Wow. Best episode of any comedy so far this season, and one of my favorite "30 Rock"s to date.
This morning's column went on at length at the genius and gutsiness of the show ripping "Green Is Universal" Week for the hypocritical sham that it is, but what made this one extra-special was that all the storylines were clicking -- not just Greenzo, but Kenneth's party and even Pete (hey, remember Pete!) cheating with his wife. The Redd Foxx/chiffarobe therapy scene from last week may have been the single funniest scene this show has done, but "Greenzo" was funnier and more subversive throughout.
To reiterate a few points from the column, I'm amazed at the stuff Tina Fey gets away with. Tearing GE a new one for destroying the earth was bold enough, but I gasped at Jack reading "colored people, broads, fairies, commies" from the outdated survey form. Even with the explanation for why Jack was saying it, how the hell did they get that past the censors?
David Schwimmer, meanwhile, makes a magnificent d-bag. He was great as the hated Capt. Sobel in "Band of Brothers," and most of the Ross moments I remember from "Friends" aren't him being schmoopie with Rachel, but him behaving like a jackass. (Him boasting about his mastery of karate, for instance.) Greenzo -- throwing around the word "gig" a thousand times, calling Meredith Viera "Merry" (and asking Jack if he "hit that"), insulting Cerie (leading to her hilarious "Did he just talk to me like I'm ugly?"), wishing his mom were alive ("so I could rub it in her fat face!") -- fit him like an oversized cartoon-ish glove. There's no room for him on "30 Rock" every week, but my buddy Fienberg wants to propose a sitcom (at least, he does once the strike's over, as he wouldn't want to be called a scab) that's just 30 minutes of Schwimmer and James Van Der Beek being tools. Tell me you wouldn't want to watch it.
The Greenzo storyline also featured the best moment yet in Al Gore's Yes, I Have a Personality Tour, a big fat clue that Jack wasn't always the pawn to right-wing interests he is today (having interned for Teddy Kennedy), and a completely over-the-top and yet dead-on final moment/line with the prop Earth on fire and Liz saying, "This Earth is ruined! We've gotta get a new one!"
The Kenneth's party plot was just as funny, even if no sacred cows were slaughtered. (Then again, we don't know everything that happened at the party; Liz did something to make Grizz cry, and it may not just be her kissing.) It worked as both farce and a satire of the (Harvey) lemming-like quality of celebrity culture. Of course all of Tracy's lies were going to catch on and snowball, because who wants to risk being the only person who didn't show for a party featuring some combination of TI, Bob Logan from Texas Instruments, Fall-Out Boy, Foxy Boxing, and Hayden Panettiere taking a shower? (For another example of the herd mentality, see Jenna immediately removing her shoes after seeing Cerie barefoot.)
The comparison between the quick cuts of Kenneth's old parties (the best, of course, was Liz dressed as Harry Potter and dancing to "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah") and the complete debauchery of the last one provided a great bookend for the episode, and any chance to see Jack look that disheveled should not be missed. The joke that really stuck the landing for me was the Harlem Globetrotter randomly showing up and getting scolded for his behavior ("Does that name mean nothing to you?"), because it made the party seem even stranger and more nightmarish than any hint of Liz/Grizz sex or sink-stealing could.
The Pete plot probably could have been placed into any episode, but Fey's terrified delivery of "What do you do with the Pop Tart?" kept it from just being a throwaway. (Also, it gave Liz the chance to say "Great, now I smell like midlife crisis.")
God, I love this show. I just want to stop right now and watch the episode again.
Some other thoughts on "Greenzo":
- Tracy's declaration that he loves Foxy Boxing because "It combines my two favorite things: boxing and referees!" was a quintessential zag when you expect a zig kind of "30 Rock" joke, and yet it also felt like something Lenny on "The Simpsons" might say. (Lenny, not Carl; the writers always give Lenny the best lines.)
- Speaking of both "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" and the mysterious Harvey Lemmings, if you listen to the full-length version, Tracy mentions Lemmings (as the guy who taught him all those Jewish words like "haftorah") in the lyrics. If I were Liz, I wouldn't be so quick to assume he doesn't exist; does she not remember the Dr. Spaceman problem?
- Straw poll: who would want Jack to banish them to the same island where they disappeared Phil Donahue and the electric car?
- I love that Grizz and Dotcom desperately want Josh to think they're cool.
- Jack McBrayer is inherently funny even at normal speed, but Kenneth in slow motion made me laugh so much I had to hit rewind, or else I would have missed Tracy handling a snake.
- What exactly is ironic about listening to Schubert while viewing Canadian pornography?
- Speaking of geographic humor, has Holland replaced Sweden as the go-to place for jokes about hot, easy women?
- Jack's response to Liz's joke about cloning Geiss: "Think it through." Of course.
- Would Angie Harmon as Greenzo be a better use of her than "Women's Murder Club"?