Stealing a plot that must feel awfully familiar to guest star Jennifer Aniston, 30 Rock takes a turn for the dangerously psychotic (instead of the usual simple, funny psychotic antics of Tracy and Jenna) with a stalker storyline. Aniston plays Claire, Liz' ex-roommate from Chicago who is just a little bit crazy but pretty enough that not many seem to notice. Recently How I Met Your Mother took a stab (no pun intended) at this phenomenon with Barney Stinson's Mendoza Diagonal analogy, but it was perhaps first introduced to mainstream pop culture in Friends when Joey dated a woman who thought he actually was the character he played on Days of our Lives. Anyway, Claire is also the kind of crazy who may actually be a little manic because she is "exhausts" Liz with all of her rooftop parties, dancing in open fire hydrants, and making of her own jewelry; basically this girl is up for anything, any time, and that cuts into Liz' TiVoed Top Chef marathons. Again, this is something that was done on Friends, when Chandler and Ross' old friend from college, Gandolf, was supposed to come visit, and they prepared for a wild and spontaneous time only to realize they were too old for such impetuousness and actually got tired around eight-thirty. But Tina Fey has been so tired lately, running back and forth to SNL for impeccable political sketches, that I will let this slide. But if Kenneth doesn't start to get some more airtime soon, I may have to write a very strongly worded Open Letter to one Ms. Tina Fey (and to think, I voted for her in Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year bracket)!
Speaking of Kenneth, his big bit in this episode is complaining about the new page uniforms which are slightly more fitted (or his is just a bit too small), gray, and made of wool? from the way he scratches under his collar. Tracy doesn't like to see him so upset, so he offers to buy him something to make up for having to throw away his old, navy jacket (I vote they have a funeral for it, but whatevs). When Kenneth says he longs for a fulfilling series end to the once-great NBC sitcom, Night Court, Tracy is, probably needless to say, intrigued. He manages to get Markie Post, Charles Robinson, and Harry Anderson (really? in all this talk of big, famous 30 Rock guest stars for the season, this was kept surprisingly (and perhaps unfairly) underwraps!) to the TGS stage to perform a live reading of the script Kenneth has written. Unfortunately, things go naturally awry when it is revealed that John Larroquette still keeps in contact with Harry but not Markie, and she storms off in a huff.
Jack tells Liz he is quite taken with her friend Claire, and she warns him not to sleep with her, but it seems he already has. He bumped into her on the elevator, and about twenty minutes and fifteen seconds later, she is sliding out from his secret passageway (the wall that is actually a door to the bathroom in his office-- not a euphemism), straightening her jacket and combing her fingers through her hair. Liz tells him he has no idea what he got himself into because Claire uses sex to suck men dry (heh. nice sneak by the censors with that one!), but he thinks she's just jealous of the pretty girl who turned all the heads. When Claire shows up at the microphone at a gala he is attending that evening, tells the room it's Jack's birthday, and begins singing in a slinky, flesh-colored number, he begins to see Liz' point. She introduces herself as "Esmerelda" and says she is Jack's "life coach" and then declares really loudly that if she "kills [her]self, it will be all his fault." Yup, nutbar!
Jack sleeps with her again but then goes to Liz for help on how to get rid of her. She talks of the guys this has happened to in the past saying in order to get out of it, "one guy died... Scotty Pippen requested a trade to Houston..." Liz agrees to go clubbing with Claire to keep her away from Jack, but at the last minute gets a text from Claire that leads her to believe she is with Jack right now. And she is-- somehow managing to circumvent his high-tech security and alarm system and still get into his house undetected-- so Liz of course storms over and attempts to break them up but eventually just gives in because she's as tired as her portrayer is. Plus she has fires to put out downstairs where Kenneth and Tracy (and Jenna, who once had a three episode arc on Night Court and is insulted she wasn't asked to partake in this) are attempting to film something that probably infringes on a whole bunch of copyrights. Liz tells them to shut it down, but they don't listen to her either.
Heading to the club with Jack, Claire worries that they as a couple have become boring without Liz to come between them or Liz to whom to leave obscene voicemails dictating their intimate relationship details. Again, I'm going to have to say: Friends did it; Friends did it! Winona Ryder played an old college friend of Rachel's who was secretly in love with her, and it certainly seems like Claire needs the dramatic threesome that is created whenever she steals some guy who is in Liz' life. Jack tells her he can be fun and wild, and she puts a gun in his hand and yells to some nearby cops about it. He takes off running, but she actually looks like she is having fun. Liz bails him out. Natch. These two are the post-millenium Ross and Rachel!
Best lines of the night:
Liz: "She's like a human Macarena: something everyone did at parties in 1996."
Kenneth: "I just want to thank y'all for making this dream come true for me and finally giving America what it wants: a reunion of Friends-- from Night Court!"
Jenna: "That idiot werewolf paid for my hand reduction surgery, okay?"