30 Rock, NBC, Airs Thursdays at 9:30/8:30c
Episode: “St. Valentine’s Day” (Season 3, Episode 11)
Synopsis: Liz and Drew (Jon Hamm) finally go on their first date, which, unbeknownst to Liz, is Valentine’s Day. Jack plans to spend the evening at an exclusive restaurant with Elisa (Salma Hayek), but his plans are put on hold when she insists, being the devout Catholic that she is, on first attending church. After Kenneth finds himself tongue-tied over a blind NBC employee, Tracy acts as his voice to help woo her.
Review: It’s Valentine’s Day at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and that means plenty of chances for the crew of TGS to fall in love, make asses of themselves, and offend the Catholic Church. After their first awkward interaction in “Generalissimo,” Liz and Drew have their first official date and as expected, it spirals spectacularly out of control. It amazes me a bit how willing Tina Fey is to write herself into astonishingly embarrassing situations (in this episode the bathroom door blows open while she’s doing her business), but she handles it remarkably well and once again, her self-deprecating style nicely compliments and is in turn, complimented by, the mellow and meek performance clocked in by Jon Hamm. This episode takes advantage of their scenes together to rest the humor for a bit and be intimate for a bit and those moments are surprisingly touching. They thankfully don’t dwell on the mushy stuff for too long, but there’s enough chemistry demonstrated between Liz and Drew that by the time Liz ends up in the hospital hearing a deathbed confession from Drew’s mom (actually his grandmother), we know that things are going to work out.
The lovely Salma Hayek is back for her fourth episode and while she’s always been nice to look at she’s never really been one to dish out the knee-slappers. This has caused her to stand out in past episodes as being a bit clunky; clearly just a visitor to the show as opposed to a member of it. She does manage to generate quite a few laughs this time around though (“please Jack, don’t tell me you’re one of those convenient Catholics that only goes to church every Sunday”) and that helps ingratiate her into the cast. Her insistence on bringing Jack to church is also a perfect opportunity for Jack to offend a Catholic priest (“and I may have sodomized our former Vice President while under the influence of some weapons-grade narcotics”) and everybody finds the Catholics funny. Except the Catholics, I suppose. This causes the first great strife in his relationship with Elisa as she and Jack argue for the first time and in front of the statue of St. Lucia, the patron saint of church mantle statues, no less. There’s a bit of a thread about signs from God – Elisa believes, Jack doesn’t – but there’s nothing too profound or resonant about it as it’s simply meant for a sentimental, though admittedly cute, reconciliation over McFlurrys at the end.
Some of my complaints about past episodes is the apparent disappearance of the country bumpkin Kenneth we’ve come to know and love. Well, he’s back in this episode: “I wouldn’t have this job if it weren’t for the mouth on my back.” Not only is he back, but Tracy’s brainless imitations of Kenneth are priceless as well: “would you like to go out with me tomorrow night? Yes indeedy corncobs?” With all that goes on, there’s not much time for Jenna; in fact, she only has one scene, but she makes it count as she tries to convince Kenneth’s blind date that she’s singer Michael McDonald. The end to Kenneth’s romance is abrupt and rather anti-climactic, but at least the girl gets in some good lines while she sticks around: “Well, I’m going to say yes because this just feels right and my instincts have never let me down. Except for looking at that eclipse.”
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
Jack: Elisa is deeply religious.
Liz: If I had those knockers, I’d be thanking God too.
Grade: B+ Where the hell have Grizz and Dotcom been? Also, Tina Fey should be happy with the knockers God gave her.
Read More: 30 Rock Recaps
What did you think of this week’s episode?