Review: '30 Rock' - 'A Goon's Deed in a Weary World': Pure imagination
A review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I've seen the porn version of "Transformers"...
We still have an hour of "30 Rock" to go, and I will treasure every last minute we have remaining with this great show. But "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"(*) would have functioned quite well as a series finale.
(*) The title is a play on a line from "The Merchant of Venice," which Gene Wilder recites in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," right as he's decided that Charlie has won the contest and will run the factory.
It's not that it was the funniest episode of this victory lap season (though pretty much anything involving the show's new sponsor was gold, as were Tracy and Jenna referencing Clooney's role as "Dumb Gay Batman"), but that it brought very satisfying closure to the stories of Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy. As great as the "30 Rock" supporting cast and recurring players have been, this has always been a show about the two of them, and here they got what amounted to the perfect happy endings for their characters.
Jack has spent seven years learning enough about the network TV business to realize he knows absolutely nothing about it, and now that he has the CEO job he always wanted, why not take a gamble on putting TV-lover Kenneth in charge of the network?(**) The show's love of television, as well as its sense of regret over what the medium is becoming, has been a running theme all this time, and nicely culminated in that Wonka parody. (My only regret is that Augustus Gloop, Violet and the others didn't get anything to do, but the sight gag worked well enough in a busy episode.)
(**) Of course, the one time one of Kenneth's program ideas got made, it was the disastrous "Gold Case."
Liz, meanwhile, has spent seven years playing mom to all the temperamental, erratic, overgrown children on "TGS," and it was nice to see they had learned just enough from her to free her from the prison the show had become. And all that experience should make her ideally suited to raising Tracy and Jenna's young doppelgangers. (Liz, upon hearing Janet say "CAM-uh-ruh" like Jenna always does: "That seems about right.")
I expect lots of craziness to come in the finale, and ultimately "30 Rock" will be better remembered for the ruth-filled joke delivery system that it was. But some of the series best moments managed to ground the insanity in some kind of human emotion involving Liz and/or Jack. So this final season, and this episode in particular, have been satisfying for how often Tina Fey and the other writers have remembered to pay tribute to that part of the show in addition to all the running gags.
Some other thoughts:
* Yes, Liz Lemon, "Tremé" does indeed get good if you stick with it.
* "And that boy's name... was Marshall Mathers."
* Was anyone disappointed that we didn't get an entire subplot about Tracy and Jenna having switched brains?
* Whose movie career would be more interesting: Senor Spielbergo (Steven Spielberg's non-union Mexican equivalent from "The Simpsons"/"Critic" crossover episode), or Michael Baio, Scott Baio's uncle?
* "30 Rock" composer (and Fey's husband) Jeff Richmond gets to make one more on-camera appearance as the one-man band performing with Kenneth's Wonka-esque song about the magic of television, accompanied by slideshow of great NBC past hits, plus a few fake ones like Bob Uecker in a TV version of "Willy Wonka."
What did everybody else think?
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
Let Streaming Genie help you.