Episode: “Klaus and Greta” (Season Four, Episode 9)

Synopsis: After drunkenly outing her gay cousin over Christmas break, Liz must host the young man when he runs away to New York City.  Also attempting to make up for drunken holiday mistake, Jack brings Kenneth to Massachusetts to erase a voicemail he left for Nancy Donovan on New Year’s Day.  Meanwhile, Jenna begins a fake relationship with James Franco to distract the paparazzi from some unflattering news about the actor.

Review: More than a month after the last 30 Rock episode of the decade, the best show on TV is back.  However, seeing as there were two episodes tonight, the reviews will be truncated.  If you don’t like it, write your own review.  Except don’t do that because then I won’t be relevant anymore.

Maybe it was rust from being away for so long or maybe the folks at NBC wanted to save their best for last, but “Klaus and Greta” was painfully mediocre.  When Liz’s cousin Randy comes to stay with her, she attempts to protect the young kid from the pastiche of crazy that New York City offers around every turn.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work out quite like that, with Randy instead teaching Liz how to enjoy life.  In the process, there’s a few gay jokes, Liz gets locked in the closet (ironic?) and she sleeps with James Franco (more on that later).  Other than that, there’s not much worth remembering.

The dynamic between Jack and Kenneth has proven to be entertaining in the past and it’s nice to see the two given an extended period of time together when they break into Nancy’s house.  Jack’s romantic longings for the absent Nancy are a bit annoying and uncharacteristic for the oft-misogynistic Donaghy, especially considering he was similarly smitten with Elisa (Salma Hayek) just last season.  Still, we get a few humorous moments from Kenneth fumbling with modern day computer technology and that’s worth a few laughs.

This season has seen a revitalization in the Jenna character and she was the highlight of tonight’s episode with her trademark crazy mixed with a pinch of emotion.  In the process of faking a romance with James Franco, she realizes she wants something authentic and her epiphany is actually somewhat touching.  Unfortunately, we have to put up with James Franco’s overacting to get there as he fumbles his way through a thread that sees him enamored with – and common law married to – a Japanese body pillow named Komiko.  Komiko jokes are tossed back and forth like nobody’s business, but the only time one of them is actually funny is when she (it?), James and Liz emerge from Liz’s room after a wild night.

A glimmer of hope arose during the credits though, as Tracy, convinced Angie is pregnant with a daughter, realizes he and his entourage are too insensitive towards women and announces that he’ll be accepting a female entourage member to remedy the situation.  It’s hilarious to hear Tracy berating his crew and with the three simple words of “to be continued” a relatively flat episode gives us reason to stick around.

Grade: C.

Favorite Quote: [Tracy] – “Kenneth, your haircut is disrespectful to lesbians!”


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