Episode: “I Do Do” (Season Four, Episode 22)

Summary: Jack finally decides whether he wants to be with Nancy (Julianne Moore) or Avery (Elizabeth Banks) while Liz accidentally runs into a man whom she believes is the answer to settling for Wesley (Michael Sheen): a pilot named Carol (Matt Damon). Back at 30 Rock, Kenneth tries to foul up his job in order to reverse a promotion that would send him to Los Angeles.

Review: Before I begin the review, let’s look back at all the significant events that transpired this season on 30 Rock so that we may reflect on the ensuing hilarity now that the best show on TV takes a break until next fall:

  • TGS found a new cast member in Danny, who later carried on a short lived office romance with Liz
  • Jenna dated James Franco for publicity only to be replaced by a life-sized Japanese pillow girl
  • Liz gained and quickly lost her own talk show
  • Tracy took on the ultimate challenge of winning an EGOT – an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award – to prove his fidelity to his wife
  • Jenna reconnected with her mom while Liz found out that hers had quite a steamy relationship with Buzz Aldrin
  • Toofer quit after learning his hiring was the result of affirmative action
  • Jack fell in love with both Nancy, an old flame from back in Boston, and Avery, a sexy, smart financial journalist
  • Jenna fell for Paul, a male Jenna impersonator
  • Liz learned of Floyd’s engagement, leading her to believe that love has passed her by and she must settle for Wesley, whom she met while heavily sedated in the dentist’s office
  • (Fill in your own)

30 Rock wraps up its fourth season answering all the questions that had been built up over the past months while raising quite a few enticing ones in the process. Season finales are where shows really flex their creative muscles, but many of you may remember that I wasn’t too pleased with how “Kidney Now!” wrapped up season three by tying up a storyline that wasn’t given enough legs to really develop and just being regular episode good as opposed to season finale good. I have no such complaints with “I Do Do.”

As the last episode implied and this episode confirmed, Jack decides that the Nancy vs. Avery battle for his heart has been won by Nancy, until the two finally meet and Nancy forces Jack to realize that he’s made the wrong choice and drops a bomb: Avery is pregnant. I’m as big a Julianne Moore fan as the next guy and was initially happy with the decision Jack made, but as he stood before Nancy with a tender smile on his face reciting the reasons why he fell for Avery, it really became clear reflecting on past episodes that Avery was and is the better choice. Credit is due to both Banks and Moore for helping bring the polar opposite characters to fruition, with extra credit going to Moore for adding a hint of something that somehow made Nancy seem appealing, but not enough so for Jack (the really annoying Boston accent probably helped). In the Jack and Avery reconcile, the show added a huge laugh in the swelling romance music fake out and gave us a sample of what’s coming up: Jack as a father and Avery as a kick ass mother. I look forward to both.

After almost ridding herself of Wesley last week, Liz finally shook off Wesley this week in the fateful meeting of airline pilot Carol.  Neither Sheen nor Damon were particularly spectacular, but they didn’t have to be; Sheen just had to be sufficiently smug and dorky (no problem for a Brit) and Damon just had to be the vanilla ice cream everyman, which he’s certainly capable of doing (Saving Private Ryan, Ocean’s Eleven, Gerry).  With a good joke here and there (“You walk briskly in a pilot’s uniform, you can go pretty much anywhere.  I’ve been upstairs in the White House while the Obamas were sleeping”) and the ability to overlook Liz’s….eccentricities, he quickly became #1 in Liz’s life (even if only by default).  Carol may not seem like much, but in my opinion, he doesn’t have to.  The fact that he’s a pilot, which is a step or two below an astronaut (the occupation of dream hunk  Mike Dexter), shouldn’t have escaped anyone and was a clever and subtle message that there’s a difference between settling and readjusting your perspective.  Carol’s not an astronaut, he’s not perfect, but who is?  Liz is all sorts of screwed up and if she can find a guy who can get over that, then she should be able to get over any imperfections he has as well.  It’s a wonderful revelation for a character who is pretty arrogant despite her flaws and is a much better culmination than some of the over-romanticized nonsense you’ll find on TV today.

The other big bomb of the show was dropped when Kenneth was fired after taking Tracy’s well-meaning advice to act inappropriately while guiding a tour made up of  Kabletown executives (“Let’s meet up later and smoke some drug cigarettes”).
He seeks Tracy’s help because he doesn’t want to leave the rough around the edges friends he left behind and who can blame him?  His drunken yet still surprisingly uplifting tirade at the end of the episode is touching in a way that only makes sense on 30 Rock and acts, in essence, as a self-referential love letter to both the characters on and viewers of a show who have made what’s essentially a comedy about despicable people into one of the best shows on television.  On behalf of all the viewers out there, it was our pleasure Tina!

Grade: A. How will I get through the summer without you?

Favorite Quote: [Jack] – “A smug, 40-year old bridesmaid.  What a treat for everyone.”

What are your thoughts of “I Do Do” and season four overall?  What will you be looking for in season five?


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