30 Rock: “Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land” (4.21)

TV Reviews 30 Rock
30 Rock: “Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land” (4.21)

With one more episode left in 30 Rock’s somewhat rocky (ba-dum-ching!) fourth season, the show is content with doing largely the same thing it’s been doing for the past few weeks. Jack is still choosing which beautiful guest star he wants to be with and Liz is still working out her issues about settling with men. A couple new developments keep this from going stale, though, and as much as I’d like to see the show talk about something else for once, everything that wasn’t Julianne Moore’s accent was in top form throughout “Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land,” an episode which is within spitting distance of having the show’s best title (which, for the record, is still “The One with the Cast of Night Court”).

Last week Elizabeth Banks’s Avery was hanging around while Jack’s mother revealed to her that he was into another girl, and she begins the episode by telling him that he needs to think about who he wants to be with while she’s gone. Simultaneous to her farewell, he also says hello to Julianne Moore’s Nancy Donovan. She’s in town to, well, seduce Jack. Which normally isn’t very hard, but for once he’s trying not to sleep with her. It’s still not particularly hard, though, and soon enough they’ve slept together for the first time. As the episode comes to a close, he tells her during Floyd’s wedding that she’s only one of the women he’s with. Then, we get a “To be continued…”

As mentioned above, a major part of the episode is weddings, with three of them happening on the same day: Grizz’s, Cerie’s and Floyd’s. The only one we see is Floyd’s, but the whole thing has Liz scrambling for a date (especially for Floyd’s) and she finds herself dialing up old boyfriends to make for an episode that, along with the appearances of Banks and Moore, can best be described as guest-starrific. Dennis is back, as are Wesley Snipes (the character) and Jon Hamm’s Dr. Drew. Each of them are also still terrible in their own, special ways and she finds herself without a date or person to settle on but, considering the candidates, she definitely makes the right choice. Oh, and Hamm’s got hooks for hands.

Liz has now rejected her past and seems ready to find someone to settle down with and not judge them by her normal, astronomical standards (sorry about the puns this week). Both of Jack’s women are aware of what he’s been up to. This means that the series is ready to go into new ground, but neither story feels complete because, well, they’re not. They’re still funny and all—really funny, in fact—but there’s not much more to say about them because they’re so reliant on next episode.

What was complete was the episode’s other storyline, which had little to do with the other two but was one of the funniest things we’ve seen all season. Tracy turns down a role because it relates too much to his repressed childhood, which leads to Kenneth and dot com deciding that he needs to bring back his lost memories. He does and it’s ever so sweet. Tracy’s past is a series of amazing one-liner jokes about how poor and crime-ridden his neighborhood was, and while that sounds kind of awful to write, it plays perfectly in the show.

The development of the show’s arc in “Emanuelle” went smoothly, and this combined with one of the funniest Tracy plots we’ve had in a good long time to create a good part one for the end of the season spectacular. My hope is that next week we’ll find out about what’s up with Jack’s relationships so that doesn’t drag into next season and that the rest of the episode is just more of Tracy sitting on a staircase regaling us with his horrible memories. Hell, if it’s just 20 minutes of Tracy ranting, I’d take that over almost anything else on television.

Stray Observations:
“I didn’t realize we were still airing that. Kramer’s been dead for six months.”
-Pizzerina Sbarro.
“I promise you this week will be full of staring out windows while holding a glass of scotch.”
“I could set you up with my trainer. He’s gay, but not when he’s drunk.”
“What goes good with second chances? Oh, water, I’d like water.”
“What? You’re too good for me now that I have pirate hook hands?”
Garfield Three: Feline Groovy
“They’re paying me exactly one million teacher salaries.”
“It’s either this or I submit that animated film I drew about the holocaust.”
-I can’t pick out an individual favorite line from Tracy’s rant, but “Seeing a pigeon fight a baby” was pretty great,as was that Tracy “watched a prostitute stab a clown.”
-Kenneth was “taken by the hill people.”
“This is a public park named after Ron Artest.”
“Our term for intercourse is yiffing.”
“You and I both know you have to stay until the final blessing, so let’s talk.”

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