Election day is drawing ever closer, and Americans Jenna (Jane Krakowski) must make a tough choice – which candidate will be the first pro-Jenna president? It’s a question that probably shouldn’t be the focus of two of the last thirteen episodes of the series, but at least it’s one that leads to some of the season’s funniest moments.
Let’s break it down…
It’s a battle of wits, wills, and shameless flattery to see who can better appeal to Jenna’s incredible vanity when Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Liz (Tina Fey) discover that the “Muffin Top” balladeer is the key to winning over Floridian independents. The episode picks up from where it left off at the end of last week, which means that the series is spending even more time commenting on the election than on developing the characters in this final stretch of the series.
The result is that this particular story arc is resolved in the same way that countless other episodes have been resolved: Jack and Liz both realize that they’ve learned from each other and that the other person’s cutthroat or emotional responses to conflicts aren’t entirely wrong. It’s a lesson that doesn’t need to be made again, and it wastes time when the series should be focused on the finale, especially now that there’s only eight episodes left.
I won’t argue, however, that the entire election set-up is a waste, because the jokes that come out of Jack and Liz as they get down and dirty in the battle for Jenna’s tweets are fantastic. The attack ad Jack makes against Liz is a thing of beauty, from the threatening “Glasses” stamp across a picture of Liz’s cake-covered face to the tag “Liz is wrong on cuteness. Wrong on other bitches. Wrong for Jenna.” Our real life presidential debates would’ve probably been more entertaining had the moderators had cut off the candidates when their time is up with a full rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” like Jenna does. Of course, the best moment is Jack’s closing statement, which deserves to be appreciated in its entirety:
When our founding father first set out, time and time again, our nation horizon prosperity dreams freedom but the spirit journey destiny. Mitt Romney values, Jenna values. I’ve met people. For this generation and generations to come. Thank you America.
It takes a confident man and a skilled politician to spout as much jingoistic nonsense as Jack has done here. Hats off to you, my friend.
The most surprising story this episode, however, is one that actually features the series favorite punching bag, Pete (Scott Adsit). Because instead of giving this perpetual Charlie Brown a storyline that involves being crushed by a window or getting knocked unconscious, the Great Pumpkin visits 30 Rock to give Pete a happy ending for once. Even though he doesn’t get that special moment with security guard Maria like he did after President Obama won in 2008, he still has hope for the future. It’s a relief that the writers still see him as an actual character that can feel emotions other than soul-crushing despair. And that kiss at the end with Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) makes Pete seem more like a man than any other moment in the series.
- Even if it is only for a brief second, it’s great to see Danny (Cheyenne Jackson) on TGS’s set. Anyone else hoping he’ll reappear again before the finale?
- Is anyone else worried that there are only eight episodes left and Kenneth is still a janitor? It will be particularly cruel of the series to strand Kenneth in a worse job than the one he was in seven years ago when the series started.
- According to Tracy, America’s traditions are “voting, laziness, and… uugh” with a shrug. Has anyone ever better summarized our nation’s greatness?
Your turn! What did you think of the epic political showdown between Liz and Jack? Was Liz’s Boston accent any worse than the one Julianne Moore tried as Nancy Donovan? Sound off below!
30 Rock (normally) airs on Thursdays at 8 EST on NBC.