30 Rock Review: Black Light Attack!

Episode: “Black Light Attack!” (Season Four, Episode 10)

Summary: When Jack finds out that Liz and Danny (Cheyenne Jackson) are hiding a strictly physical workplace relationship, he becomes jealous and attempts to break them up.  In preparation for having a daughter, Tracy accepts Sue (Sue Galloway) from the TGS writing staff into his entourage.  Jenna goes through a mini crisis when she is given an audition for Gossip Girl – in the role of a mom.

Review: Funny jokes!  Quick comedic pacing!  A storyline that arcs and comes to fruition!  Making fun of Lutz!  Where were you last episode, “Black Light Attack?”  After disappointing with “Klaus and Greta,” 30 Rock redeems itself with a hilarious second half to the 9 p.m. time slot.  From the very get go when we see Lutz’s undergarment gleaming under the black light of the show after party (“It’s not what you think – it’s something I need to wear to support my breasts”) to Jack’s painful reminiscing of taking employees to sporting events (“But my biggest problem with Quidditch is…”), this episode declared it was going to be strong.

Danny has been a positive, albeit infrequently used, addition to the show and for some reason, placing him in the middle of Jack and Liz brings out the best in both of them.  His secret shenanigans with Liz both enhances the endearingly frumpy qualities of her, i.e., she’s never shown her feet to a man, and brings out a previously unseen feisty side to the TGS head honcho.  Fey flexes every sexy muscle she has (I realize the number of sexy muscles she has is up for debate) and it’s really kind of hot.  At the same time, Jack’s disgust and jealousy at their affair is so well visually projected on Baldwin’s face that he could’ve gone without lines and still been funny.  Just look at his sinking, almost nauseous demeanor as he connects the dots when talking with Danny at the Knicks game or at the wide-eyed shock and horror that he tries to suppress while “confessing” to Danny that he’s in love with Liz and tell me that’s not great expression.  Be warned that if you do tell me that though, I will call you a liar.

After playing a rather small role in the last episode, Tracy features more prominently here, generally acting both immature and fatherly while trying to guide an often confused and unwilling Sue through the entourage process.  There aren’t too many moments of the two of them together (how many can there be in a 22-minute episode?) but they’re all brought back during a hilarious montage scored by “Forever Young.”  The release of Tracy’s “daughter” into the hands of a young man (who turns out to be Liz – more on that soon) is touching in that comedic way that only 30 Rock can really get away with and though we’ll probably never see Sue featured prominently again, we’ll never forget her time in the spotlight.

Jenna takes a step back in this episode in terms of humor, but her unwillingness to admit her own age is a worthy plot thread if for no other reason than because it forces Liz to unveil Tom (as in Tom Selleck), her mustache.  Yes, for 20 years Liz has hidden the fact that she has a mustache and her choosing to unveil it makes us love Liz more for her willingness to embarass herself for Jenna’s sake.  It also makes it easier for Danny to break things off with her and for Tracy to let Sue go knowing she’ll be taken care of by a good man.

Grade: A.

Favorite Quotes:

“[Pete] – We really should’ve said something.  What happens when she gets there and finds out she’s the mom?

[Liz] – Oh, Pete, that’s later.  Maybe we’ll be dead by then.”

Jim Rohner knew he wanted to get into movies the very first time he watched Night of the Living Dead on a dark and stormy night. However, instead of moving out to Hollywood after he graduated film school to pursue his passion, he opted to work in New York City and write snarky things about other people's movies. He loves horror movies, Tina Fey, and Groundhog Day. He hates the French New Wave, hipsters and Armond White. One time he ate 2 pounds of Swedish Fish in one sitting and threw up profusely later that evening.

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