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30 Rock Fodder

30 Rock: "Dealbreakers Talk Show No. 0001" Review

Greeters, Rockers.

In the last episode, Dealbreakers Episode #0001, we almost get to see Liz's dream of her own talk show come true.


In the end, though, we do get treated to some rather zippy, pop-culture smothered writing, which is what 30 Rock does best. The apparent theme of this episode: Role-reversals, and trying to be something you're not.

The main plot thread of this episode, of course, deals with Liz trying not to be awkward. We see Lemon transformed from annoyed, uncomfortable-in-her-own skin showrunner to annoying, still-uncomfortable-in-her-own-skin star. It was a nice chance for Tina Fey to take a walk in Jane Krakowski's crazy shoes. She didn't attempt to do an impersonation of Jenna, which would've been a bit too on-the-nose, but frankly her version of crazy was better than Krakowski's. (The difference may have been that Liz was newly-nuts, whereas Jenna has already been there for a long, long time.)

After Jack shows Liz her new studio (home to many great moments in NBC history, like To Catch a Predator, the XFL Halftime show, and broken copier equipment), she starts to go into "star" mode. Jack unfortunately makes the mistake of suggesting maybe she ditch the glasses--in the hopes of making her look more starlike. (Liz says her eyeballs are too "pointy" for contacts; I laugh out loud.)

But what Jack doesn't realize is that he has created a monster. As Jenna points out, in one of her unusual turns as "answer Jenna", Jack has created two Lizzes: Writer Liz, and Performer Liz. And I have to say, Performer Liz was hilarious. Shooting the opening titles for Dealbreakers had me roffling all over. ("Wave like a human being!", "Smile. With your mouth!")

Of course, this new Liz doesn't last. As is customary for these kinds of shows, things more or less go back to normal by the end. Her LASIG ("Hmm...curious," says Dr. Spaceman) treatment evidently doesn't last, as she has to go back to using her glasses in the last scene. And Dealbreakers seems to finally be done. Jack says it wasn't a total bust, as he sold the opening credits. From now on, anytime there's a TV on in the background of a Shinehart/Universal program, it will be showing Dealbreakers. (This is proved during the closing credits, as Liz sits watching an NBC daytime drama--anyone know which one?--and sure enough, there she is, all akimbo like Elaine Benes. Liz is grinning proudly, even as one of the characters on the show says, "This is disturbing.")

As for the rest of the show, we saw Frank get turned into Liz when he's tapped to take over head writer duties, and Tracy tries to become and e-gotter to impress his wife. (This was a good week for impressions: Judah Freidlander turned in a pretty good performance as Tina Fey's Lemon; on The Office we were treated to Rainn Wilson's spot-on impressions of the characters Kevin, Stanley, and Toby; and on Dollhouse we saw Enver Gjokaj--a.k.a Victor--deliver an incredibly accurate portrayal of Fran Kranz's Topher Brink. Did anyone else out there see that? I was cracking up. He should get an Emmy just for that. Sadly, they haven't asked me to help pick out the Emmy winners since I gave it to Burt Reynolds for Evening Shade.)

Some other standout moments in the episode: Banks! Even if he was only there for one scene. Moronsayswhat?; Dr. Spaceman! I always love it when that guy shows up. As long as they never explain anything about him or why he is so terrible at his job, I say, More Spaceman!; HD Camera gag during the Dealbreakers Title shoot. Pete is an old guy, Kenneth is a Muppet (of course), and Jack is...wait for it...young Alec Baldwin! What a mind blower. That was so cool I had to go back and watch it again. Alec Baldwin has changed so much since his younger days that it was nice to see a little nod to him. (Anyone know what movie that was from?); Liz channeling Gollum while talking to herself in the mirror (albeit with a Christian Bale-as-Batman voice, but whatever).

No "Things You Might Have Missed" this week, but I do have some questions for you. Post your answers in the comments section below.

1. When Tracy is recording his song, with all the most popular styles of music played at once, there are a lot of musicians there. Does anyone know who they all are? I'm assuming there are some cameos in there, since on 30 Rock, if there's more than four people in a room the odds are that one of them is someone famous.

2.Whoopi Goldberg tells Tracy that she is the reason Arlen Specter had to change parties. "You invented the Super Majority?" Tracy says in disbelief. As someone who doesn't know much about politics, this reference was a bit lost on me. Sure, I could look up the answer on the Internet, but I would much rather have tell me what it means and chastise me for being so ignorant. (That's what the Internet is for, after all.)

3.Finally: Jack tells Liz that things are so bad, the audience is listening to Kenneth tell cleaned-up versions of Garrison Keillor stories. Just from a quick look online I've found Keillor is both a radio host for NPR, and looks like Dwight Schrute. What about this joke is funny? Anything? (Usually when there is some joke involving some reference that I don't get, it either means it's wickedly funny and intelligent, or completely dumb.)

So...what say you? What were your favorite moments? Do you think Dealbreakers will still rear it's ugly (especially in HD) head?

And how do you think the depiction of NBC will change on the show now that GE is selling NBC?

Tags: Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, jane krakowski, tina_fey, Tracy Morgan
Posted by Bobby Bierley on December 6, 2009 10:48 PM
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