Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Funny Stuff: 30 Rock(1/24&1/31)

Ok, I am going to try a new format, so I don’t get posts that are six pages long.  Today, I have for you the last three episodes of 30 Rock, which went out with a bang on Thursday, January 31.

A Goon’s Deed in a Lonely World

This episode aired on 1/24/12, and we opened with the reminder that TGS is cancelled, and everyone is moving on.

Liz is having a slight panic attack in a dream, but wakes up to Criss letting her know that the twins are coming in five days, and so she has to get ready for them coming, first by watching all the Treme on her Tivo.  When she finally gets to work, Jack tells her that to get TGS uncancelled, it has to cost NBC exactly zero dollars.  She goes to the gang to try to get them to help, but no one really cares at all, and just expects Liz to do it.   Liz has to blow off Criss when he is trampoline shopping for the kids to get the show off the ground for the ‘save the show’ show. 

She sends Tracy and Jenna to do press, where they realize without the show, they are going to fall into obscurity, so they come up with their newest plan: a movie about Siamese twins(them) that are the president and Santa Claus, who are in love with Elvira.  As you do.

Liz has a meltdown, obviously, because everything is exploding, but when the show finally is about to start, Tracy is on stage, quitting.  Jenna, and then the rest of the cast, follow suit, which is really fortuitous for Liz:  The adoption agency mixed up the arrival date, and the twins are coming, like, now.  Liz and Criss run through the airport to get to the kids, and they are mini-clones of Tracy and Jenna.  Of course.  But it is super cute, and a pretty amazing ending
Jack and Kenneth also have a big job on their plates: finding a new president for NBC.  Jack exposits that they are going on a tour as a secret final interview.  Kenneth immediately jumps to the Willy Wonka analogy, and the show obliges by having caricatures of the Willy Wonka characters as adults show up.  Kenneth pulls a Slugworth, and figures out the Charlie character is the one he wants to get the job, but Jack wants him too.  Uh ohh.  Turns out, Charlie wants to scrap out the network and sell it for parts.   Kenneth tries to get Jack to see that Charlie wouldn’t be the right guy for the job, and Jack likens Charlie to himself: “Was I the right guy for the job, Kenneth?”  And Kenneth flat out say he wasn’t.  Oh, snap.

Later, Kenneth is in Jack’s office, resigning from the page program(again), when Jack realizes something:  Kenneth is perfect for the job of NBC president, and gives the job to him.  Aww.

This was a solid episode, very tight with lots of sight and running gags.  I love that they started the process of happy endings for everyone, even Kenneth.

I did get a couple funny lines, too:

Criss and Liz, trying to figure out how big an 8 year-old’s head is: “It’s like basketball sized…but not a normal one, one of those that you get at the fair!”  “You’re describing a bowling ball!”
Pete, when Liz asks him to cut the budget like he’s never cut it before: “My whole life has been building to the moment…has it really?  Oh god.”
Kenneth, when Jack goes on about the ruthlessness of television: “No, it’s a magical ruth-filled business!”
Tracy, on when his Siamese twins movie is coming out: “The movie comes out 13.13.13, which is January 13, 2014!”

Hogcock!/Last Lunch

And now, we get the two part series finale, which aired on January 31.

Liz and Criss open the show with a sweet little family moment of getting everyone out the door for school and work.  Everyone, that is, except Liz, who doesn’t have work anymore, so she gets in fights on mom message boards with the crazies who lurk there.  One of the other moms wants to throw down at a park, so she heads out to meet her.  Turns out, though, that Criss was the other woman with amazing cheekbones, which, yeah.  Oh, and whoops.  They talk it out, and realize that Liz is the dude in the relationship, and Criss should be the stay at home parent.  Liz just needs to come up with a show to pitch to Kenneth that will meet his exacting standards…

She goes to pitch a show called ‘Hardley Working,” but Kenneth passes immediately.  He does, however, have another option for her:  one final episode of the TGS show, since NBC is contractually obligated to produce 150 episodes due to stipulations in Tracy’s contract.  She’s not happy, but she heads out to start on it. 

Jenna and Tracy are working through their issues, which mostly involve leaving the show.  Jenna is terribly upset that everyone is ignoring her, and makes several grand exits to various new options, with copious insults thrown in.  She first does a guest role on Law and Order:SVU, but when she’s dead the whole time, she quits.  She then tries movies, but that’s a huge bust too, seeing as she’s kind of…old for LA.  She finally makes her way to Broadway.  A musical adaptation of her movie The Rural Juror, in fact.  Kenneth asks her to sing for the final show, and she terribly excited, but when she previews the song for Kenneth, he is not impressed.  He wants her to show real emotion, since this is really good bye, but that just leaves Jenna confused.  How can she miss anyone from the show when she’s the only one who works there?   But Kenneth has her number:  he takes away her mirror, and Jenna gets all emotional about the show ending.  Aww.

Tracy, on the other hand, is sad, but is a bit slow on the uptake that it’s because all his friends are leaving him.  Aww.   He and Kenneth talk, and Tracy releases him from a promise Kenneth made.  I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I’m guessing that’s a season one call back.  Of course, though, Tracy has Kenneth do a whole bunch of things for him anyway, but as friends.  

Jack is settling into his role as CEO of Kabletown, but when Liz visits, she brings out the fact that he isn’t really happy, even though he’s the king of the town capitalism built.  Jack decides to use the Six Sigma Wheel of Domination to dominate his happiness, and fills in the pie with things like philanthropy, faith, work, hobbies, and hair.  He has a montage of all these things, including kicking a sensei’s butt in karate, singing with a gospel choir, and winning at work stuff.  But Kenneth calls him on the fact that he doesn’t actually smile, and therefore can’t be that happy.  When Liz stops by to ask for a job, he informs her he can’t do anything for her, since he quit an hour ago.  They get in this long, drawn-out argument over how they ruined each other, but it’s fun due to all the call backs(night cheese!).  Jack ends up staring out a window pensively.

After an emotional talk with Jenna bout his argument with Liz, Jack goes to the studio and gives a heartfelt goodbye speech to people I can only assume are actual crew members of 30 Rock, seeing as none of them could keep a straight face.

When the whole crew is back getting ready to make the final episode, Liz and Pete are on full alert, waiting for Tracy to try to mess up the show somehow.  He starts by being incredibly slow(the credits start rolling for the halfway mark and everything) but Liz shuts that business DOWN.  He then gets Al Roker to say that a Snowicane is coming, but Liz sees through that too.   Finally, Tracy does the obvious thing, and vanishes, but Liz figures out where he is when DotCom gets less money than Grizz does, and spills the beans.  She finds him in a strip club, and asks what he’s thinking, since leaving puts him in breech, and he won’t get the money anyway.  Doesn’t he want to let everyone say goodbye, after all?  That’s just it, though: Tracy doesn’t want to say good bye, and wouldn’t know how even if he did.  Liz lays down the truth for him:  they’ll have fond memories of the time they worked together, but they probably won’t see each other again, because they are two completely different people.  Tracy is actually comforted by this, and agrees to come and finish the show.

The writing staff also gets back together to write the final episode, with the first order of business being who gets to pick where to get their final free lunch.  Turns out it is Lutz’s turn, and he wants Blimpies.  Everyone else is completely against it, and they have multiple plans to thwart his decision, but Lutz bests them at every turn.  That is, until Liz locks him in a closet and chooses sushi and cake.  Too bad that crafty Lutz snuck out in the ceiling, and managed to crash down on the table of freshly delivered food, leaving the crew to eat Blimpies.

When the show finally is ready to air, Liz can’t find Jack anywhere, even though she has a seat reserved for him.  She runs to his office, and finds a tape there, where he exposits that he was super sad Liz wouldn’t forgive him, and therefore is going to go away.  She runs to the marina where his plans have coalesced:  he jumps over the side, and Liz runs to go see.  Turns out, he jumped onto a boat he purchased to find himself.  He and Liz have a good talk about their relationship, and they say they love each other in a purely platonic way.  Jack then takes off in his boat, only to turn around almost immediately with the best idea he’s ever had: clear dishwashers.  Brilliant.

Oh, and Pete lays the seeds for faking his own death through the episode, and then actually does, making his way to South Carolina to be a different person.  It was strange.

We do get a one year later, and it is super sweet:

Pete, in his new life, is discovered by his wife and forcibly taken home.
Liz and Grizz are working on his new show, Grizz and Hers, with Liz and Criss still enjoying the hell out of their kids.
Jenna tries to steal a Tony, but the real winner claims it after a few seconds.
Tracy’s dad finally came back from getting cigarettes.
Jack is back at GE, and he has a hot second assistant.
And finally, Kenneth is immortal, and in the far away future, Liz’s great granddaughter pitches an idea to him for a TV show about Liz’s life.  Aww, for the hundredth time this episode.

This was such an amazing way to end this show’s run.  Crazy character antics that don’t seem out of character?  Check.  Amazing sight gags that need to be seen to be believed? Check.  Emotional storytelling with none of the schmaltz?  Check, check and triple check.  I know not a ton of people watched this show, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why.  It is amazing, and everyone should get the opportunity to be witness to something as heartfelt, creative, and funny as this show.

Oh, and I apologize this review is kind of all over the place, the storylines kept on weaving around, and it was hard to keep everything in a coherent format on my end without resorting to recapping scene by scene.  ANYway.

To end, a few more funny lines:
Jack and Liz, on Liz’s morning schedule: “I ran for 30 minutes!”  “Does that include dry heaving?”  “And wet…”
Jack, when Liz says something ridiculous: “Hogcock!
Jenna, as she leaves for Broadway: "Goodbye, you Eastern European knock off Mr. Potato Heads!" 

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