Review: '30 Rock' - 'My Whole Life Is Thunder': I snitting next to Borpho's best friend!
Jack' mother returns, and Liz and Jenna feud again
A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I'm a nymphomaniac virgin widow with a hotel room and a latex allergy...
On the whole, I've never been a huge fan of Colleen Donaghy,(*) but dammit if her farewell episode wasn't fantastic, achieving that rare but always welcome "30 Rock" balance of complete absurdity and genuine emotion. In particular, the way Alec Baldwin played Jack's reaction to his mother's heart attack was absolutely perfect (as was the decision to leave the camera on him the whole time so we can see him shift from irritation, to recognition, to everything else. And Jack once again using his complicated feelings about his mother to drive himself to greatness by giving the greatest eulogy of all time — with the help of Kermit the Frog, Paul McCartney, the Harlem Boys Choir and more — was a great example of the power of comedy editing: give us just enough to understand the latest awesome thing Jack is doing, and move on really quickly before it stops seeming awesome. (Though I imagine Kermit's explanation of the afterlife would have made me weep.)
(*) My mother-in-law, who I don't think has watched the show before, was visiting last night, and she loved every single word out of Elaine Stritch's mouth in this one. She was less of a fan of Jenna and Paul's wedding vows.
Meanwhile, the Liz and Jenna story dealt with an issue several of you raised last week: even if Jack has essentially usurped Jenna's position as Liz's closest friend, Jenna was still going to be upset that Liz didn't invite her to the surprise wedding, on top of her usual sociopathic rage issues. And putting it at the 80 Under 80 event, packed with both national and local New York media figures like Sue SImmons, Wendy Williams and Gayle King, as well as the usual genius of Andrea Martin, and then mixing in Liz's lighting nerd skills, only upped the cartoonish frenzy of it all.
The Tracy/Kenneth plot (a commentary on both TV contrivances and the low-rated nature of "30 Rock" itself) wasn't quite at the level of those — though the triple panic attack of Tracy, Florence Henderson and Kenneth (once again praying to Jacob) in the elevator was excellent — but that's more about how good the main stories were than any real problem with the C-plot. And if Hazel dumping Kenneth is for real, and not just another scheme before she returns, huzzah! Kristen Schaal is great. "30 Rock" is great. But together, they didn't work.
Some other thoughts:
* Loved the way they abbreviated the theme song slightly, treating Liz's lyric version of it right before the credits as the start of the song.
* True story about Simmons, who was a New York institution for so many years as an anchorwoman on the local NBC affiliate: back in my Star-Ledger days, every six months or so I would get an unsigned postcard from the same reader asking me to find out how old Simmons was. Like clockwork. Same handwriting, I think the same phrasing. Never an explanation for why he needed this information. I left the paper well before WNBC declined to renew Simmons' contract earlier this year, but I wonder if those postcards are still coming. Certainly, the 80 Under 80 event will not help answer his question.
* Meanwhile, Simmons' longtime partner Chuck Scarborough wasn't neglected, as we learn that he's anatomically a woman. (Jenna: "So I am a lesbian!")
* Glad to see "Lost" vet Rebecca Mader (the virgin nympho widow) on a great comedy, since last season she was briefly trapped as a regular on "Work It."
* Did the "30 Rock" writers know that NBC would be running an animated "1600 Penn" ad in the middle of an episode when they came up with the "Bitch Hunter" gag? And/or did the NBC promo people know that this episode would feature that gag? Because the end result was making "1600 Penn" seem like a fake show when I can assure you — much like Jack once did about John McCain — "1600 Penn" is very real.
* Paul dressed as a stone angel: "Doctor Who" reference or not? You make the call.
What did everybody else think?
News From Our Partners
- What to Watch This Weekend: Orphan Black, Behind the Candelabra, and Arrested Development's Netflix Debut Arrested Development Q&A: Alia Shawkat on Maeby, the Return of the Show, and the Canonization of Mitch Hurwitz What to Watch Tonight: The Season Premiere of Rookie Blue and the Series Premieres of Save Me, Showville, and Does Someone Have to Go?
- The Telefile - The Most Heinous Person on Reality TV This Week The Telefile - Does Someone Have to Go?: Work Sucks.... If You Are On This Show The Telefile - Save Me: Lightning Strikes NBC
- Why He Fell Asleep During That Interview Alex Trebek Has Gone Completely Insane Arrested Development Could Really Teach Politicians A Thing Or Two
- "Fast & Furious 6" vs. "The Hangover: Part III": Which Movie Should You See? (VIDEO) 'Fast and Furious 6' Review: 10 Things You Should Know About the Action-Packed Sequel 'After Earth' Unscripted: Will and Jaden Smith on Filming With Deadly Snakes & On-Set Parenting (VIDEO)
- Hear This: “Second Best” reflects a pivotal moment all serious bands face Watch This: The wages and the fear remain high in William Friedkin’s Sorcerer Cannes Film Festival: Cannes 2013, Day Nine: James Gray and Joaquin Phoenix reteam for a compelling period drama
- 'Fast & Furious 6': The Reviews Are In! 'Return Of The Jedi' Turns 30: Secrets Of Ewok Language Revealed! 'Fast & Furious 6' Expected To Lap 'Hangover III' At Box Office
- fun. Hit the Jersey Shore for 2013 'TODAY Show' Summer Concert Series Jennifer Hudson Reportedly Confirmed as 'American Idol' Judge Meet the Woman Who Won PopCrush's Autographed Pink Guitar!
- Critics Consensus: Fast & Furious 6 is Certified Fresh Red Carpet Photos with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Gina Carano and More Video: The Hangover Part III Cast Interviews
Steven Soderbergh biopic about Liberace is HBO's best movie in yearsFriday, May 24, 2013
Will gets lost in a case, and Lecter tries to protect Abigail HobbsThursday, May 23, 2013
Announcing this summer's blog rewatch seriesThursday, May 23, 2013
The Dunphys and Pritchetts head to Florida for the funeral of Phil's momThursday, May 23, 2013