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30 Rock 2.11: THE GAME HAS CHANGED Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Posted by The Bad One in the balls.
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Tina Fey in this week\'s EWAt long last, the hiatus is over. Liz, Pete, Jack, and Kenneth have returned to our lives. Twenty MILFs, 50 8th-grade boys. No rules. Welcome to MILF Island.

The staff are sitting down to watch the season finale of Jack’s festival of slightly used T&A when Kenneth enters. He was going through the paper looking for an article on speed dating Liz asked about when he found a quote from a TGS staffer calling Jack a “Class-A moron”, further adding, “That guy can eat my poo.” Jonathan comes in to tell Liz she’s urgently required upstairs. Liz warns her team that she won’t be taking the fall for this one. Fake Jeff Probst takes us to the credits. Oh how I’ve missed Alec’s whip-turn to the camera.

Pete has big plans for the evening: He’ll be taking in MILF Island alone in his office. A dangling candy bar in the vending machine seems like confirmation that things are looking up, until he catches his sleeve on the mechanism.

Jack basks in the glow of his T&A hit, awaiting a call from Don Geiss. He’s already developing a spinoff around Deborah (De-BORE-uh), one of the remaining MILFs and he wants Liz to write it. Liz criticizes the show as lowest common denominator, but Jack argues that it reflects the drama of the human experience with its sex, lies, puberty, betrayal, relay races. Liz’s defense of TGS as real art is undercut by a cutaway to Tracy as a mad scientist whose invention runs on farts.

Liz thinks she’s getting away having only turned down a huge payday, but Jack reminds her of the Page 6 leak. His name comes up first on Google when searchers are looking for “Class-A moron”. Liz vows to find out who did it, and Jack tells her they’ll be turning up the heat on her staff to see who breaks first.

In Jack’s lobby, the team is already assembled. Josh is terrified that Jack thinks it was him, but Liz sets him at ease. “I think you’re safe because…I think he forgot you’re a person.” Josh: “Yeah!”

In the show-within-a-show – excuse me, the other show-within-a-show – the tribunal forces Heidi to hang up her bikini top and leave MILF Island.

Liz addresses the troops like an elementary school teacher, having them all close their eyes so that the one who made the commments can confess in secrecy. Up goes a flock of birds. Liz: “Really mature, guys!” As she leaves, Kenneth chases her down.

Frank tries to get Lutz to form an alliance. Pete tries to free himself by removing his shirt. He manages to get it over his head and off his arms…and he’s still stuck. “What?!” What, indeed.

Back with Liz and Kenneth, he knows it couldn’t be Toofer, who wouldn’t say “poo”, and Frank was with him all day, and also he saw Liz do it. Flashback: Tracy says he’s taking the week off to go do stand-up in Dubai for $3M, split with Jack. In an elevator, Kenneth is hilariously hiding behind a life-size cardboard cutout of The Wolf from the new American Gladiators as Liz vents about her class-A moron boss to an artfully-stubbled guy. She finishes, asking “Do you work here too?” He responds, “No, I’m a reporter for the New York Post specializing in business gossip.” Back in the present, Kenneth: “And then you asked him if he was single and he said ‘Don’t worry about it’, but then you–” Liz cuts him off, confessing her sin, but she maintains she’s taken too many bullets for her idiot staff before. Kenneth is troubled enough by her moral arithmetic that Liz agrees to fess up, adding, “Pray for me.” Jack McBrayer does a fantastic prayer dance, people.

Pete’s still trapped with his arm in the vending machine. He spots a chance to literall call for help, knocking the phone off the wall with a thrown shoe. He just needs to hit four digits, he doesn’t care who he dials. His other shoe, his wallet, his watch, and his wedding ring are right on target. The phone dials…and his own voicemail answers. He bellows in rage.

Jack is still hung up on the quote. He tells Liz that he had a massive stutter as a child, making him so reticent to speak that the Massachusetts school system designated him a Class A Moron. Placed in special ed/the boiler room with a boy named Gillie, he still overcame the stutter to become the captain of industry of today. Liz can’t step up and take the fall after hearing that; she says she’s narrowed it down to Toofer or Frank.

The staff is falling to pieces outside Jack’s door. Frank protests his and Lutz’s innocence a little too strongly, but Lutz isn’t interested in protecting Frank and the non-alliance crumbles.

At Tribal COuncil, Debra cliches about reaching deep down to push yourself through, while we watch Pete try to drag the vending machine across the room. As it topples over, Debra tells the story of how her implant exploded, but she didn’t even ask to get off the catapult. It’s down to Debra and Deborah now. Jack’s so proud of how Deborah’s established herself with America. Maybe a talk show is her vehicle. He sends for Kenneth.

Jack asks Kenneth if he knows who the quote came from. Kenneth, disappointed in Liz, tiptoes around an answer. He’s saved when Jack gets a call from Dick Cheney that Jonathan mistakenly has him take. Liz takes the opportunity to order him out of the room. Kenneth: “Miss Lemon, your eyes look like my uncle’s when he would drink from the air conditioner! I thought that we were friends.” Liz, in synch with Deborah on the TV behind her: “I didn’t come here to make friends. I came here to be #1.” Kenneth warns her, “The truth will come out. Like my cousin Steven after he went to music college, it will come out.”

After the break, Liz asks Jack to let the staff go, but Jack relates the litany of nicknames he had, from “Mrs. Stutterworth” to “Stuttermilk pancakes.” Liz opens up, telling a story about how she wore corrective footgear that connected to headgear all through grade school. She argues that Jack’s success is due to his struggles against the label he was burdened with.

The staff are setting up an informal tribal council at Tracy’s urging. He gives Josh the first opportunity to speak, then immediately decides Josh has to be guilty. Liz comes out to get them to shut up, only to have Josh accuse her. She goes off on him, using tears to cow him into submission. Wow! Fake crying! Did not expect that one.

Kenneth can’t take it anymore and marches into Jack’s office, taking the blame on himself. Jack is shocked. Kenneth claims it was because Jack made him work late the previous night folding MILF Island t-shirts until 2:00AM. Jack is very disappointed and asks Liz if she has anything to add. She turns to Kenneth and tells him, “You disgust me” as the fake Survivor music builds. Deborah wins! Her manipulations paid off.

Pete is still trapped, but Liz is skipping through the writers’ room, only to be brought up short when she sees Jack waiting in her office. He’s thrilled after getting his call from Geiss, and Deborah’s testing off the charts in the most profitable demographics: Soccer moms, NASCAR dads, white-collar pervs, and the obese. But there’s one thing still bothering him. Kenneth’s story doesn’t add up, since the Post goes to press at midnight and Kenneth was still folding t-shirts then. And then Jack starts locking up like a ’73 Olds with a busted oil pump. His paralyzing stutter is back, because he knows that whoever said that to the Post really believes he’s a moron, just like Gillie and everyone else. When he completely seizes up, it’s enough to break Liz, who admits that the item came from her. Jack knows. He just needed to get her to admit it. The elaborate charade was meant to put her in his debt, and she’ll be writing the Deborah show to pay him back. Well done, Donaghy. Well done.

Not a bad way to get back in the game, but this wasn’t the most quotable 30 Rock ever. The A-plot took a huge amount of screentime, though I think Pete’s subplot got the perfect amount of attention. BTW, the EW cover story on Tina Fey is a good read, but avoid it if you don’t want to hear any spoilers.



1. Yostal - Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For the record,
By virtue of your choice of episode photos, I like the way you think, you page view whore.

2. JB* - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The whole time James Carville was on Meet the Press this week, all I could think of was “Cajun Style!”

3. DougOLis - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

“so step aside Randy Quaid” had me cracking up

4. Jerkwheat - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I was very happy when that magazine arrived in my mailbox last Thursday…

5. Rockabye - Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I’m with Yostal. You realize that the other photo’s like the THIRD Google Image result for “Tina Fey?”

6. tiff - Thursday, April 17, 2008

You apple faced goon!

7. neeru - Thursday, July 3, 2008

nice read.Jack McBrayer looks so cute when hes scared.must be the pseudo-gay vibe

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