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30 Rock Watch: Season 6, Episode 21 - The Return of Avery Jessup

“Daggum possum up and what been bit my momma’s neckbrace.”

Well now that 30 Rock has been renewed for its seventh and final season, the pressure is off of Tina Fey & Co. from blowing away my expectations for the series to end on a substantially lower note than it came in on. Not that my expectations are worth considering, but as a representative for all seven of you readers, I want the show to rise in nothing less than meteoric fashion. I do not want them to find a magic temple on the other side of the studio (island). But anyway, there’s a sixth season to end before we get to that seventh season. And it will involve Jack and Avery renewing their nuptials. What the what? I need to live in the now. Avery is back at 30 Rock, in an episode free from gimmicks and other targets of my weekly flak. That means I should love it, right? Eh. I mean, compared to The Office, sure.

Though it immediately starts the episode off with sincerity, Jack and Avery’s reunion is somewhat anticlimactic; they hug and kiss. It also kickstarts the main plotline: Jack is suspicious of Scott Scottsman, Avery’s partner–in-hostage newscasting. “…reminding you there is no weekend.” Though she’s been gone a year, Jack is determined to make her return a triumph of normalcy. He shares recent news, that there’s an IPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4, which isn’t killing hobos at night anymore. He gets Liz to create an hour-long retrospect for the year of her absence; sadly, only a few lines of this “12 Month (W)Rap Up” are heard. Avery and Liddy share time offscreen. (“I heard her ask her bear who the ‘dye job’ is.”) But through all this, his suspicions remain assertive, fueled even more by Avery’s unsolicited admission that she would forgive Jack for any wrongdoings he may have taken part in while she was gone.

His master plan: to casually hint at his quasi-affair with her mother Diana, who is amazingly absent from this episode considering her unneeded appearance last week when Avery’s return was announced. (Liz refers to this as him French-Canadian kissing her, which is French kissing when it bums everybody out. Nice.) Anyway, Jack’s increasing confessions, ranging from “I had feelings for a woman,” to “I kissed a woman,” are met with Avery’s distant, “I forgive you, Jack,” frustrating him further. He eventually takes it to its logical conclusion, confessing to making out with her mother, along with a handful of other truths, such as wearing her nightgowns because they’re comfortable, not to feel closer to her, which momentarily stuns her before she rejoices in getting him to confess all at one time what it may have taken him years to confess otherwise. She’d only barely talked to Scott Scottsman before the plane ride home. Jack is overly impressed at her conniving ways. Thus, next week’s vow renewal. This storyline actually worked really well for me, as it got to the heart of Jack’s ridiculous ambitions. It was also filled with amusing Korean newscasts, where we learn that Korea won the Olympics, that Kim Jong-un scored 200 points in a basketball game before spending hot tub time with men he is definitely just friends with, and that Kim Jong-Il beat Jack Nicklaus at golf, because they’re both totally still alive.

The milder of the two sub-plots has Liz feeling slightly less uncomfortable that she makes more money than Criss does, brought out because Criss thinks the house needs $10,000 in renovations should they ever plan to have a baby, er, plant, which Liz is also uncomfortable talking about. If Criss would take the profits from his hot dog truck, which is really a van with a car engine, and add that to the $300 his aunt gave him for Christmas, he’d have $200. (Great line reading from Marsden there.) Liz tries for friendly advice from Jenna, who says she should be proud of wearing the pants in the relationship, even though she doesn’t pull them off because of her hips. Liz gives Criss the money in a manly way, implanting in him enough inferiority so that he immediately gets back to the hot dog business. “Word is Greta VanSusteren eats hot dogs like Slimer.” (Another killer line.) This is where this plot converges with Jenna’s.

The Southern Tourism Bureau, which pays Tracy to stay in New York, has offered to be Jenna’s wedding sponsor, because those are important apparently. But because she’s transformed herself into such a regal person, she’s having trouble finding the Southern belle lurking within, as seen in her pronunciation of “La Floorida Pahnhandool.” She studies Gone With the Wind’s “I’m an Adult Learning to Read” series, and allows Kenneth and, you guessed it, Tracy, to help her. Kenneth really just turns her into a trashy yokel instead of a plantation princess, filled with rotten hick impressions. After she ruins a Water Biscuits commercial, the S.T.B. drops her.

Earlier in the episode, Jenna made reference to wearing fake Christian Louboutin shoes, since she’s ruined many of the real ones trying to get Paul pregnant. When Criss takes his hot dog truck to a street corner normally populated by Sesame Street rip-off characters (such as one who has to legally say his name is “Elmar”), the characters jump him and steal his hot dogs. This inspires Jenna to open a can of Southern, barefoot whoopass on them, which is captured on cell phone videos and leaked to news outlets. At first, dismayed, she is pleased to find her fake shoes used in the beating were mistaken for the legitimate, expensive shoes. The episode’s credit-capper is Jenna’s commercial for her new sponsor, “,” promoting such brands as Dolce and Banana, Prader, and Diana Von Fistenbug. (Fistenbug is so fun to say.)

While I am secretly lamenting the forthcoming end of this show, even though it’s still ages away, I’m non-secretly happy that I don’t have to lie to myself about the level of quality 30 Rock has lost over the years, even while floating a head or two above most other comedies, especially other comedies with a number in the title. Next week will be our last week together for a while, faithful seven. Let’s make it a good one, shall we?

We Might as Well Call This the Quote Section Now

America’s credit rating is Triple Fart Minus. The line where satire meets reality head-on.

“Sorry I taste like Korean cigarettes. It’s the only thing with protein over there. Their meat is just deflated kickballs.” Nothing about this doesn’t disgust me with hilarity. The specificity of kickballs alone is pondersome. Maybe not.

Jenna writes a sex column for Cosmo. Cosmo is her 14-year-old neighbor that knows nothing about sex. Cheap but effective.

“Oh, Liz. It’s so good to see you. Your hair’s…the same.” “It’s not, actually. Something terrible happened.”

I want to institute my own form of Criss points into my marriage, since my wife makes more money than I do. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Dammit, the backspace button is broken.

“What do people not want to talk about? Soccer, jazz, infidelity.” Man, I hate soccer.

This Week In Frank’s Hats: Push for Cheese & Cured.

“I have someone inside me, too. It’s the bath toy of a scuba diver.” Tracy’s randomly amusing line of the week. And when he first heard it, I actually took it to mean a toy belonging to a scuba diver. I’d just woken up. That’s my story.

Kim Jong-Il and Junior Seau are running wind sprints right now, I think.

Nick Venable

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.