The Powers That Be hand Jack down a mandate to make the network more friendly. Jenna offers to record a country crossover song for their sports promos, but that's not enough. Jack charges Lemon with finding a new cast member who will appeal to "real America" since Tracy and Jenna are, at turns, too urban and too actress-y. Lemon and Pete spend the entire episode sneakily hitting up comedy clubs after work, uncomfortably touching knees under teeny tables at said comedy clubs, and ultimately telling the writers that they're "intercoursing each other" in a desperate attempt to cover up the talent search. The reason? Writers hate talent, and talent (ah-hem Jenna) will do anything to maintain its place in the spotlight, including but not limited to maiming enthusiastic blonde interns.
While all this is happening, Kenneth mistakenly gets hold of Jack's paycheck. This is only a problem because Kenneth had earlier raised some concerns about Page overtime compensation being cut to the Boss Man. Jack claimed there was no extra money to pay the Pages, an assertion disproven when Kenneth laid eyes on a Donaghy-bound bonus check with an eye-popping number of zeroes. Kenneth mobilized the pages -- plus a blanket union composed of mall Santas, horse whisperers and bucket drummers -- to stage a picket. They thought they'd be getting overtime and more sanitary beards, amongst other things. In the end, Kenneth manages both to outsmart Jack in a game of high-stakes minion chess and to accomplish absolutely nothing in the way of compensation and working conditions improvement for his fellow union members.
And Tracy. We could never forget Tracy. He takes to heart Jack's assertion that money and fame have made him lose touch with his humble beginnings. He goes on an odyssey to break out of his "mermaid booby" shell, in the process accosting myriad tourists and Rockefeller Plaza employees in the process. When drive-by realness leaves him empty-handed, he joins the ill-fated strike and proves that he knows how to count… up to 18 at least!
Jenna also shows up briefly at the protest after she learns about Lemon and Pete's talent search. When she's not doing that, she's wearing Daisy Dukes or a white hot-pants onesy to record her "Tennis Night in America" country music promo. And then there's Josh, the forgettable actor-writer who plays a supporting role in this episode. He was mentioned and/or appeared at least three times during the episode, and only one of those times did I not scratch my head or consult IMDB. And, to be fair, that was kind of the point, but my apologies to Lonny Ross regardless.
Jack welcomes Lemon, Tracy and Jenna to Season Four -- the hottest new Asian Fusion restaurant in Manhattan. The waiters present what is literally a hot dog covered in cheese and wrapped in a crepe. It's called a Cheesy Blaster, and Lemon, of course, knows the jingle. Tracy objects to this low-brow fusion fare. Jack responds that that kind of elitism is exactly why he's brought the crew here. With the parent company struggling financially, he thinks TGS needs to reconnect with Middle America and gain back some much-needed viewers. He even accuses Tracy of becoming distant from his audience. This thought troubles Tracy. Jenna offers to record a country music album to get some publicity for the show. Apparently it's just as good as going gay for that purpose. Jack okays the twang-tastic PR stunt, and makes a toast to winning back the "real America" and its homespun family values. Methinks Lemon will be donning a half-up beehive and some Kawasaki 704 glasses any day now. Credits.
As they leave, Jack pulls Lemon back to ask her when she's going to move forward with the talent search for a new cast member. He claims Tracy (who's burning money... again) and Jenna (who's simultaneously hooked up to at least two wireless devices) aren't relatable to Middle America. Lemon is reluctant to add more work (and high jinks, no doubt) to her load, but Jack insists.
Inside 30 Rock, Pete is unenthusiastic about scouting a new actor. They vow not to tell anyone (i.e. Jenna) so as to avoid any hazing rituals and/or violent abductions. (See below.)
Upstairs, Kenneth approaches Jack about the new Page policy. Under "Comrade Obama's recession" (Jack's words, natch), the company can't afford to pay overtime anymore, so Pages are no longer allowed to work more than 16 hours a day. Kenneth has no problem working the extra hours for free, he just doesn't want to taint the Parcell family name by signing an inaccurate timesheet. He says his family is synonymous with honesty and then recites a yokel phrase to prove as much. God bless Jack McBrayer and his flair for dialects... I don't even know how to transcribe that, but it's worth a watch. Trust. Jack tells Kenneth that everyone is making sacrifices in the current economic climate. He tells Kenneth he can report, and be paid for, a truthful timecard when the money is available. For now, just sign the damn thing. Kenneth glumly signs, then spits out another unintelligible -- though I'm sure wisdom-laden -- phrase from back in the hollers.
Downstairs, Pete hands out Kenneth's paycheck. Lemon approaches, so he hands over her paycheck, too. They look each other conspiratorially and act all cagey towards Kenneth before scampering off to plan that evening's scouting trip. Frank walks by and nearly finds them out, but luckily they're really good liars. By which I mean they just laugh loudly and scare him off.