'30 Rock' is 100! Tom Hanks comes to celebrate!
30 Rock is already so jam-packed full of jokes, and that’s just the usual 30-minute episode. It’s TV’s version of sardines in a can. So a full hour of 30 Rock?! Buckle up, nerds. This is gonna be a long one.
TGS, like 30 Rock, was conveniently celebrating its 100th episode. Unfortunately, the show sucked. And without Tracy, it sucked even worse. And despite the fact that TGS finally made Wikipedia last week, Hank Hooper laid down the law and gave this ultimatum—deliver an epic 100th episode with Tracy Jordan, or the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad show would get canceled. And as much as Frank’s little “I Give Up” hat seemed to say about the task at hand, Elizabeth Lemon vowed to make TGS a success: It will not be the worst thing on TV tonight! That’s a spot reserved for John Stossel.
But a dangerous gas leak in the building brought everything to screeching
halt mess. As the janitor pointed out, the leak was pretty bad. (Foreshadowing!) Prolonged exposure would surely cause incapacitation or death. Other possible side effects included hallucination, revelation of secrets, telling of truths, flashbacks, headaches, and nostalgia. All perfect side effects and elements to include in a special hour-long episode of your favorite show. Most of the crew evacuated the building to avoid the harmful side effects, but the damage had already been done….
Liz called up Dennis and left a gas-induced voicemail. He broke out his Zack Morris cellphone and speakers to confirm that she did leave him a message and show that deep down she wanted to be with him. He knew one day she’d be vulnerable from a gas leak, coma, or super period and admit her true feelings. And thanks to her ongoing fight with Jack about being better off without each other, she almost made another huge Dennis-related mistake by singing a lease with him.
Jack started running into several alternate-universe Jacks. First was Jack “CEO of GE” Donaghy. He was there to point out that Lemon had become his focus at the expense of his ambition. He was only supposed to be in TV a few months, and here he is five years later helping a woman who threw a birthday party for her TV! That made Jack feel like the American auto industry. You can’t fix a [L]emon. Next, an ’80s version of Jack showed up, in a tuxedo no less. “It’s after six. What are we? Farmers.” Two Jacks, one message. Fire Liz Lemon. But Future Jack came in to save the day. (And show us how funny/awesome Alec Baldwin looks with long, white hair.) He convinced real-time Jack that business isn’t everything. Although the thought of a house with lots of glass was surely tempting, Jack chose to save his friendship with Lemon.
Tracy Jordan was ready to leave show business for good because he was getting too much respect from people. Even Lemon’s plan to destroy all his good will on the morning shows didn’t work. Rachel Ray said he was still in character when he told her to back that ass up and make him a sandwich. Regis and Kelly loved his honesty about watching vintage porn. And Matt Lauer just thought he was brave. So she told him to take it to the streets like Michael McDonald. That definitely backfired because he ended up saving a drowning man and riding in a limo with Bono. Even a strip club and a play from Don Imus’ book didn’t work. The next best thing would be for Tracy to murder someone. It was a completely logical plan. Off to the roof they went to off Kenneth.
Jenna dealt with some serious motherhood issues. After the first TGS, she told Kenneth that if the show made it to 100 episodes she would have his baby. Kenneth told her she’d make a wonderful mother—every other person on planet Earth disagreed—but thinking it might be her last chance, she was prepared to make good on her promise to Kenneth. (Plus, who could resist the opportunity to see her in a magazine next to a pregnant Natalie Portman?) By the time she figured it might be a good career move, she had talked her into a hysterical pregnancy. (Or in this case, Jane Krakowski’s real pregnancy hidden in plain sight. And as luck would have it, she had that baby yesterday!) Jenna even came up with baby names for her offspring, Frisbee Face and Glock Gender Irrelevant. When Hank Hooper stepped in and basically offered her a talk show, she realized that a new show could become her baby. She’s “not going to be held back by some uterus turd.” And voila! Her hysterical pregnancy disappeared!
With Lemon and Jack’s relationship on the mend, they went to stop Tracy from shooting Kenneth on the top of 30 Rock. (I wonder if they had to pay like the rest of us mere mortals do to visit the Top of the Rock?) Anyway, once Tracy realized how much paperwork he would inadvertently cause Jack to complete if he (accurately) pulled the trigger, he decided murder wasn’t the best solution after all. This, of course, was after a brilliant monologue delivered by Jack about television: “Do TV and no one will ever take you seriously again… Want to hit rock bottom again? Go on network television.” That speech alone is a great example of why I love 30 Rock so freaking much. Jack Donaghy ragging on the career of Alec Baldwin? Gold.
They made it to the TGS stage just in time to realize that the entire show had been written during the gas leak. But that’s not a problem for Elizabeth Lemon! All she had to do was break the pipe again to get the audience high. It worked, and Hank Hooper renewed the show. (NBC, take note.)
And in perhaps one of my favorite 30 Rock moments of all time (but I’m biased) Tom Hanks appeared as the leader of the A-list Actors, complete with a red emergency phone. He called George Clooney with an “actor emergency.” Tracy Jordan was doing TV again, and just like Jack predicted, it wasn’t going to be good. “Take him off the official A-list…I don’t have the password…[Brad] Pitt’s our web master…Well then wake him up!” (Also, Hanks was knitting and singing this song. Perfection.)
Other “100” highlights:
++ TGS may be bad, but it’s the No. 1 show for 18-49 months left in prison.
++ “Pam: The overly confident morbidly obese woman” which has been used 107 times in 100 episodes of TGS. (Also, a fantastic pregnancy cover up for Jane Krakowski.)
++ I love that they acknowledged that Danny wasn’t always the “other guy” on the show. And I totally giggled (yes, giggled) loudly when he sang his song about memories and the flashbacks were of Josh instead of him.
++ Farm aid. Is it a drink? Is it a drug? Is it a bandage you put on a barn? –Tracy, who else?
++ “What? Flashback, please!” –Lemon after learning Jack wanted to fire her a long time ago
++ Jenna: “You’re back!” Tracy: “Yeah this is my front. Thanks for setting me up with another classic quote.”
++ “That’s crazy! A man named Elia [Kazan]. That’s a giraffe’s name.” –Tracy
++ Lemon’s definition of a strip club: A place you can eat buffet ribs while someone’s daughter shakes her crack at you.
++ Pete’s Serene Branson moment when Dr. Spaceman checked him out. (Yeah, I feel bad for laughing. But I couldn’t help it. Don’t judge.)
++ “That’s redundant. All pregnancies are hysterical. They’re started by penises.” –Dr. Spaceman
++ The episode’s tag where they imagine where they’ll be in five years. Both Tracy and Jenna apparently die on the same day, March 17, 2016. And it says Kenneth is dead. But he’s clearly not. Also, his birthdate was Feb. 24, 1781.
What did you think of episode 100? I thought it sucked. OPPOSITE. Did it live up to your expectations? (For me, yes!) Or did it fall short? Share your thoughts and favorite moments in the comments. I had nine pages of notes that I cut down, so I know I’m missing some good stuff.
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.