TV Review: 30 Rock Season 7 Episode 5
Ugh, is anyone else getting tired of how not-hate-able 30 Rock has been lately?
It’s so inconvenient for me.
TL;DR Jenna gets to be in focus again! Come on, 30 Rock. Give me something to work with! I’m sick of singing your praises.
This isn’t what I signed up for. There is no justice in this world.
So this is a direct continuation from last week’s episode, meaning Jenna is still a surprisingly influential figure in American politics on the approach to the election (so timely). Jack and Liz try to win her over to their respective sides (Liz, the bleeding heart, hipster, misinformed liberal fuck ups. Jack, the amoral, ruthless, out-of-touch conservative upper crusters) with a debate. See pic above. Duh. Though too stubborn to concede, they eventually resort to using the other’s tactics to win (which ends up cancelling a rather distinterested Jenna out). Affirmations of meaningful frienship ensue. Meanwhile, Pete has some laborious sub plot which involves him wanting to recreate the atmosphere of the ’08 election so he can hook up with some security guard. It’s Pete, so it obviously doesn’t work out. And Kenneth and Tracy make up time in an inconsequential sub plot that has something to do with Kenneth voting for his home town’s mayor.
So yeah, the sub plots are pretty terrible. Pete has always been a weak, one-note character. Of the main, opening titles cast, he’s easily the least important. And after 7 seasons he still can’t get what he wants. Also, I’m pretty sure that back in season 1 he learned the importance of his marriage, and although he is an unashamed lech, he hasn’t wanted to cheat on Paula (his wife. Duh) since. Until now. Because fuck continuity.
But the Liz/Jack/Jenna plot is so fantastic that it easily eclipses them and makes this episode beautiful. Plus, any debate after this abomination to scripted television (try and guess which show it is before you click the link. It’s not hard) would make me happy.
Why I hate this episode:
Pete wouldn’t do that. He just wouldn’t. Stop ignoring character development. Maybe you can get away with it with Tracy or Jenna, but Pete? No.
Kenneth’s sub plot is clearly just filler and so he and Tracy can get their required lines to fufill their contracts to appear in the episode. I stopped caring about Kenneth’s hometown after Jack and Liz fucking went there back in season 4. It’s not a magical, bizarre fantasy town anymore. Hell, we’ve even seen Kenneth’s parents. These jokes have lost their power.
When listing some cool Democratic supporters during the debate, Liz name-drops Blake Lively. Gross.
To close the debate, Jack does a satirical amalgam of generic patriotic speeches. This would have been funny and original, but it drops the ball on the “original” part. Regina Bookman (played by Queen Latifah, who did it much better than Jack) did this already. Back in season 5. Recycling is only acceptable when it comes to the kind you have bins for. And even then, ew.
Oh, and Jenna ends up being unimportant to the election anyway. Jenna will never lack importance to me.
Reaons to watch:
If you need only 1 reason to watch this is it: Jenna makes a sublime pun during her opening address as moderator for the debate. She calls the upcoming election the “Jenna-ral” election. O. M. G.
Jenna forcing Jack and Liz to fight each other for her support on something she doesn’t care about is pure Jenna. And pure perfection. She really is a monster you desperately want to become. Yes, I do.
Tracy describes himself as Black Shrek. Accurate.
Jack plays an anti-Liz attack ad. Political satire has never been this frivolously digestible.
The major arc of the episode is Jack and Liz’s conflict which causes them to believe that in the 7 years they’ve been friends, neither has impacted the other’s values or way of thinking. This is actually some real character drama, which lifts the bizarre, sitcom crap into a level of properly mattering.
The ending also pulls this together magnificently. Liz ends up hacking Jenna’s twitter and letting Tracy post offensive tweets to dull the credibility (Jenna credible? That was a stretch in the first place) with her fans. Taking a page out of the ruthless, Jack Donaghy playbook. Jack, meanwhile, appeals to Jenna’s feelings (also a flawed plan) to do what’s best for the country. Liz style. Upon becoming aware of the other’s actions, they are pleasantly satisfied that their friendship has had a positive impact on their lives. Aww.
Jenna’s twitter password is “me69.” Such wonder in this life.
One of Jack’s selling points during the debate is that Republicans will cut arts funding. This will lead to no future acting students, meaning that Jenna will get more parts. Did you guess that Jack does well in the debate?
A little girl nabs second best line (TL;DW Liz brought her in to guilt Jenna, Jack later picks her up for his strategy but she has become disillusioned and swagfaggy) with this blunt description of Spanx: “It’s just kids’ bike shorts for fatties.” Call it “shapewear” all you want, ladies. You ain’t foolin’.
Best line goes to Jenna (it’s a Jenna-heavy episode. What did you think would happen?) when she is worried her hair might not be up to scratch: “Am I not blonde enough? I’ll put my head in a microwave!” She’d do it, too.
Oh, and Pete kisses Kenneth for some reason. Shippers assemble, your prayers have been answered.