Thursday, February 01, 2007

30 Rock: Someone call Dr. Spaceman!

"30 Rock" spoilers coming up just as soon as I properly digest some grapes...

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.
What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

This was fantastic. I'm just surprised they didn't have Dratch play the prince.

I'm still much happier with Morgan than you. The angel-devil thing was given a really great turn, "I was just looking for the lobby" was great. There's a randomness to the Morgan character that just works for me.

The "you're not even listening to me" bathroom scene was fun. Krakowski actually got a couple good moments, this week, and Fey's just really coming along as an actress. From the pilot to this point, she's graduated from Shemp to Moe.

I'd rather they stayed away from a Baldwin-Fey pairing on any level. Because once I figue out how to wrest her away from her real-life husband, that woman's mine. All mine.

Anonymous said...

Another good episode, though not quite as strong as the last 2.

I do have to give them credit for finally figuring out the Jenna character. In the first few episodes it really felt like the role was still being written for Rachel Dratch, but played by Jane Krakowski. Now it would definitely be hard to picture anyone but Krakowski in the role. One of my favorite lines was Jenna's "Just one. It's not the White House."

Lisa said...

I *loved* Paul Reubens, especially when they revealed his character had just turned 25.

Anonymous said...

Liz Lemon is my favorite female character on all of TV. And while I thought my stomach would turn at the thought of a Liz/Jack pairing, their chemistry is undeniable, but I truly hope they don't put those crazy kids together... the tension is too perfect right now. This show is my favorite sitcom on the air right now... it has surpassed my Office love I think.

SJ said...

Tracy was the right amount of crazy this week.

And I think Lemon (or should I say, Elizabeth) has become my #1 TV crush, surpassing Pam. Maybe it has something to do with Tina Fey looking so good nowadays.

Undercover Black Man said...

"He's too busy trying to stave off infection."

The prince's tiny hand...

The fistful of hair...

So funny.

Anonymous said...

Here's your had-to-be-written-by-a-woman line, from an earlier episode, where Liz has given blood earlier in the day and is now rewarding herself with, I think, a giant cookie:

Jack: [something like] Big cookie you got there, Lemon.
Liz: (slightly defensive) I gave blood this morning.
Jack. Ah. That burn a lot of calories, did it?

I mean, I'm a man with some food issues, but if I were a writer I'd never think to capture how Jack hits the exact guilt/shame button there.

John said...

"It feels good to laugh."

"The Hapsburg line has ended! You can pick up your goodie bags at the coat check."

This show rocks hard.

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is how Alan could neglect to mention that Jack's ex was played by Isabella Rossellini in "Roger Dodger" mode.