Look out! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… character growth! In the span of a single week, Liz decides to keep pursuing adoption, Jenna commits to Paul, and Jack successful sells defective couches. Alright so maybe they don’t all make great leaps forward, but two out of three is still something to get excited about.
Here are this week’s 30 Rock-Does-Things Awards…
The ‘I Want (The Show) to Go to There!’ Award: Jack (Alec Baldwin) sets Liz (Tina Fey) up on a blind (play) date. But instead of finding her a replacement for Criss (James Marsden) as she suspects, Jack introduces her to Catherine, an eleven-year-old who helps Liz realize that she still wants to be a mom. What a great turn for Liz’s character! For the past couple of seasons, Liz has mostly been reacting to the changes in other characters without really pursuing anything for herself. Now Liz finally has something to work towards. It’s even better that it is something that Liz has already tried and failed to accomplish before, but still wants badly enough to try again. My only hope is that she gives the poor kid a chance at being normal before forcing it into that Princess Leia outfit when they go to school (and the therapist) together.
Best Redemption for a ‘Kanye-Steals-the-Microphone’ Parody: For some reason, the writers think that having Jenna (Jane Krakowski) steal the microphone at a middle-school spelling bee ‘Kanye-style’ would still be funny. *Crickets* For the most part, Jenna’s story this week is sweet and enjoyable despite the clichéd references to Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears: She fakes a mental breakdown for the press in order to get Paul’s (Will Forte) attention and win him back. Even though she’s throwing herself through plate-glass windows on the set of Today and releasing mascara-stained mug shots of herself to the press, she’s still just a girl trying to recapture her straying boyfriend’s affections. Awwww.
Funniest Plotline… That the Show Has Already Done Point by Point: Jack tries to branch out from his primary responsibility as the Vice President of NBC and takes on a new business venture. He promotes a new product line that helps people relax and have fun, only to discover that his line is the greatest form of torture since waterboarding. Unfortunately, he’s already invested huge money and is ready to distribute, and now must figure out a way to market and sell something that feels like it’s tearing apart your insides. But with the help of some catchy TV ads, Donaghy manages to unload the goods and make a profit. Success!
Oh, whoops! I am supposed to be recapping ‘Murphy Brown Lied to Us,’ and instead I just recapped ‘The Source Awards’ from the first season! Silly me. I could just fix what I wrote… except I don’t need to change a word because both episodes have THE SAME PLOT. The only difference is that instead of hawking his piss-tasting Donaghy Estates wine, Jack is now forced to find a buyer for sofas that cut off circulation to the legs and constrict breathing. Thankfully there are still some fantastic jokes in this set-up, like Jack confessing his darkest secrets on the couch after sitting on it for just a few minutes (“One time in college I smoked a clove cigarette! I keep buying candles as gifts and keeping them for myself! My natural hair color is bright red!”). And the commercials are perfect – nothing says “Buy our back-breaking sofas, you pansy!” like shots of cowboys sitting on a log by the fire and Stacy Keach (a genius casting choice) spitting into the camera. But really? The writers established that this line of sofas is supposed to be Jack’s escape from the monotony of Kabletown. And not only are the sofas defective, but the plotline driving it is one that he’s already suffered through? Is this really the best plotline that they could come up with?
Best Tracyisms: Does Tracy (Tracy Morgan) ever get less than killer one-liners?
To Jenna, who asks Tracy for his “input”: “I cannot give it to you. I am a married man. But more importantly, I find you very unattractive.”
To Jenna: “I’ve never made a mistake, so I don’t totally understand, but I’m here for you Jane.”
Your turn! Which character development are you most interested to see? And given the strength of last year’s live episode, are you excited for its return next week? Sound off below!
30 Rock airs Thursdays at 8:30 EST on NBC