Friday, January 9, 2009

The Most Convoluted Night Of Television Ever...

Liz is still baby crazy as the seventh episode of 30 Rock’s third season finally returns after an extended holiday hiatus, and suddenly there are babies everywhere—from the Rockefeller Plaza lobby to the sidewalk outside, where she taps the head of what she assumes to be a little boy, only to have Peter Dinklage turn around and hit on her because he likes “aggressive, slightly nerdy” women. Probably because she is afraid of seeming like… height-ist, just the way Wayne Brady thought she was racist when she wanted to break up with him in season one, she agrees to go for a drink with the random dude she just met on the street. Welcome back; we missed the craziness!

Unfortunately, though, “Senor Macho Solo” seems to have tried to jam-pack a whole season’s worth of crazy into one bursting-at-the-seams twenty-two minute episode. Jack hires a care nurse for his mother, who, although unseen in this episode, is apparently still living with him. Salma Hayek is that nurse, who is oddly enabling right off the bat of Jack’s reluctance and disinterest in spending any time with, let alone helping, his mother. It’s a wonder what happened between Christmas Eve and now that made him reverse the positive one-eighty he had done that night. It’s also a wonder he is so willing to open up to “the help,” as he tells her about his day at work and explains why he enjoys dating random women and never having to worry about being in anything for the long haul… which is a sentiment that lasts for all of four seconds until he finds a lump on his testicle and fears he has cancer and can die tomorrow. Then and only then he sees the error of his ways and undergoes another personality switch, suddenly deciding he does want to be surrounded by family (though not his own; he found Hayek’s on-screen family oddly comforting), and he does want to have someone and something meaningful in his life. He wants to be with his mother’s home care nurse (but probably only because of how she looked in the red dress she wore to the quinceanera Jack attended). As he kisses her passionately, I can’t help but wonder how he’ll get rid of her when he ultimately wakes up from this sick little manic episode of his next week and (at least, hopefully) is back to ruthless, cutthroat, never seen outside of the office or out of a suit, Jack Donaghy that we’ve all grown to know, love, and wish was our own eccentric uncle.

As if all of that wasn’t weird enough, Tracy’s storyline incorporates a wardrobe of gold sneakers and shirts and hats made out of money—literally, there are bills stapled together, 1920’s flapper style. Jack sits him down to tell him he has to work on his spending, but Tracy has a very good reason for it: he’s afraid his wife will divorce him and end up taking half of what he’s worth—so he spends it all so that if she leaves him, she gets nothing. Jack convinces Tracy to get his wife in the office so she can sign a pre-nup, even though technically it is too late since they’ve been married for years, but all that does is make them even hotter for each other, and they begin to have sex all over the building—from Jack’s office to Kenneth’s desk. Also, Jenna really wants the role of Janis Joplin in a new biopic that NBC’s parent company is producing, and she dresses up as the skinny singer to convince Jack, who must be more distracted than anyone thought because he actually gives it to her, claiming synergy is completely in! He plans for her to sing one of Joplin’s hits on that week’s episode of TGS in order to seed their movie into the minds of the American public, but unfortunately, a competing project that has Julia Roberts attached completely derails Jenna once again, and it turns out they don’t even have the rights to the song, so Jack has to re-write the words, and she ends up looking like a singing fool… which by this point is really just par for the course…

Out on a real date with Dinklage, Liz tries to pick him up (literally) in order to keep him from getting burned on a street vendor’s cart, and he realizes she thought he was a child when she first met him. She’s out of character as she admits that, yes, sir, she did, and he, smartly, leaves her on the street. She can’t let him go, though, so she calls him and talks him into meeting her on the Brooklyn Bridge ala Miranda and Steve in The Sex & The City Movie if he likes her even a little bit. Though he is bored with the mere mention of that movie, he does show up, but as he does, he witnesses her mistake some nine year old for him and decides it’s truly time to “shut it down.”

If you remember the episode when Liz tries to prove she really is a nice person and ends up staying up all night to re-write her staff’s work (and watch the Designing Women marathon), then you must remember just how tired she looked, felt, and said she was at the end of it… well, that is exactly how I feel after watching this episode. I feel like Fey must have downed three Red Bulls and chased them with an eight ball just to get through writing so much material crammed into one tiny little script, and I can’t even imagine what shooting it must have felt like!

Best moment of the night:

Kenneth rapping because “the usual warm-up comic O.D.’ed at a gay man’s apartment this morning.”

Best lines of the night:

Liz (to a baby in a stroller): “What a cute little girl—or boy, if you grow up and feel that’s what’s inside you.”

Angie: “I’m never going to leave you; I’m going to watch you die, Tracy Jordan.”

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