We have three plots to deal with tonight. Three! It's like freakin' Moliere in here!
In Story A, Jenna's crazy, mooching mother Verna shows up. And she's played by Jan Hooks! Jenna and Liz assume she's just coming to mooch more money, and Jack even has a slideshow to explain his patented mother-avoidance system. But she appears to have turned over a new leaf, returning all the money she's mooched from Jenna and even staging a surprise birthday party at which she and Jenna sing a duet. And Jenna apparently always carries a wireless microphone in her purse, which I guess is a good idea if you're Jenna.
But it turns out that Verna just wants a reality show with Jenna, and she's been manipulating her. Jack buys Verna off with $3,000 for four visits a year. Heartwarming! Wait, no. That's not the word. I'll come up with it, though.
In Story B, Frank and Liz become roommates and immediately become embroiled in a challenge: Frank will quit cigarettes if Liz will quit snack foods. This promptly degenerates into the writers' room watching Liz order a pizza in her sleep, then watching Frank make out on Liz's couch with the lady from the mail room. Nobody wins!
Well, that's about it ... oh! Wait! There's also Story C, which is that Pete likes to sit by himself, but Kenneth wants to come up to him and tell him boring things. Pete gets annoyed but never does anything about it, which means there are a couple scenes of Kenneth being funny. And I think Pete joins a Hobo Fight Club.
Hello! I am not Lady Lola. I am, instead, your fill-in for the evening, Montykins. By that I mean that I am "Montykins", not that I am addressing you under the mistaken impression that you are Montykins. Although I guess it works both ways if you are also Montykins. The odds of that seem pretty low, though, so perhaps we should just get to it.
We open up on an obvious dream sequence, in which Liz is giving birth while being coached by Jack. As though his enthusiasm and friendliness weren't enough of a tip-off, Tracy is the doctor, Kenneth is the female nurse, and the baby is Meat Cat, the mascot for "Cheesy Blasters". His catchphrase is "Razz-ma-tazz"! Liz wakes up and vows to eat better. Plot point!
Meanwhile, Pete is sipping coffee from a crude yellow mug in the writer's room. Kenneth walks up cheerfully (note to self: Kenneth does everything cheerfully, so it's probably not necessary to say so) and learns that Pete desperately wants a moment of peace and quiet between work and home. Kenneth appears to understand about "Pete Time", but immediately plunges into "a funny story about my friend's cat. His name is Mr. Wiggles. And his cat's name is Benson!" I hope we meet Mr. Wiggles at some point. Jenna rushes in frantically (note to self: see above note, with "Jenna" and "frantically" inserted in the right spots) and Kenneth regrets the end of "Pete and Kenneth Time". Me too!
Jenna bursts into Liz's office to report the plot. Jenna's mother Verna, who is someone who uses an Oxycontin prescription bottle as ID, is here to see her. Jenna told security to throw her out, "but I'm sure she's down there. Sitting on a curb. Chain-smoking. And waiting for me to come out. Just like the day I was born!" Liz thinks Jenna should have a relationship with her mother, but Jenna is convinced that her mother only sees her as a "gorgeous, naturally-blonde ATM". Liz launches into a song about not going to sleep with a frown. It's so obnoxious that Jenna flees the room and is quickly replaced by Kenneth, who sings along.
I've written lyrics to the 30 Rock theme song. Unfortunately, they're just "doo doo doo doo doo doo doot!" so I don't know why I bothered mentioning them.
At the snack table, Liz overhears Frank tell Lutz about the firemen that were at his house. Apparently, Frank's Sith Lord cloak caught fire from being too close to his mother's Jesus candles. Lutz wants to know if any of the firemen were the ones from the calendar. Anyway, Frank needs a place to crash. Tracy says, "I'm sorry. Would you like to stay at my guest house?" Yes, Frank would like very much to stay at Tracy's guest house. "Oh, I'm not offering. I'm just taking a survey to gauge general interest!" But Liz still has that double-sized apartment from that time she thought she was getting a talk show (Taste the continuity!). She reluctantly allows Frank to stay with her, but insists that "It's stuff like this that makes me eat things like this!" The second "this" refers to a chocolate donut.
Jack closes the door of his office and has a confab with Jenna. We see a flashback to Jenna's childhood, which apparently involved shooting commercials with alligators. Verna's in the shot, but we don't see her face. I assume that's to set up a reveal later on, but it's clearly Jan Hooks. I had no idea I could recognize Jan Hooks's voice so quickly. One of my many talents, I guess. Back to Jack's office. Jack has a plan for getting rid of mothers. In fact, he has a slideshow presentation entitled "Saying No to Mother". He tells Jenna that the word "no" is her best friend. "Best friend with benefits?" flirts Jenna, somewhat incomprehensibly. Anyway: Step One is saying "no". Step Two is the fight, in which you "Always Speak Quieter". Jenna ignores the presentation and flirts with Jack. Jack ignores the flirting and continues the presentation. His point is that low tones lead to Step Three: when the mother says she's disappointed and gets up to leave, let her.
Liz goes up to her extra apartment with a bag of something called "Cornholes". She's shocked to find out that Frank smokes. Really, the guy pees in jars and now it's surprising that he smokes? Frank is unrepentant and takes a shot at Liz's microwavable socks. I don't even know what that means. Aren't all socks theoretically microwavable? Liz lectures Frank about how bad smoking is for you, as proven by an episode of Diff'rent Strokes. And Frank promptly tells her about a Dr. Oz episode that proved that junk food was bad too. He saw it on a compilation tape of fat ladies crying. The bag of Cornholes says "Manufactured in a facility that also processes food." Frank figures he'll get a throat radio and Liz will be buried in a piano crate, and he's okay with that. But Liz has a wacky plan. They can both quit their bad habits! Frank agrees, "but if doing this restores my sex drive, the plus-size ladies in the mail room have you to blame."
Verna (Jan Hooks!) welcomes Jenna to their restaurant booth. She knows she's asked for money for a lot of stupid plans, but she's got an envelope of money for Jenna. Jenna starts talking really quietly, and Verna can't understand her. Jenna assumes this is the fight, so she talks even more quietly. Verna apologizes and starts to walk away. Finally, Jenna stands up: "Don't go, mommy! I'll stand closer to the gator!"
Pete's alone. Blissfully alone. But when he drops his pen, Kenneth appears next to him to tell him about a guy on the subway who appeared to be fingerless, but then turned out to be just making a fist. Liz and Frank come in to report their plan. Frank took the elevator all the way up without losing his breath! Pete tells Liz that she needs her junk food as a release. Since he lost Pete Time, he's started jabbing thumbtacks into his neck. Liz claims to be excited about her individually-portioned organic meals, "like my upcoming lunch, autumn-tempe risotto (Liz gags, and I do too, since I got sick of typing "risotto" while recapping Hell's Kitchen) with salmon-rubbed streusel chunks." She lashes out and knocks Lutz's food to the floor. Poor Lutz.
Jack comes to Jenna's dressing room and is appalled to learn that Jenna is letting Verna into her life. Verna strolls in and agrees with Jenna that Jack does "look like he'd be good between ... those two things we were talking about." Smooth! Jack compliments Verna's earrings, which she made herself from diseased birds. Jenna is sad that Verna's leaving tonight, since her birthday is that weekend. Jenna is called to the stage, leaving Verna and Jack alone. Verna is actually throwing Jenna a surprise party! She tells Jack to wear something nice, like a Dan Marino jersey.
Back to the writers' room. Pete thinks Liz can't go on, since her body is crying out for chemicals. He tries to stuff a donut in her mouth, but his arms are apparently very week. Frank strolls by cheerfully (note to self: this one's okay, since Frank is rarely cheerful) and brags about his constitution. Liz plots to catch Frank in the act. Pete has stuck a thumbtack in his palm, which he soon regrets when Liz gives him a high five for his NannyCam idea.
A fancy restaurant. Jenna arrives under the impression she'll be paid for dancing for the Atlanta Hawks. But it's a surprise party! She has a cake with her face on it! Jack tells Liz that this is all a trap to ask for something when Jenna can't say no. He relates a similar situation in which his mother Colleen announced the starting lineup for the Red Sox and then made him promise not to put her in a home. Verna stands and makes a speech: "In my life, I've been many things. A liar. A dental hygienist. But I haven't always been a good mom." She wants Jenna to sing a duet with her, to make up for this time when Jenna was eleven that I didn't mention earlier because I didn't think it was important. Verna starts singing "Do That To Me One More Time", and Jenna pulls a wireless microphone out of her purse and sings along. I guess it's not a bad idea to carry a microphone around if you're Jenna. Liz wants to know how J