30 Rock recap: Wakeup Calls
Joe DiMaggio eventually went hitless. Tom Hanks made Turner & Hooch. Julia Roberts married Lyle Lovett. Even the great ones have the occasional hiccup, so I hope you’ll forgive me when I say that last night’s episode of 30 Rock was nothing more than…eh.
The show seemed a little off kilter from the beginning, when they swapped the cold opening for a traditional credit sequence. This might just be the hill-people milk talking, but the rest of the episode seemed surprisingly disjointed and perhaps overly preoccupied with setting the table for next week’s season finale.
Picking up from last week’s corporate shakeup, Jack kept a bedside vigil for comatose CEO Don Geiss, whose slack-jawed daughter is directing the company in his absence. Demoted and banished to the Island of Misfit Toys that is the 12th floor, Jack has never appeared so flustered. After 22 years at the ”Cindy Crawford of corporations,” the thought of switching to ”some skank like 3M” was simply unconscionable. But as his desperation grew, as he wandered the snowy streets of Chelsea and threatened a vegetative Geiss with a Hillary presidency, Jack couldn’t help but ponder the hospital orderly’s eerie pronouncement: ”It is time to leave GE.” But where else could he possibly work for an incompetent executive who’s really just a puppet for the real power behind the throne?
Liz Lemon was equally eager to regain something she lost: Floyd. She hadn’t seen her ex since he left for Cleveland, and their last contact was preempted by some ”Rust Belt tramp” (I personally prefer ”cornpone tranny”) who answered his phone. Clearly, Liz Lemon still has strong feelings for Floyd, who asked to crash at her place after his flight stranded him in New York. And why not? He’s not the coffee boy. He doesn’t live with his Liz-clone mom. And he’s not a beeper salesman. One week after demonstrating the mettle of a young Leona Helmsley, it was nice to see Liz Lemon asserting herself romantically as well. ”For once I am not going to be Jan Brady,” she vowed. ”I’m going to be Marcia, dammit.”
The Brady reference was astute, which in clinical Seinfeld parlance basically means that Liz Lemon is a two-face. In the right light, with a tight, low-cut dress, she’s totally a Marcia. But the morning after, with a mouth guard and a Band-Aid in her hair, she is, in Floyd’s words, a crone. When their promising flirtations went south, Floyd revealed a dark side we never saw before he left for Cleveland, a city still pining for its first IKEA. He lied, using ”Ghostbusters for evil” in order to escape a serious relationship discussion, and when pressed, he admitted he’s quite the man about town: ”I’m single. I’m a lawyer. I wear nice coats. I am the Michael Clayton of Cleveland.” Poor Liz Lemon. She risked airport security and wolfed down her Teamster sub for Floyd. Can he be trusted at all now? I have my doubts Floyd ever got on the plane at the end. Might he still be chilling in Terminal C?
NEXT: Take my panties, please
The whole Teamster subplot didn’t really cut the mustard, although it did provide a showcase for Jenna, whose decades of boozing come in handy for a drinking contest against a burly Teamster (Brian Dennehy). Jenna’s checkered romantic history is an often overlooked source of amusement, so when she crassly reminded Liz Lemon to hand Floyd her underwear after she goes to the bathroom, or shared that she used to pound at her boyfriend’s frat party — when she was 12 — well, maybe Sandwich Day does have a redeeming purpose after all.
Where to from here? Clearly, Jack’s not going to leave GE to become President Bush’s Homeland Security Director for Crisis and Weather Management, is he? True, it would bring him closer to C.C., and I’m sure he’d do a heckuva job. But as long as Geiss has a pulse, I expect to find Jack by his side, reading him capitalistic tomes and plotting his restoration. As for Liz Lemon, my curiosity isn’t whether she’s pregnant or not, but who was in the position to make that scenario even possible. The Beeper King? (Please, please tell me it’s the Beeper King.) The Coffee Fetus? Grizz? Don’t forget they made out at Kenneth’s wild party. Devon Banks? What else did that elevator surveillance camera record?
So am I way off about last night’s episode being a weak link? Did the subtle environmental references make you nostalgic for Greenzo? And what exactly does ”No Nut Food” mean?
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.