In honor of the ending of 30 Rock this week – easily one of the two greatest TV shows of all time – it’s time to break down it’s ten best episodes, if only to remind myself of the excellence that will henceforth live only in re-runs.
Prior to this episode, Liz had attempted to use her sexuality to stop cutbacks from effecting TGS – a common threat over the course of 30 Rock. Of course, her reward is a suspension for sexual harassment and having to deal with everybody’s favorite transgender-HR specialist, Jeffery Weinerslav. During her suspension, she tries to find a way to fill the time and finally falls in with some women in her building, going to spas and having massages all day, which is something she could definitely get used to. Except, their perfect existence is not exactly what it seems and requires other stimuli to sustain them. Two words: Fight Club.
You have to love the intersection of Jack’s mother, Colleen, who is perpetually scornful of Jack, and Liz’s parents, Dick and Margaret, who are perpetually supportive of Liz, and the way Colleen casually outs the Lemon’s as hypocrites, just to prove to Jack the Lemon’s aren’t as great as he thinks they are. My favorite part of what I like to call ‘The Lemon Party Episode’ – in which there are many favorites – is the moment where Jenna tries to seduce Liz’s brother Mitch, but still being mentally a 17 year-old, he quickly brushes her off in favor of the much-younger Cerie.
When Jack goes off to his Six-Sigma retreat he takes Liz with him. Unfortunately, when a live mic picks him up giving himself a pep talk in the bathroom – I’ve quoted his pep talk to myself many times when playing racquetball with my son – Liz has to step in and rescue him. Curiously, for all the derision Jack receives from his peers over the familiarity Liz has with her boss, she actually proves much more adept at completing the challenges they mete out than the people with MBAs actually do. Anyway, two words: Robot Penis.
What episode do you give the man who only wants to see Jack Donaghy negotiate against himself? This one, of course. Still, I wonder – what the hell is an ‘elegante primo’?
After being accused of being a misogynistic show, TGS adds a female writer for the week, who at first seems like nothing more than a useless bimbo. The unexpected result is she’s a comic playing a bimbo so she can feel safe in a world where her ex-husband is trying to kill her.
Anyway, the main story isn’t even the best part of the episode, it’s the dual that Jack has with Kaylie Hooper, who he’s identified as the true nemesis in his drive to be named CEO of Kabletown. At first his task is easy – deflect her attentions by introducing her to Bob Ballard and nurture her supposed love of the sea. Except, she’s a far-too-wily for that. The best line comes when Dr. Ballard says Kaylie hasn’t met Dr. Robert Ballard at all, “Because Bob is short for Bobert.”
What is Reaganing? Well, let’s let Jack explain it: “Making through a full 24 hours without a single misstep is called Reaganing. The only other people who have ever done it? Lee Iacocca, Jack Welch, and—no judgment—Saddam Hussein.” What stands in the way of Jack Reaganing himself? Oh, only Liz Lemon and her sexual hang-ups, who makes sure to remind us she’s not some over-sexed New York nympho like those sluts on Everybody Loves Raymond.”
When Jack and Liz find they were accidentally married – instead of Jack and Avery – Liz tries to use her new-found status as Mrs. Donaghy to stave off budget cuts, including making a donation to establish the Jack and Elizabeth Donaghy High School for Teen Drama, the Arts, and Feelings. Of course, this winds up with the pair of them in Jeffrey Weinerslav’s office and any episode that includes Jeffrey Weinerslav can’t be all bad. Best line? When making the donation, Liz explains – in the voice of Drew Barrymore-cum-Edie Beale – she wants a new generation of artists to ask the world, What is art? To which Jack angrily replies, “We know what art is. It’s paintings of horses!”
When a less-than-flattering quote about Jack hits the Post he turns his search for the quoted one into a tacky, lowest-common-denominator reality show, played out against the networks newest hit show, Milf Island, which just happens to be a tacky, lowest-common-denominator reality show. Meanwhile, Pete finds himself stuck under a vending machine, while reaching for a Soy Joy. Using his wallet, ring, and other implements from his pockets thrown at a phone to dial for help, he tastes a moment of success when he hears the phone ringing, only to find out he’s dialed his own office.
When Jack realizes he may never find himself CEO of the general, because Don Geiss will just not go away, he goes off to Liz’s high school reunion with her to sulk and discovers that, contrary to the way Liz would like to play it, she was not the loveable nerd in high school after all. Rather, she was the bully that everybody wanted to ‘Carrie’. My favorite line? When Rob Sussmann, still claiming he isn’t gay, offered this nugget as proof: “I’d like you to meet my wife, with whom I’ve raised three beautiful dogs.”
After meeting her comedic idol at a book signing, Liz takes said idol (Carrie Fisher) to work for the week, as a guest writer on the show. Only, the idol turns out to be a bit of a raging provocateur which finds not only the idol fired – by the way, the idol is named Rosemary, hence the title of the episode – but Liz fired as well. But the two aren’t going to give in and cry over their lot. Instead they head off to plan how to take over the world. Only…Liz figures out pretty quick that Rosemary is unemployed for a reason – she’s clearly not firing on all cylinders – which leads Liz to beg for her job back. Jack, of course, is happy to comply and gives all the wisdom you’ll ever need in one line: “Never go with a hippie to a second location.” Oh, and don’t forget the B story with Tracy and the dog fighting that leads to greatest scene in the run of the entire show: Jack Donaghy impersonating Tracy’s entire family.