Last night’s 30 Rock was close to perfectly conceived.
The clever B story had Jenna and Kenneth pairing up once again (always a great team), this time to con an ice cream shop. The duo’s hijinks played out nicely, but they really upped the ante in teaming up with Kelsey Grammar to pull a long con as the newly-formed “Best Friends Gang”. The combination of classic NBC in-jokes and celebrity self-deprecation with Hollywood genre spoof was simply brilliant.
The fun C story marginalized the annoying Tracy without robbing him of his punchlines, and it’s “back to one” structure worked perfectly.
It also folded brilliantly into the fantastic A story. Jack’s “perfect game” of solving everyone’s problems perfectly for a whole day was just all kinds of good (self-satisfied advice-giving, absurd reverence for the wrong political figures, baseball references!). But when Liz’s sexual hangups threatened to ruin his perfect game (also known as his “quest for Reagany”), he helped her anyway, throwing out my favourite line of the night: “When you’re pitching a perfect game, you don’t walk Albert Pujols. And you’re the Albert Pujols of having problems”. The whole pitch-perfect story of character-detailed-wonderfullness culminated in an oddly sweet pronouncement of friendship from Jack: “You deserve someone like Carol and he deserves you because, and I’m only gonna say this once a decade, you’re great. You’re Liz Lemon, damn it! In certain lights you’re an 8, using east coast over-35 standards, excluding Miami.”
It was an episode after my own heart, and a reminder of why I’ve always fundamentally loved these characters, especially Liz and Jack, the friendship at the heart of the show.