30 Rock season 3 episode 2 review

Faked events at the Olympics? A social experiment? Oprah Winfrey? You can't beat a bit of 30 Rock...

30 Rock

2: Believe in the Stars

Morning arrives at the plaza and we learn that Liz needs to fly to Chicago to get out of jury duty. She’ll employ her usual unfailing plan: show up in a Princess Leia costume and be dismissed.

Jack upgrades her flight and gives her something for the ride, Comanapricil, which may cause “dizziness, sexual nightmares, and sleep crime.”

Coming in on the tail end of a conversation between Jack and an Olympic champion, Kenneth is appalled at the news that NBC faked lots of events at Beijing 2008 including Olympic tetherball, synchronized running, and octuples tennis, so Americans could win more medals and raise network ratings. Kenneth loses all respect for Jack, and amazingly, Jack is very bothered by that fact.

Ad – content continues below

More staff upheaval erupts when Liz learns Tracy is countersuing Jenna, who’s still unpaid for her voice acting on his hit porn video game. Liz suggests mediation, (which Tracy once thought was a new Star Trek).

Mediation proves ineffective and the feud evolves into a battle over who is more oppressed in America, women or black men. Tracy lobs accusations that, if it weren’t for “you people”, he’d still be back in “gorgeous, politically stable Africa.” And Jenna volleys back that it’s extra hard being a beautiful woman, “Everyone assumes I don’t try in bed. It’s discrimination!”

They resort to a double-dosed Freaky Friday social experiment wherein they’ll trade gender and colour. Not to worry. They walk less than the length of a long corridor in each other’s ill-fitting shoes before Jack puts an end to that double-ugly nightmarish scene.

On her flight home, Liz decides she will enjoy “the same luxuries as a dog” and takes the pills Jack provided. To her groggy amazement, Oprah Winfrey (guest-starring as herself) takes the seat next to her. Only seconds later Liz has spewed all her professional and personal problems to her seat mate. Now new best buds, Oprah offers to come by 30 Rock and set the quarrelers straight.

Only, it wasn’t actually Oprah, but a twelve-year-old girl that Liz shared her deepest secrets and in-flight wine with. The letdown for the Winfrey-worshipping staff isn’t as profound as you might have first thought, as young Pam manages to bring peace to the set of TGS With Tracy Jordan.

More resolutions are in order when Jack uses a widescreen, multi-channelled approach to win back Kenneth’s admiration and respect as night falls on Manhattan.

Ad – content continues below

There’s some great flashback cutscenes in this episode featuring Tracy’s Chuck E Cheese arrest, Kenneth’s home cable woes and a few seconds of excellent appearances by Tracy’s ‘boys’, Grizz and Dotcom (Grizz Chapman and Kevin Brown). Plus, poison arrows at Madonna’s arms, a jab at women’s soccer, an M Night Shyamalan case of mistaken identity and a Knight Rider bribe.

I ask you – what more could you possibly want beyond starring in 30 Rock yourself?

Check out our review of the season opener here.