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
-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."