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30 Rock 2.10: Interrogation Bear Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Posted by The Bad One in 30 rock, nbc, The Bad One, Yostal.

Liz and CC wait outside Jack’s office as he finishes up with a German delegation. Jonathan pompously tells them Jack is in negotiations to buy the largest cable provider in northern Europe. Jack comes out and invites Liz in, but she tells him to see CC first. Jack and CC stress the importance of boundaries in their relationship; she makes appointments in New York, he works around her schedule in DC. Cut to “G-SPAN” footage of a hearing. CC questions him: “Mr. Donaghy, what are we doing this evening?” Jack gets advice from counsel, then leans into the microphone. “There is an 8:00 showing of Fred Claus.” Liz comes in and discusses her personal financial portfolio with Jack (2 payments from owning her own bike, she has a star* named after her). He hustles her out of his office with the advice to buy real estate and welcomes CC in, saying “That last meeting took forever.”


Tracy brings in a capuccino machine as an apology for what happened the other day. Flashback to a sequence with Tracy strangling Napoleon and Jenna in an eyepatch getting attacked by the robot from Frank’s Season 1 bear vs. robot sketch. Tracy considers the possibility that this might have been a dream, but he installs it at Kenneth’s desk anyway.

Liz is apartment hunting on her computer. Jenna catches her, and by the way Liz slams the laptop shut, Jenna thinks it was porn, which isn’t far from the truth. It turns out Jenna owns her apartment, a place in Clearwater, and she bought some land in the lower 9th ward after Katrina she’s leasing back to the government as a prison. “Ka-ching!” And it turns out her business manager needs cash fast, so he’s selling his gorgeous apartment along with a speedboat and a truck full of cigarettes. It’s a good thing she has that Katrina money coming in.

Jack is fed up watching German sitcoms when he gets a call from CC, who’s swamped as well. Jack gets a crazy idea. He pawns off his TV-watching duties on Liz. “CC and I are trying to meet halfway, which means balancing life and love and work and I honestly don’t know how Kelly Ripa does it.” Liz is happy everything’s looking up for all of them. And Jonathan’s thrilled that the community center will be staging his play! Jack and Liz quickly invent reasons they can’t show up.

Kenneth tells Tracy he can’t work, what with all the people crowding his desk for coffee now. And he doesn’t drink coffee. “I don’t drink hot liquids of any kind. That’s the devil’s temperature.” Tracy advises him to drink up. “Regrets are for horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Liz saw the apartment and it was fabulous. Now she just has to get the co-op board to approve her.

Kenneth is drinking the coffee as he pours it into his mug. Tracy tells him to slow down. “Coffee’s not like alcohol. It’s pretty addictive.” Kenneth: “I love how it makes me feel. It’s like my heart is trying to hug my brain. You know what we’ve never done, Grizz? Fight each other!” Another victim claimed. I lay this at your feet, Mr. Juan Valdez.

CC walks into a Pennsylvania OTB filled with miners. One that happens to be exactly halfway between DC and New York. Two filthy 12-year-olds with beers eye them.

Liz in turn fobs off the German shows on Kenneth, who’s inching closer to Heart Exploding territory.

Jack and CC make dreams involving heirloom tomatoes, beards, and cider when Jack gets a call. He takes his phone out and chucks it into the pond. Hey, man! Lay off the ducks! CC follows suit. And you call yourself a liberal, missy? Such littering.

Liz is puckering badly. She’s already lied to the board about reading The Lovely Bones and just keeps on talking, telling the board how much in common they have. “We’re all white.” And then she tries to explain away her outstanding student loan before getting the crazy eyes over her “connection” with the apartment and then mentioning how she turned Rahim into Homeland Security.

The next morning, Jonathan bursts into Liz’s office. “The Germans are here!” He urges her to put on some decent clothes. Jack’s not back yet, nor is he answering his phone, and Liz is the only one to have seen their shows. Meanwhile, Kenneth has a line of non-dairy creamer under his nose and is grinning at a face drawn on a pillow.

Liz enters Jack’s office in the Laura Bush suit from the pilot. I’m amazed that it survived its trip to Dark Sensations. She gives a vaguely correct greeting, but her German interlocutor rambles on so quickly she can’t keep up. She wings it and scores the deal.

In Pennsylvania, Jack and CC say goodbye.

Tracy gets rid of the machine and stages a caffeine intervention, saving Kenneth from “chasing the brown dragon.”

Kenneth is horrified at what he’s become in New York. He went to a PG-13 movie, bought a pair of sunglasses. He even tried a “Jewish doughnut.”

So much for playing it cool. Halfway through a bottle of white, she starts leaving a bad, rambling message for the co-op board at 10:20. At 10:55, she accuses them of being liars. At midnight she leaves her weepy, hysterical fourth message, lying on the bathroom floor next to an empty bottle. At 12:03 she’s moved on, leaving another message as she opens a new bottle of red. At 2:15 she’s singing Alanis Morissette. At 7:00AM, she’s still drinking, but claims to have moved on.

It turns out that Liz didn’t get the translation perfectly correct. The Wall Street Journal’s front page leads with the rumored sale of NBC to the Germans. Jack blames himself, because you can’t have it all. You have to choose work or love.

Cut to Jack at the OTB with flowers, waiting for CC. But she’s not coming. When she was away last time, she missed a vote and the Lott-Specter Act to legalize recreational whale torture made it through. They have to give their relationship up. As CC starts to go on about her childhood, Jack gets another call, one from Don Geiss. He decides to take it. They leave it ambiguous, but it looks like Geiss might approve the sale of NBC to the Germans. He switches back to CC just in time to get “Do you agree or not?” 50/50 chance there, Jack. Unless you take too long to decide and she catches you, that is. She’s firm in her decision, but a moppet/miner has a beer to console Jack.

Kenneth, clad in overalls and checked shirt, is leaving for Georgia. Tracy can’t let him go. “Who’s gonna help me tell white people apart.” Dotcom: “And what about our tickets to Spamalot?” Grizz: “And who’ll be my wingman at speed dating?” Kenneth: “Oh, Grizz. I’ll miss you most of all.”

The end of the episode is a fantastic, crack-addled version of “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Everyone gets in on the act and my powers are nowhere near adequate to doing it justice. In the end, Kenneth missed his train and Gladys Knight makes a cameo to scold them for interrupting her nap. It’s awesome. Enjoy.

Great episode, especially the ending. It sounds like the sort of thing that happens when your writers are about to go on strike in 15 minutes and someone pitches the most crackheaded idea they can think of, but it’s so wonderfully choreographed and shot that it had to take a lot more effort than that. Well done, guys. I hope we have a few more episodes before the fight for renewal comes up again.

*She says the star named after her was just downgraded to a gas giant. So either she has a Jovian-type planet named after her or her star just formed a red giant, which is kind of cool and very much a star.



1. DougOLis - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I just realized how useful Jonathan is at getting the mundane exposition points out of the way.

Kenneth cracked out on coffee and giggling at the pillow was fucking hilarious. I love how he said “Oh Grizz, I’ll miss you most of all.” Not just what he said but how he said it.

Midnight Train to Georgia may have been the most awesome thing I’ve seen on TV this season. I think it beats out “You Just Got Slapped.” Why was Kenneth wearing a yarmulke though? Jena Maloney has a really good voice.

Was Rory’s grandpa from Gilmore Girls the co-op board president?

2. The Bad One - Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yeah, he gets a lot of that, but it’s amazing how you don’t really notice it without repeat viewings. I do like it when they slip a little character development his way, like with his play in this one.

I like the Judy Garland wardrobe choice for Kenneth there, with the checked shirt. It’s a nice touch.

I don’t know what the deal was with that. It was like a regular knit hat, but with the sides folded up.

Nice catch. It *was* Edward Herrmann there.

3. buzz - Wednesday, January 16, 2008

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