With episode titles like ‘Game Over’ and characters calling out their series wraps (Don’t go, Dr. Spaceman!), the reality that 30 Rock is coming to an end is starting to set in. At least the series seems to be going out on a high note.
Let’s Nerd it out…
Alright, gang, we are just going to have to accept the fact that these last five episodes really aren’t going to spend a lot of time with the characters that we actually care about (ie: the main cast). They’re going to be opportunities to trot out every celebrity appearance that they can.
This episode has seven celebrity cameos alone. But if that’s what 30 Rock is going to do, it should at least use those cameos well, and if this episode is any indication, it will. Will Arnett’s Devon Banks is always welcome, and his version of a judgmental spinning instructor is something I never knew that I needed in my life (at least not until Devon says to his
victims students, “I quit, cows. Tell your husbands I tried.”)
It’s certainly refreshing to see Steve Buscemi back doing comedy, finding his P.I. Len Wosniak’s inner high school drama teacher Ms. Jan Foster. I wish the writers could develop a whole Dangerous Minds-esque movie for this character to reach out to inner city kids about the the real power of the stage (Foster: “Boy, Jay-Z and Shakespeare have nothing in common. Or DO THEY?”).
The show even introduces an entirely new character this late in the series in a way that feels organic. In this episode, we discover the “real” Octavia Spencer (playing a warped version of herself) as she shows Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) exactly how exhausting he is on set. In a great call-back to the series’ pilot episode when Tracy channels his own inner Skywalker, Spencer, playing herself, lets loose and jumps around their film set crying “I am a Jedi!”
Even outside of the cameos, the storyline remains satisfying, as Tracy finally tastes a bit of his own medicine. The best part, of course, is his spot-on impression of Liz (Tina Fey): “Blergh! I’m Liz Lemon! I’m in charge! Nerds! I want to have a baby! My boyfriend is a pilot or something! Sandwiches!” I don’t think the show has ever put forward a more elegant analysis of Liz Lemon. The only thing missing from this storyline is a crazy-off between Tracy and Octavia and their crews – a fight between Grizz and Dotcom versus Mizz and Dotgov would have been epic!
The CEO-takeover of Kabletown is pretty standard fare as Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Kaylie Hooper (Chloe Grace Moretz) try to outdo each other via DNA tests, transvestite drama teachers, and birthday cards. But as usual, the details make it work, just like Jack’s partnership with Devon has the potential to rival that of Gregory Linens and Thomas N’Things. And while it is disappointing that Jenna (Jane Krakowski) is AGAIN reduced to wanting to be a fifteen year-old girl, Krakowski really sells Jenna’s desperation to be liked by Kaylie and actually makes the C-story funny.
- There are only four episodes left after this, and not only is Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) still a janitor, but he doesn’t even have any lines in this episode! His only action is to look confused. Is there really nothing better that the writers can give McBrayer this close to the finale?
- We learn about another critically beloved reviewed performance made by Liz Lemon this week when her one-woman show about Frederick Douglass is described as “too confusing to be offensive.” Who else would pay money to see that show? (Even if it is no more than $5?)
- That DNA test mix-up reveals that Jenna “is an Ashkenazi Jew with an extra Y chromosome” explains soooo much.
Your turn! Who else do you hope will show up in the next few episodes? And what exactly is Octavia Spencer’s plan for making her eels electric? Sound off in the comments below!
30 Rock airs its remaining four episodes on Thursdays at 8 EST on NBC.