30 Rock Watch: Season 6, Episode 12 - St. Patrick's Day

“Happy St. Patrick’s Day, dummy.”

With the vernal equinox, World Down Syndrome Day, April Fools’ Day, Good Friday, and Easter coming up in the upcoming weeks, 30 Rock has big decisions to make on filling out its next episodes. Wait, what do you mean not every episode is holiday-themed? I guess you’re right, you soundless, beingless entity, you.

“St. Patrick’s Day” was an enjoyable, if completely unremarkable, episode that played out the same storylines these writers have been giving us for years. Dennis complicates Liz’s life. Tracy and Jenna both want to be more famous than the other. Jack is eternally wishing to be the man he once was. And Kenneth cares. I’ll bring the same amount of enthusiasm here as they did there.

Liz hates St. Paddy’s because she doesn’t believe the Irish deserve a celebratory day, calling their only accomplishments Michael Lohan and vomiting into bagpipes. She wears orange from head to toe in protest of the Megan-filled parade going on outside. Liz thinks Jack has cursed her into having a bad day, though all he did was repeat “I think someone needs to learn a St. Patrick’s Day lesson,” in Irish. So when the near-concussed Dennis Duffy walks through the door and immediately lays on her couch to soon watch “les” movie The Kids are Alright, Liz accepts it as part of the curse instead of throwing his ass back outside. It doesn’t help her that he and Criss immediately get along.

She explains to Criss that Dennis is Reverse Terminator (“You’ll be back,”), but now she’s going to turn the tables on him, declaring her fictitious undying love for him in front of Criss, whom she’s never confessed love for. He leaves. In your face, Liz! Dennis has a wife now, named Megan, who is not pleased that Liz openly confessed to loving Dennis. “You got two minutes to fill us up with quarters and then we are going outside.” (I loved that she used “devil fingers” to indicate the number two.) Dennis drops a truth bomb on Liz, calling her the most Irish person around, having negatively ruined her own party. “It wasn’t a party.” “Tell me about it.” With this knowledge, Liz dons her enormous Hulk gloves and finds Criss at the parade, working her way into saying, “I love you.” They kiss in front of a man throwing up. Romance portion: complete. I would hang out with Criss and Dennis all day long. But I’d hang out with Dean Winters long after I’d throw James Marsden out the door.

Jack’s story tonight was slight, and kind of lame. Not lame because it involved the nerd stereotype of role-playing games, in this case “Colonizers of Malaar.” (Well kind of lame because of that, as this is a go-to story device for loads of shows nowadays.) Lame because it skimped on the jokes and served only for Jack to deconstruct the game in order to realize he needs to become the man he once was in order to battle Kabletown. Jack has been waxing on about his past for six seasons now. It’s gotten older than Baldwin and Tina Fey are looking. He talks to a priest and realizes he himself personifies the St. Patrick myths. Then he sets his game-centered barren desert on fire, turning the sand to glass, because everyone needs glass. Especially for Lutz’s pirate parties. Sub-powerful storytelling, but give it to a character who hasn’t seen this kind of material already. Also, his green tie looked amazingly short throughout the episode. Maybe this is what bothered me.

Speaking of things that aren’t new in any way shape or form, Tracy and Jenna are at odds over which of them is the biggest celebrity, as they compete for “Host 1” for NBC’s parade coverage. Hazel is finally back, fucking things up by putting Jenna’s name first in the promos. I mean, she’s practically spitting on Kenneth and his gift: the tail he had until he was sixteen. Jenna now things AKBS has made her more famous than Tracy, which makes him throw his hands up and whine a lot. Not funny. (Funny is when Tracy says, “Siri, kill Jenna,” and it responds, “I killed Jenna Elfman. Is this right?”) Hazel changes the name listing, causing both stars to simultaneously read the “Host 1” lines. I think it’s ridiculous that their proper names wouldn’t have been used in place of numbered host markers.

While all of this is going on, Kenneth watches from the wings, or rather from his house while he puts together a TGS puzzle together. He secretly shows up in a limo to pick up “Host 2” after Hazel tells them that the bigger celebrity should take the first limo. This brings Jenna and Tracy to the agreement that...whatever. They both agree to ride in the next limo together. Another useless argument ended. The only new aspect of this, Hazel, is only useful for sometimes amusing hateful quotes. Does Kenneth really need an antagonist week after week? And after last week’s censorship tirade, can he really afford to be at home while Tracy is live on-air, especially after the opening shows us how terrible a host he is? 30 Rock isn’t even consistent week after week anymore. Oh wait, that’s been the argument all along.

It’s so much easier to enjoy an episode like this when dissecting it isn’t necessary to puts words onto a page. And I didn’t watch Community yet, as I had to work, so part of my venting is just frustration on behalf of missing out on the newer cool kid on the block that will eventually become just as repetitive, though knowingly so, I’m sure. But mostly, it’s the lack of freshness that 30 brings to the fruit stand. We have seen all the apples and oranges. Show me some lychees, some pepinos, some uglis. Or is this as “ugli” as it gets? Yeah that’s right, I’m ending on a shitty pun. It’s no “Danny Boy” but it’s organic to my personality. And just a tad rotten. See you guys on World Solidarity Day for Detained and Missing Workers.

The TGS writers can’t go out on St. Paddy’s because they all have faces that people want to punch. This is by far the most correct statement ever uttered by any of these characters. I may have said that before about some other not-as-true line, but dammit if I didn’t want to punch Frank purely for telling such a powerful truth.

This Week In Frank’s Hat: Dorm Food.

Offering substitutions for nationalities worth holidays, Liz says, “Without Germans, we wouldn’t have any Indiana Jones movies.” Since I don’t give much of a shit about those movies, I’d like to thank the Germans for allowing that one section of certain Six Flags theme parks where you can buy beer in giant steins. Also, for American History X.

“I don’t understand your art, Kevin.”

Jenna singing “Danny Boy” after Tracy talks about character growth didn’t seem as ironic as it should have been. I can’t tell even if they used this song because they figured no viewers would recognize any other Irish song, or if they themselves didn’t know any other Irish songs.

Project Unicorn: Death ray.

“May your pornography be free of diarrhea.” Very close to going two whole episodes without a reference to porn. But I applaud any scatological reference worked into it.

“is 70 not a good I.Q.?” Hazel seems smarter than this. And Kristen Schaal should be getting smarter writing.

Tracy had to beg to take over Andy Rooney’s position to spout such lines as “When i was a kid, you could get a prostitute for five dollars.” This show has got to be fucking with people, with the sheer repetitiveness of punchline subjects. Porn, prostitutes, menstruation. If these things didn’t exist, 30 Rock would just be crickets chirping.

Jenna and Tracy are NBC’s biggest celebrities, unless Harry’s Law really took off. Even in the most fictional of universes, this is a stupid sentence. That he prays to Michael Jackson’s ghost and she prays to the Great Kaballah Monster is much more realistic.

Dennis Duffy Stuff: He’s now got a place that burns old DVDs onto laserdiscs. When asked if the black guy who coldcocked him for trying to steal a beer was a security guard, he responded “I don’t see people that way.” He appreciates Liz for having a place to hook his Sega up. Sea World is his honeymoon spot of choice. He gives Criss the idea of opening a hot dog stand after the parades and serving bare buns to drunks, his only idea not steeped in cyclical technology. “We need to talk. Open a bag of wine.” Liz knows his brain, and once saw it when he jumped onto the ice at a hockey game.

“I love you.” “Scooby Doo.”

“I’m a virgin with white guys.” Is that what Sue said when she handed Jack the crown? I didn’t rewind it to make sure.

Jack tells the priest he’s stuck in a company that won’t innovate or change. I can’t be the only one drawing comparisons between the two here.

Hazel Stuff: She left her kids in a Sears parking lot in 2004; she later offers to take Pete to Sears to buy him a toy. She thinks live TV is like sex if your husband isn’t looking at a picture of a bridge. (Admittedly, I laughed too hard at this dumb sentence.)

Shout out to www.holidays.net for helping me out today. Not that I'm looking for hand outs.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.