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30 Rock Fodder

30 Rock: Secrets and Lies

What Worked:

1. The Jenna / Tracy Rivalry -- Finally! An episode about the actual workings of the show within the show. It's been awhile since Jenna has been jealous of Tracy, and that always cracks me up. Liz is most interesting when she makes things happen and solves problems, and her litany of ways she has secretly coddled Jenna the Diva was almost as good as Jack's one-man therapy session for Tracy. Almost.

2. Toofer's Frank Persona -- I was a little worried Frank was going to get another bee in his bonnet, like being "gay for Jamie," when he wouldn't give up the Harvard thing. But when Toofer showed up as Frank? Instant classic moment. Loved it. Loved it! (Too bad they couldn't sustain it. See below.) Still, for one, bright, shining moment, Toofer crystallized as a character, and made a worthy foil to Frank.

3. The Lunch Room Confessions -- First of all, I thought when the man stood to his feet after Jack's speech, we were going to get some variation on the "slow clap." So, it was a Gimme for the moment to make this list when they did something, anything, different than that. His confession wasn't so funny, but "I'm black?" Kills me just to type it.

4. Jenna's Entourage -- In concept, unfortunately, more than execution. But I wouldn't mind if they stayed around and mixed things up with Grizz and Dot Com. How about a reverse on this week's plot? Grizz and Dot Com make Tracy miserable when they see how well Jenna treats her entourage. (Tina, give me a call if you want to use that. After, you know, the strike.)

5. Kenneth's Date Index Card Questions -- Oh, Kenneth. I used to think I wanted a House Elf, like Dobby, but without the awkward subservient thing, or the sock fetish. Someone to mix my Manhattans but still be my friend, you know? But now I think I'd rather have an NBC Page.


What Didn't:

1. Those Commercials -- Not a big fan of "The episode has started!" commercials, only to find out that it's a false alarm, and I'm being sold something. (American Express cards, and? I shut off my brain when the selling started.) Also, going from a commercial starring the "characters" on the show, followed by the show itself, followed by commercials where Tina is herself working on a show just like this one, is just a bit too meta, and if I can be honest, it cheapens the show. They walk a fine line already when they simultaneously mock / promote G.E. products, etc. The commercials steal the show's thunder, and if there is one thing I can't abide, it's stolen thunder.

Okay, fine. There are a lot of things I can't abide. Just add that to the list.

2. James Carville -- The obviousness of the Democrat dating a Republican parallel to Jack and C.C. disappoints. Maybe the set-up was meant to be a nod to the Truman Capote / Marshall McLuhan moments in Annie Hall, but James Carville? It would have been a lot more fun to have, say, Annette Bening show up as herself (and an old friend of C.C.'s) and pretend to be a raging Republican forced to keep her politics secret in order to stay married to Warren. The agony of her plight then drives C.C. to take action. (But I digress. Tina, call me. I've got plenty more good ideas!) Point being, there's not much of a joke to start with. And what was all that stuff about, "Do it Cajun style?" I clearly don't know enough about J.C. to get that... but for as many times as he made the comment? Whose fault is that?

3. Run-down Rivalry -- Three mistakes here. First, Liz not caring about the feud. It was funny for one joke, but it took steam out of that storyline. If she doesn't care, why should we? Second, running out of actual steam in the feud. Again, funny joke, but self-defeating. And there were soooo many ways it could have gone and sustained energy, like both of them suddenly getting dates while in their new persona, etc. Third, Mr. Carville's advice to, "Change your story." What do they pick? Josh's haircut? Weak.

That leads us to my last two nitpicks.

4. Josh Just... -- Standing there? Clearly it was his episode to add as little as possible. (Does the supporting cast draw straws as to who gets the two or three extra lines per episode? Or can they save up one line per show and cash them all in at once?) When Tracy rips off Jenna's dress, why doesn't Josh get to "save" her? Or, if he has to be the punching bag for Frank and Toofer, they pick on his haircut? Lame-o. Especially given Frank's mockable behavior over Jamie. This is what the writers gang up on?

5. Missed Opportunities -- Last week it was the whole "surge" thing. This week, "Change your story." Here's my beef: The political parody is good, but the pay-off's aren't big and funny and incisive. I either want more punch to them, or don't bother. And while we're at it, the whole Janet/Justin thing, with Jenna's dress being ripped off was a great set-up, and could have used a whole episode alone, with Tracy and Jenna having to deal with the repercussions of a black man ripping off a white woman's dress as "entertainment." Isn't that exactly the kind of story you would expect, given the premise of this show?

Okay, enough from me. What were your favorite moments and lines? And am I way off base, or right on target? Finally, guess who comes back next week! (No, really. Guess.)


Posted by Chad on December 7, 2007 2:16 AM
Permalink |






I'm looking forward to the Xmas ep with Elaine Stritch and NOTHING, I say, NOTHING will ever top Jack's One Man Therapy session with Tracy ("Oye, Papi, callete! Some people are trying to sleep up here!" "Shut up Mrs. Rodriguez!") CLASSIC!

Did I mention I LOVE ALEC BALDWIN?

I thought it was kind of funny that James Carvelle added "Cajun-style" after almost every sentence.

The "I'm black." line was funny as well as when Jack says, "Gentlemen - and token females..."

The Mr. Haircut thing was LAME.

-- Posted by: Connie at December 7, 2007 3:22 PM

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