Everyone has their own little art niches they can’t stand, even when confronted with the best a genre has to offer. For some people that’s European electropop or superhero cartoons, for me that’s contemporary romantic comedies, or “rom coms” as people who like shortening not-particularly-long phrases are wont to call it. While some of my favorite films are screwball comedies, if it was made post-1975 or seems likely to force Hugh Grant and/or Meg Ryan into some sort of fulfilling relationship, then I’m not interested.
Apparently some of 30 Rock’s writers feel the same way, as
they decided that Liz’s relationship with her “future husband” would
play out exactly like a by-the-numbers romantic comedy, only with the
twist that the guy she’s flirting with is a complete non-starter. Not
only is Wesley Snipes (played by a very defensive-of-his-charcter’s-name
Michael Sheen) not particularly good-looking, he’s also boorish, dull
and refers to bicycles as either foot cycles or velocipedes, depending
on his mood. He’s the romantic comedy's worst nightmare, and has such
a wonderful lack of chemistry with Tina Fey that this entire subplot
feels completely natural, even though it stems from a pretty stupid
premise. Hell, even the dumb premise works, given that it's basically a parody itself.
As with most of Lemon’s suitors, she considers Snipes long after she
should have because while imperfect, he may still be just good enough to
settle for. There’s a sort of parallel from here to Jack’s plot, in
which he’s also given a situation to settle for, only what Jack’s
offered is actually pretty desirable. Lemon’s view of romance is so
bleak by this point in the show that even Snipes seems passable for a
while—Jack is offered more of a deal with the devil. Kabletown is
offering Jack the ability to just sit back and look pretty while
collecting money. The thing of it is, though, Jack is a corporate vice
president not just for the fame and the fortune, but also because he
does in fact genuinely love his job. He accepts the new position with
Kabletown but makes sure it’s on his own terms, introducing “porn for
women” along the way, which was pretty funny despite being an extremely
The episode’s final subplot worked just as well, even if its premise
was just as uninspired as the whole porn for women thing. An
ex-maid of Tracy’s writes a memoir that reveals he never slept with her; in fact, he’s never cheated on his wife with anyone. If people believe
her, Tracy’s reputation will be ruined, so he sets out to solve this
problem. Like most Tracy plots, this one doesn’t particularly lead
anywhere, but I was happy to see that Morgan and the writers just let
him fly into a flurry of crazy one-liners like old times.
I’m not sure when the last time I thought every plot in a 30 Rock
episode was a winner, but “Don Geiss, Hope and America” delivered on
the exuberant claims of the episode’s title, right down to Geiss
himself’s appearance frozen in carbonite.
"I don’t know why you’re wearing girl’s pyjamas, but I’m sure it’s
-Turning off the L.A. part of the meeting is a
nice touch. I hope Jay Leno’s there.
"Worst of all she revealed the fact that I’ve never cheated on my wife."
"Your Ben & Jerry’s flavor is called adult-a-raisen."
-A bat in a suitcase is mighty insane but the gag is pulled off with
"I should know, I’ve been in a hot tub two times."
"At least we’ll always have Dr. Kaplan’s recovery room. It was our
"Brought good things to life, and bad things to Chinese rivers." I
remember when the Yangtzee was a functional river. That joke just makes
"In England we call it a film pod."
"But Frank, I still party. I’m still terrible at my job."
"I got a lot of flack after I ate that pig that played Babe."
"It’s like a black Barbie doll in Arizona: nobody is buying it."
“Fresh-Ass, Based on the Novel Tush, by Ass-Phire.” On a personal
note, you may be amused to learn that the novel itself has also been
renamed Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Saphire." No,
-Foot cycle or velocipede, which is more retarded? You be the judge!
"I wish I could help you, but I can’t sleep with a black guy—I’d lose my
endorsement deal with Nascar."
-Tracy's dance was from I Dream of Jeannie. It was also sublime.
“These are all hookers—pick one.” Don Geiss will truly be missed.
-One joke I was pretty meh on was Geiss's daughter being an amazing
trumpet player as a sort of half-assed Susan Boyle thing. Totally
"Jack, women hate Porn even more than men hate going to outlet malls."