Friday, April 17, 2009

30 Rock, "Jackie Jormp-Jomp": I want to Tupac you!

Spoilers for last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I spend an evening with Isiah Thomas...
"Heavy is the head that eats the crayons." -Tracy
"Jackie Jormp-Jomp" wasn't deep, but it was deeply satisfying, one of the better "30 Rock"s of late. It was packed, as even the weaker episodes are, with great throwaway gags (like the kid reporter on the red carpet asking Backpack, "Is Map in you tonight?"), but it also featured a good character arc for Liz, a too-rare pairing between Jenna and Jack (who automatically makes her more interesting because he's relatively realistic, as opposed to Jenna-Tracy stories), and a great tie-it-all-together climax where a giddy and bruised Liz terrified Jenna and Tracy upon her return.

It also featured the show's first use in a while of the device of a character (in this case, Liz) delivering a running monologue that spans many hours and locations. I loved it the first time they did this, with Jack getting progressively drunker on Valentine's Day in season one's "Up All Night," and think it's one of those gags that works brilliantly if used sparingly.

And, in general, I'm in favor of any episode that allows Liz to be more aggressive, either explicitly (her harassing Weinerslav) or implicitly (the black eye she got after escaping the Rich Divorcee Fight Club), as it's one of the colors Tina Fey plays best.

Some other thoughts:

• Loved the idea that the Kids' Choice Awards would have their own necrology, and that the "dead" cartoon got a much bigger round of applause than its elderly creator. Also, can anyone identify which entry from early in Jane Krakowski's filmography was playing during Tracy's tribute to her? It definitely wasn't "Vacation," but it was from that era.

• If Meredith Viera asked you to eat an unripe banana, what would you do?

• Alec Baldwin has this gift for making mundane things sound funny, and silly things sound really funny. His delivery of "Jackie Jormp-Jomp" still has me laughing.

• If those weren't actual Indigo Girls' song and album titles that Liz and Jack were using, then dammit, they should be.

• Were the replacement dancers supposed to be all trannies?

What did everybody else think?

35 comments:

jasctt said...

it is a good device, even if they stole it from a U2 video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWHwI-Hvpzo

Grunt said...

Were the replacement dancers supposed to be all trannies? I am fairly sure they were all supposed to be prostitutes. One of them looked pregnant, while many of the other ones looked like trannies. Couldn't say for sure.

BK said...

Here is the Cling-Free commercial featuring a young Jane Krakowski.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_iIWzGvf7I

Will Eidam said...

I'm great with the throwaway gags, but the "Is Map in you tonight" didn't make sense. Was that suppose to be a "What are you wearing" parallel, or am I missing something?

Kenneth's rape whistle was also a highlight for me, but now I can't remember what other show feature a rape whistle comically. Help, anybody?

Adam said...

Map's a character, not an accessory; it was the equivalent of "are you flying solo tonight?"

I enjoyed this episode a lot. Loved the Liz montage, loved the musical moment with faux-Hendrix on the sax.

TheRuralJuror said...

@Will Eidam

In the Season 2 episode "Secrets and Lies"...

C.C.: I like your necklace.
Liz: Oh, thanks. It’s actually a rape whistle, but the whistle part fell off, and I just liked how it looked, so I kept it.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Kenneth's rape whistle was also a highlight for me, but now I can't remember what other show feature a rape whistle comically."

Arrested Development.

On the Liz monologue: It was even more impressive in that it took place entirely in one shot, and implied the other locations with props and lighting. Absolutely hysterical, effective, and efficient in a way that touched my college theatre-producing heart.

Amy said...

@Will Eidam

Map and Backpack are Dora the Explorer characters. Dora gets Map out of the Backpack when she is out on her non-adult supervised jungle adventures.

Anonymous said...

it is a good device, even if they stole it from a U2 video.

The Wages of Fear did it 50+ years ago. (I'm not a film snob or anything; I just happened to watch it recently and I was surprised to see such a "modern"-seeming device in such an old movie.)

Oaktown Girl said...

His delivery of "Jackie Jormp-Jomp" still has me laughing.
How Baldwin could even deliver that line with a straight face is beyond me. I can't even read the words "Jackie Jormp-Jomp" without cracking up.

Anonymous said...

"I wanted to read it because it was full of rules."

- Kenneth

Forgive my poor memory or perhaps an episode that I missed -- but what did Liz do that prompted her suspension?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me? I thought the rape whistle scene was an homage to the "Hey, Lisel's Hitler Youth boyfriend, don't blow the whistle to alert the Nazi's that we're escaping" scene from The Sound of Music...

Adam said...

"what did Liz do that prompted her suspension?"

Last week, she allowed the consultant brought in to downsize TGS to have access to her top front quadrant, in the hopes that it'd protect her co-workers.

Jeff said...

@Anonymous 12:13

In last week's episode, Liz tried to quid pro quo Roger Bart's hatchetman with sexual advances ("top and front") and he instead took it as an unwanted sexual advance, and she got written up for sexual harassment.

Hal Incandenza said...

re: Liz's suspension: she attempted to exchange sex for a more TGS-friendly budget, with disastrous results (top-front, etc.)

A very funny episode. Like Alan, I'm relieved they teamed Jenna up with Jack this time (the writers--for no discernible reason...maybe by default?--seem to think that Jenna and Tracy are hilarious together, which is rarely true. Nice change of pace here.)

Mel said...

I think the moment I had to rewind the most last night (it seriously takes me a good 45 minutes to get through one episode on DVR) was Jack's reaction to the sliming of Helen Mirren. Not to mention the very thought of Helen Mirren presenting a kids' choice award. Priceless!!!!

Abby said...

I thought of the Sound of Music whistle too! Maybe because it was on TV last weekend. But it was very much Rolf (Kenneth) and Captain von Trapp (Liz).

ithor6 said...

Great episode but I was expecting them to do more with Frank and Cerie with the whole sexual harassment handbook. That plot thread just kind of disappeared.

"Passive resistance! I learned it from Doctor King! I'm brave!"

cgeye said...

Oh, Ms. Vieira....

*LOL*

Karen said...

I guess I'm in the minority, because I thought this was a weak, weak episode. I liked the Liz-passing-time montage, and I loved Tracy's passive resistance, but everything else left me untouched, and I barely laughed through the entire episode. The ladies' club was boring; the Jenna-death storyline was boring (I usually find Jenna a more interesting character than you, Alan, but this time I found her less interesting); Jack felt wasted; the Kenneth/Dotcom feud seemed too abbreviated--it all just felt one beat too far off.

But that's me.

Anonymous said...

Those were not actual Indigo Girls songs or albums. One might have been close, though. Overall I think most people are off the mark when it comes to stereotypes about the band.

Anonymous said...

omg krakowski was cousin vicki in vacation

wow

thats fantastic and they have to use that at some point

dee said...

Not a whistle, but they had a rape horn in AD.

I was disappointed at the resolution of the Ladies Club story. Fight Club, really? Really? Sheesh. Just a very weak end to a not too strong plot.

I did like the pairing of Jenna and Jack though in their plot - they played off each other very well.

Anonymous said...

The only plausibility question here was Liz's statement that she could afford not to work for four years if she gave up cable (2 yrs. if she kept Showtime & Co.). The ep last year with Carrie Fisher showed that she kept pretty much all her money in a checking account and wasn't prepared to be impoverished and insane like CF ended up being. But I guess Jack did live up to his promise to show her how to make money, even in the terrible economy that this show's universe bluntly acknowledges.
For the rest of it: Kenneth has become as annoying as Jenna, the Isiah Thomas quip was hilarious, Female Fight Club only paid off somewhat at the end when Liz's black eye terrified Tracy and Jenna, and this season isn't up to the level of the first 2.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth's rape whistle was also a highlight for me, but now I can't remember what other show feature a rape whistle comically. Help, anybody?Elliot used a rape whistle on "Scrubs" when she was being threatened by Jordan.

Anonymous said...

Jenna's dead.

I don't feel anything. What is wrong with me?


Oh, Hornberger, I can't get enough of you!

Anonymous said...

I just remembered that they also used that editing technique when Liz stole the baby!!!

he he!

filmcricket said...

@ Karen: I'm with you. I laughed at the Indigo Girls line and nothing else. A dud from start to finish.

Tara said...

I loved the pairing of Jack and Jenna in last night's show. But I think I'm in the minority, being a Jenna fan and wishing she had more to do on the show. Jack balances out her crazy and - not that I'd ever want them to go there but - they look great together.

And count me in as another one who can't even think about the name Jackie Jormp Jomp without laughing.

Anonymous said...

The old clip of Krakowski was from this commercial.

Allison said...

Kenneth's rape whistle was also a highlight for me, but now I can't remember what other show feature a rape whistle comically. Help, anybody?I kind of can't we've come up with at least four shows now. My addition to the list: "Gavin and Stacey," first episode.

I thought the women's group plot was interesting, and was really amused at the womens' reasons they didn't have to work--the woman who couldn't remember her late husband's name was my favorite.

Number Five said...

So many great moments. Some other ones not mentioned...Weiner Slave as a reverse Spaceman, the look on Jenna's face as she watched the audience watching her, and Dot Com as Kenneth's romantic rival. Between the dancer and Grizz's wife, he really gets around, hmm?

The monologue was a brilliant sequence...what made it work was how subtle it was (both Liz's steady delivery and the way the background changed). In some previous episodes, they've tried these different flourishes, but the ones that didn't work were ones that were overdone (like the zombie scene in the everyone gets sick episode, or the Weinerslav lines about working in this one). This was perfect.

Anonymous at 7:51 pm, it was similar to the episode where Liz stole the baby, although what was hilarious in that episode was hours passed in a single cut because Liz didn't realize what she was doing.

So sad to see Meredith Viera become such a monster. Perhaps it's delayed revenge for Greenzo hitting on her?

Tara said...

The rape whistle also made an appearance on Designing Women back in the day.

Deirdre said...

Ugly Betty has also used the rape whistle to comic effect.

JERRY! said...

GREAT episode. I like that the writing and jokes are simple BUT you have to pay attention! Who doesn't love silly sounding words.
JACKIE JORMP-JOMP!! I'm still laughing too!!
Sheinhardt Wigs! Weinerslav!