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30 Rock

by Matt Webb Mitovich
Read Episode Recap: "Cougars"
You know, a week without a new episode doesn't seem that bad until that new one comes along and you find yourself giggling, chuckling and LOLing like a fool. This week's 30 Rock had so many fun lines, my bullets may runneth a bit over — and I left out at least 15 percent of them!

Now it has been revealed: As edited out of my recent Q&A with Judah Friedlander, Frank went gay for an episode. I am not quite sure why NBC was so adamant that that not get out — it's not as if he actually had sex — but I played nice. I hope no one missed the little coda at the end, with Frank dancing at the gay club, but ultimately deciding it wasn't his thing. A flamboyant fella then shouts good-bye to "Sugar Bear," only to get scolded by a peer for making 'em look bad.

The "cougars" storyline was a lot of fun, because Liz is best when Liz is feeling awkward. Her lame attempts at hipster lingo ("gellin' like Magellan"), the references Jamie couldn't get, the subplot with Jenna and Aidan ("Stop repeating what I say!").... It all led up to a moment I forgot had been spoiled for me somewhere, as Liz meets her boy toy's very Lemony mother. Glurg.

Call me dense and/or politically ignorant, but it took me about half the episode to realize the Little League team story was a big metaphor for Iraq. (Thank you, I finally "got it" when the "Fun Times Accomplished" banner unfurled.) That Knuckle Beach must be one tough 'hood! Where orange soda is an acceptable substitute for breast milk?!

One final note: Last time, there were the blatant shouts-out to Verizon Wireless, which I informed you were in fact paid product integration or whatever. This week we had the "advertorial" within the first pod of commercials, where a bit with Kenneth sharing homemade bacon-mint gum with the writers segued into an Amex spot. The best part: Frank's hat said "KOMIRSHUL."

And now, the bullets:
• Jenna inviting Liz out: "Legally separated sound guy is going to be there!"
• Tracy about the animal strip club: "Animal customers? That's ridiculous."
• Jack predicting Liz's evening featuring "a meatball sub with extra bread, a bottle of NyQuil, TiVo'd Top Chef, a little Bonnie Raitt and lights out" and then spoiling Top Chef for her. ( Did Casey get booted?) • "Dijonaise is a boy's name? Pardon me."
• Jack's story about his own Little League team back in Boston... And cutting it short when he realized his audience.
• "I'm going to be a talkative doorman with a drinking problem." Shoot for the stars!
• "Who ordered the veal?"
• Jefferson Davis Park
• Jack founding a charity which gives tuxedos to homeless people • Frank smelling his hand after touching Jamie • Jamie making plans with Liz for 10. "At night?!"
• You can't be gay for one person — unless you're a lady and you meet Ellen."
• Jenna's "No sex with Asians" rule flying out the window upon seeing Quan at Sharper Image • Kenneth has a dream journal — "and they've all come true so far"
• "I'm 37. Please don't make me go to Brooklyn."
• "This just went from a senior dating a freshman to Mary Kay Letourneau...."
• Jamie; "They just changed bartenders. I'm going to see if this guy will serve me."
• "Where did you two meet? An amber alert?"
• Kenneth not understanding the kids chant to "Kill whitey." "I'm not alcohol!"
• Insanely hot Cerie asking Liz about her being at a late-night hot spot: "Is it like that time they found my grandpa at the bus station?"
• "That's great, Maude. How's Harold?" (Someone has to give Lutz props.) • "It is ill."
• Jack's "off the market" slip, reminding us that he and C.C. Are still going strong.
Read Episode Recap: "Somebody to Love"
This episode had a lot to live up to, with no less than Emmy-fave Edie Falco guesting as Jack's new lady love, CC, so it's not surprising that — in my opinion, at least — it fell juuuuuuust a bit short. It's almost as if the funniest parts of the Falco story were played by Kristin Wiig in the Lifetime movie based on that horrible, sad, and you would hope preventable accident involving a dog and misplaced hunting rifle. That said, that is a Lifetime movie I would watch (even though it involves neither a kidnapped nor sickly baby). "I... want to go into politics."

Here I must note that due to an inexplicable recording glitch, my "bullets" and quotes from last night's show may be a bit off and not verbatim. So rein in the snarky retorts, thanks! For good measure, I will remind you that I am paraphrasing by slapping an asterisk on paraphrased bits.

I actually think the "Liz suspects the neighbor is a terrorist" story played out rather well, though you had to suspect she would be off base. But I love how they turned out to be aspiring Amazing Race contestants and how Liz kept muttering, "No... No..." as she realized her hasty call. Keep in mind, though, that she was not being racist about those "pita pockets."

Kenneth's dares-for-dollars quest to replace Jack's $2,500 pants fell flat for me, with the best line amidst it all being about how maybe his uncle was right about his just being a bumpkin with nice hair and soft hands.*

The sometimes-paraphrased bullets:
• Tracy in the background of the three-way phone call rehearsing his Rerun dance
• Jack suggesting that the syrupy smell was northrax, and Liz then waiting out the 10 seconds to see if she dies
• The Sheinhardt Wig Company T-shirts: "Not Poisoning Rivers Since 1977" — but then how do you explain the orange kids?
• Liz repeatedly getting her hopes up about her prescription shampoo
• Nonracist Liz: "I asked that black guy if he saw Sideways."
• Jack admonishing the bartender, noting that a Nancy Drew ordered by a man is called a Hardy Boy. (Are those real drinks?!)
• Cute little "wow" moment: Alec Baldwin singing, "What the World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love)"
• Jack explaining to CC that he owns "a little Sheinhardt Wig Company subsidiary called NBC"
• This one I really mangled, but Jack reacting to CC's project in Harlem by saying, "God, I want to kiss you on the mouth to stop you from saying such silly things."

Lastly, yes, I have it on very good authority from a well-placed source at 30 Rock that — lest you had any doubt — the Verizon references and blatant pimping were part of an actual deal brokered by the marketing department. (Yet another way, perhaps, that studios are not making money to share?)
Read Episode Recap: "Greenzo"
The party.

The party in and of itself has to be one of 30 Rock's finest and most manic moments. Let's just get that out of the way.

What I loved most about the party is that after allllll the setup, that with all of the rumored/supposed/absolutely fabricated guests, the brilliant writers of 30 Rock didn't event attempt to take us to the party in real time. There was no way it could live up to the promise. Nor did they just cut to Jack and his distressed hair and merely refer to the bash as being crazy. Rather, the way we only got fleeting, almost Lost-like flashbacks to the insane, bizarre, freaky and at times completely out-of-character shenanigans was genius. A veritable feast for comedy-lovers' eyes and, I would reckon, one of the most replayed-on-TiVo segments of the TV season. (I myself watched it at least four times at varying speeds.)

That said, nothing I can type here can begin to recap the party. So let me just evoke a few images, and then we'll move on with the rest of the recap:
• "Kiss me, Grizz!"
• Lutz eating Sonny Crocket's parakeet medication
• "Tool"
• Cerie cracking a bottle over one guy's head, and then clocking Jack
• "I would thank you to come pick up your wife at some point."
• "Harlem Globetrotter — does that name mean nothing to you?"
• Liz puking on the... Centaur?

We haven't even mentioned Greenzo yet! Props to David Schwimmer for throwing himself into this role, this rather unlikable lout. He started off just a humble out-of-work hack who, after a brief taste of Today show fame, grew into a self-important, egocentric hack. Oh, and a drunk.

What must it be like to act like a total ass in front of former vice president Al Gore? Schwimmer now knows. That's got to be peculiar. I think I saw Gore break once things turned crazy with the burning Earth and all.

Even the sub-sub-subplot with Pete, his wife and the unsettling things they were doing in Liz's apartment (and with toaster pastry)... Shudder.

I almost hate to stop revisiting this episode, but it's time for the bullets:
• Jenna's lipstick of choice — Tiger Orgasm
• Jenna positing that if men didn't dress up for women, "They'd just sit around in their own filth."
• Greenzo, the "first nonjudgmental business-friendly environmental advocate"
• "I just wish my mom were still alive... so I could rub it in her fat face."
• Kenneth's precious Halloween party, with "Wolf Bar Mitzvah" playing and the Harry Potter and Austin Powers costumes
• "If the world is not here, where is Greenzo going to dance?"
• Jared describing Greenzo's tone as "rye and wise but also very sexual."
• Jack scoffing at Liz's idea (joke) about cloning Don Geiss: "Think it through."
• Jack dissing Kenneth's party in favor of "Shubert and ironically viewing some Canadian pornography."
(Someone help me out — why ironically?)
• Poor Cerie. Releasing "just enough hydrocarbons to kill a penguin. This penguin."
• Oh, Cerie — and her four girl cousins from Holland. And Frank saying, "I'll die a thousand deaths before I fail you."
• Jack mistaking T.I. for a Texas Instruments mogul
• "Do you even bother to compost your own feces?"
• "What do you do with the Pop-Tart?!"
• Cerie's translated cousin: "I'm just horny to be in New York!"
• "I knew we should have gone with Angie Harmon."
• Jared to Jack re: "Merry" Vieira: "Dude, have you hit that?"
• Liz meeting Al Gore: "I'm Lemon."
• "I'm excited to see this trash-powered car of yours!"

Which brings us to the very end, where Gore brings the heavy wink to NBC's "Green Week" campaign going on this very week, serving as the celebrity delivering an impassioned speech about eco-awareness. And just as he gets going...

"A whale is in trouble. I have to go."

And so do I.

Are two Jack Donaghys better than one? Watch my Mitovich Mega-Minute vodcast for a bit of 30 Rock scoop.