30 Rock Review: "Future Husband" (1.14)
One of the beauties of television is that unlike its most obvious relation, film, you generally have enough time to try out a large number of ideas and see what works. A film can frequently take several years to produce and if one of its main plots, comprising 30+ minutes, is unsuccessful there’s a pretty big problem. For a TV show, on the other hand, a lesser plot can be five minutes cross-cut into an episode that, while a bit annoying, doesn’t do too much to interfere with either an episode’s momentum or general quality.
This is relevant to last night’s episode of 30 Rock because while part of the episode was disappointing, it really didn’t interfere with what else was going on during the show’s chaotic run. Liz tried to reunite with a person from last episode who, for reasons still pretty unclear, had his phone number entered into her cellphone as “future husband.” She tricks him into returning to the dentist and while there shows him her phone notation, which he matches with a “future wife” entry in his phone. They then have a complete non-starter of a date, which is right in line with the plot. Liz on her own is only rarely interesting given that she’s largely 30 Rock’s straight woman, and this is no exception.
That being said, despite giving the episode its name, Liz’s plot just kind of drifts past due to its uninteresting nature, spotlighting some more typical Tracy/Jenna craziness and yet another of Jack’s power struggles. Tracy’s lust for an EGOT returns, which is nice for something I’d assumed was a one-episode, never-again-mentioned sort of plot. At the moment he has his eyes on a Tony and, surprisingly, actually manages to pull off a critically acclaimed performance. The only problem is that he can’t possibly repeat it, a requirement for the Tony, because the whole thing was just him crazily ranting on a stage for five hours. But with the assistance of Jenna, he returns to the stage to an equally heralded performance of reading the phone book. And you know what, I’d pay to see Tracy Morgan read the phone book—here’s hoping that Tracy has earned the first part of his EGOT.
Elsewhere, Jack is dealing with rumors that his girlfriend, played by Elizabeth Banks, is telling him about NBC considering a merger. It’s a nice little riff on the actual merger between NBC and Comcast, where instead the Shineheart Wig Corporation is merging with Kabletown,and only Jack is protesting this due to what he believes are the wishes of his old friend Don Geiss. As he investigates things further, it turns out that Geiss has in fact been dead for weeks and the deal is practically closed. His girlfriend does him a favor on reporting about the story, though, and tips him as the obvious head of the newly merged companies. The episode doesn’t really give Banks much to do, but her perfect comic timing is always a nice addition to the show and I’m hoping she sticks around for a while.
It looks like Liz’s find will be returning soon, which will likely be as uninteresting as here. But so long as this stays in the background, it may do little to drag the episode down again—it’s only with things like Dealbreakers where these subplots take over the show where this is an issue. On the other side, Jack’s NBC politics are always interesting and will almost certainly return next week. And honestly, even Liz’s bits here weren’t too awful, they were just comparatively dull. So in this case, 66.7% good plots means a better than two-thirds interesting show, even if the math doesn’t quite work out.
-Geiss Cubes seem wonderfully insane. Too bad that's probably the last we'll hear of them.
"Whenever I find something weird in my cell phone, I can usually trace it back to the last time I was drunk."
-Egot is back!
"It’s a 24-hour news channel, we don’t’ have time to do it right anymore."
"Rhubarb rhubarb, golf prostate"
-A Blaffair to Rememblack is back!
-Kenneth’s insane rant about incest is pretty great: Oh Lot, how you always bring out the worst in everyone who treats the Bible literally.
-Kinda want to see Alec singing “Stand by Your Man,” to Don Geiss or anyone else.
-What the hell was Liz’s terrible ring tone?
"Kabletown with a K."
-Well guards, such a wonderful product: “I remember that commercial. You were a fat baby.”
"I’m either really happy right now or I’m having a pretty bad donkey spell."