30 Rock

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B | 2 USERS: A-

Can we start off by getting all meta? You know and I know that writing about funny things is a near-foolproof way to make them less funny. So here's how we'll play it: I'm going to sum up the show in a few paragraphs, and then I'm going to give you all what you really want, which is a big section devoted to the set-ups and jokes that provide the one-liners we'll use ceaselessly over the next few months. This way, we're all on top of whatever breakout phrase will replace "mind grapes" in our affections (AS IF that's possible) and we'll still be able to explain the gist of each episode to the apostates who aren't yet watching.

Okay, let's go...

Liz comes back from hiatus, totally psyched to be back at work. She immediately finds Jack who has come off "the most productive summer of [his] life." Inspired by his summer success, Jack is launching "SeinfeldVision," wherein he will digitally insert Jerry Seinfeld into all NBC's shows. We see clips of Law and Order: SVU, Heroes, and Deal or No Deal, all with Seinfeld digitally inserted. Then Jack runs down Liz's summer, which frankly sounds fab -- yoga and quilting and flip-flop wearing -- by flipping up the Biggest Loser tape as Liz talks. She rightly marvels, "I can't believe I missed you."

This launches the primary storyline: Jerry Seinfeld gets wind of Jack's plan to launch an entire month of SeinfeldVision, and he is not happy about it. Jack gives him the runaround for a bit, subjecting Seinfeld to two different horrors: Liz forced to give him a tour when she'd rather brood about her breakup with Floyd, and a star-struck Kenneth goggling at him constantly, his smile as sunny and vacant as the room in an Andrew Wyeth painting. (This so unnerves Seinfeld that at one point, he turns to Jack and screams, "Call off your goon!" Kenneth only grins more widely at this.) Jack does not immediately come up with a way to placate Seinfeld, and unravels over the course of the next two days. When Seinfeld comes in for a second meeting, Jack is completely at loose ends. After briefly contemplating murder by statuary, Jack melts down all over Seinfeld, and they dicker over SeinfeldVision until a deal is reached: one night only, $1.5 million goes to Doctors Without Borders, Al Roker has to promote Seinfeld's Bee Movie while wearing a bee costume, and Jack gets the name of a secret European nation where the very rich vacation.

In the B-plot: Tracy has been booted from the house thanks to A) his habit of telling transvestite hookers to go to computer school, B) a tabloid magazine allegedly getting a photo, but C) captioning the tranny in the photo as Tracy's wife. Angie is furious. Tracy is now living in the studios, he's decided, but he's at sixes and sevens: "Who's going to do my banking? Who's going to write my blogs? Who's going to do the cooking on Taco Wednesdays?" The answer, unsurprisingly, is Kenneth. Tracy has a rocky first night: "Angie kept my Sharper Image aromatherapy white noise machine. She knows I can't sleep without the sound of the ocean and the smell of bacon." But he and Kenneth quickly settle into a simulacra of married life. I look forward to seeing how this will go.

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30 Rock




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