30 Rock’s see-saw progress from worst-to-best-and-back-again programme on TV poses real problems in my house, being scheduled as it is against the Mighty Boosh. Whenever my housemate is around I have to declare that the Rock is actually very funny, we sit down to watch it instead of the Boosh, and it will be a duff episode.
So it was a safe bet when said housemate disappeared this week that the episode was going to be a cracker. Whereas in the Baby Show Liz powerwalking her way around the set and bitched about having to do her job, not once this episode did she build up speed past 5mph. Instead, Jenna was trying to promote her unintelligibly-titled new film, and Tracy was trying to stop Quincy Jones repossessing his house.
Tracy soon enough settles on flogging a machine to mash different types of meat together – after all, meat IS the new bread. Spoof infomercials are kinda past it now, but this was a great showcase for Dr Spaceman’s looser grasp on science than the Daily Mail – supporting the consumption of animal blood for ‘keeping the spine straight – and Tracy’s continued mental instablility.
It also gave a chance to unleash the GE-NBC corporate grid, with Alec Baldwin jabbing away with a pointer stick like a bureaucratic weatherman, to show how NBC is owned by a wig company. I love these looks at the madness of American conglomerates, but it more importantly let Tracy thank Jack for his backing through the medium of a mixtape (“You like Phil Collins?” “I got two ears and a heart don’t I?”).
Meanwhile, Jenna’s new film has opened up a great running joke that has been mentioned in passing before about how everyone thinks it is called something different. With several unfunny characters managing good material this week, it should also be noted that the best joke title goes to Pete for Oral Germwhore (although Pete isn’t very funny, I never write too-nasty things about Pete as I fully suspect I will look like him in my forties).
This joke is on a par with the chicken dance in Arrested Development, only bought to an end when Josh finds a way to sneak into Liz Lemon’s office (“I had to let Tony watch me pee to get that tape”), to see a copy of the Rural Juror.
Just when you think the joke has been used up, though, Rachel Dratch appears being funnier than Pete – that’s a shock enough as it is, although she is just excavating an old sketch off Saturday Night Live – interviewing Jenna about her role in the film in a way less comprehensible than the Kevin Grisham film title (“Your father Werner was a burger server in suburban Santa Barbara, when he spurned your mother Verna for a curly-haired surfer named Roberta. Did that hurt her?”)
So, that’s another episode to through on the good pile. The next one is the Head and the Hair, which I have frequently declared before as being the best in the series. So block out your housemates, fire up the meat machine and stick it on.