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30 Rock recap: The Mad Hatter

While Liz tries to warn Jack away from her crazy friend Claire (Jennifer Aniston), Tracy tries to fulfill Kenneth’s dream of a Night Court wedding

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30 Rock
Nicole Rivelli/NBC

30 Rock

TV Show
Current Status:
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski

As NBC’s Earth Day mascot, the wry, wise, yet sexual Greenzo, David Schwimmer set the ex-Friends wack-job-on30 Rock bar pretty high. But as Liz Lemon’s fun-loving Chicago pal, Claire, Jennifer Aniston truly was, as Lemon’s sloppy penmanship conveyed, “crazy putty.” She designed loathsome hats that even Carrie Bradshaw couldn’t pull off, and sucked helpless horndog Jack into all her lunacy. Advantage, Rachel.

But Aniston wasn’t the only former NBC star fulfilling their network-mandated community service for higher ratings. As Kenneth proudly proclaimed, the show “finally [gave] America what it wants: a reunion of Friends…from Night Court.” The network itself actually set events in motion when they unilaterally updated the pages’ blazers. For Kenneth, that old blazer is part of who he is, so he was livid about the new uniform. Lemon was of no help, but Tracy sensed Kenneth’s malaise when he noticed his sorry “wife eyes.” The page without his traditional blazer was “like an owl without a graduation cap. Heartbreaking.” Rather than pee on someone, Tracy gathered Harry Anderson, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson so that superfan Kenneth could finally have the satisfying finale that Night Court never delivered.

Meanwhile, Lemon and Jenna had mixed feelings about Claire coming into town. Sure, they had fun karaokeing at Boystown back in the day, but Lemon seemed to hold a grudge against Claire for stealing Joel, an ex-boyfriend who ran a small but prestigious clowning academy. Why else did Lemon slam her as a “human Macarena: something everyone did at parties in 1996”? I find it hard to believe that narcissistic Jenna and thrill-seeking Claire were ever friends at all. In fact, I can confidently assume that Jenna dated O.J. Simpson simply to one-up Claire when she was hanging with hoopster Scottie Pippen.

Jack, however, was powerless against Claire’s charms. As he confided to Lemon after giving Claire directions to the F-train, “Emotionally unstable women are fantastic in the sack. Their self-loathing translates into…never mind.” (Somewhere in Washington, C.C. Cunningham winced.) Even after she stalked and serenaded him at Mi-Ow’s fundraiser for her fundraising foundation, and introduced the idea of a threesome with Lemon, Jack still couldn’t pull himself away. “She is like a drug. I crave her all the time, even though she’s bad for me,” admitted Jack. “And my teeth are getting loose.” Lemon tried an intervention, tempting Claire with a girls’ night out and tales of late-night hookups at Chili’s. “I met this smoking guy,” Lemon lied. “He was wearing this shirt, and I could totally see his nips.” Her sad boasts of an imaginary fella giving her “the business” at his loft dwarfed Kenneth’s infamous season 2 attempt to sweet-talk Tracy’s then-separated wife. Jack was on his own, and like most junkies, he needed to hit rock bottom — which he did once Claire literally proved herself to be “grab-a-cop’s-gun crazy.” Poor Jack landed in real night court.

NEXT: Guest-star fatigue?