30 Rock review – 7×03: ‘Stride of Pride’

Courtesy of NBC

One week after Liz (Tina Fey) discovers the orgasmic pleasure of filing, and suddenly she’s a regular Carrie Bradshaw. This season keeps pushing our characters further than they’ve been before and it’s taking the series to new heights.

Let’s break it down…

Liz’s newfound appreciation of all the new pleasures she’s experiencing in her bathing suit area has opened her up to the cocktail-and-girl-talk way of life. Suddenly, the same Liz who only liked her sex fast and on Saturdays is hosting discussions about the four sexual positions she knows in her office with other lady staff writers. The series has explored this area before, letting Liz indulge in a more glamorous lifestyle like in “Jackie Jormp-Jomp” from season 3, but it’s the first time Liz doesn’t immediately back-track at the end of the episode. Liz may not be wearing ball gowns to bed every night from now on, and nor should she with all the eating she does in that bed, but it’s interesting to actually see Liz become a bit more adventurous.

Jenna’s (Jane Krakowski) done some growing up as well, or more accurately, has finally realized that being seen as an actress over forty does not mean death. She’s actually aging herself, so that magazines will write her up as looking good for her age and targeting companies like “GeriChair” for ad campaigns. Time and time again the writers would use the Jenna’s-insecure-about-her-age crutch as a go-to for B-stories, so it’s a welcome change that Jenna has gotten past her need to be young and can now see the advantages of being older. She even gets to use this newfound awareness to give some genuinely useful advice to Jack (Alec Baldwin) about accepting his status as the older gentleman to his younger girlfriend.

That said, the writers almost took a step back by saddling Tracy (Tracy Morgan) with the women-can’t-be-funny position. It’s honestly surprising that this belief is even mentioned on the show (especially given how eloquently Tina Fey dismisses it as a non-issue in her book Bossypants).  But to make Tracy the representative of gasbags like Adam Corolla? That seems like a bit of a stretch when you consider how long he’s worked on TGS, aka The Girlie Show and that he has the longest-lasting marriage of anyone on the show. At least the issue is pretty well settled with the weirdly catchy song “We don’t need to prove it to you.”

Other considerations:

  • Pete (Scott Adsit) has lines in this episode! Way to go, Pete! Maybe some day you’ll be a real boy get your own storyline!
  • Ryan Lochte’s cameo could have easily been groan-worthy, but, by keeping it short (and the dialogue easy for the swimmer to memorize), it is actually funny.
  • Which of tonight’s catchphrases have you already started using: “stride of pride”? “Pokemoning?” I already shouted “NERD RAGE!” when my MacBook wouldn’t turn on.

Your turn! Would you go to a cocktail party of Liz’s? And does “Pokemoning” color your childhood memories of yelling “Gotta catch ‘em all?” Sound off below!

30 Rock airs Thursdays at 8pm EST on NBC.

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