30 Rock 3.01 – Do Over Thursday, October 30, 2008Posted by The Bad One in 30 rock, boy bands, nbc, O Canada, Television, The Bad One.
Tags: 30 rock, hulu, The Bad One
Sex & The City-like music accompanies Liz Lemon as she triumphantly strides into the third season of 30 Rock. A man in a limousine accosts her, but her disgust turns to joy as she realizes it’s Jack Donaghy behind the tinted glass. After an awkward greeting, we learn Jack can’t really discuss his egress from the Bush administration, but the important thing is he’s determined to get his old job back. What Not To Wear is still ignoring Liz, but she’s dressed up in anticipation of a visit from an adoption agency screener. Then she makes the fatal mistake of declaring there’s no way she blows this. Famous last words, Lemon.
Cathy Geiss’s office is still festooned with Mark Wahlberg posters and unicorns and Devon Banks, who is busy turning down Jack’s request for his old title. Jack points out that GE is obviously in turmoil (Devon sold off small appliances and Sheinhardt Wigs missed projections, while the theme park fire didn’t destroy any of the stuff it was supposed to). But Devon’s too sly to let Donaghy walk out the door. He notes, “If there’s one thing I learned from you, Jack, it’s you keep your friends close, and your enemies so close that you’re almost kissing.” He offers Jack a job…in the mailroom. Jack accepts.
Jenna’s thrilled to get her residuals from a Japanese commercial she did for Tokyo University. Jenna: “I’m gonna use this $300 to buy us all some new boots for me.” Tracy marches down the hall brandishing a copy of his video game, DongSlayer, bragging about the 61,000,000 copies it’s sold at $60 each. Jenna reminds Tracy that a lot of people helped him make that game, but Tracy thinks he might have done it alone, and his check for $437,500 is the proof.
Liz tosses some mail in Jack’s cart as she heads for the elevator and is taken aback when she realizes it’s him in that blue smock. Jack’s working his way back up from the bottom. The first time, it took him 22 years, but this time he thinks he can do it in 9. He’s already been promoted to head mailroom guy.
Liz’s apartment. A severe Megan Mullally (“Bev”) appraises Liz’s apartment and quizzes her on her reasons for adopting and general fitness as a mother. Liz: “I was arrested once, in Germany, for public nudity. I thought it was a topless beach, it was a…shipyard.” She also confesses to working between 60 and 80 hours a week. Bev decides to drop by there for an inspection.
Jack delivers Cathy’s copy of Soap Opera Digest and tries to take Devon’s place as her business advisor. Cathy doesn’t seem to care about the advising, but she signals he can do Devon’s job somewhere else by putting her hand on his thigh.
The next day, Liz tries to bring the Knucklehead Brigade to heel. Frank is resistant, as he’s brought in his tape of circus accidents (“A lion eats a sad clown!”) and he doesn’t want to change his hat, which today reads “HORNY”. Pete is dispatched to have Set Design turn the green room into a nursery, as she may have been less than truthful on that subject.
Jenna follows Liz into her office to complain that Tracy hasn’t given her any compensation for her voice acting. Liz tries to convince her that Tracy’s got something very special planned, but Jenna remains skeptical.
Jack, having discarded his smock, consults with Liz about Cathy Geiss’s bad touching. Jack: “It’s not at all erotic and fun like when men do it to women. Have you ever been sexually harassed?” Both: “Of course not.” Jack wonders how far he’ll have to go to get his job back. He concludes that the only path is the virtuous path, even if it takes 5 years (Promoted again. Director of Mailroom Systems).
Pete’s putting the finishing touches on the nursery, which is stocked with terrifying life-like dolls called “Li’l Creepers” that fall right in the Uncanny Valley. Someday Liz hopes to have one of her very own to grow up and resent her.
Liz tries prompting Tracy to do something for his porn video game contributors by making up a story about Lil Wayne (“That’s a person, right?”) buying diamond watches for his crew. Tracy, of course, takes the message that he should get his rap career going again, but only in due time. However, when Liz puts it more directly, he’s all for a shopping spree. Tracy: “To the Batmobile!” Grizz: “Don’t worry, he’s just leasing it.” But which Batmobile?
In Central Park, Jack is trying to impart wisdom to his mailroom colleagues when Banks stumbles out of the underbrush, sans shoes and with shirt untucked. He has a desperate business plan to quadruple profits: First he’s going to shut the company down for two years. Banks: “Imagine how badly people will want light bulbs then!” He’s already sold the E in GE to Samsung (They’re Samesung now). He’s late for a meeting and runs off in the direction of Connecticut, where he was supposed to have a board meeting five hours ago.
Bev’s first contact at GE? Kenneth, of course! Liz intercepts her and brings her to the set, where she immediately witnesses a lighting accident and Liz screwing up the name of a black colleague. It’s the sort of thing that happens all the time to Bev’s black husband.
Bev proceeds to interview the TGS staff. Jenna first met Liz after breaking up with OJ Simpson (“Total gentleman”). Cerie still believes that Liz is already a mother and is now trying to regain custody of her children. Pete tries to explain how he used to live with Liz, but ends up revealing that he’s now at an anger-management treatment center after shooting a co-worker with an arrow. Frank describes his circus accident video. Everything’s coming up Lemon.
Jack tears Liz away for a moment to relay his new information. He steels himself to make a sacrifice for the greater good and heads up to Cathy’s office.
Tracy comes in to distribute his largess. Frank gets a pair of solid gold nunchucks, Pete a chinchilla coat, and Bev a big kiss on the lips. Tracy tells her to take good care of Liz, because they go way back, “like spinal cords and car seats.” Liz spots Devon, who’s uninterested in her small talk. She buttonholes Kenneth and details him to keep Devon downstairs while she goes to warn Jack. Kenneth: “Mr. Banks! Look how many push-ups I can do!” He gets down on his knees and does those push-ups girls used to do in gym class.
Liz bursts into Cathy’s office, interrupting Jack and Cathy’s slow dance to Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations”. Jack and Liz slip out just as Devon steps off the elevator. Liz: “You smell like strawberries.” Jack: “That’s the lip gloss she put on me so I could be her fancy boy.” Jack questions whether all the struggles he went through were worth it if the only job he’s ever wanted hinges on how far he’s willing to go with Cathy Geiss. Liz gets a chance to be the insightful one for once, observing that maybe Cathy isn’t looking for sex, maybe what she really wants is the soap opera. Jack is confused, “Aren’t soap operas all about sex?” Liz corrects him; the best parts of soap operas are the melodramatic elements, where someone’s twin interrupts a wedding or somebody pulls a gun at a fitness center.
Bev wanders by and Jack smoothly offers her a tour of the studio, only to find Jenna and Tracy arguing. Jenna’s gift? Coupons for free hugs. Hey, a hug can turn your whole day around, like an emotional Heimlich. Jenna’s decided to sue him for her share of the profits. Liz’s situation goes from bad to worse when Bev sees Set Design tearing down the nursery. And when Jack guides her away, Cathy Geiss comes barreling in from free safety to put Bev into a wall. Jack holds Cathy back and advises Bev to make a run for it, which she does, straight into the path of Frank’s nunchucks. Nighty-night, Bev.
Liz is going through Bev’s report, which leaves her with an unsatisfactory rating. But when Bev wakes up, she doesn’t recognize Jack at all. Instead of taking her immediately to a hospital, Liz convinces Jack to let Bev run through the evaluation one more time. Meanwhile, Jack has to go upstairs to give Cathy the full soap opera. Jack: “We may not be the best people.” Liz: “But we’re not the worst.” Both: “Graduate students are the worst.”
A slurring Bev is back on the job, and the TGS staffers are doing their very best. Frank still won’t change his hat and Cerie is convinced that Liz already has kids, but it’s the best scenario Liz could hope for. And Bev still turns her down, due to Liz’s long hours and non-traditional work environment. Liz steps up and gives her best speech defending her work family, and Bev recognizes her passion, and then forgets that they’d ever met in the first place. Hospital time.
Jonathan sends Liz upstairs just in time to find Cathy taking Jack’s shoes off. She quickly realizes what Jack meant by “the full soap opera”, playing the role of Jack’s lover with a dark streak. Jack tells her that Liz is the only woman he’s ever loved and that Cathy’s merely hiring him to advise her in all business matters. The tension is too much for Cathy, who shrieks, “KISS KISS KISS!!!” Liz and Jack move closer…and closer…And no. They just can’t bring themselves to do it.
No matter, because on the street Jack tells Banks that Cathy really has hired him to advise her. Devon moves to his backup plan for financial security: Jumping in front of cars and suing their drivers. Unfortunately, his first target is Tracy, who believe’s that double indemnity applies, as he’s already being sued.
Epilogue: Liz comes up to see Jack, and tells him the expected news that she needs to start over with a different adoption agency. On her way out of the office she pauses and looks back, happy to see Jack back where he belongs.
It’s great to be back with another season of 30 Rock in front of us, and even better to have Jack returned to his rightful place. I want to see where Liz’s adoption plot goes and whether Jenna’s lawsuit prompts any more strangeness on the set. See you next week! And a special hello to the good folks at the National Post