Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Knew Being Sick Could Be So Funny?...

So Liz strides onto the floor that houses 30 Rock, looking unsettling fashionable for her with a white purse, long black coat, and big movie star sunglasses, excited about some upcoming holiday week (WHAT? That BEST be just for Liz Lemon and not Tina Fey, as we just endured a very extensive break from the show, thank you very much!). Of course within seconds into the episode, she manages to put her foot in her mouth, asking crew guys their plans for the time off, only to learn they don't actually get the time off because they have to break down sets and build new ones-- something she should really know, considering she's the head of the show. But she's just too excited for her upcoming trip to the fake St Barth's, where she can lie out on a private beach and eat soft serve ice cream, all while wearing long black socks (??). Of course, Kenneth sneezes on her right before the opening credits roll, dooming any chance of happiness Liz may have in this episode. And just in case the potential illness looming overhead wasn't enough, Cerie breaks even worse news that Liz' usual hotel is actually already booked, so the vacation is off. Blergh!
Salma Hayek (Elisa) is back in "Flu Shot," too, storming right past not-Jonathan as Jack's new assistant and jumping into Jack's arms for a quick kiss before she has to rush off to her other patient. She has two jobs, like a regular person-- "especially one whose grandmother is addicted to online poker." He offers to cook her dinner the next time she is over, caring for his mother, but she points out that not only does his mother disapprove of their relationship but also that it would be unprofessional considering his house is her workplace.

Chris Parnell is also back, administering flu shots to the staff and crew of 30 Rock. Liz walks in just Jack is pulling his pants back up (man, if this were the pilot, how meet-cute would that have been!?), and Jack asks her advice about Elisa. Liz can only really offer that he seems to be doing with Elisa what he did with C.C.: let their different professions come between them. What's really important here, though, is that there are only five flu shots left after Liz gets hers, and she will have to decide who is important enough to get one. She may object to the elitist games these two men are playing, but she has to suck it up because she's one of them now-- privileged-- so let the games begin! Instead, she just refuses her own shot because she "doesn't want something they won't get."

Of course Tracy and Jenna got the shots, though Tracy seems to think it's really a truth serum and even tells Liz she looks "like Tootsie today." Liz scolds them about arguing over petty things like which part of Hawaii is nicer and more exclusive when "the crew's at death's door," and she tells them they should be thinking of ways to thank all of the hard working people around them. Jenna admits "that would make [them] feel really great," and something about this just screams musical number!!!

Jack shows up at Elisa's other job and begins to really understand the plight of the workingman (or woman) when he sees the charge's foot problem ("is that a beak?"). He offers Kenneth one of the remaining flu shots out of this newfound gratitude, but Kenneth says it would "be an honor to die at his post," as he leans hunched over an actual podium. Jack tries again unsuccessfully to get Liz to take the shot, and she starts what could have been a very Norma Rae-esque speech about fighting for workers' rights, but instead she just gets her crew to rally around her chanting "Shoop."

Tracy and Jenna ask Kenneth to go pick up soup for everyone who is sick... as a thank you for them being sick. He is so under the weather he asks them to go get it instead, and they stare blankly as he explains. Tracy protests, but Jenna thinks it would be a good idea to give back all they can, as if this whole episode is some sort of preemptive apology to the real life crew if the SAG strike actually happens this summer. But of course they're too self-absorbed to actually follow through with the plan, and they end up just going shopping together. Unfortunately, Liz doesn't let us see the obligatory fashion show montage, though.

Jack has two tickets to the Lion King on Broadway and wants Elisa to go with him, but although she wishes she could "get all dressed up, tip maitre d's, and be all like, thank you roger; this table was super-duper," she has responsibilities. He compares her to Liz, and I guess that is just too much for her because she relents... although she does drag along her elderly wheel-chair bound patient, to a very apt Michael Buble tune that includes the lyrics "why should he stay at home/just get his medication..."

Liz' karma must be getting better because not only do the crew guys get her a meat plate as a gesture of gratitude for her sticking up for them, but Cerie comes by to tell her there was a cancellation in her hotel after all, and her vacation is back on. Suddenly all of the sickies around her begin to look like zombies, lurching toward her, grabbing for her, desperate to share their germs. It's a good thing she drops the meat plate as she runs away because one of the guys wiped his nose before he handed it to her, and it would have been just too obvious if she got sick that way. She runs through the halls, dodging Kenneth and breaking picture frames over Pete's head and storms into Dr. Spaceman's temporary office, demanding a shot. He tells her to dance for it, and she does but begs him not to tell anyone she's taking the shot. Then she continues to pretend she didn't get it at all, even though an unsightly rash begins to form at the injection site.

Jack has a surprise planned for Elisa, but an even bigger one shows up by way of her elderly patient's only relative... who lives in London but was probably "sent here to punish me... or for a business trip." The man, who was assumed to be vegetative, begins to speak out to his son about the "man who comes at night and takes him out," and though it sounds like the ramblings of dementia (but what doesn't on this show, right?), Jack is hiding behind the curtain, so the old guy has some credibility after all.

Oh and Tracy and Jenna end up putting on a clown show for the crew because "laughter really is the best medicine." They smash pies on Liz, and the crew virtually booes... until Liz removes her sweatshirt, and they see the tell-tale residue on her arm from the flu shot, and then they begin to get up in arms toward her instead. Jack sits her down and explains that she does deserve the vacation-- and the chance to take a Filipino island lover-- and that she should go after all and not feel guilty about it. And then their stomachs gurgle simultaneously because a flu shot is really just a small dose of the virus itself, and they're both unforgiveable people who reap what they sow and can only rush off toward the bathroom.

Best lines of the night:

Liz (on her new swimsuit): "It's called a "tank-quart"... you may have seen it in Us Weekly, being worn by Dame Judi Dench...'s mother."

Jack (to his new girlfriend): "I'm sorry, what do you call yourself?"
Elisa: "A Puerto Rican."
Jack: "No, I know you can say that, but what can I call you?"

Jenna: "Without the crew, we'd just be two amazing people succeeding in a vacuum."

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