30 Rock: “My Whole Life is Thunder” (Episode 7.08)

TV Reviews 30 Rock
30 Rock: “My Whole Life is Thunder” (Episode 7.08)

Last week I thought it was strange that Jenna wasn’t part of Liz’s big day. But Jenna was more upset that Liz upstaged her.

Liz returns to work happily married, showing off her outrageous ring and telling everyone she’s now Ms. Liz Lemon (because she’s keeping her name, naturally). But Jenna has been planning a surprise wedding because that is what all the celebrities do like “Timber-Biel” and “AnneHatha-Nobody.” Liz getting married first stole her thunder.

In my favorite exchange of the night, Cerie congratulates Liz and tells her she’s an inspiration to all single women in their 30s. When Liz tells Cerie she’s 42, Cerie says “I don’t know what that is.” Sometimes I just love this show so much.

Liz receives an 80 under 80 award which celebrates women in entertainment who aren’t Betty White. Jenna agrees to attend the lunch with Liz but only because she plans to upstage her with a surprise wedding. At the luncheon, Liz commiserates with Gayle King about best friend troubles. When Liz tries to confirm they are talking about Oprah, King says, “No, of course not,” before whispering conspiratorially, “she can hear us.” Ha! Oprah jokes are still funny.

I haven’t always loved Jenna’s over-the-top narcissism or her basically one-sided competition with Liz. I often find it better in small doses. But “My Whole Life is Thunder” really was the perfect Jenna venue. She got to sing her revenge song (“Secret plan. Revenge is on my mind”), have great throwaway visuals (stuffing her face with ice cubes) and even better lines. “You’re not aging the way I wanted you to,” she tells Liz.

While Liz and Jenna are feuding, Tracy tries to cheer Kenneth up. He’s despondent that Liz fired Hazel and then Hazel broke up with him (thankfully Hazel did not make a reappearance in this episode). Kenneth wishes his life were like a TV show. Not only did this subplot allow the show to skewer the very structure it operates under, viewers were also treated to a hilarious turn by bitter Florence Henderson (the episode highlighted the show’s rather brilliant use of guest stars this season) and the brief return of the show Bitch Hunter starring Will Ferrell.

The fabulous Elaine Stritch also returned as Jack’s ever-disapproving mother Colleen. Stritch has been a wonderful recurring character on the show, and Colleen deserved this bittersweet final goodbye. When Liz tells Jack he should appreciate the time he has with his mother, who is 87 years old, he claims his mother is only “14 in demon years.” Colleen tells Jack she only wants him to be happy and promptly dies. This is no comfort to Jack since he thinks that’s something people only say to losers. Colleen’s final words were “one last twist of the knife.”

At the funeral, Jack realizes his mother’s disapproval made him the man he is today. He delivers an epic eulogy that begins in Dublin in 1852 and somehow involved Kermit the Frog. And of course, Jenna decided the funeral was the perfect time for her surprise wedding to Paul. As the two exchange hilarious vows, we learn that Paul is taking both Jenna’s first and last name. Did we expect anything different?

This was the last new episode until the show returns in January for its final run. Start preparing now to say goodbye. Blerg!

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