30 Rock Watch: Season 6, Episode 11 - Standards And Practices

Jack vs. Kaylie Round II: No Subtitle Necessary

30 Rock is good at flipping my opinions on easily detestable character stereotypes. I absolutely hate Frank and Lutz for being irritating degenerates, but I enjoy hating them. The actors know what they’re doing with it, though neither is in this episode. No, this week has the return of Chloë Grace Moretz as Hank Hooper’s conniving granddaughter Kaylie, whose mom is working in a sweat shop and whose dad put a Porsche engine in a Model T and drove to Mardi Gras. Few things on Earth are more grating than the incredibly non-precocious things that have come out of teenage girls’ mouths in the last decade. (This is not a teenage boy penis joke.) The spin here is Kaylie uses this façade to manipulate and dominate. She could have her own show on CW. That she and Jack are two battling sides of the same coin is bonus. “I heard you made yearbook editor… of the photo captions.”

Hank is around because it’s the finale for America’s Kidz Got Singing, which is tainted by finalists Brock and Eva appearing on air drunker than child skunks. Jack’s phone melts due to the backlash. The cause: Kaylie Hooper. She wanted Hank out of the city so she wouldn’t get expelled at school for some trouble she got into involving Hot Vicky and Fat Vicky and some pictures on YouFace calling people sluts. Her whiny run-on sentences and unstable family life evoke sympathy from Jack, and he accompanies her to a PTA meeting, where he catches her in a lie and defiantly gets her expelled anyway. But wait, this was her plan all along, because really, what kid doesn’t want to be free from adult supervision? “I just had Fruit Roll-Ups for dinner…at a strip club.” Jack eventually gets the upper hand by planning to stop the lacrosse program at the school she’ll be going to next. Though she says she only played to get back at some girl, Jack…kie…Officecouch, she is foiled. Kind of a bland ending to the story, but her fake name mirrored Liz’s feeble “Kenneth Toilethole” from earlier in the episode.

The real Kenneth has been promoted to the head of Standards and Practices after “last night’s clusterwhoops” got Darren fired. Kenneth takes things to their natural extreme conclusions, banning all sorts of words and actions. Can’t say “using” because it implies drug use. No more Fart Doctor sketch because you can’t say “fart.” And “doctor” is too close to “gynecologist,” which is disgusting. “Dingbat” is the harshest thing they can say. (Though it’s mentioned after Darren threatens to come back with a gun, they stick Kenneth’s desk closest to the door. Really dark humor through insinuation. Fits into the censorship angle even.) Liz initially becomes combatant and attempts to make that night’s TGS a possible disaster, asking Tracy to do his stand-up routine instead of reading the cue cards.

To side-track, Tracy is fasting for 24 hours due to an upcoming colonoscopy. It ends up going longer because he was mistaken on when the procedure was happening; that day, he was actually meeting his friend Colin Oscopy. “I feel like Oscar the Grouch, and not because I woke up in a garbage can today, startling someone named Gordon.”

Separate side track: Jenna’s contingency plan for her popularity rests in her egg donating past. (She’s still cashing her dead aunt’s social security checks, so the finances are locked down.) It turns out she’s had six offspring, all interchangeable except for Judy, a schlubbier brunette version of…well, her father probably, because she’s meant to be Jenna’s opposite, no matter how hard Jenna wants otherwise. When the other five children deem her too old to still be relevant, Jenna realizes what Judy was going through. (Mistaking her own reflection for Judy was predictable but pretty funny. “You’re so beautiful now! Oh.”) She and Judy then leave to go have coffee enemas, or whatever.

Which brings us full circle to the Liz and Kenneth censor debate. When Liz goes to, I’ll just assume here, drop a deuce in the men’s restroom, she hears Kenneth crying in the next stall, ready to give up on the show. Needlessly adopting the Kenneth Toilethole persona, she convinces him not to back down, using such nicknames as “bro-bones.” Just when you think, but not really, that everything will work out, that’s when Jenna leaves, and Tracy snaps back to his usual ways, remember that Liz wanted his stand-up to rear its ugly head.

Rejuvenated by his fictional namesake, and being called Mr. Parcell (which no Parcell man has been called outside an execution chamber), Kenneth saves the day with his lightning-fast fingers, beeper-buzzing every single one of Tracy’s raunchier comments. His skills catch the attention of the Head of Standards, who promotes Kenneth with a barrage of foul language. After all, “who has the power to censor the censor?” Hannibal Lecter, that’s who. But he isn’t on this show.

This is an example of a perfectly okay episode. Much better than average, without any dumbass cut-aways or completely unrealistic fantasy elements. Though a Pete-less episode will always lose points for me, every story involved conflict, save for Tracy’s, but at least he had something to do instead of tag along with Jenna and her children. I’m fairly certain those children would have the reality show following Kaylie’s high school drama on CW. I hope by next week, we find out Criss died while he was in Canada or wherever he was supposed to be this week. Maybe it can coincide with Kim Jong Il’s funeral. Is that still happening? What’s all the stalling about? Where’s Pete???

The (bleep) Part of the (Bleep) (Bleep) With the (Bleep) and Shit

The joke I laughed at the most in the episode is similar to something that was either on this show or one of a billion other shows: Tracy finally understands the ending of The Sixth Sense. It’s the names of the people that worked on the movie. (rim shot) I just wish we could have heard him fuck up Haley Joel Osment’s name.

“No you can’t. That’s an order.” A speech Kenneth learned from Jag. I can’t wait until that show fades from the collective minds of comedy writers.

A few more tiles on the rich mosaic of Liz’s menstrual history include lying about getting her period at age 15, and then actually getting her first period at age 17, at a loosely supervised petting zoo.

“Any white male can arrest another person.” Though Jack is smart enough to know it isn’t true, there’s no doubt as to whether or not he thinks it should be. But if he thinks that’s what the PATRIOT Act really means, I’m not even sure which political party he would belong to. Satire is hard.

Jenna puts Vaporub under her eyes to make herself cry. An old acting trick she learned from Glenn Beck’s prostitute. There are so many to choose from!

It’s either endearing or saddening that young Jack once took a “log with googly eyes” to a father-son picnic. Either way, Baldwin killed the line.

How creepy looking were Jenna’s bangs in that opening? I can’t tell if Jane Krakowski’s aging is better or worse for the character. I hit pause a few times on the DVR when she was talking and damn she looked rough. Like real person rough, not just DVR pause rough.

Jack hires a Kato to keep him on edge during this pseudo-feud with Kaylie. These made really funny scenes in the original Pink Panther movies. Can’t say the same about these.

“What else humanizes a monster? Motherhood.” “If you want to get to know me, read my 2006 article in Amtrak Magazine. If you want to be my daughter, put on this wig and smile.” “The blonde ones threw me away like I was some kind of Judy.” I’d say it’s good to see Jenna talk about someone besides herself, but that really doesn’t ever happen. It’s good to know that being a sorta mother hasn’t soiled her lack of empathy, especially when she goes to grab her gun from beneath a couch cushion. Would Jenna just stop at threats? I don’t think so.

Jack, after impersonating Hank: “I’m very good at voices.” (makes his face look like De Niro, but still uses his normal voice) “I’m very good.”

After the great run of ending tags the show has had, tonight’s sitcom-ish Kenneth having dinner with Liz/Kenneth Toiletholewas kind of stupid. Good to see Liz as a redheaded man though. That won’t enter my masturbatory thoughts anytime soon.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.