Jenna is the decider of the 2012 election? And Pete is a Crab Catcher? After a few weeks of building towards a great finale, 30 Rock takes a strange detour this week a we enter into the world of Florida’s undecideds.
Let’s break it down…
It seems that relatively intelligent, insightful Jenna (Jane Krakowski) is the anomaly, and not the new rule. The Jenna last week who saw the financial opportunity in embracing her age (and even adding to it) is gone, and the vain Jenna who will do anything to be loved by someone is back. Jenna finds a new market in the Parrotheads Crab Catchers, the acolytes of her new single “Caught Crabs in Paradise.” But that means abandoning her carefully crafted image in favor of their laid-back lifestyle. It’s a perfectly understandable story in terms of the role Jenna used to play on the show, but it isn’t anything we haven’t seen before from her. And after the welcome changes we’ve seen in her character over the past couple seasons and the arc that the writers have set up for her leading up to the finale, it doesn’t really make sense to tell this story. The only benefit of including this plot in the last season is that it’s a valid excuse for bringing back the Pranksmen.
Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Liz (Tina Fey), whom are supposed to be the unstoppable duo when it comes to tanking NBC, are now back at odds over the upcoming election. When Jack takes an unwitting Liz to serve as chum at his fundraiser for Mitt Romney, Liz declares war, and now Liz and Jack are going head to head over Jenna’s devoted Crab Catcher independents in Florida who will determine the election. Liz’s semi-intelligible interpretations of liberal positions are the best part of their showdown at the fundraiser (Liz, to Jack: “How do we know that God isn’t a tree?!”), and Tracy’s political breakdown of the nation is just as rational as any I’ve seen on cable news. But again, this storyline isn’t bringing a big enough conflict that it should be the focus instead of the arc established in the premiere episode.
This week we’re treated to a bevy of great comedic actors making cameo appearances, like Gary Cole, Amy Sedaris, Don Cheadle, and Kellan Lutz (and no, I’m not including Lutz ironically. He can actually be very funny, especially if you’ve seen him on the underrated series The Comeback). Unfortunately, there are so many cameos that they barely get seconds of screen time each when they could’ve (and should’ve) gotten their own episodes. Although writer Lutz feeding his grandnephew Kellan Lutz marshmallows and cradling him in his lap is a horrifyingly beautiful sight.
- Poor Pete (Scott Adsit). Not only is becoming a Crab Catcher his only development (or rather regression) this season, but he also gets the harshest (and therefore most memorable) of Jenna’s insults: “You look like a condom that’s been dropped on the floor of a barbershop.” And that’s before he’s crushed by a window.
- Amy Sedaris’s Visor Lady proposes the drinking game that they all drink whenever someone says something, which is frankly shocking. They haven’t been playing that game all along?
Your turn! What do you think of the cameos this week? And on how many people have you used Jack and Liz’s fast-forwarding sounds? Sound off below!
30 Rock airs Thursdays at 8 EST on NBC.