30 Rock – I’m Going To Assume That’s a Haldeman Reference Monday, October 29, 2007Posted by The Bad One in 30 rock, I don't get out much, nbc, Reasons why I am single, Television, The Bad One, Things too long to read, TV.
Hi, everyone. I suppose I should introduce myself, as I am the latest addition to the DeadOn collective. I usually do my blogging with Yostal over at the Hoover Street Rag, but I’ve
bribed blackmailed convinced the powers that be over here to let me recap 30 Rock, the funniest show on TV that’s not Booknotes.
We open with Jack in Liz’s office to present her with the GE Followship Award. Pete raises the objection that Liz ccouldn’t possibly win a Fellowship Award, as she doesn’t like people, but Jack corrects him. The GE Followship Award is presented annually to the “woman – sorry, person who best exemplifies a follower.” Liz objects initially, but it comes with $10,000 and a giant novelty check (so it’s really worth more like $10,250), so she quickly changes her mind. Jack waxes fondly on how she’s come around after being so resistant to “product integration, pos mens, cross promotion, and adverlingus”. Liz decides she should probably get a 401k. Jack sputters, “W-Where do you invest your money, Liz?” “I have, like, twelve grand in checking?” “Are you…an immigrant?”
At the kitchenette in the hallway, Kenneth compliments Jenna on how fast she’s taken the weight off. She thanks him. “If I can’t be Mo’nique fat, I have to be Terri Hatcher thin. Either way, you’re laughing.” She bites into something with dip on it (A vegetable? The foley guys think it’s a chip) and the dip squirts onto his jacket. Jenna tries to clean it off with some water, laying Kenneth’s jacket on top of the electric burner next to the microwave, which has got to be some sort of OSHA violation. You know, because it’s a FIRE HAZARD. As the jacket goes up in flames, Kenneth writhes in agony. “OH GOD, IT HURTS!” Oh, so Devon’s back in town.
Only The Simpsons has more baritone sax in its credits.
When we return, Liz is at a book signing quizzing Pete on how he doesn’t know who Rosemary Howard is (who we’re just going to call Carrie Fisher from here on out). She was the first female Laugh-In writer, and she did all the politiclal stuff for Donnie and Marie. When it’s Liz’s turn, she goes all Potential Stalker, but instead of motioning the security guard closer, Carrie Fisher takes it in stride and asks her to lunch. Poor Pete is left to go hat shopping all by himself.
Tracy asks Jack, “If you desecrate something, is that bad?” Cut to Tracy at a ballpark. His performance of the national anthem is Carl Lewis bad, though still a step above Roseanne. Worth noting, the outfield wall is green and center field is at 418′. “Who’d ever knew there were so many words? It was like a Mos Def CD.” Jack says it’ll be OK, they’ll fix it. Tracy’s a star, he can do anything he wants and they’ll fix it, Jack laughs, “Just no dog fighting!” 20 minutes later, Tracy can’t take it anymore and demands that Grizz and Dotcom set up some dog fights. Dotcom is concerned, “Man, this is Phil Spector’s entourage all over again.”
Liz and Princess Leia are at lunch, and Liz offers her a guest writing gig at TGS. She’s excited, she hasn’t done live TV in so long. “Does everyone still do blow in Joe Garagiola’s office?”
Jenna is in The Subbasement of The Damned, looking for the Head Page to plead on Kenneth’s behalf. A voice calls out, “You may enter.” Jenna is amazed that the Head Page is actually a machine. That Guy With The Cavernous Gap Between His Teeth from VH1’s Best Week Ever steps out from behind the antique server rack. “No, this is just a prop from the NBC series Supercomputer, 1975-1975.” He’s amazed and delighted that Kenneth has messed up, now he can transfer him to CNBC in Paramus, NJ. Jenna tries to use her sexuality to get Kenneth off the hook, but (shockingly!) it doesn’t work. The Head Page laughs maniacally. I think I just saw Mark Hamill fly through his teeth trying to bag some womprats.
Jake Blues’s Crazy Girlfriend and Liz are in her office with the other writers trying to come up with sketch ideas (What’s up with the writers’ room this week? Is it closed for renovations? Does it take the Jewish holidays off that Josh lost?). Postcards From The Edge strings together New Orleans + Abortion Clinic + Mulatto for a Controversy Trifecta, urging Liz to push the envelope. “Remember the mailbox sketch that shocked a nation?” Whoosh to a mailbox saying “There’s nothing wrong here,” and then toppling over. “The mailbox was Haldeman!” Cerie: “Is- Is that a person who lived?” Dr. Evil’s Therapist then suggests they have Josh get up in blackface and have Tracy call him a [CENSORED BY THE INTERNETS], which terrifies Liz, because there’s no way Jack would ever approve that. Carrie Fisher says to let her handle it, she has a way with suits.
Tracy’s ready to get his dogfighting operation up and running. Grizz brings in the first two combatants: A pair of foofy little things that look like Pomeranians. Hey, those things are fierce! If you’re a psychic who dies mysteriously, they’ll eat your flesh! Jack wants to know why Tracy is doing this, when it’s the one thing he said he couldn’t. Jack suspects it has something to do with his dad.
Princess Leia has cornered Jack in his office. He’s playing along with her, but as soon as she leaves, he demands that Liz fire her. Liz refuses, she won’t, and they should be pushing the envelope. Jack scoffs. “You know who uses that phrase? People who don’t have the guts or brains to work inside the system. Letter writers, radicals, Howard Dean.” Liz complains that Jack just doesn’t get Rosemary, but Jack thinks Liz is really more like him. Liz rebels at this, Jack is just another suit who feeds off the creativity of others and turns it into commercials and pie charts and triangle graphs. She delivers an ultimatum: If he wants to fire Carrie Fisher, he has to fire her too. Of course, that’s just what he does.
Jack finds Tracy alone on the stage. He says he gets where Tracy’s coming from, since his father belongs in the Smiling Irish Bastard Hall of Fame. He then uses reverse psychology to get Tracy to go to therapy.
Donnie, the Head Page, confronts Kenneth over his sartorial misadventure. He hopes Kenneth will be very unhappy over at CNBC. It seems the only way Kenneth can stave off a forced transfer is by winning a page-off, a savage contest mixing physical stamina with NBC trivia. Jenna seizes upon this opportunity. It’s a motherfucking page-off!
Liz and Carrie Fisher are walking down the street to Carrie’s apartment in Little Chechnya, defiantly planning their next project, “Bitch TV! Or the second name we think of.”
The next scene is just wonderful, and there’s no way I can properly give due tribute to Alec Baldwin’s work here. Tracy and Jack are in a session with the therapist, with Jack playing the roles of Tracy’s dad (with a great Fred Sanford impression), Tracy’s mom, Tracy (as JJ from Good Times), the white dude his moms left his dad for, and the Latina neighbor Mrs. Rodriguez, while still finding time to make a To Kill A Mockingbird reference about busting up a chiffarobe.
Liz and Princess Leia are starting their new screenplay. The Senator from Alderaan has decided that it’ll be about a group of women in their 50’s who go on spring break and get laid by a bunch of grateful 18-year-olds. “I predict, opening weekend – a million dollars!” She’s been drinking wine all day. For the cardiac benefits. “Oh, c’mon Liz! It’s the ’90’s!” Liz starts getting cold feet about the project. Carrie Fisher senses this, and tries to reel her back in, saying that they’re just the same, but Liz is too busy realizing that she lost her job. She breaks for the door as Princess Burnout really goes off the rails. “Help me, Liz Lemon, you’re my only hope!”
Page-off! The primitive, tribal society in The Subbasement of The Damned begins chanting as Kenneth and Donnie face each other, “Beat It”-style. Pete, who must have gone down there looking for either Sydney Bristow or a crack dealer, comes upon the assembled masses and breaks up the page-off, yelling at them to get back to work. Jenna tries to explain why they had to do a page-off, but Pete brushes her off. “What are you talking about? This is a billion-dollar company! Demerits?! Donnie, give Kenneth a damn jacket!” Donnie stalks off, warning Jenna that this isn’t over. The Batwing flies through his teeth on its way to stately Wayne Manor.
Liz asks for her job back, but it’s not crawling, it’s “proud begging.” She saw her future in Carrie Fisher’s apartment if she doesn’t learn how to manage her money and her career. Jack is understanding. “Never go with a hippie to a second location.” By the way, GE has a problem with Frank’s Barry the Humping Dog sketch. Liz shows that rebellious spirit that won her a Followship Award. “I’ll change it.”
This is a solid episode, and one that improves on re-watching. I definitely missed a few jokes the first time around [ex. Rosemary says that all she ever had in common with Samantha Stevens was being married to a gay man for two years, which is lifted right from Carrie Fisher’s own life]. At the same time, Carrie Fisher’s guest spot took over the episode in a way that didn’t feel as organic as Will Arnett’s, though not as blatant as Seinfeld’s. Finally: Alec Baldwin, people. Alec Baldwin.