Friday, April 17, 2009

Deception For The Greater Good...

Liz is still suspended from work for sexual harrassment when this week's 30 Rock opens (episode entitled "Jackie Jormp-Jomp"), and unlike everyone else in her support group or workshop or sad little "pervert seminars," she actually wants to speed the process up so she can get back to work. Most likely because she is writing countless sketches in her head about a character named for, and based on, the leader of said group: "Jeffrey Weinerslave."
Jack has news for Jenna, meanwhile, about her long-awaited Janis Joplin "homage," only he never said it was good news. They didn't get clearance on their original name for the character and instead have to call her Jackie Jormp-Jomp, which thankfully cleared up the title at only the minute and a half mark into the show. The film tested horribly over the weekend-- probably due to not owning the rights to Joplin's life or music-- but the clip of Jenna singing in full wig is a hoot!! Jack tells her they have to go the independent route with this one, and she will have to turn into a PR machine, turning up at every red carpet event and morning show to talk up the film. He gives her her first assignment: attending the Kids Choice Awards. Considering she just asked him if he wants her to "leak" a "weird sex tape," there's a slime joke in here somewhere...

Liz can't help herself from stopping by the studio-- you know, just for a script or rundown or little hit-- because she is lost without her show. Instead, she spends her days (and nights) standing downstairs in her lobby talking at her various doormen (and women!) that take shifts. She has never missed a show before-- not even when she had a "virus the doctors thought only raccoons get," but she will miss one tonight, and she is unsettled by it. Jack understands, though, because "people like them" need the stress to thrive. Frank, meanwhile is stressed out about all the Dos and Don'ts that are being inforced now that Liz has been busted; he can no longer look at or talk to Cerie, for instance. Kenneth, decides he has to follow the book to a T, and he decides to disclose a relationship to his "immediate supervisor," who he takes to be Jack, partially because he doesn't trust Pete's skull ridge, partially because Liz is gone, and partially because Paul Scheer wasn't available to revise his role as deceptive Donny, Head of the Pages. Now, he and his lady friend aren't actually dating-- nor has he even spoken to her-- but he wanted the company to be aware of his long-term plans, and he does plan to marry her. As he walks out of Jack's office, though, he sees Dot Com with his lady love looking for their immediate supervisors and actually puts two and two together quite quickly.

Still in her lobby, Liz runs into a neighbor who is on her way to the gym in the building. Needless to say, Liz had no idea there was a gym in the building. They bond over being addicted to the stress-- and their candy drawers (and Liz' decoy candy drawer-- you know, to throw others off the scent. That's about as normal as the reason she is on "leave!"). Liz decides to follow the lady to the gym, determined to find a "better way" to be happy.

She ends up in her new BFFs apartment with a handful of other well put together and seemingly unemployed women, drinking wine just because it's daytime. Turns out all of the women are actually just of the "get rich quick" scheme mind (one wrote a lucky hit cookbook; one married a really old dude who died) and spend the days lounging, getting facials, and shopping. Liz protests, but she of course goes with them-- even for Botox-- and she gets so caught up she even forgets to watch her own show.

Jenna and Jack walk the carpet of the Nickelodeon Awards and get interviewed by some ten year old who asks her who's mother she is. Then she gets bumped off for Dora The Explorer's backpack. During the show, Jenna broods that no one even knows she's there. Helen Mirren gets slimed; they watch a ridiculous In Memorium for kids' entertainers (filled mostly with cartoon bears but also a picture of Jenna). Apparently, the ten year old producer Jack asked for help couldn't look up from his Blackberry long enough to hear more than "Maroney. Picture. Dead." and deduced what he would. Jack considers this hitting the jackpot, though, because he wants to "Tupac [her]." Dying young and becoming a legend. Just like Janis. Irony?

Kenneth is still mad at Dot Com and takes it out on him by refusing to order his lunch sandwiches with mustard. Tracy says enough is enough, and they can't let some woman come between them. He decides to be a problem-solver because "Liz Lemon is in jail now" and can't stop him! His answer is to fire the dancer who has caught both men's hearts. The other dancers then refuse to come to work out of solidarity, and without Liz around to fix everything, Tracy hires a bunch of new dancers-- who he found trolling in the parking lot.

Liz learns her suspension has ended, and she has earned her sensitivity certificate. She is not nearly as excited as she would have been fifteen minutes ago, though. Her "counselor" advises her that the stress of returning could cause her to fall back into old, bad behavior. As he tells her to think of the frustration, the endless problems her co-workers will heap on her, and how she is just creeping closer and closer to death, it is clear to her what she has to do. She sexually harrasses him so she can be sent home-- err, to her new BFF's apartment-- again.

Talking crazy, Liz realizes she has enough money saved to live for four years, if she gives up cable, and that is when she will come back to TGS-- in four years. Jack, too busy with faking Jenna's death for promotion, can't deal with her insanity. Instead, he tells Pete Jenna can't come to work this week, and they need to put together and obtiuary reel as a tribute, which apparently is just as easy done as said because they already threw one together when Jenna cheated on some mobster she was dating.

Liz' new friends tell her that she does still have to do something to stimulate her mind and stay active in her time of living a life of leisure, and their answer? Not Sodoku, like Liz hopes but Girl Fight Club!! This is very disappointing for her, and not just because it means Jack was right. If she wants out, though, she'll have to fight her way out...which she does, making it back to the studio with a black eye but just in time to see Jenna sing a surprisingly somber version of "Muffin Top" at her own live televise memorial. That's the kind of crazy she can get behind!

Best lines of the night:

Jenna: "The Kids Choice Awards? Fine, I'll set aside my feud with Raven Symone for one day. But she knows what she did."

Pete (dragging Tracy down the hallway): "You have to rehearse!"
Tracy: "No: passive resistence; I learned that from Dr. King. I'm brave!"

Kenneth (explaining why he couldn't read the sexual harrassment guidelines): "Ms. Viera threw it away and said 'pretty boys like me shouldn't be filling their heads with ideas.'"

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