Upon reflection, Liz Lemon has a ridiculous knack for attracting men doomed to disappoint her. Start with Dennis the Beeper King, who tried to push Lemon in front of an oncoming subway train. There was the Coffee Fetus with mother issues. Don’t forget about seasons 1’s Stephen Black (Wayne Brady), who seemed black in name only. Even sweet, non-confrontational Floyd fatefully chose the city of Cleveland rather than Lemon. So it was no surprise to Lemon that her latest admirer, corporate titan Gavin Volure (Steve Martin), appeared to be suffering from severe agoraphobia like a modern-day Howard Hughes. Par for the course.
Lemon deserves better, of course. Attractive, successful, honest to a fault, she says things we all have thought at one time or another: her potpourri/chips dilemma; her anxiety about an “away-toilet situation”; her desire to forgo the spontaneity of a new relationship for the stale comfort of an old couple, “when you don’t really have to try any more, and you can just sit around together and goof on TV shows, and then go to bed without anybody trying any funny business.” So when Gavin became smitten after hosting her (as well as his pal Jack and art buff/professional yeller John McEnroe) at his palatial mansion, Lemon’s first instinct was caution. But Jack could not have been more enthusiastic, suggesting she “work this thing like a Chinese gymnast: Wear something tight, force a smile, and lie about your age.” Star-struck himself, Jack admitted a hypothetical sexual desire for Gavin rivaling his “black thing” for Denzel, Michael Jordan, and Taye Diggs. Oh, and he also let slip that he had already told Gavin that Lemon used to have a thing for Jack. Lemon seemed to laugh it off like it was a bad joke, but it was the first time either one of them had directly acknowledged their occasionally simmering tension.
Jack’s blind faith in Gavin’s financial genius resulted in the stronger of the show’s two subplots. Not only did he contribute a healthy amount to Gavin’s vague new endeavor — “Wind power, bandwidth, Chinese market” — but he guaranteed cash-starved Kenneth a windfall if he invested all of his non-Confederate money. “Next stop, home ownership,” promised Jack, before leveling with Kenneth. “Just kidding. The middle class is dying. You’ll be renting forever.” (Funny, but Ouch. Too close to home, 30 Rock.) Jack suffered immediate karmic retribution for his callous remark when he learned that Gavin had swindled them both. Kenneth handled the loss better than Jack, spinning the line of the night: “We Parcells have eaten our fair share of rock soup and squirrel tail. But we’ve also known lean times.”
NEXT: Yes, Hornberger!