TV Review: 30 Rock Season 7 Episode 2
Every episode is a step closer to the heartbreak of the series finale.
If I had a heart to break.
TL;DR Guest stars assemble! Looks like 30 Rock is going out with style. Liz and Jack actually have meaningful decisions to make. Kenneth and Jenna keep things light. I’m satisfied.
We finally meet Kenneth’s parents! They’re Catherine O’Hara and Bryan “Breaking Bad pulled me out of the mire of sitcom hell I was living in but now I’m back there awwww” Cranston. Also, Cooter (Matthew Broderick. You know, that guy married to a horse IRL) is back. Nostalgia.
The plot this episode sees Romney dropping Paul Ryan and hiring a running mate who is a complete fuck up and looks exactly like Tracy. Naturally, having such good material for TGS would ruin Jack and Liz’s plan to tank NBC, but the show’s success means more sex for Liz. Dilemma ensues. Meanwhile, Kenneth’s mum and her friend Ron visit. Jenna is disappointed by the the sales of her newest single, so enlists their help to sell CDs. Or something.
All in all, not the best blend of actual plot with season 4 onwards-esque surreal humour. The “bumbling political candidate” thing is a re-run of a season 5 episode with John Slattery. Kenneth’s family drama isn’t very interesting, mainly because I don’t give a fuck about Kenneth anymore. Jenna’s wedding isn’t mentioned (Not. Okay).
It’s still funny, believe me. But it’s no secret why this show has to come to an end.
On the plus side, Liz gets to fuck James Marsden. That’s good for anyone.
Why I hate this episode:
I miss Kenneth’s old uniform. He just looks like shit as a janitor. It makes him look older and he doesn’t get to do any of his ridiculous duties anymore. It sucks. Come on, writers. It’s the last season. Just put him back.
His parents aren’t that exciting, either. I feel like after all the references Kenneth’s made over the years to how bizarre his home is that they should have been much more manic. They’re kind of just normal people. I suppose that it is a fun subversion, but still. They were a bit meh.
Criss is back. He’s still attractive. But he’s still boring and totally wrong for Liz.
And Cooter doesn’t really do anything. Bit obvious he just came back for fanservice.
Reasons to watch:
30 Rock still is, and I think always will be, very funny. From the cutaway to Jimmy Fallon’s “real voice” to the Black Hitler sketch that Liz has OK’d in hopes of destroying ratings, there’s not many places it won’t go. Snaps for 30 Rock.
Jenna’s single is called Balls. It ain’t no Muffin Top, but I’d download it. Legally, even. Good god.
Catherine O’Hara is my childhood. Damn Home Alone. Giving me unrealistic expectations of what it’s like to be home. Alone.
Bryan Cranston does a good job as the socially inept Ron. It’s almost like he never one all those awards for serious dramas.
A major part of Liz’s plot this episode involves her banging Criss to get pregnant. Once Hank Hooper orders TGS to be on every weeknight, she has to schedule her life better, which leads to a previously undiscovered passion for menial organisation. It’s what unlocks her libido. This actually makes a lot of sense. Liz has always had a checkered sex life because she is an aimless slob. Naturally, organisation would have the opposite effect. Kudos, writers.
The ending of the episode provides some real drama between Jack and Liz. Here’s the dilemma, and it’s up to Liz to decide: Liz keeps doing nightly TGS, has great sex, but betrays her liberal politics (because the show is helping the Republicans) and causes Jack’s career to stall; or she stops the show, stops having good sex, but saves Jack and Obama. She chooses to keep the show. Bitch is in charge and likes it. I’m keen to see if this goes anywhere.
Jenna gets best line this episode (naturally!) when describing Balls to the writers’ room: “The FBI blamed it for a spike in summer sex crimes.” Something to be proud of.
She also gets second best this episode. She’s just listened to Ron sing a song about his life: “I’m gonna be constructive here. You should kill yourself.” She knows memes.
Oh, and during a sexy montage visit to a stationery store, Criss sexily pours a barrel of paper clips onto Liz’s face. Sexily. It is brilliance.