30 Rock, NBC, Airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c
Episode: “Jackie Jormp-Jomp” (Season 3, Episode 18)
Synopsis: In order to build up hype for Jenna’s Janis Joplin biopic, “Jackie Jormp Jomp,” Jack decides to fake Jenna’s death. Liz, still serving her suspension for sexual harassment, falls in line with a crowd of female socialites that gradually drain her desire to return to work where a TGS dancer has come between Kenneth and Dot Com.
Review: After a brief hiatus last week (a power failure will do that to you), I’m back at the helm. Did you miss me? Let’s assume the answer is no and move on. Tonight’s episode proved that even when 30 Rock isn’t gut-busting, it’s still better than half the crap on TV today. An A+ episode of the award-winning show will be held together by a build up of chuckles and giggles in between the clever and well-timed hysterics. “Jackie Jormp Jomp,” while a bit lacking in the hysterical jokes department, still managed to keep things interesting especialy if you paid attention to detail.
What didn’t help the episode is that Liz was away from TGS for the vast majority of the running time and her interactions with the cast and crew, especially her interplay with Jack, are what fuels most of the hilarity. It’s sort of ironic that the fictional struggle of how TGS is held together without Liz is indicative of the larger struggle of how the TGS shenanigans are held together without Tina Fey’s presence, but everyone still performs rather admirably. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying there was a drop off in humor, but Jack and Liz’s interactions are always more quote-worthy than those between Jack and Jenna or Jack and Kenneth. It just fuels my assertion that Jack and Liz will end up together in the end – maybe it will take until the last episode, but it has to happen. Is anyone with me on this?
Some wealthy socialites led by Emily (Elizabeth Marvel) are who occupy Liz’s time away from TGS and embodied within them is a clever little poke at the shallowness, laziness, and mental atrophy of the upper-class. Those of us who aren’t rich (like all of us at FSR) love a good jab at the richies and there are a few gems to be found in the ramblings of Emily and her friends, including the options they give Liz on how to live comfortably in wealth:
- Write a cookbook specifically for mixed-race children
- Marry a rich old dude who dies. Clive, I want to say?
- Have mild lupus and great insurance
Part of me wished Liz would continue her decline into excess because Tina Fey looked absolutely gorgeous with straight hair and high-heeled boots. Anyway, if there is a deeper commentary to be derived from Emily and her cronies, it’s how excessive wealth and leisure time will bleed your brain dry, as the ladies have resorted to establishing their own fight club just to feel some type of physical sensation. Maybe if the ladies on those atrocious The Real Housewives of Yadda Yadda Yadda resorted to the same thing their shows would be more entertaining.
With Liz gone, Jenna gets to spend some QT with Jack and for the most part, the interactions between the ditzy blonde and the quick-thinking are entertaining. Their opening conversation about Jenna’s Janis Joplin biopic – re-named because even Jeanie Jiblin was legally unusable – is a shining example of the pacing and editing that 30 Rock has excelled at since the very beginning of the show. Again, there’s no one line or action that really stands alone, but the image of Jenna singing, “we’re all here at Woodstocks, someday there will be a black president” with a saxophone-playing Jimmy Hendrickson is a great climax to building comedic timing. Also classic was when Jenna was upstaged at the Kids’ Choice Awards by Dora the Explorer’s backpack.
The highlight of the episode, though, had to be the tom foolery (yeah, I said it) in Tracy’s entourage. After Kenneth reads NBC’s newest sexual harassment policy (spawned because of Liz), he not only discovers that he’s been used by Meredith Viera, but that all workplace relationships have to be disclosed. Though he himself is not in one, he does plan to one day wed a TGS dancer, currently involved with Dot Com. Kenneth has a few good lines (“I don’t know if this is harassment, but someone at The Today Show made me eat an unripe banana in front of her”) and his friendship with Tracy is becoming a highlight of the show. Wanting to remedy the situation but not having Liz to keep his scattered brain in check, Tracy fires the TGS dancer and tries to make up for it by hiring salt of the Earth (to put it nicely) dancers instead. They’re hideous and one of them is probably a man, but it’s great to see them attempting the robot during a somber cello memorial to Jenna during an airing of TGS.
Grade: B. Lots of little things held the episode together, like Tracy pouring grape soda into his bag of potato chips or the HR guy named Jeffrey Weinerslave, which is literally pronounced weiner-slave.
Favorite Quote: [Tracy} – “Friendship and trust in the entourage is the most important thing, like that HBO show: John Adams” or “heavy is the head that eats the crayons. Gonna take a nap. See you in 10 hours.”
Read More: 30 Rock Recaps
Did anyone else see this week’s episode? Your thoughts?