November 4, 2010

30 Rock Recap: Gentleman’s Intermission

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30 Rock often teeters on the edge of reality, resulting in wildly silly and abstract satire that is very funny, but difficult for viewers to relate to.  We are treated to several of these stories – Liz’ 80-year old dad leaving his wife to go clubbing at Swinglers, Tracy staging a cat heist, and Jenna’s disappointment that she is not famous enough for her obituary to have been already written – but there is one real exception: the Jack and Liz dynamic. The relationship between Jack and Liz grounds the show in reality.  The two don’t quite have sexual chemistry; rather, they have the partnership of a “work husband/uncle” or “a co-worker/little brother” as they each see it.  As Jack and Avery discuss baby names for their unborn daughter, naturally he would approach Liz.  And naturally, Liz would reject the name “Charlotte” because she went to middle school with a girl of the same name who “used to rub herself against a tree during recess.” This frustrates Avery, who appears threatened by the intimate details that Liz and Jack share with each other.  Jack views her as a close friend, but enjoys mentoring (read: acting condescendingly) to her for his own egotistical purposes.In a sitcom, the amount of time we see these characters interact with one another can often lead to a misleading interpretation of how close they are.  Jack is a senior executive at NBC, and Liz is a head comedy writer for a lowly rated sketch show.  He is her boss, not her gal pal, and they only met for the first time only four years ago when the series began.  They butted heads for quite a while.  Perhaps him playing the role of sex-therapist last episode was a bit much.In other slightly less believable plots, Tracy explored what it would take to change the first line in his obituary from “children’s soccer heckler” to “Oscar-winner,” with a ringing endorsement from The Today Show’s Ann Curry.   In a related story, Jenna smashed Kenneth with a fire extinguisher.My notebook

Original Author: Scott Eidler