Meeting your heroes can be a dream come true. Or career threatening. Just ask Liz Lemon, who befriended and foolishly hired her childhood heroine in this week’s episode. Rosemary Howard (Carrie Fisher), a trailblazing comedy writer, seemed perfectly normal at first, when Lemon approached her at a book signing like a heavy-breathing stalker. But Rosemary turned out to be as frighteningly loco as a Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. By the time Lemon came to her senses, Rosemary’s old-school politics and take-no-prisoners personality had cost them both their jobs.
Jack planted the seed for Lemon’s dalliance with defiance when he awarded her the GE Followship Award. That’s ”followship” — not ”fellowship” — honoring the employee who really sucked up to the company. The $10,000 award cushioned the blow — it practically doubled Lemon’s meager life savings — but made her much more susceptible to Rosemary’s subversive brand of Laugh-In era humor. Only when Rosemary brought a dejected Lemon back to her Little Chechnya apartment to work on their screenplay about a bunch of middle-age women on spring break did Lemon suddenly realize she was five minutes from being James Caan in Misery. As Jack later told a reinstated Lemon, ”Never go with a hippie to a second location.” Said the man who cracked heads at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.
Jack inadvertently provoked Tracy towards rebellion as well, joking that the only crime a celebrity can’t get away with these days is dog fighting. Tracy’s unresolved daddy issues pushed him to attempt just that, but fortunately, before he could put his new basement dog-fighting pit to use, Jack interceded and advised therapy. ”I don’t need therapy,” protested Tracy. ”I’m just mentally ill.” There was one other great line where Tracy mentioned he regretted starring in that 227 movie, New Jackée City, but the role-play therapy, in which Jack channeled Redd Foxx, Jimmie Walker, and other ’70s black TV characters, felt lazy. For an ascending show with fresh ideas, his imitations reeked of stale sitcom. Maybe this was the show’s indirect way of talking about race, which Rosemary had previously urged in a more bellicose manner — mix blackface with the N-word. But if so, they need to watch a little Sarah Silverman to see how it’s done. Why is a show that is provocative enough to call a character who’s black and a Harvard grad Toofer toning things down? Am I being too hard on 30 Rock here? Is this simply the difference between NBC prime time and Comedy Central?
Fortunately, Kenneth and Jenna propped up the last act. Apparently the Japanese porn-star paper diet worked because Jenna’s excess pizza weight is sadly gone. Last week’s surprising hook-up is also a faint memory. But when Jenna accidentally burned Kenneth’s NBC-page jacket, she gave surly über-page Donne Lawson, the King of Sting (Upright Citizens Brigade’s Paul Scheer), the reason he’d been craving to exile Kenneth to CNBC’s Paramus, N.J., headquarters. Jenna’s female charm is useless on Donne, a man who was breast-fed until age 11. Only a ”page-off” can salvage Kenneth’s job. That’s right, a page-off: a savage contest of physical stamina and NBC trivia. (I knew Cliff Clavin originally appeared in 1975’sSuperComputer!) Pete interrupted and dispersed the bloodthirsty crowd of pages before any blood could be spilled, but I want to know more about this part Fight Club, part Festivus ritual.
What say you, TV Watchers? Do you want Donne back to harass Kenneth? And what was Jack thinking at the end, doubling up on the red wine? (It will make his heart explode!) Did anyone else feel like Tracy’s therapy was weak? And can Lemon get her groove back, or has she sold her soul to GE?