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30 Rock tackles “women aren’t funny” and send Jack and Jenna down the path to being old in a surprisingly straight forward episode for the show. 30 Rock is usually juggling a lot of balls in the air and can’t always handle it, but this week’s episode held a pretty strong through line and folded everything together rather nicely.
Tracy gets the ball rolling when he sends out a tweet saying women aren’t funny (@stephenhawking, #plotpoint) and it leads to battle of sorts between him and Lemon as they go back and forth over who is right on the topic. Tracy even goes as far as saying monkey’s are funnier, but Liz won’t give up her fight. Jenna and Liz end up performing an old show from their Chicago days and over the course of a montage, in which we intentionally see nothing that is very funny, convinces every man on the show that women are in fact funny. The song that plays over this montage spells out the message Fey is trying to get across in case you're too much like Lochte and that is “We don’t have to prove to you that this is true.”
Women are funny, obviously, 30 Rock is one of the best examples of that in recent memory, but I find it interesting that Fey felt the need to center almost an entire episode around this subject. Still, she handles it wonderfully by never directly addressing the topic and proving how funny women can be in doing so. She also uses Tracy as a proxy idiot to show that anyone that would ever say something like this is a fool, and the episode ends up being one of the more clever messages the show has put out there. Fey caps it all off by brilliantly lampooning Sex and the City, a show I am sure many haters point to as an example of women not being funny, and it was almost shocking to me that it took them this long to draw a comparison to that series. Lemon’s Carrie outfit was particularly inspired and they absolutely nailed the vibe of SatC with that final montage. We needed more of her female writers running in fear from Lemon.
In much lesser roles this week were Jenna and Jack who had to deal with their age, one by their own hand and the other by someone else’s. Jack is Great Escaping a group of women only to become distraught when one of those women is Pokemoning him. (Great Escaping and Pokemoning are both brilliant names that mean the same thing to different age groups; sleeping around) Jack is left to figure out what role he plays in this women’s love life and it turns out he is the fatherly/old guy. This depresses him for only a moment until a quick pep talk from Jenna, who is faking her own age to be more viable “for” an older woman, seems to make everything ok and he takes on the role with open arms. This all seems too easy. If this is a quick way of maturing Jack for the final run of episodes I guess I can live with that, but it was a whole lot of build up for such a seemingly easy fix for the character. Even though the arc failed to do a whole lot for Jack, the material was quite funny and this was one of Baldwin’s stronger turns in a while.
Back to Jenna faking her age to be older, which never really gets off the ground and unfortunately seems be more of an extra plot piece to move Jack and Liz’s stories along for the week. There were a couple highlights for her though as Jenna coming on to Kenneth and wiping her underwear with lunch meat to send to fans was disturbingly hilarious, as I was shaking my head thinking, WTF. Jenna, like Jack, gets a lot of great writing to work with in her brief screen time here and Jane Krakowski seems to get better and better as Jenna with each week; even in these final episodes.
There wasn’t a whole lot to 30 Rock this week, but it was surprisingly effective throughout. Constantly delivering the laughs and a step up from last week’s mediocre entry, Fey and company were able to make a “message” episode that still remained quite funny and handled said message to near perfection. There is only 10 episodes left though, I hope we get a little more character work before to long to get these lovable losers in an intriguing space before it is all said and done.
-"I've seen your bathing suits, that could be anywhere."
-"But it's too high. He had a leather jacket."
-"You would lose your mind."
-"Welcome to the flower shop."
-Oh god, meat on the underwear?
-What is going on with Jenna.
-"Or Mitt Romney's grandfather."
-Ryan Lochte openly playing a sex idiot? Is he acting?
-"My shoes got ruined."
-Tracy's gut is disgusting.
-Cold Flash Menopause Popsicles.
-That song was great.
-Gerald Chair, inventor of Geri Chair.
-"You look like that flash card they told me means sadness."
-Love Liz's "Carrie" outfit.
-"Those are the names of my fingers."