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30 Rock Fodder

30 Rock: "The Natural Order"

Jane-Krakowski.jpg Besides Jenna dressing a monkey like a human, which hasn't been funny since second grade, and Jack reminiscing about the day his father walked out on his mom and him, which is also rarely a point of humor in any context, there was even less to laugh about in this episode: After Tracy comes to work late without his lines memorized yet again, Liz accuses him of getting special treatment for being a celebrity. Tracy plays the race card (literally--and it's one of the few laugh-out-loud gags in the episode), and accuses Liz of being prejudiced. I don't see the connection here, frankly. Tracy DOES get special treatment, for some reason. I haven't figured out if it's because he's a big star--I mean, he's still just working on a sketch comedy show--or if it's because he's simply so crazy that nobody wants to risk making him mad. In any event, I've never thought his race had anything to do with it. What makes even less sense is when Tracy decides to give Liz her own medicine; if she's going to demand equal treatment for him, he's going to demand the same for her. Evidently that means treating her like a man: forcing her to lift heavy things, making her go to stripper-filled bachelor parties, farting in front of her, etc. This premise is so incredibly ridiculous I couldn't even find any humor in it. And this is 30 Rock. We've had Oprah hallucinations, Steve Martin as a wealthy recluse, Jack Donaghy rewriting a telenovela where the main character looks like him in order to win over his mother-in-law's affections--some of the most ridiculous premises on TV. But this one hit a new low, I think. Maybe the writers were completely aware of how ridiculous and nonsensical they were being, and therein were trying to make some commentary about the absurdity of "equality movements" in todays society, movements whose initial goals were noble but who lost the thread somewhere along the way, and became controversial for controversy's sake. Last week I talked about the fallacy of women reaching for equality with men by acting like them, and that's exactly what Liz was forced to do this week. Were the writers simply trying to be funny, or were they actually being clever? Either way, I don't think it worked. I laughed less during "The Natural Order" than I did during any episode this season. In fact, I might even consider it one of the worst episodes of the series, simply for the sour taste it left it my mouth. Hopefully next week will wash it down nicely.


Posted by Bobby Bierley on May 3, 2009 3:29 PM
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