30 Rock: “Unwindulax” (Episode 7.04)

TV Reviews 30 Rock
30 Rock: “Unwindulax” (Episode 7.04)

With the presidential election less than two weeks away, everyone is a little on edge. Leave it to Liz Lemon and crew to diffuse tension and address the current political climate in a way that could have offended everyone but probably didn’t offend anyone.

Jack’s long-standing support for the Republican Party reached a crescendo in “Unwindulax.” I’ve always loved Jack’s unabashed conservatism. It’s one of the show’s best recurring jokes and an area that really thrives on Alec Baldwin’s pitch-perfect delivery. Even his throwaway lines addressing the “token silent lady” in the room or referring to Romney as his “hair mentor” are hilarious.

Jack is fervently raising money for his PAC, Americans for America’s America, believing money can solve all the Republican Party’s problems. He’s determined to get black voters to cast their vote for Obama, enlisting Don Cheadle (in a fun cameo) to do a commercial for Romney and getting Mike Huckabee (who I wish had done a cameo) an appearance on BET.

Liz thinks it’s the big ideas and not money that will change the minds of voters and decides that TGS is the perfect platform for this. Lutz tells Liz that his grand-nephew is Kellan Lutz of the Twilight movies and he could host their next show. “I have tolerated your pathological lies for six years,” Liz tells him. “If you speak again, I will kill you.” But Lutz was telling the truth, and in walks the hunky Twilight star acting completely ridiculous. Between Ryan Lochte last week and Kellan Lutz this week, 30 Rock is doing a fantastic job of getting the current teen idols to have fun with their image.

The episode capitalized on stereotypes about both Republicans and Democrats. “I earned my trust fund by always being polite to grandfather,” one rich man tells Jack at a fundraiser. But when Liz tries to defend her point-of-view, she can’t come up with much more than ranting about gay dolphins and saying things like, “You believe in the death penalty but it’s OK to eat animals for food?”

While Liz and Jack are battling it out, Jenna is mired in another one of her ridiculous plotlines. This time she has a hit song “Catching Crabs in Paradise,” a Jimmy Buffett knock-off that has inspired legions of fans who call themselves “Crab Catchers.” They all think Jenna is totally easygoing and fun since she tells them to “Unwindulax.” It wasn’t my favorite Jenna storyline (even if it did involve guest star Gary Cole) and really felt like a waste of time. Until, of course, it all came together in the final moments of the episode.

Jack and Tracy break down each state and how each state will vote. They both declare Florida to be the “the penis of America.” Not sure how Florida will feel about that description, but I found it really funny. Both Jack and Tracy realize, at the same time, that the only area where there are voters who are truly up for grabs is Tallahassee, Florida, the home to Jenna’s followers. “The next President of the United States will be chosen by Jenna Maroney,” Liz says with a bit of horror. The revelation almost made the Jenna storyline worth it.

One nitpicking criticism: 30 Rock isn’t an ongoing drama, but still, there was a surprising lack of continuity in the episode. Jack seems to have temporarily put aside his goal of tanking NBC and there was no mention of Tracy impersonating the vice presidential candidate.

The night’s best quotes:
“New York will go for Obama even if I voted 100 times instead of my usual five.”-Jack
“You don’t have enough shrimp to buy my silence. Also, you are out of shrimp.”-Liz to Jack.
“Don’t give up. That’s not the Lisa Loeb I know.”-Tracy to Liz.

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