Fresh off Golden Globe wins for Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin and best comedy series, 30 Rock kicked off the new year with two of its funniest episodes of the this young third season. The third season has been a bit up and down, but after watching The Office spin its wheels this season and go nowhere, I’ve realized 30 Rock is still in peak form, and how lucky we are to still have it on TV.
“Senor Macho Solo”
Unlike, say, Jennifer Aniston, Salma Hayek has been able to slip into the 30 Rock cast seamlessly. She’s funny, easy on the eyes and a perfect foil to Baldwin’s Jack as the nurse taking care of his ailing mother. Another welcome guest star was Peter Dinklage, from The Station Agent and Elf, as the nerdy/witty Stuart who would’ve been a great match for Liz Lemon had she not thought he was a little boy (Dinklage is 4′ 5″). Liz’s mouth is always her downfall, so she arranges a meeting on the Brooklyn bridge to decide if they still want to be together.
Meeting on the Brookyln bridge is an age-old movie cliche, as Tracy astutely points out.
It was nice to be reminded of Liz’s baby-cravings, a story that’s been bubbling on the surface for a while now but reemerged here. The episode also featured one of the funniest sight gags in 30 Rock history (bold declaration, but I stand by it). Jack pulled Tracy into his office to voice his concern that he’s spending too much money, and the camera cuts to Tracy wearing a ruffled coat made out of money and gold shoes. Later, he rocks out a Mad Hatter-like hat made out of money, as only Tracy could pull off.
Fey must be a fan of horror flicks, because “Flu Shot” turned into a zombie-horror knockoff for a good two or three minutes there. The entire crew came down with the flu, prompting Jack to have to ration off who gets flu shots from Dr. Spaceman (!) to only the show’s “elite?” Sadly, that did not include Kenneth, who threw up all over his desk mere seconds after saying he never gets sick.
Liz was caught between being the hero (after refusing health care) and being “the man,” after taking the flu shot because she wanted to go on her yearly vacation to the beach to eat ice cream, wear dark socks and drink cocktails off the backs of turtles. It’s a familiar position for her: is she part of the group, or is she the boss, one of the “elite.” Jack, of course, is a member of the elite, and has spend the length of the series convincing Liz she is too.
Speaking of Jack, Hayek returned for another episode to continue the two’s whirlwind romance. Hayek’s character, Elisa (who is Puerto Rican, even though Jack feels uncomfortable calling her that) turned out to be even more of a workaholic than Jack, working seven days a week to make ends meat. Inevitably, Jack’s neurotic, commitment-phobic tendencies reared their ugly head, but he sensibly concluded that this time should be different. “I’ve lost too many things because I couldn’t make time for them. I can’t let that happen with Elisa,” he says. Here’s hoping she returns for many more episodes.