The staff engages in a circle-jerk of therapy; Tracy's "son" returns

By Annie Barrett
December 03, 2010 at 04:59 AM EST
Ali Goldstein/NBC
S5 E9
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Ack! I really wasn’t into this week’s 30 Rock, aptly titled “A Chain of Mental Anguish.” I am as shocked as you are. Oh, well. It happens! Rarely, but it happens. I’m pretty sure the way Tracy’s “son” Donald dominated the very first scene just cast a pallor on the whole thing for me. I can’t stand that guy. He’s too much. And I know that’s the whole point of him, but…still. No thanks. My favorite scene by far was the tag at the end, when one of the unlicensed Japanese monsters from Staples (Donald’s new chain restaurant in Times Square), unleashed a series of regrets on an egg salad-munching Lemon that basically mirrored her own life. “I should have moved to Cleveland with that guy when I had the chance!” So awesomely tragic.

As Lemon, Kenneth, and Jack engaged in a chain reaction of cheap, insurance-friendly therapy, everyone’s haunting childhood memories came pouring out. Lemon’s food and trust issues stem from a disturbing spaghetti-and-eggs dish her aunt foisted upon her when she was just a little boy. Kenneth, jolted by his patient’s repetition of the name Harold, then shared with Jack the story of Harold the pig. “I ate my father pig!” squealed the page with no brain pan. But Jack told him to take heart: Maybe his father pig died so that Kenneth could be where he is today. “You are the lowest-level employee at the last-place network in America!” Jack assured him. (I loved his emphasis on America there.) All the daddy talk prompted Jack to have a change of heart about whether Tracy should continue to support a man two years older than him who claims to be his son. Parents should believe in their children, unlike his father Jimmy Donaghy, who ridiculed his science-geek son (!!!) for mispronouncing key terms. The best part about all of this was when Jack offhandedly revealed he’d once been the proud owner of a shell collection. SO HAD LEMON. Well, rock collection that she was excited to preserve with her old dad’s liquor, but still. Nerds! I really missed the usual hearty helping of Lemon/Jack time this week.

Meanwhile, Jenna and Paul (guest star Will Forte), the drag version of herself whom she’d been dating for six months, were at an impasse. Jenna wanted to leak a sex tape on the internet and visit a sex resort in Japan where white people are treated like slaves (of course she did), but all Paul wanted to do was take her home to Ohio for the holidays. He didn’t understand why they couldn’t just paint each other’s toenails, watch vintage pornography, and go to bed in their swing like a normal couple. “Adopting a dog so it can watch us make love, and then returning it, complaining it bit our imaginary child, is more than enough for me,” claimed Paul. That is a lot! Perhaps their split was for the best….though I would personally not trust Jenna to fairly divide up their panties.

NEXT: My top 10 quotes, even though every 30 Rock episode is like one big quote.

My 10 Favorite Lines/Moments from 30 Rock‘s “Chain Reaction of Mental Anguish”

10. Big reveal: In high school, Lemon dated a girl who dressed as a guy to get a journalism scholarship! (I suddenly thought of that time a lady admired baby Lemon in her stroller during a previous flashback: “Oh, my! What an adorable little lesbian.”)

9. “Is it recurring if you wake yourself up with a [HUGE SNORT] and then return to it?” –Lemon on dreams

8. “Proteins give energy…to heroes who turn in Communists!” –Jack, a living orgasm. I mean, orgasm!

7. Lemon’s sympathetic look when Jack admitted “I’m tired of talking this much to a woman I’m not having sex with.”

6. “We are not sharks. We are legless turtles, rotting on the beach.” –Lemon’s assessment of her relationship with Carol

5. “That’s what I call my wallet.” –Tracy to Jack, who wondered who the phantom investors Brown and Folderson were

4. “I know it means this conversation is disgusting.” –Jack to Lemon, who wondered if he knew what it meant that she was chewing a ton of eggs

3. “A parent is the one person who should make a kid think they can do anything — think they’re smart, even when they go to Arizona State.” –Jack

2. Jenna’s pronunciation of “soob-orb” (suburb) — oddly enough, this got my biggest chuckle of the night. Reminded me of when Christine Baranski asked “What’s a…’coupon’?” with great strain on Cybill

1. “That’s an excellent question. The answer is: questions like that.” –Jack in response to “What makes guys get bored in a relationship?”

“I Want To Go To There” of the Week: “I’m gonna open a microbrewery/yogurt shop and call it ‘Microsoft.'” –Donald

Honorable mention: Jack’s air quotes for Lemon’s “life”

Who was the bigger child-nerd — Lemon or Jack? Discuss this week’s 30 Rock below!

Previous ’30 Rock’ recap: Microwave Goodbye

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

GOT A CASE OF COMMUTING BLUES? LET OUR ‘TV INSIDERS’ PODCAST SPICE UP YOUR JOURNEY! Yes, folks, this week Dalton Ross, Annie Barrett, and Michael Slezak dish another crazy week on Survivor: Nicaragua, welcome EW zombie correspondent Clark Collis to talk about AMC’s The Walking Dead, and get the scoop on 16 Christmas-themed movies from Dan Snierson, who watched ’em all! Plus, Dalton has a truly insane interview with Survivor castoff NaOnka Mixon. To join in all the fun, just click on the audio player below. And in the best news of all, we’re now on iTunes! You can subscribe for free right here and take the TV Insiders with you on the go. And to send a question to the TV Insiders, follow us on Twitter @TVInsiders. Enjoy!

Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.
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