TV Review: 30 Rock Season 7 Episode 11
Tracy and Jenna Mini-Mes and a Willy Wonka parody?
So we’re on the surreal end of the 30 Rock spectrum this episode.
It’s tolerable. If only because the world can only improve with more Jennas. Even 8 year-old ones.
TL;DR The adoption is ON. Lis is finally having it all (except for her show, which still could be cancelled). Kenneth is finally returned to his page position, then becomes President of NBC.
I’d like to believe that Kenneth won’t abuse his position of power in the coming episodes. Wouldn’t that be nice?
The plot this episode splits itself between Liz and Jack. Liz’s plot involves her frustration at trying to rally support among the TGS staff to keep the show afloat. Nobody really helps, so Liz goes in search of a sponsor for the show, striking a deal with some Bro Body Douche company. She also has to split her time between the show and the impending adoption of her 8 year-old twins. It all works out okay. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to choose a successor for his old job. He re-hires Kenneth as a page to guide the 5 candidates on a tour of the studios, which will be an incognito Willy Wonka-esque test to see who deserves the job. After realising that the President of NBC should honestly care about television, Jack decides Kenneth should get the job.
Tears were suppressed.
There’s not much wrong with this episode. It admittedly does fall very far out in the surreal end of things, which is a symptom of late-season 30 Rock. Although the jokes are still fun and the plots ultimately are relevant, I can’t help but feel my eyes begging to be rolled when Liz’s twins turn out to be fucking copies of Tracy and Jenna. The suspension of disbelief just wasn’t made for this kind of thing.
That said, is there a world where more Jennas (and more Tracies, if you’re into that kind of thing), is not cause for celebration?
Why I hate this episode:
The Willy Wonka spoof veers a bit too close to the source material. It had that Meet the Spartans vibe where instead of cleverly re-imagining the setting and characters, they just copy/pasted them over and had them spout some “funny” lines. Unlike Meet the Spartans, 30 Rock actually is well written, so the lines were funny. But the whole thing smacks of lazy parody design.
Even when he’s back to his old self, I can’t shake off my hatred for Kenneth so easily. At least Hazel isn’t around.
Jack realises that in his 7 years at NBC he never did anything right, and Kenneth is better suited for his job. Dafuq? Fuck off.
And all the TGS writers are massive fucking jerks and don’t lift a finger to help Liz. Bastards.
Reasons to watch:
It all comes together at the end, though, when everyone quits in solidarity following the terrible show put together with the Bro Douche Whatever sponsor. With Tracy and Jenna leading the quitting charge. Naturally.
And yes, I did get a little wet in the eyeballs at Kenneth’s overjoyed reaction to becoming President of NBC.
The Willy Wonka parody is cute, in spite of its laziness. The 5 kids are recreated faithfully. Except Charlie, who Kenneth assumes to be pure of heart, but turns out to be as cutthroat and bottom line-driven as Jack. I lol’d.
The Bro Douche Something guy has an arm mounted on his wall so he can high-five himself. Where can I buy one of these?
Jenna gets best line. She and Tracy are filming on a green screen for a sketch, and they also happen to be wearing green outfits and face paint. Jenna has an excited response to what she sees on the monitors: “I’m just hair and eyes. It’s perfect!” It is.
Second best line goes to Jack, who lists a bunch of inspirational women to Liz, all of which happen to have died as a result of their ambition: “Wait, women who try to do things sure get killed a lot.” If only feminazis actually did things (get it? Because then they’d die?)
Liz makes a comment about how her DVR is clogged with episodes of Tremé because she’s never in the mood to watch it. Is it possible to relate to a character in a TV show this much? No, really?
Pete gets excited when Liz gives him permission to slash the fuck out of the budget. Hey, remember Pete?
Oh, and 30 Rock’s almost over. So get your Kleenex stock NOW.