30 Rock: “I Do Do” (4.22)

TV Reviews 30 Rock
30 Rock: “I Do Do” (4.22)

“I Do Do” picks up right where last week’s episode ended, with Liz still in the middle of stalling for Jack and him trying to explain to Nancy Donovan. Before she’s left the stage, Jack has made his decision to stay with her and she goes along with it. This is only the beginnig of the episode, though, and we’ve got to fill the rest of it goshdarnitt! Before long, she runs into Avery Jessup at one of the day’s later weddings and things go awry. Apparently Jessup is pregnant and sees fit to reveal this fact to Nancy in a bathroom, because that’s what you do sometimes or something. So Nancy comes out, confronts Jack with the truth and he turns around and chooses to stay with Jessup for good. The cynic in me suspects that this came about largely because Elizabeth Banks’ schedule isn’t quite as busy as Julianne Moore’s, but in any case we’ve finally got a definitive answer: Jack will be staying with Jessup and her newly announced future child. The show pulled the big pregnancy twist and somehow it doesn’t seem nearly as contrived on-screen as it does in this description.

Also skipping between weddings and struggling to figure out her romantic future is Liz, who skips out on the mediocere British guy for a pilot played by Matt Damon, who’s kind of like astronaut Mike Dexter but better. All of her high standards are rectified by this upstanding individual, who not only has the same disdain for humanity as Liz, he’s also also everything else she could have wished for. Take that, completely unlikable Wesley Snipes. Liz has magically hit the metaphorical jackpot and wound up with the perfect guy—who can wait to see how this ends horribly at the beginning of next season?

Then, in a plot that has little to do with any of this but is an enjoyable diversion nonetheless, Kenneth finds out first that he’s being promoted, then that he’s being transferred to L.A., then finally that he’s lost his job due to self-sabotage in an attempt to stay in New York. Kenneth trying to do a poor job as a page is entertaining, but him drunkenly (on what, exactly, since he doesn’t drink?) telling everyone off and in fact showing his love is even better.

So the show ends its fourth season on an entirely upbeat note, almost unaccountably so in fact. Kenneth may be out of a job, but if he’s not back by episode five (after an arc about how the rest of the gang brings him back through their love) then I’ll be mighty surprised. Both of the story arcs that resolved in the episode, more or less, have been the focus of the last third of the season, which gives plenty of room for new ground to be covered in the fall. Whether that will actually happen is another matter, but at least the space for it is already there.

The episode’s pretty good, but not outstanding, which is a fitting way to conclude a season that never quite hit its stride but was still consistently entertaining. It’s hard to say what went wrong, especially since compared to everything else out there it’s still one of the best comedies being produced. There’s just a spark the show used to have that it’s lost somewhere, which may just be a result of having seen about as much of these characters as we can if they’re not going to really grow. Oddly enough, the character who’s undergone the most non-superficial change since 30 Rock began is Tracy, while its more prominent stars Liz and Jack have really been in largely the same place since their mentor-mentee relationship fully developed sometime in the second season. There are definitely still stories to tell with these characters, but the pace of the show has slowed down a bit and we’ve been left with a lot of repetition and overreliance on Liz and Jack’s relationships that a lot of the other aspects of the show have been neglected.

Whatever the case, it’s been a rocky but interesting season but next year still promises to be bright. Maybe it’s just blind optimism, but the fourth season definitely improved towards the end (no more dealbreaker nonsense, for one thing), and whatever lulls may have existed, 30 Rock still has a remarkably talented cast and writing staff. It may no longer be the best comedy on television, but no one’s perfect—there’s no reason we couldn’t have another season like the second again this fall.

Stray Observatoins:
-Kenneth is the “junior in charge boy” of the page program. Exactly how old is he?
-Also quite enjoyed how all of Kenneth’s categorization of people seems to be based upon hair types.
“Fidelity, Paul. It’s not just the name of a bank that sued me.”
“Why is your face like that?”
“If you’ve learned anything from me, it’s how to do a bad job.”
“Yeah I’m a doorman… to the sky!”
“Sky law: it’s when I put on the fasten seatbelts sign and no one’s allowed to move for ten minutes.”
“I write all the fart doctors!”
“Let’s meet up later and do some drug cigarettes.”
“A smug, 40-year-old bride’s maid. What a treat for everyone.”
“Everyone there smiles creepily all the time, and that’s sort of my thing.”
-Kenneth giving up his gun was a wonderful gag made by how completely uncommented on it is.
“There’s only one Wesley Snipes in this world.” “You know there isn’t.”
“Those dirtbags can wait on the runway a few more hours.”
“I can’t believe I’m meeting one and a half Jenna Maronis today.”
-Now that I think of it, didn’t Nancy hand Avery a martini that she then downed? My recollection is foggy here, but if so that’s not so great…

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