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The 30 Rock recap: The Ones

April
27

Some people can get a way with jokes that others just can’t, and that kind of self-awareness is a nice comedic asset.

How else to explain the hilarity of Liz Lemon shouting “Puerto Rican!” every time she saw Salma Hayek’s Elisa. Tina Fey can pull that off, and she knows it.

“The Ones” was a pretty classic 30 Rock episode. It had pratfalls (Lutz running into a wall and having a TV fall on him), sight gags (Dot Com turning Tracy’s Angie tattoo into one of a gay lion named Tangiers) and dark humor (Jenna trying several times to murder Kenneth to lure her EMS crush back). There was even a bi-curious joke.

Elisa: Really? That’s your guess? That I’m a man? Do you want to see me naked?

Liz: Sort of.

Ostensibly, this was a relationship episode, though thankfully, the mushy stuff didn’t get in the way of the yuks.

The show is doing a good job lately of not letting the B and C stories upstage the A story, which was the case for a lot of this season. But in this case, I have to say the three were pretty near equal.

Elisa’s secret past as a raging husband-killer is a bit of an obstacle. But is it any worse than Jenna’s present, in which she plants strawberries on every surface with which Kenneth comes in contact?

Kenneth: No, allergies are real. If I have a strawberry, my throat shuts up faster than a girl in math class.

Jenna doesn’t realize EMS has multiple shifts, like on a sheik’s pleasure yacht.

Meanwhile, Tracy met his wife 20 years ago at an Arthur Treachers. (Haven’t heard that name in a while.) She worked there; he was residing there. So, what’s a better gift: a gender-specific epithet written in diamonds on a leather jacket or a Slanket? A little good advice gets Liz both.

I feel bad for Jenna, and I want to root for her, even when she breaks into painful song like she did with Pete. He pulled that old riddle about the woman who meets a guy at a funeral. I thought it was pretty clever to make Jenna the one person who answers it correctly.

Jenna had one of the lines of the night after the gang pranks her to teach her a lesson about trying to poison Kenneth.

Jenna: What’s happening? Is this a trick? I knew it. I was just playing along. Seriously, what’s happening?

Jack had another one of those lines as he tagged along with Tracy at a club to see if he could withstand the temptation to cheat on his rather jealous fiance.

Jack: This is decadent, and I once moved to Miami with Darryl Strawberry.

No wait, it was Elisa when she wanted Liz to leave the room so she could talk to Jack alone.

Elisa: Lemon, isn’t there a Slanket somewhere you should be filling with your farts?

Good stuff. The show is pretty much back to the point where, when you take away all the good lines, there’s not a whole lot of plot left. That’s a compliment, by the way, because the show is also at its best when it doesn’t try to be about too much and instead just tries to be funny.

So you get Jenna meeting the only straight guy who bought her duets album with Phil Spector and telling the guy, an EMS worker, it’d be nice if she’d been the one Phil shot so they could have met sooner. After Lutz eats the guy’s phone number, it hurts her more than her foot botox to know he’s out there and she can’t find him. So, of course, she dumps him in the end because he’s got a kid.

And you have Jack worrying that he’d already put his and Elisa’s wedding announcement in Cigar Aficionado when the cleaning lady recognizes Elisa’s picture. Well, Jack’s 50, and that’s like 32 for ladies.

Liz’s grandfather never wanted to talk about what happened at Kent State. And she thinks the only reason she’s allergic to dogs is because one bit her the first time she got her period. Huh.

Meanwhile, Tracy’s wild life is all a front. He’s a functioning alcoholic family man. Brian Williams, meanwhile, is the wild man.

By the way, that montage of Tracy’s signature move included a brief glimpse of this very real and very unsettling clip from a live news show.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 1:02 pm by Brian Howard. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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