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I can’t stress enough how glad I am to have 30 Rock back. No week should be complete without the trials and tribulations of self-proclaimed “lovable curmudgeon” Liz Lemon, and her dysfunctional comedic compatriots.
Now that she’s dating Carol, Liz embodies a newfound confidence. After getting heckled by a construction worker she mistakenly assumed was hitting on Jenna, Liz gets a wake-up call. She’s experiencing a whole new life, filled with the kindness and attention of men that aren’t Dennis the beeper king (hey, dummy). Jenna lays it on the line-- when it rains, it pours! Now that she’s taken, men simply can’t resist. She wears this brand new self-assurance in the form of an ill-advised cowboy hat and saunters on down to the editing bay, primed to utilize her charm to solve Pete’s issues with the editing staff.
A particularly smarmy staffer (oh-so-cleverly played by Paul Giamatti) is easily swayed by her nuances, and while it appears he’s helping her out purely based on her new aura, there are selfish reasons afoot. Sure, he may be a Civil War re-enactor who goes to hockey fantasy camp, but he’s got feelings too, and they belong to his assistant-- a blonde Liz look-alike in an awesome unicorn sweatshirt. He too, is aware of the “when it rains, it pours” mentality, and brags to the office about he and Liz’s relationship, to make the unicorn-loving assistant jealous. Heck, even Brian Williams (always an appreciated guest appearance) gets in on poking fun at Liz’s fictional office nepotism.
Avery and Jack return from a doctor’s appointment with good news-- they are expecting a boy-- a new chip off the Donaghy block. Liz tells Jack that their kid is lucky to have an old dad-- she had one, and got away with everything, even sneaking booze (to clean her bitchin’ rock collection). Now haunted by the worry he’ll be too old for his son’s childhood, Jack tries to find a way to guide his son from beyond the grave. As though he faced a terminal illness, he creates a video diary-- to educate and guide his unborn child through life, in his absence. He’s lived. In living, he’s learned. He rants off advice akin to instructions on world domination, and even a few grooming tips “for a full head of hair, use Dove…” The final kernel of wisdom he bestows? If you ever have a problem, find a woman named Elizabeth Lemon, ask for her advice, and do the opposite. As he wraps it all up with some juggling tips, Avery calls. They’re having a girl, instead. So much for keeping the Donaghy name alive, then.
Tracy, worried about missing the birth of his daughter, holes himself up in his office. He’s been absent for the birth of his two sons, and he’s made a promise to Angie that he’ll be there when the new babe comes. Meanwhile, the administrative tasks at TGS are still being completed, though their beloved page is now gone. Secretly, Kenneth has been sneaking into the office and completing his old tasks, taking care of the employees. As his job formerly dictated, he sets off the fire alarm, and Tracy hesitantly goes outside, clutching Dot Com’s shirt as if he were a little boy. He wanders off, attached unknowingly to another green-shirted giant. He jumps in a cab to get to the hospital-- but it’s not just any cab-- the Cash Cab. Ill equipped, as it were, he somehow manages to come up with the answers through unconventional methods. Frantic and drugged, Angie calls Kenneth, who shows up in Tracy costume to act as surrogate until the real thing shows up just in time.
This season is off to an excellent start. The plotlines have been fresh, and thankfully, the one-liners that 30 Rock has long been known for, haven’t disappeared. Some of my favorite lines from tonight’s gem of an episode:
“So to be there at the birth of my daughter, I have to answer trivia questions, despite having gone to middle school in an Exxon station?”- Tracy
"Not because you're not cute, you are. Like a pretty refugee on the news." - Jenna, to Liz
“I guess someone else will get to enjoy that waterbed… that you’re saving up for”- Liz
“50 is the new 40, for men. 50 is still 60, for women.”- Jack
“I shouldn’t be here at four in the morning, I should be at home! Which is the name of a bar I found near the train station!”- Pete
“I don’t get why people love brunch. What’s the benefit of combining break dancing and lunch?”- Tracy
“I then attended the Harvard Business school, where I was voted ‘most’”- Jack