Sign Up for the Daily TV Fodder Newsletter       
buy prednisone online no prescription buy zithromax buy strattera online no prescription payday loans buy clomid buy valtrex online buy buspar no prescription buy atarax online buy diflucan buy buspar no prescription

30 Rock Fodder

30 Rock: Greenzo

What a strange episode. There was so much going on, and none of it really connected. It was like the Frankenstein's monster of sitcoms; quilted together odds and ends. Or maybe it was more like stone soup, where they tried to make something out of nothing at all. Don't get me wrong -- it still had funny moments. But cohesive? Not so much.

1. No Central Character -- The usual quartet of Liz, Jack, Tracy and Jenna, all took a step back from the spotlight. You'd think this would mean lots of room for a secondary character to take center stage, and to a degree this is true, as we learn that Pete is still rooming with Liz while on the outs with his wife, Paula. Liz and Jenna become suspicious that Pete is having an affair, indicated by the little things: Lipstick containers in Liz's apartment. Pete's jaunty new Justin Timberlake hat. The leather jacket he's begun wearing, with accompanying body spray. Pete denies the affair. Eventually, Liz walks in on Pete and... Paula. "Turns out I get off on the sneakin' around. Who knew?" Paula explains, while stradling her husband in Liz's bed. "How's your mom?" Later, Pete apologizes, but asks Liz to allow the shenanigans to continue. It's the first time he and his wife have truly dated, since getting married and becoming parents in quick succession. Liz reluctantly agrees.

2. Guest Star Overload -- Paula isn't the only new character introduced in this episode. We also meet Jared (David Schwimmer), an out-of-work actor hired to play "Greenzo," Jack's eco-friendly mascot. (Why didn't David play himself? His imdb filmography says he's been working since "Friends," but being the only Friend to have kept a low profile, he could have had more fun at his expense.) Jared gets a little too Method-y playing Greenzo, and aggravates Liz when she's supposed to write him material for a recurring gig on "Today," forcing him to improvise. After Meredith Vieira interjects a succinct point about the environment, Greenzo turns to the children gathered around. "Meredith just taught us an important lesson. It's rude to interrupt people." Jack warns Jared to, "Get on board, or you will wake up on that island with Phil Donahue and the electric car." Forced to fire Jared, Jack brings in Al Gore (who knew Jack when he was an intern for Ted Kennedy; Jack hushes Al) for some promotional spots, but Greenzo returns and brings chaos to the set. (Are you with me so far? That's four new characters / cameos, not counting Cerie's four Dutch cousins.)

3. Storyline Whiplash -- If Al Gore's sudden appearance didn't throw you (and if he wins an Emmy for that scene, so help me, I'm going to, I don't know... switch back to regular light bulbs? Turn left more often?), there's the whole matter of Kenneth's party. Apparently, Kenneth throws sad parties which only Liz attends, and he plans to do it again. Tracy takes pity on him, and spreads a rumor that T.I. is attending, a lie which quickly balloons to include Fall Out Boy, foxy boxing and... Don Geiss? Even Jack attends, in the hope of schmoozing with his boss. But the party spirals epically out of control, despite none of the rumored attendees showing up (except those Dutch cousins). Kenneth scolds everyone for their outrageous behavior, and swears never to have another party.

Okay, so what's the problem with all that? Maybe I'm being too hard on this show, but for Most Outstanding Comedy, I expect a little more. Specifically:

* Instead of giving half the show over to a bunch of one-shot guest stars (who admittedly, for the most part, have been funny), why not integrate the existing characters more fully into the show? Over on "The Office," which also has a large cast, every character is so sharply written that even just one line each per episode scores. Yet on "30 Rock," we're on the fifth episode of the season and Pete, Frank, Cerie, Toofer, Josh, Grizz, Dot Com, Jonathan and Lutz have barely registered. Did you see Toofer sulking at the party, with nothing to do?

* Speaking of the party, that was a lot of build-up to something that essentially happened off-screen. Kenneth's scolding was funny... in concept, but not getting to see that moment at the party where things went off the hook, with only glimpses of the chaos that followed? Not satisfying. All that talk about who was going to be at the party -- and then the issue is that the party got out of hand? (And, oh yeah, they already did the same story last year when Tracy held the party on that yacht.) The party was the perfect situation to allow these characters to shine, and interact.

* Then there was the whole "Green" thing. How meta was that? The network is already in the midst of a green-themed week (not to mention forcing "30 Rock" to recycle old NBC Thursday night sitcom stars; how soon before Ted Danson, Bill Cosby and Michael J. Fox show up?), and Jack's character comes up with Greenzo... and then Al Bore, er, Gore, shows up and suggests they do exactly those things? Blurg. I'm surprised he didn't add, "And then I can show up, poke fun of myself, and summarize the whole experience."

Worse, all the references to being green is tiresome (surprisingly, even more so than those "Bee Movie" commercials) and condescending (they don't take it seriously, but we should?). Either talk about it directly, or don't talk about it at all. To shoehorn it in, while the characters mock the whole idea (see "My Name is Earl" for the most succinct argument against this concept)? Good intentions, bad execution.

Best Lines

Jared: Greenzo's voice is wry & wise, but also very sexual.

Jared: What is in that styrofoam cup? The earth's blood?

Jared: Do you even bother to compost your own feces?

Posted by Chad on November 9, 2007 1:23 PM
Permalink |

Who exactly wrote this blog - Dick Cheney?? Using the done-to-death slur "Al Bore", and the writer's antipathy to the show's green message, all the while thinking that bringing up visions of Phil Donahue and a discarded electric car are the shows most pointed moments, indicates someone uncomfortable with NBC's noble effort. The green messages weren't hammered at us; mostly they were given to us without judgment. Liz admits re-booting her computer every morning is way too much work, and seemed unwilling to change. But how many of us viewers now realize that is something we might consider? Same for turning lights off, holding open a refrigerator door, etc. I think this was one of their better episodes. I agree Kenneth's party was tangential to the main story, but hey, there was something here for everyone I guess. I think the only thing I would have changed about this episode was the name "Greenzo".

-- Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2007 4:24 PM

Thought the episode was hilarious. I usually don't find Schwimmer to be that funny, but between this and his stint on "Curb Your Enthusiasm"... he may be my favorite guest star ever.

-- Posted by: Rachel at November 9, 2007 4:29 PM

Rachel, I agree with you on Schwimmer. As on "Friends," he managed to exceed expectations, and to be very funny.

But Mike? You might want to read my comments again. While I admire the intention to bring attention this issue, I think they undermined the seriousness of the topic by making it so self-referential, and through their obvious disdain for being forced to incorporate it into their show. (How hard would it have been to have one regular character who truly cares about the environment?)

As for the suggestions they made... While green ideas can be found everywhere, if you look (for instance:, the question is, what does it take to make someone take action? Were you inspired to walk around your house after the show, turning off unnecessary lights? Or did the way they presented valid suggestions with the ludicrous (composting your own feces) somehow cancel one another out, leaving you indifferent?

-- Posted by: Chad at November 9, 2007 5:11 PM

I loved the episode. I think 30 Rock was the only comedy on thursday night that managed to successfully incorporate this 'green theme' that nbc is trying to force down viewers' throats.

It was incredibly satisfying to see them take so many subversive shots at corporations and their environmental hypocrisy. Also, the herd mentality that they poked fun at in the B-story with Jenna trying to pick up what was 'cool' from Ceri (Barefeet?) was quite dead-on pathetic.

The writing for this season may not be as tight as last season but the razor-sharp wit is still there, which no other show on television right now can rival. Also, where else can you get jokes about Texas Instruments and Colonial Williamsburg in the space of 10 minutes?

-- Posted by: Sherri at November 9, 2007 5:37 PM

I was apathetic, at best, about this episode. It was all over the place and clearly done at the request of NBC/Universal to tie in with their "Green Is Universal" campaign. At least they tried to tie an ep around it instead of having Hiro and Claire get excited about Nissan cars as they do in Heroes.

My favorite eps are the ones with Will Arnett in it - they have the best lines and are hysterical! ("I blow particles of guys like you in my wind.")

-- Posted by: Connie at November 10, 2007 3:31 AM

Gute Arbeit hier! Gute Inhalte.

-- Posted by: fussball at March 11, 2009 11:12 AM

Well done! I learned some interesting things for me)

-- Posted by: Caleb at January 28, 2013 7:20 PM

Got something to say? Post a comment:

Subscribe to this post's comments feed Subscribe to this post's comments feed   (What's this?)

More Recent Stories:
30 Rock Gets 16 Emmy Nominations
30 Rock: I Do Do Review
30 Rock: Emanuelle Goes To Dinosaur Land Review
It's Mother's Day at 30 Rock
Alec Baldwin to Host SNL - Again
30 Rock's Jenna Finally Gets to Love Herself
A Party is in Trouble and only 30 Rock's Tracy Can Save It
30 Rock's Jack Donaghy Has a Decision to Make
Tina Fey & Steve Carell Do "Date Night" - Review
30 Rock's Tracy Morgan Makes His Oprah Show Debut