In the penultimate episode of the now penultimate season of 30 Rock, Jack let go of the penultimate Jessup (Diana) in favor of his ultimate love and wife, Avery. Coincidence? I think not.
Let’s hand out this week’s 30 Rock-Does-Things Awards…
Best Crushing of a Return to Normalcy: North Korea’s American News Channel USA is now without an anchor, since Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks) has returned to New York! Except Jack (Alec Baldwin) suspects that while the wife was away, with Scott Scottsman, the other American sports journalist/hostage, she did play – why else would she offer a blanket forgiveness to whatever he did while she was away? To get her to fess up, Jack stages a “forgiveness attack” and offers up the information that he and Avery’s mom Diana indulged in the occasional French Canadian kisses (per Tina Fey’s Liz: French kisses that bum everyone else out). But TWIST! Avery’s forgiveness is merely an elaborate ploy to get all that drama out in the open and their relationship back to normal. So our heretofore star-crossed lovers decide to renew their wedding vows and seal the deal with a kiss.
After dealing with Jack and his awkward relationship with Diana (aka faux-Avery) for much of this season, it feels great to finally have the real deal back. Now that we are headed towards the series finale next year (in just fourteen episodes!), it seems as though this relationship, like those of aspiring parents (or plant-raisers) Liz and Criss, and the newly engaged Jenna and Paul, are being freed from external plot machinations that exist merely to cause conflict. Jack’s indiscretions are aired and forgiven over the course of just one episode, and we finally get to see the couple happy and healthy in the States. Nothing like closing the season with real forward momentum! It also doesn’t hurt that Avery’s news reports from North Korea this week were funnier than anything we saw from mother Jessup this season. Avery rolling her eyes as she announces “Earlier today, America’s credit rating was downgraded to triple fart minus”? Classic. Oh how I missed that sassy blonde!
Best Summation of the Year in Pop Culture: When Jack asks Liz to put together a brief presentation on what happened this past year, Liz scoffs: “An HOUR for the YEAR? Am I just supposed to scratch the surface of Channing Tatum’s meteoric rise?” He’s certainly the first man I would most often think about this year. For his influence on pop culture, of course and not this.
Most Heroic/Trashiest Southern “Belle”: Jenna (Jane Krakowski) has been on a roll the past few weeks, finally admitting her feelings to Paul and wanting a real wedding proposal, not just one for show. This week? She learns to love her shiny-knockoff-shoe-on-the-outside-cardboard-and-horseglue-on-the-inside self just as she is, and to be happy getting her wedding sponsored by “off-brandheels.com” (which carries such lines as Dolce-Banana, Gukki, and Jessica Simpson). She even shows some (*gasp*) emotional maturity as someone Liz turns to for advice (and offering something worthwhile), namely that it’s okay to indulge in a little gender role reversal and for a woman to be the breadwinner of the family. Of course, role reversal for Jenna and Paul means that “Paul keeps the house nice, and [Jenna tries] to get him pregnant.” Her best moment appears at the end of the episode, showing her solidarity with her longtime gal-pal Liz by tackling the Elmark (the not-legally-Elmo Elmo impersonator) who dares to attack Liz and Criss (James Marsden) outside his hotdog van. After all the legitimately funny and surprisingly substantial material Jane Krakowski has finally received and delivered lately, she may finally have a chance at winning that Emmy she so rightly deserves.
Most Frightening Response from iPhone’s Siri: Tracy (Tracy Morgan) finally learns how to say ‘incorrigible’ from a commercial shoot from years ago, and asks Siri to bring Jessica Tandy back to life so they can shoot it. Siri’s response? “Tracy, Jessica Tandy Zombie is coming to find you. Is that correct?” GAH! No, Tracy, no! Quick – somebody get Rick Grimes to come to New York City and tell Carl to stay in the house!
Back to you, fellow Rockers. Aside from jazz, soccer, and infidelity, which no one likes to talk about, feel free to have at this week’s episode!
And remember to watch the season finale, next Thursday at 8:30 EST on NBC!