30 Rock, NBC, Airs Thursdays 9:30/8:30c
Episode: “Senor Macho Solo” (Season 3, Episode 7)
Synopsis: Liz, still in the throngs of baby fever, ends up on a date with Stewart (Peter Dinklage), a UN employee whom she mistakes for a child on the street. Jenna pushes Jack for the part of Janice Joplin in a biopic being produced by the Sheinhardt Wig Company while Jack attempts to plug Tracy’s frivolous spending cause by his fear that Angie (Sherri Shepherd) will leave him and take his money if he gets too rich. Meanwhile, the new nurse Jack hired, Elisa (Salma Hayek), to watch after his mother begins to make him question his solitary, misogynistic lifestyle with her vibrance for life; especially after he discovers “something” on his testicle.
Review: By my calculations, it’s been at least 4 months since the last new episode of 30 Rock, so I needed something really good in order to satisfy the insatiable hunger that had built up over the holidays. I was not disappointed. The show starts off with the hilarious banter between Liza and Jenna that the last episode lacked as Jenna obliviously misinterprets Liz’s baby speak directed at a nearby child whose shoe she pockets in a creepy yet enduring way that only Tina Fey could pull of (“It’s not stealing if it fell on the floor!”). Jenna is given more screentime and Jane Krakowski delivers magnificently in the tried and true brainless blonde fashion that we’ve come to know and love. Joplin fans will probably be able to derive more from this characteristic when Jenna brandishes her Joplin biography and tells Liz to be more like the musician and “show some self-control,” to which Liz retorts, “how far into that biography are you?”
The episode though, primarily revolves around Jack, specifically how his lonesome worldview (“the idea of depending on someone else is irrational – you come in alone, you go out alone”) contrasts with Elisa’s. More on that in a little bit though, because what leads him to that point of declaration is trying to get Tracy and his wife to sign a “post-nup” (they never signed a pre-nup). Tracy has been spending ungodly amounts of money on absurd things – gold shoes, clothing made of money, a 3-hour TV tribute to Benny Hill – because of his fear that Angie will leave him and take his money if he gets too rich. In the process of trying to get them to sign the contract, Angie admits she would never leave Tracy for anything, sparking a flurry of romance that results in sporadic lovemaking sessions all over the studio, much to the chagrin of pretty much everyone.
This is where Jack declares his distaste for love and where he begins to desire Elisa for her ability to keep his mother under control (“She fought me at first, but I find that authoritative, rapid Spanish subdues white people”). When he feels something not right on his nether regions, he fears he might die and begins to question his approach to living and dying alone. Salma Hayek doesn’t show anything spectacular in her performance though she acts it competently. It helps that she had a great script to work with and has a fantastic rack (if you watch the picnic scenes with her, you can tell the camera man thought so too). The episode implied we’ll be seeing more of Elisa and her boobs and I have no problem with that because it seems to be bringing a bit of an emotional element to Jack that hasn’t really been seen before. As much as I love 30 Rock (and scientific studies have shown it’s more than is healthy for me), my one complaint is that it very often doesn’t take anything seriously; sort of a rever of The Office where, for a while, they were focusing too much on the drama and forgetting about the comedy.<
The other primary thread of Liz and Stewart is pretty great, especially because Liz’s nerdiness and crazy obsession is ale to wonderfully play off of and compliment the stone-faced performance from Dinklage. Of course, the relationship doesn’t last, but at least it ends with a hilariously ironic reversal from the beginning, where Liz this time mistakes a child for Stewart. You don’t see much of the supporting cast in “Senor Macho Solo” (the writers, Kenneth, Grizz & Dot Com), but the little slivers we’re given are good enough to be memorable. Highlights include Frank voyeuristically spectating during one of Tracy’s lovemaking sessions and Kenneth improvising some entertainment during the TGS show because “our regular comic OD’ed at a gay man’s apartment this morning.”
Jack: I think you’ll find being my mother’s nurse a mixed bag: when she’s in a foul mood, she can be horribly unpleasant, bu other times she is…asleep.
Elisa: I understand. Elder care can be stressful.
Jack: Especially when the object of that care wanders around at night in Depression-era petty pants.
Elisa: You should’ve seen my grandmother in her later years. Do you know what kind of clothes old Puerto Rican ladies wear around the house?
Elisa: Neither do I, because she never wore any.
Grade: A, though it had potential for an A+ if not for the stiff boobs acting of Salma Hayek
What did you think of Salma Hayek’s rack this week’s episode of 30 Rock? Let me know in the comment fields.