So you haven’t watched this week’s 30 Rock yet? RUDE! It’s time to kick back, open up your chilling bottle of D’Fwine, and enjoy the latest antics of reality queen Angie Jordan.
Let’s hand out this week’s 30 Rock-Does-Things awards…
Sanest of the Crazy Reality TV Spouses: Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), as the king to Angie Jordan’s (Sherri Shepherd) Queen of Jordan. In the latest installment of Angie’s Bravo reality series, our octupal-threat/heroine is launching a new clothing line for “elegant plus-size women and huskier gays.” She expects Tracy to maintain the façade of their stable marriage by capping off her runway show with a dove release and a second proposal, but her loving idiot genius husband has found a better way to show her his love: by not attending her show, he instigates a table-flipping fight with his wife in order to help her show’s ratings by leading to “divorce… and stuff” that will be “contentious and last all through next season!”
Bringing back Queen of Jordan at this point in the series does seem like a bit of an afterthought – nothing within the past few episodes suggested a return of the fake reality series, let alone Angie’s return. Yet it’s definitely an acceptable afterthought – not only because Angie is a great character (“That’s right! I read World War II history mother f***er!”) and antagonist for Tracy; but also because it’s a funny reminder that Tracy has been the only character to maintain a stable relationship on the series. As Tracy points out, he’s been married for twenty-two years, and next to him, Liz is the village bicycle: “Doctor guy, pilot guy, Cleveland dude, British guy, rich dude, James Franco… No judgments? But to me, Liz Lemon is a sex maniac.”
TGS’s Most Astute Detective: Again this award goes to one Tracy Jordan, who learns the identity of the Phantom Pooper who has been haunting Lutz’s office. On a slightly related note, Tracy also learns that Lutz’s office is in fact not another bathroom.
Best Excuse to Open a Restaurant and Hire a Homeless Man: Diana Jessup (Mary Steenburgen) returns this week after learning of Avery’s impending return from North Korea. But TWIST! Diana accidentally lets slip that there is something happening between her and Jack (Alec Baldwin)… in front of the QoJ cameras. Thus the sexually frustrated duo spend the rest of the episode covering their slip about “us” by opening up a “Rus”sian restaurant with Jack’s business partner/Yale Professor “Gus” (a man abnormally suspicious about the electricity from the sun).
Out of the three appearances that Diana has made on the show so far, this is the first one that doesn’t make her seem like she’s merely a place-holder until Elizabeth Banks’ Avery can escape the clutches of Kim Jong-un. For the first time, Jack and Diana are up front about their feelings for each other, and actually kiss at the end, showing that there may actually be real conflict to contend with once this dysfunctional family reunites. And while the tactics Diana and Jack employ to try and cover up their soap-operatic relationship for the cameras falls on the broader side of sitcom comedy, Alec Baldwin makes this B-story work. He’s fantastic as showing this normally together suit unravel in front of the reality cameras, and his pained response at having to kiss Liz (Tina Fey) and the line of suitors that follows (his attempt to cover up his lip lock with Diana) is priceless.
Best Reality TV Gags: This episode is worth watching a second or third time, if only for the infinite supply of jokes about… well… any show on Bravo that isn’t Inside the Actor’s Studio.
- Taglines for characters: “Kenneth, Not Worth Describing” “Virginia, Baby” “Diana, Jack’s Mother-in-Law, Keeping it Tight” and Liz “Lisa Lampanelli?”
- That the crinkly book Liz gives to D’Fwan to give to Virginia(, Baby) in the next shot somehow becomes a stuffed giraffe
- Catchphrase: Angie’s “I’ll take that with cheese!” is the new “HAM!”
- D’Fwan’s wine D’Fwine: “Please D’Fwink responsibly.”
- References to the showdown that took place at Randi’s domestic abuse costume party
- The most dreaded cast member of QoJ? Daphne, who handles conflict appropriately and who’s up to date on her mortgage payments
So you’re up, Rockers. Are you ready for a Jessup-Jessup-Donaghy showdown? Would you rather taste D’Fwan’s D’Fwine or Jack’s Donaghy Estates wine? And be honest, who would watch Queen of Jordan un-ironically if it aired on Bravo? (*sheepishly raises hand…)
30 Rock airs Thursdays at 8:30 EST on NBC