Among the many favorable qualities of the show 30 Rock is that they have no fear of absurdity. There is a warm, zany, 1970's madcap feel to every episode, and you can tell how much Tina Fey must have laughed at The Carol Burnett Show as a kid. Take away the show's penchant for the zany, and we would have never gotten to see Alec Baldwin in dual roles as Jack Donaghy and Spanish soap opera villain Generalissimo.
Lemon and Jack's storylines convene nicely in this episode. It starts when Lemon accidentally receives her new neighbor's mail, and she and Jenna illegally open it to find a divorce letter, lots of pet-rescue literature and a Netflix movie about how to make pie. Needless to say, the mail turns her on. Lemon takes one of the unopened pieces over to the new neighbor's apartment to try and find out more, and lo and behold, it's Jon Hamm! We all know Jon Hamm as Don Draper from Mad Men. If you don't know Jon Hamm, he looks like Brad Pitt's better-looking, smarter, older brother. What's more, he's a comic book nerd and has a sense of humor not at all commensurate with his ability to look better than 98% of people. Here, he plays Dr. Drew Baird, an animal shelter supporter and baking enthusiast. Confronted with this, Lemon "wants to go there," but how? Enter Jack's storyline.
Jack has another mother problem. This time though, it's not his own: Elisa's grandmother doesn't like Jack. The reasons are unclear but get far clearer when they turn on her favorite Telemundo soap opera in Jack's office, a show called Los Amantes Clandestines, which stars the villainous character The Generalissimo. The Generalissimo is over-the-top evil, making him almost as bad as Bernie Madoff, and is played by an actor, Hector Moreda, who looks exactly like Jack (but with a thin Latin 'stache). It's no wonder that Elisa's mom hates him and, by extension, Jack. Jack appreciates how important a Puerto Rican grandmother is to a Puerto Rican granddaughter, so he buys Telemundo and then orders Lemon to rewrite the script to kill off his doppelganger. Elisa will translate. She tells Lemon what makes the Generalissimo character so evil, as if the visual of him lighting dynamite taped to a young boy's head wasn't enough of a clue: apparently, he also opens other people's mail. Lemon retreats into shame, but when Elisa explains to her that the General opened the mail of a beautiful woman and then used the information to seduce her, Lemon becomes very intrigued. The next day, she knocks on Dr. Drew's door (not Pinsky) and holds up a picture of a lost dog she got from an advertisement. She begs him to help her look. He, of course, goes to grab his coat immediately, and Lemon laughs maniacally.
Lemon and Dr. Drew then scour the neighborhood in search of Lemon's imaginary pet, Buster. She gives up rather easily and recommends they hit a wine bar around the corner, but Drew is hesitant. His divorce is still fresh, and he doesn't want to get too involved too quickly. Meanwhile, Los Amantes Clandestines is back on, and Jack phones Elisa to make sure her grandmother is watching. The episode has been rewritten to kill off the evil General, but when the actress points a gun at the General and shoots, Hector Moreda laughs it off. He's "gone Broken Arrow," ad-libbing lines and professing to have drank a potion that makes him immortal. It's just like Soapdish! Elisa's grandma sees Jack's name in the show credits and shakes her head in disapproval. Jack confronts Moreda in his dressing room at Telemundo studios, and it's a Patty Duke moment, minus an actual split screen. Moreda isn't about to forego the many perks he's been bestowed for playing the General on the soap opera. He even has a lucrative endorsement deal with Sabor de Soledad. He's an actor, and aren't all actors difficult? Moreda phones the President of Telemundo in protest but hangs up when he finds out it's Jack's office. "Well played." Jack tells Moreda about Elisa, and is offered a compromise. The Generalissimo character gets to stay put, but will seduce Elisa's grandmother by embodying everything that Hispanic women love. "It will be the performance of a lifetime."
Elisa hands off the translation of the latest Amantes Clandestines script to Liz, and she cut one scene from the script involving Generalissimo and a female character because of what he previously did to that character's daughter. Apparently, the General invited the daughter to his party, but when she arrived there was no party -- only him. The General then drugged her drink and had his way with her. Lemon has the idea to do the same thing to Dr. Drew, minus slipping him any drugs. Now is a good time to point out the third, more minor storyline involving Tracy. The banking crisis has led to new interns at 30 Rock, all from Wall Street. These new interns are hungry, white-collar preps who could get cast in almost any made-for-TV lacrosse date-rape movie. They take Tracy along for a night out, completely wearing him down, and the next day he's a wreck, having accidently taken two roofies. The white boys and their party antics have wiped him clean. It's like he said in his not-hit comedy Cruise Boat: "I'm getting too old for this ship." He has to find something else for the interns to do before they ruin his reputation as a hard partier, thereby ruining his career as a comedian.
Dr. Drew shows up at Lemon's perfectly accented apartment for her non-party party. She feigns embarrassment at having invited him to her party on the wrong night and then quickly whisks him in. Then someone else knocks. It's Oswalt, who lives in the basement, where all the nails are, and he has Lemon's dog. Lemon is, of course, surprised. The dog yips and bites all night while Lemon makes the moves on the doctor. On the set of Amantes Clandestines, Generalissimo escorts a much older lady around his estate. He compliments her cooking and the photos of her grandchildren, and professes love for much older Puerto Rican women. Elisa's grandmother watches in complete approval. The seduction is working, as it is with Lemon. She and Drew eat fondue together. They sip wine, and touch hands on the couch. The dog is still barking. Generalissimo plays an acoustic guitar solo to the beautiful grandmother and takes her hand. Baldwin is doing some of his best work in this scene -- the perfect Latin lover, who is clearly Irish. He lifts her up in his arms and walks off-camera. Lemon and the doc are about to kiss when the dog interrupts. Lemon calls the dog a wang and then takes it into the other room. Drew complains of a headache and, as she is taking care of the dog, Lemon tells him he can grab an aspirin from her purse. Drew takes what he thinks is aspirin but is really the same roofie pills that Tracy got from the interns. (Lemon had previously confiscated them.) Drew falls to the floor, in front of Liz. He thinks she drugged her, and what's worse is that he falls into the pile of his opened mail. The dog runs in, still barking, and it occurs to Drew that it doesn't even belong to her. He crawls fearfully into the corner.
The next day, Elisa's grandmother gives Jack a gift of breaded cow's brain. She's very proud that her Elisa is dating such an important television man. Then she asks him to change the news on NBC. "It's too sad." Drew stops by Lemon's apartment to give her mail that was accidentally delivered to him this time. He opened all of it, including the cheese-of-the-month club newsletter, the steak-of-the-month newsletter and the Netflix movie Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Based on the mail, he would have wanted to meet Liz. She gives a full mea culpa, and asks if they could start over again. "Weirder things have happened, right?" Then weirder things do happen, on her television. She and Drew watch Matt Lauer on the Today Show report about Tracy Jordan's purchase of Lehman Brothers. The interns have a new job. Lauer transitions from that story into a montage of beautiful Latin babies to the music of Tito Puente, and we hear him complain to an off-screen Jack. Drew is convinced. He tells Liz, "It's a date." The apartment door closes, and a door to love opens?
Obviously, you can't like everyone. Some people deserve to not be liked, and other people just look like they deserve it. Case in point: I'm not a big fan of my upstairs neighbor because of his very severe facial features, but then I really don't like my downstairs neighbor because she smokes crack in the hallway. So there's reality, and then there's reality. As far as I'm concerned, the young man handing Liz Lemon a folder of White House research in the opening scene of tonight's episode fits either category. He looks like, and probably is, a tool. He's the Michael Rapaport of this scene. The Matsuflex of scene one, if you will. After handing her the research, he walks back over to three more of the unlikeable sort to exchange high-fives. Jack explains it to Lemon: these four guys are the new interns. They're also casualties from the bank collapse on Wall St. I knew it! Total tools. There are no worse humans today than in banking. Terrorists and Nazis are the only two worse groups of people to be counted among. Speaking of banking, it's online now. Did you know that? Jack explains to Liz, "They've got zero real-world skills, but God, they work hard." He tells them to run out and buy him flowers, bath soaps and Spanish-language gossip magazines. No, not to use as props on the set of the South American version of The Bachelor. Elisa and her grandmother are visiting, and Jack is doing all he can to impress Elisa's abuela (Spanish for grandmother). He suspects that abuela doesn't like him. CUT TO: A flashback of them sitting together on a couch. Abuela tells Jack in Spanish that she hates him. The fall from the Tower of Babel was an immense one.
Lemon joins Jenna in the break room with a heap of mail that doesn't belong to her. It belongs to her neighbor Dr. Andrew Baird, and Jenna picks through it, drawing several conclusions along the way. He has a letter from a divorce lawyer: single. There is an issue of Golf Magazine: not gay, and not poor. There are also Netflix movies in the pile, and they come Lemon-approved: Muppets Take Manhattan, Caddyshack and a documentary about how pies are made. I know that movie. Netflix recommended it after I queued a movie about how sausages are made (that was not a good movie).