For reasons only NBC's scheduling department can say for sure (which I assume are the result of The Office having the station's best Nielsen ratings on Thursdays by far), the last two episodes of 30 Rock were aired on the same night, but not back to back. There's a lot of plot to run through so let's get right down to business (and as a result we're a little light on commentary this week). It's also an odd way to watch things, and especially jarring because one of the primary concerns of both episodes was Jack's love triangle with Nancy Donovan (Julianne Moore) and Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks). After several episodes stressing how great either of these women would be for Jack, his conundrum makes sense and leads accordingly to a love triangle between Jack and these two women.
"Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter" begins this with a stereotypically
sit-com style night of Jack jumping between the two women and trying not
to be caught along the way. It's a cliché—hell it's one of the
biggest cliches a sit-com can have—but 30 Rock knows this and
for the most part just doesn't care. We all know how trying to balance
these triangles ends, and so does the show, and it subverts expectations
by... not having things explode. In a twist that may be easily
overlooked, Jack has no negative consequences for his philandering ways
and things fail to resolve. Even more importantly, 30 Rock truly
revels in the silliness of this sort of nonsensical plot. At this
point both Nancy and Avery are equally interesting, and it's hard not to
feel like Jack's caught in the midst of this mess. My guess is that
he'll eventually go with Avery as that's less of a truly serious
relationship which would change the show in a more permanent way, but
his indecision is understandable.
While Jack is dealing with this crisis, Liz is doing every singles
event she can find in order to meet someone. The episode goes back to
the old "No one wants to be with Liz even though she's actually
gorgeous" well a bit, but her behavior at these meetings shows off why
no one's too interested. It's not that she's not pretty, it's that
socially she's kinda insane. This interacts a lot with Jack's business,
but is really a secondary concern and Liz not being the center of
things allows her to work as a character for delivering good lines,
which is a nice change of pace.
A last plotline for "Lee Marvin" focuses on Twofer getting fed up
with his status on The Girly Show's staff largely being the result of
his race rather than his ability. Tracy helps out with his efforts to
gain respect and while this entire plot isn't given more than a few
minutes of screen time it also doesn't wear out its welcome. Anything
that gives the writers more time is usually a good thing, and this is no
exception. The show doesn't address race, gender, or affirmative
action in a particularly enlightened manner, but who cares, it's funny.
Jack's indecision about the women of his life continues into
"Khonani," but in a less interesting way. He's decided to lock himself
in his room until he makes a decision about who to stay with, but is
profoundly unable to do so and makes any excuse to escape his
self-imposed exile. This leads him to actually caring about a
janitorial issue that he'd otherwise ignore entirely.
The janitorial shift business is something I really want to like.
The entire affair is a very thinly veiled commentary about NBC's mishandling of the Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien scheduling affair, where two janitors want
the same coveted evening shift which has been promised to both men, thus
the title of the episode and the slighted janitor being named "Khonani." But it's just not an elegant way of handling matters and
feels very un-30 Rock; it's the sort of heavy-handed ranting
they'd do on South Park. It also doesn't really say anything
novel about the situation, more recounting what happened at NBC and how it was unfair than offering any new
insight into things.
Liz spends her time being jealous that all of her employees go out
without her every week and plans revenge while Tracy is
forced to opt out of attending her revenge party in order to try and be a
good husband. Liz's party is annoying at first in being once again
about how no one likes her and she's no fun, so nothing new. But
Tracy's attempt at staying around his wife involves him putting an
electric dog collar on in order to fight his instincts and is
wonderfully insane in the way that Tracy does best. This also means his
dog, Tracy Sr., escapes and chases Kenneth (who'd been assisting Tracy
in tending to his wife) back to Liz's party. Tracy Sr. does exactly what
his namesake would and wrecks the joint and steals the party, though
perhaps with a bit more vicious biting. At this point, Liz's party
actually gets interesting.
Jack's shenanigans in the first episode of the evening were just
plain-out more interesting than anything that happened in the second
episode, which isn't to say that "Khonani" was bad, just that "Lee
Marvin" was extremely good. These days, 30 Rock is on-and-off, and there doesn't seem to be too much separating the two; sometimes the jokes are successful
and sometimes they misfire. Two seasons ago, that wasn't the case, but
these days you have to take what you can get from the show, so while
"Khonani" was disappointing after a particularly stellar episode
earlier, it was still entertaining enough. That being said, Jack's love
triangle dilemma is now being extended into a third episode and it
feels like things should be over by now. Let's move it along already.
"You look like a prison weed dealer."
are you wearing a cup?"
-Singles dodge ball is just the worst idea
imaginable. Visually entertaining, though.
"Tomorrow is the wine and
cheese tasting, or as I like to call it: singles fart suppression."
Lampoon's Van Wilder 's Wingman Incorporated
"The grownup dating
world is like your haircut, sometimes awkward triangles occur."
"Come to think of it, I saw a white judge on Law
and Order last night."
"Peanut butter and Miller High Life is the
best flavor ever."
"You always know you're
at the right party when it feels like the Riddler is going to attack."
are officially a John Mayer-style garbage."..
-Hiding Your Arms,
Hiding Your Anger: Dating Over 35.
Disney princess thing forgets about Hercules and its white
princess Megara. Failure.
"This is one of the only restaraunts with a
"The last time I used a birth control device it was the
70s and it looked like a soap on a rope."
-Will Ferrell as a "Bitch
Hunter" is a show I wouldn't miss
"I haven't seen your brow that furrowed since you saw Helen Mirren in a
-The "fresh" NBC logo is wonderfully awful.
"There ain't no party like a Liz Lemon party cause a Liz Lemon party is
"The secret service never gave me back my t-shirt cannon."
"I am innoventing... a word that I just innovented."..
"I'm like a chameleon... always a lizard!"