(Due to a computer crash and time limitations, this week’s recap won’t be as meandering as my past efforts.)

"I'll take that with cheese."

It wouldn't be a Thursday without a TV comedy gimmick, would it? But where as I tend to enjoy everything Community bounces off of NBC's shit-sticky walls, 30 Rock is cemented in place up there. After last week’s comedically sound, but narratively slight, live episode, we now have a second helping of Angie’s Queen of Jordan reality show, in an episode that is narratively sound, but not that amusing, especially if you give a string theory’s string of a shit less about Bravo’s reality TV line-up. I fall into that category. Reality shows are ripe for parody, and the jokes do work here, but this is a repeated conceit shoehorned into this season seemingly because we haven’t seen these characters in a year. It doesn’t help that the plot threads (including Jenna wanting attention, Liz’s awkwardness causing a feud, and Jack and Diana’s secret relationship almost getting discovered) aren’t even slightly more ridiculous, or different at all, from any other episodes.

Angie, whose show had seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth, is back to film a fashion show for her label, Cheek, pronounced “chic.” No clue why they’re holding a fashion show there. Her whole purpose is to make everybody care about it, and to coercing Tracy into giving her a surprise by the end of the show. This surprise, expected to be material goods, ends up being Tracy starting a faux fight in order to raise the ratings.

Liz, in her child-wanting ways, tells Angie’s baby Virginia that she’s cute enough to eat her fat little legs up. But since you never talk about a black woman’s legs, no matter her age, Liz is shunned for most of the rest of the episode via an annoying series of “Rude!” comments. It all works out in the end.

While all of this is going on, Jenna is determined to make herself important enough to appear on camera as often as possible, eventually siding with Virginia against Liz. Once she realizes all the cameras are following her, she says she’s too good for this crap, and prompts the censors to blur her face and disguise her voice. Woweee.

The storyline actually progressing things is the State Dept. calling to tell Jack Avery is coming home, in exchange for a U.S. held Korean spy, a crate of Hollister shirts, and a signed headshot of Don Jonson, as they’ve just gotten Nash Bridges over there. Since Avery is involved, Diana shows up, and the cameras catch her telling Jack she hopes, “no one finds out about us.” Which then becomes a farcical series of lies including a possibly homeless, foil hat wearing man named Gus (played by the wonderful Hannibal Burress), and a fake Russian restaurant called “Rus.” They manage to open the restaurant, which is the setting for Angie’s fashion show, and things appear hitch-less. That is, until the heat of the moment causes Jack and Diana to kiss in front of everyone. Then, in an equally farcical manner, it’s explained that Jack now kisses people all the time. He and Liz touch lips awkwardly, then he and D’Fwan do the same. Then there’s a line of people for him to kiss. One forgets that these people are adults sometimes.

The real “humor” here was in all the winky-wink references to shitty shows like Real Housewives of Whereverthefuck and the like. The bottom-of-the-screen names and descriptions were fun. Liz was called “Lisa Lampanelli?” “Kenneth – Not worth describing.” “Diana – Jack’s Mother-in-law. Keeping it tight.” Good enough stuff.

I can’t hate this episode for spoofing something I hate. I can’t love this episode for only being marginally funny and falling back on a played gimmick. Stalemate. See you next week.

Time-Shaved Quotes

“I’d appreciate it if you guys at Bravo…Sorry, gays at Bravo…”

Kenneth’s feud with a tripped over electrical cord wasn’t worth the minimal time spent on it. Not even during the credits when he mistook a different cord from the previous one, and was called a racist for it.

“I now they’re not married. I just want them to know I don’t give a fuck about their lives.”

“…ridiculous reality shows like Ken Burns’ Jazz.” Score one for Diana. That was all.

“D’Fwine. Please D’Fwink Responsibly.”

“I love my wife and I want her to be happy. But more than that, I want to do nothing.” Praise be, Tracy Jordan.

“She was nasty. She loves pee.”

This Week In Frank's Hat: Hookie Mentor.

“What’s wrong Liz? You look like Angie after I tell her I want to retire in an old lighthouse.”

“Hi, I’m Daphne. I handle conflicts appropriately and I’m up to date on my mortgage payments.” That’s as far as you go, Daphne. This is not the life for you.

Kenneth in the final minutes of the show will haunt my nightmares as much as several of his other costume changes have done this season. As a fashion model, he’s slightly less creepy than John Mark Karr, whom Kenneth gets fashion tips from. Read about Karr. Sleep soundly.

Also, stupid title. The end.

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