelry box joke as an example of the uniquely female POV that Tina Fey has given this show, and a reader pointed out that a similar gag was recently done on a sitcom with a predominantly-male writing staff: "Arrested Development." (It was in one of Charlize Theron's episodes.) So I inadvertently proved one point (or, at least, suggested that Fey and company steal from the best) while attempting to prove a different point. Idiocy or genius? You make the call. Maybe a better example of the feminine thing would have been Jack's ex-wife going nuts not over the bevy of supermodels, pop stars or Secretaries of State, but over him being with someone where it could be real. That's not something that would have automatically occurred to me, though you could just as easily blame that on me being stupid as me being a dude. Honestly, I don't know where I'm going with this one. Moving along...
The only thing keeping this episode from being up there with the poker episode or "The Rural Juror" was the Pete and Tracy subplot, and even that had its moments, notably Kenneth's interpretation of "Footloose" ("where those evil kids won in the end") and a new twist on the verrrrry old angel/devil on the shoulder gag. I just feel like Fey and the writers have such a good handle on who every other character is, whereas they're still trying to figure out Tracy. Jenna, for instance, isn't remotely as funny as Tracy is in his better episodes, but she's consistent, and it's easier to do a quick gag based on our knowledge of her and how she'd behave in certain situations.
Here's a question for all of you: given how many times in only a dozen episodes the show's gone to the well about Liz and Jack's attraction to each other -- or, rather, lack thereof -- do you think the show ever actually Goes There, and, if so, as anything other than an immediately-regretted one-nighter?
Favorite jokes, other than the ones already mentioned:
- Fey almost immediately undercutting how good she looked in the gown (and she did look good) with her complete inability to walk in it.
- Pretty much every line Will Forte delivered. ("His body does not produce joint fluid.")
- "When Gearhardt was born, the doctor told his mother and cousin he would either live for 15 minutes or a hundred years. Boy, he proved them all wrong."
- "Your name sounds Jewish. You must be important."
- Pete's Elmo impression going to the angry place.
- Jack's ex going to the angrier, strippier place, especially after Liz boasting about how red her face would get.