It’s 30 Rock‘s third holiday episode in six weeks, which is plenty of time for the writers to learn that these themed episodes just aren’t working What next? Jack learns that hippies aren’t all evil on Arbor Day?
Here are the winners of this week’s 30 Rock-Does-Things-Frustratingly Awards:
Biggest Waste of Dennis Duffy: Everyone’s favorite exonerated To Catch a Predator dupe crashes Liz (Tina Fey) and Criss’s (James Marsden) anti-celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. What was supposed to be a fun day of laughing over excerpts of Angela’s Ashes becomes a counseling session for Liz’s inability to express her feelings for men – Dennis (Dean Winters), who was Liz’s relationship black hole, finally pushes her to open up about her ‘twoo wuv’ for Criss. I make no bones about my Dennis Duffy love. He’s appeared in many of my favorite episodes from the first couple seasons of the show (“The Break Up,” “Subway Hero”), and he’s a fun means of bringing out Liz’s inner trainwreck. But boy was his appearance in this episode a waste. He literally spends the entire episode camped out on Liz’s couch, getting excited about the “les” movie on Showtime (although it was pretty funny that it turned out to be The Kids Are All Right). If you invite back such a ridiculous character, the man who once lost the Stanley Cup in a taxi, why not give him something to actually do? At least his visit does serve a positive function, as his appearance forces Liz to grow up a little and actually take the next step in her increasingly cute relationship with Criss.
Most Absurd Holiday Tie-In: Jack (Alec Baldwin), feeling cooped up by the static outlook of Kabletown, finds inspiration in the entrepreneurial spirit of St. Patrick – Jack finds the inner capitalist spirit of the Irish religious holiday, that Patrick was able to turn his lack of snakes into a personal victory for his nation. It’s getting awkward, the way the writers are forcing these holiday celebrations into their episodes and working them over until some after school special type lesson appears. It does make sense that Dennis Duffy would show up on the most loud-and-proud-Irish day of the year. Yet there’s quite a bit of logical loophole-ery required to pull out this lesson about business self-sufficiency for Jack. Moreover, it seems uncharacteristic that Jack would need to be reminded to be aggressive and and self-sufficient in the first place – almost every other episode involves Jack learning to curb his overly-aggressive tendencies!
Least Welcome Turn in the Jenna/Tracy Relationship: Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) return as the hosts of NBC’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. One change in top billing for the event, however, undermines the budding friendship growing between the pair, and the event dissolves into Tracy sobbing and Al Roker saving the day. Naturally. Excuse me while I headdesk for a few minutes over this story. Uugh. For every step forward that this series makes with Jenna’s character and her relationship with Tracy, it takes five back to make her the stereotypical popularity whore that I thought we had already moved past. What happened to her fun buddy cop dynamic with Tracy from just a couple weeks ago?
Most Horrifying Curse, from Liz to Jack: (in German) “May all your pornography be free of diarrhea!”
Your turn – are you feeling the St. Patty’s Day love or are you too burned out by the holiday overdose? Sound off in the comments!