30 Rock season 5 episode 11 review: Mrs Donaghy

Liz and Jack take centre stage in the latest 30 Rock, and the show is all the better for it...

5.11 Mrs Donaghy

At 30 Rock this week, love and marriage were going together less like a horse and carriage and more like a horse and another really pissed off horse. Following their blissful (if disorganised) nuptials on the fictional Caribbean island of L’Esclavage, newlyweds Mr and Mrs Donaghy were back in NY and straight into a war of the roses style battle of bartering, sabotage and revenge.

Not usually one for heavy handed ‘life lessons’ episodes, 30 Rock had two important pieces of advice for viewers this week. Firstly, don’t let anyone into your wedding if they’re wearing a state approved mosquito head net, and secondly, don’t let a horny defrocked French admiral conduct your ceremony. I won’t reveal any more, but let’s just say that if Liz had studied French at college instead of Theatre Tech, things could have been a lot simpler for all concerned.

The Donaghys weren’t the only warring couple in this week’s new year comeback. Studio cutbacks had forced Jenna and Danny (remember Danny? Don’t worry. No-one at TGS does either) to share a dressing room and the two were soon enacting that old sitcom trope, the bickering marrieds. Their over-the-top quarrelling was serviceable enough filler to mirror the main storyline and gave the increasingly directionless Kenneth something to do as the ersatz child of arguing parents. Seen before? Yes, but the Jenna/Danny/Kenneth scenes, while not breaking any new ground, did a sound enough job.

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Over in Tracyland, the pudgy man-child was once again confronting his own mortality, this time prompting the welcome return of Dr Spaceman (Chris Parnell) and Tracy’s wife ,Angie (Sherri Shepherd). Seeking the means to support her family in the event of her husband’s untimely death, Angie showed herself to have the necessary attitude, arrogance and absurd sidekicks to star in her own reality show, one that we would all totally watch, by the way. (Check out the episode’s closing credits for a pitch perfect spoof trail for Queen Of Jordan.)

Another blast from the past came in the form of NBC’s human resource mediator, Jeffrey Weinerslav (it’s pronounced ‘weener slave’, no giggling in the back, please). Tasked with assessing whether Jack’s recent marriage had affected boss-employee relations, Weinerslav ended up as an unlikely cupid for the warring newlyweds, who buried their respective hatchets in a heart-warming scene of diarrhoea, eye boogers and reconciliation.

Mrs Donaghy was a confident step into the new year and a promising start to the next half season, all the better for being a Liz and Jack-centric episode. It’s worth remembering that we Donaghy fans have to soak up what little Jack we have left, as Baldwin is currently telling anyone who’ll listen that he’s outta there as soon as his contract’s up next year. The exact nature of the apocalyptic 2012 scenario those Mayans were warning us about is now all too clear: it’s a Baldwin-free 30 Rock.

So, much as it pains me to write this, when Jack finally has left the building, let’s hope the rest of the show is laid to rest alongside him. While we Brits are happy to admit that the US is currently leading the field in sitcom terms, historically, we’ve always held the upper hand in knowing when to stop. It’s true what they say: if you love something, set it free.

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