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30 Rock Review: "Winter Madness" (4.11)

January 22, 2010  |  12:45pm
30 Rock Review: "Winter Madness" (4.11)

Jack's relationship, or at least prospective relationship, with Julianne Moore's atrociously accented Nancy returns to 30 Rock this week, though it looks like it'll be the last time for a while. Unlike Jack's last real relationship, there wasn't much tension in this one, but the main plot of "Winter Madness" is forced into play due to their dalliance, so perhaps it's not all bad. Still pining for her after all this time, Jack realizes that his shot at seeing her anytime in the nearby ever is at jeopardy. When Liz and Pete propose that the entire show should head down to Miami for some quality morale-boosting time, he takes advantage of this and ships everyone off straight to Boston.

The whole Jack and Nancy business continues as usual, with the pair ending up on a kind of impasse as Nancy really isn't ready to move on after a 23-year marriage. Unfortunately, the pair really doesn't have much rapport, so the scenes with the two of them together are a bit dead, as much as I usually enjoy seeing Julianne Moore in pretty much anything. This leads to only one particularly interesting portion of the show, in which Kenneth and Cerie arrive to buy the house Nancy claims is keeping her in Boston and thus away from Jack. They're a great pairing in any circumstance, and perhaps how well that worked out here will cause a return of this in the future.

But while that half of the story is rather dull, back at TGS things are wonderfully chaotic. The staff is extra pissed about being shipped off to somewhere even colder than NYC during the wintertime, and unsurprisingly they blame Liz for this and countless other annoyances they're dealing with. Liz comes up with a brilliant ploy to deal with this, though, scapegoating an executive she makes up on the spot as the real cause of their troubles, soon after becoming the staff's hero.

Oddly, this story doesn't backfire on Liz, which is a nice touch. Typically these sorts of things resolve in a sit-com with the liar being punished for their misdeed and everything going back to normal. Instead, the whole gang angrily confronts this amusingly real executive and yell him down despite his protestations that he has no idea what the hell is going on. This mounts until Lutz brings out his truffle shuffle ... and then we never hear much else about it. Jack congratulates Liz on her scapegoating, but whether this will return or just end as a nice little victory on Liz's part it's hard to say.

Something I thought I'd never say also happens in that the highlight of "Winter Madness" ends up being Lutz, which is kind of odd as he's a rather undeveloped character who isn't the center of any plotline. The series of potshots at his expense though feel like the 30 Rock of old and creates a running gag that's as good as anything the show's ever done. Tracy's bit, on the other hand, is predictible. Maybe it's a sign, as I'm always hinting, to bring the writers back into the show more? There was a lot of random wasted time without laughter this episode, but what was there paid off nicely, and for the first time in a while they were coming from some unpredictable places.

Stray Observations:

-That vondrook!

"Think about it, I can rent a convertible, you can complain about the heat with old people."

"There is no spectervision of internet in the hotel, so plan ahead, gentlemen ... porn-wise."

"I'm tired of wakign up to a porch full of dead squirrels." "...God I miss Boston"

"They're all named Sean, they are mean, and I hate it here." - Hey, Sean's a quality name ... I've heard.

"Neither one of us know what to do with the dog because we both hate it."

"For the dude who has the most hilarious last name I've ever heard, you blow."

-Pissed off Kenneth this episode  is pretty entertaining/snarkily wonderful

-"Don't let this slave-owner time-traveller get away with it again."

-Silus Merrimount Peppercorn

"My wife and I have disparate levels of attractiveness because I am a famous inventor." "Well to be honest, I was wondering."

"Find a scapegoat...like that John Hancock with the good King George"

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