Two new 30 Rocks in one night? Is Tina Fey trying to kill me? Probably not, because why would she want to kill me when she is my Fake TV Wife? We made a make believe promise to love and honor each other in sickness or in cancellation. But, fine, she’s definitely making me work for it. For the purposes of my brain not falling out the side of my head, I’m going to recap the night’s first episode today and then have the second episode for you on Monday. Look, we can’t all be super genius overachiever workaholics like Tina. I need to spread the love over two days, like a mere mortal.
The first episode was the conclusion of the two-parter from last week. This, to refresh all of our memories, was the Big Gay Apology Episode. And, again to refresh our memories, I thought the first half was kind of eh. So what about the second half? Well, it kind of made me wonder why it was a two-parter in the first place. The show, which follows only the loosest of serialized narratives, has always excelled at wrapping up complex satirical storylines quickly and efficiently. So then why make a two-parter that says so little?
Last year’s feminist episode “TGS Hates Women” was one of the most interesting, unapologetic and simultaneously hilarious explorations of the nuances of modern feminism I’ve ever seen on TV. But when it comes to the Big Gay Apology, I still feel like the show whiffed. Instead of tackling Tracy’s homophobia head-on, they essentially side-stepped the real gay issue to make it about idiots and covering up Pete’s passing out in the supply closet – which if you think about it is really about idiots as well. Which is really too bad because a 30 Rock that took a real swing at the issue of homophobia and gay rights is a 30 Rock I’d love to see.
AFTERELLEN BAIT (What enticement did the episode use to reel in gay lady viewers?)
I won’t lie, I have to give Denise Richards a slow clap for how gamely she played up her own idiocy. I mean, it’s one thing to come on a show and mock yourself as the celebrity spokesperson of the National Association for Zero Intolerance, or NAZI. It’s another to go all out like Denise did and Etch-a-Sketch your way into our hearts with your song about towels, sunscreen, diving boards and those ladders. Now that’s an idiot after our own hearts.
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS! (Did the episode give you a lot of feelings?)
Disappointment about the show’s handling of the Big Gay Apology aside, I actually felt this episode was funnier and more enjoyable than last week’s episode. Of course, they did cheat a little. I’m pre-disposed to like anything where a unicorn – I mean a magical horse – shows up. And the return of Devon Banks is always an opportunity for some of the best homoerotic sexual tension on television.
MAKING LEMON-ADE (What were the best Liz Lemon antics of the week?)
Good God, Lemon. This week wraps up Liz’s conflict about her organic hotdog vendor new boyfriend, Criss. Should she follow her heart (and stomach – locally sourced pig sweepings sound delicious!) or listen to the Jack inside and outside of her head? Also, how much do you love that Liz’s fantasy projection of herself is a Real Housewife wielding a Light Saber?
HEY, NERDS! (How much delightfully nerdy funny business was there?)
Semantics! They’ll get you every time. Two things this week stood out for me. The first is the fervor with which 30 Rock went after the idiots of the world. For the record they include but are not limited to strippers, stay-at-home moms, the birther movement, intelligent design, water parks, Girls Gone Wild, the Golden Globes, cans that tell you how cold beer is, Florida, Bratz Dollz, an Entourage movie, people who ride motorcycles, have unprotected sex and vote against free health care. And the second was that despite thinking the Jenna-Kenneth-Kelsey storyline was the weakest subplot of the week, I will never not love an ironic freeze frame shot.
So, what did you think? Similarly disappointed by the lack of real substance in the gay apology storyline? Or did you just settle in and enjoy the absurdity of this week’s situation? You know what to do. (That would be, discuss.)