by Samantha Rullo
This week’s episode of “30 Rock” featured the show’s dependable witty commentary and perfectly timed deliveries. But while it may have brought multiple laughs, it was not one of the sixth season’s best, thanks to unimpressive guest stars and an overwhelming number of storylines that did not blend as well as is to be expected from “30 Rock.”
Jenna and Tracy’s story, which allowed Tracy to give some brilliant one-liners, was based around their appearance at the Bar Mitzvah of their agent’s son, who was not happy to see them. Apparently they were too insignificant for a teenager–maybe that will help deflate Jenna’s enlarged ego built up by her appearance on reality show “America’s Kidz Got Singing.” But after gaining the teen’s trust, (don’t worry, they’re in SAG) they were able to solve his problems and realize one of their own–although Tracy may want to devote some attention to his unsuccessful foundation to prevent Godzilla attacks.
Meanwhile, Kenneth finally realized how much everyone at TGS has been taking advantage of him. Though usually everyone’s doormat, he suddenly mustered up some self-respect and switched to a different show, to be replaced by guest star Kristen Schaal, playing the less capable page, Hazel. For someone who’s been hyped since before the season started, Schaal was a disappointment and didn’t have any memorable scenes, unlike recent guest star James Marsden. However, she might have a few more episodes to make a stronger impression, because it currently seems that Kenneth may not be coming back to TGS.
Over in upper management, Liz’s contract with TGS was up, meaning it’s time for negotiations with Jack. In one of their hilarious showdowns, Liz embodies Jack’s personality—based on a seminar he recorded on how to close a deal—and tricks him by using his own methods. Or, as Jack calls, it “a Jack-off.”
This premise allowed for further proof that Alec Baldwin deserves his many awards—including the recent SAG win for Best Actor. When Jack realized that his friendship with Liz weakened his tactics, the show reached a moment of self-awareness that could only be found on “30 Rock:” Liz winking at the camera, stating, “After six years, there’s still room for growth in this friendship.” It was wonderful seeing Liz Lemon become Tina Fey for a moment, directly addressing those skeptical of the show’s future.
In the end we saw a hopeful future for Jack and Liz, but uncertainty for the others. Inspired by their Bar Mitzvah experience, Tracy and Jenna decided to stop acting out as usual, and be open about their real feelings. Tracy, however, seemed to already be reverting back by the episode’s ending, but not before encouraging Kenneth to quit the page program and look for a better opportunity– leading him straight to Jack’s office. Liz’s doubts about Kenneth’s potential allowed the episode to end on its funniest moment– Jack’s simple response, “he’s a white male with hair, Lemon, the sky’s the limit.”
While “Today You Are A Man” was an enjoyable episode, it still faced a slight dip in quality that will hopefully not carry over into next week. “30 Rock” needs less Schaal, more Marsden, and more confluent plotlines.
Samantha Rullo is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.