TV Review: 30 Rock Season 7 Episode 9
30 Rock is back and it’s almost over.
So what better to do than bring back Kaylie Hooper, as played by Chloe “I said ‘cunt’ in a movie when I was 12. That makes me cool, right?” Moretz.
Because Chloe Moretz is just fantastic, isn’t she?
TL;DR Chloe Moretz is surprisingly bearable, the backstabbing is delightful, and there’s not a joke wasted. 30 Rock at its most efficient.
Fuck you, 30 Rock. Don’t make me dull my hatred of Chloe Moretz. What will I become?
Anyway, so this episode is mostly about Jack to trying to destroy Kaylie to secure CEO of Kabletown when Hank Hooper steps down. Jack hires Len (Steve Buscemi coming back again as Jack’s bizarre private investigator) to follow Kaylie, and he discovers she’s been talking to Devin Banks. Devin flips Kaylie to team up with Jack, so tells Jack that Kaylie’s father (Hank’s son) is gay and is not her father, thus making Kaylie not blood-related to Hank, thus voiding Hank’s “keep it in the family” business strategy. Blah blah blah Jack mails Hank DNA test proof and gloats to Kaylie. Who then reveals it was all part of her scheme (Devin doublecrosses Jack) to make Jack look bad by falsely claiming she isn’t Hank’s granddaughter. But wait! Jack pre-empted this and only mailed Hank a birthday card (it’s Hank’s 70th birthday, and it’s very important to him), something which Kaylie forgot to do as she was distracted by scheming against Jack. Checkmate. Meanwhile, Tracy casts Octavia Spencer for the lead in his Harriet Tubman biopic, but she is an even worse maniac to work with than he is. He comes to appreciate Liz. Aww. And Liz tries to get back in the adoption game, with mixed results.
Yeah, sorry for the marathon plot summary, but scheming will do that to you.
Despite Chloe Moretz’ best (worst?) efforts, Kaylie continues to be a highly tolerable nemesis to Jack. Devin lost all his power a long time ago, and is thankfully relegated to a sidekick role. But for Kaylie’s final defeat, this was easily satisfying.
If anything, the main problem with this episode is the near-absence of Liz. She pops in with her own subplot a couple of times and gives Jack and Tracy’s plots about a scene’s worth each, but she is dominated by the Kaylie/Devin/Jack scheming. Liz is the main character, right?
Why I hate this episode:
Her subplot also seems to just be a vehicle for some other characters to cameo. The opening of the episode has “Dr” Leo Spaceman’s final appearance (as 4th wall-breakingly stated by Spaceman himself), and when she calls the adoption agency she talkt to Bev (Megan Mullally), a callback to the season 3’s opening episode. While I do love me some fanservice (and 30 Rock is ending, yo), I don’t think we needed Liz to sit this episode out just to slot in a character who had only been in the show once before.
Tracy’s plot also feels a bit squeezed in. The Jack A-plot really does eat most of the screen time, so Tracy just pops up a couple of times before his situation is arbitrarily solved by Octavia being arrested off-screen and Liz slipping in to provide us with the message of the story.
Why the fuck does Hank Hooper value Jack’s remembering of his birthday more than his own granddaughter?
Len’s sub-subplot about him deciding to become his undercover disguise (of a gay, female teacher) is unnecessary and the jokes get hamfistedly shoved into the climactic scene in Jack’s plot. There’s even a reaction shot of Jenna to one of Len’s lines where she just looks away and the scene continues as if he’s not even there. When the show itself is telling us it doesn’t matter, that’s when you cut it out, guys.
Oh, and when talking about adopting older children, Liz references the movie Orphan. Old meme is old.
Reasons to watch:
I hate myself for it, but I fucking go ga-ga over fanservice. Bev, Len, Spaceman, Octavia breaking out the “I am a Jedi” gag from the pilot episode. Feels good, man.
Chloe Moretz’ acting is adequate.
The Spaceman joke involves Liz specifically going out of her way to avoid him, because she’s become genre savvy after all this time. It doesn’t work. The consultation is interrupted when Spaceman is named Surgeon General and whisked off to Washington. Happy ending!
Octavia Spencer does a great job as an out-of-control diva nutjob version of her real life self. Gotta respect that self-deprecation.
Jack calls out Devin on becoming the gay cliché: a spin class instructor. Burn.
When Jack needs someone who is shallow and self-serving like a teenage girl to get close to Kaylie, he immediately thinks of Jenna. Naturally!
When Kaylie is calling Jack out of touch and old, she says he’s like Justin Timberlake. Agreed.
I’m glad Jack really beat the crap out of Kaylie this time. She deserved it. And if the series ended without this defeat, I think I would have missed it.
Best line goes to Tracy. This is what he says upon meeting Octavia on set: “Octavia! Excellent, you’re black.” Classic Tracy ignorance.
Second best line goes to Bev. She has this to say after Liz laments that she always pictured herself adopting an infant: “And I always pictured myself getting double-teamed by 2 The Rocks.” Me. Too.
Special mention to Devin when he’s helping Jack come up with the scheme involving Kaylie’s paternity (her dad is gay, remember): “All we need is DNA. I’ve got a ton of her dad’s.” Tee hee.
The episode ends with Liz realising that if she can take care of Tracy then she is more than equipped to take care of an older adopted child. Will she finally be a mother!?
Oh, and Steve Buscemi in drag really is heaven.