For the penultimate episode of 30 Rock we again get a stripped down story and a couple of final pieces are moved into place that, which in hindsight, seemed inevitable.
Jack is looking for his replacement to head NBC, but his first order of business as C.E.O. is to return Kenneth to his position of page. Jack is doing this so he can have his best page lead a Willy Wonka like tour staged as a vetting of the final candidates. The parody (does every show do a Wonka parody at some point?) is simple, but works quite well. While all of the candidates dressed up to look like one of the five kids on tour might have been a bit much, Kenneth as a Slugworth type character was worth the whole thing. Jack's profiling Wonka as the perfect businessman also had me laughing and you can't help but appreciate the effort it took to get all of those lines from the film when Jack hands over the keys of NBC to Ken. He is the perfect candidate and I don't know why I was so caught off guard with his rise to the top. I hope in the finale we get a taste of Kenneth's programing on NBC and I am sure he will save TGS.
Speaking of TGS, everyone quits, that is essentially what happens this week as the staff failed Lemon once again as she tries to pull everyone together for an emergency pitch in front of the Kabletown board. This was supposed to be a last ditch effort to save the show, but the staff and the show finally set Lemon free from the grips of 30 Rock and let her live her life. The staff all quitting for her was an appropriate end to TGS in the context of 30 Rock, but I didn't really feel like it had the emotional weight it was going for.
Meanwhile, on the Lemon home front, the adopted twins are arriving in under a week and Criss is trying to get everything ready for them to arrive. Liz, of course, is caught up at work and when it is revealed that the twins will actually be arriving today instead of a week that is when all of the hijinks mentioned above at TGS kick in. Live was going to miss the arrival of her kids for work and it is at least refreshing that she is able to finally break away from work and start her family. It is interesting the show is going for somewhat emotional finality in these last couple of episodes, how much have we ever really cared if Liz gets a kid or baby?, but at least they put a clever spin on the children in making them mini a mini twin Tracy and Jenna. The “serious” stuff in Liz's life has always been played for laughs when it's all said and done, and that is no different here, but I can't help but feel like they were going for a bit more emotional weight that never really hits the way they want it too.
Next week is it, no more 30 Rock. Story wise, the penultimate episode brought a lot of closure to the show and I am hoping they are clearing the way for a crazy, silly and hilarious finale to top all finales. I'm not really setting my hopes for the show to end with the greatest finale ever, but I am sure Tina Fey and company will give us something great. One more week.
-We aren't even going to get to see the finale for TGS, oh wait, Panic Dream.
-"It's not my airport!"
-Poor Treme. They even got the theme music. Yay Treme!
-"Women who try to do things sure get killed a lot."
-"Has it really? Oh god."
-Kenneth the Page!
-"Accidentally walk in on a blonde woman peeing."
-"Wonderful." Wonka was the 1%!
-Jack's transition to CEO was smooth. Surprised no story there.
-Nice green screen joke.
-Bro Body Douche?
-"I don't know if ja."
-This Douche guy's speech is hilariously offensive.
-"Never knew my dad.!"
-They are really running with this Wonka theme.
-I just saw an Oompa Loompa executive in the background.
-"That fabric was made from toilet clog hair."
-Truth Bomb from Ken.
-Was that a "Wonka Wash spelled backward," reference.
-Ken is Charlie!
-"Children, why the hell are you still here?"
-"I hit that."