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30 Rock Review: "There's No I in America" (Episode 7.05)

November 1, 2012  |  10:11pm
<i>30 Rock</i> Review: "There's No I in America" (Episode 7.05)

For years, 30 Rock has relentlessly mocked NBC and its parent company Comcast. Last night the network exacted its revenge. NBC decided to air 30 Rock, not in its regular Thursday night time slot, but on Wednesday night—a Wednesday night that also happened to be Halloween. The new air date was announced Tuesday.

How last-minute was the change? My DVR still thinks it recorded Animal Practice.

Ostensibly this schedule change was because the network wanted to re-air The Voice on Thursday night since, due to Hurricane Sandy, many viewers missed its original airing. But the whole thing still seems rather suspicious to me. If you missed it, the full episode is now up at NBC.com.

“There’s No I in America” picked up exactly where the show left off last week—Liz and Jack both realize that Jenna is the key to the Presidential election. Both race to get to Jenna first and (bonus!) Liz runs into Danny (who we haven’t seen since last spring) on the way. “You two can talk about America all you want but I’m not going to listen because there’s no I or me in America,” Jenna tells them. But then Jenna realizes she has the opportunity to “build a better country for Jenna Maroney.”

Jenna’s overwhelming self-centeredness never has been my favorite aspect of 30 Rock. And, in general, a little Jenna goes a long way, so this wasn’t my favorite episode. But it is always fun to see Liz and Jack debate. It led to Jack confessing that he actually doesn’t like Mitt Romney. “The man doesn’t drink. How does he let a moment land?” Jack wonders.

I also was particularly fond of Jack’s attack ad on Liz that declared her to be “wrong on cuteness” and flashed the words “brown hair” in big red letters. 30 Rock once again proved it is one of the most clever comedies on TV. The show managed to put a new spin on mocking political ads this late in the election season.

Pete also got much more screen time than usual. He is desperate to relive the feeling everyone had in 2008 when Obama won. When a victory for Obama was declared, Maria, the beautiful security guard, kissed him. “Dude that’s not happening this year. No one is that excited,” Frank tells him. Brian Williams also made a fun cameo when Pete begs him to call the election results early. I kind of get the feeling that the NBC anchor stops by whenever the show calls. Another TV show better be ready to put Williams’ comedic skills to good use once 30 Rock goes off the air.

While Liz and Jack were vying for Jenna’s vote, Kenneth is voting for the first time. As usual, Kenneth’s hometown became even more bizarre. One of the ballot questions is whether or not the clock tower should be repaired and another is if a man can marry his daughter or if he should bury her like “the rest of the dead folk.” I enjoy any scene that has Kenneth and Tracy interacting. “You want to be an American, you fill out that ballot because you don’t know what you’re doing,” Tracy tells him when Kenneth begins to doubt himself.

From the presidential election to the debate over whether women can be funny, 30 Rock has deftly tackled some big issues this season. What will the show do next as it continues its take-no-prisoners swan song?

A few of my favorite quotes:
“Voting is a great American tradition—like laziness.”-Tracy to Kenneth.
“Research indicates that the ad is polling quite well with both manic and depressive Jenna.”-Jack to Liz
“Don’t be so sure about Jenna’s politics. She’s aging, mean and rich. That sounds Republican to me.”-Jack to Liz.
The night’s best exchange:
Liz: “Tracy, are you still banned from Twitter?”
Tracy: “For life so, you know, just a couple more months.”

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