30 Rock: Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy Review

Six episodes into their final season, 30 Rock continues its winning streak.  Though it wasn’t as funny as the stellar episode from two weeks ago, tonight’s show still managed to charm.

The main plot of the night dealt with Liz needing to get bunion removal surgery.  Apparently they’re so bad, that the only explanation her doctor could think of is that one of her ancestors mated with a dinosaur.   Her medical problem ended up being a metaphor for her potential baby problems.  Having to stay off her feet all day, Liz needed to learn to balance work and taking care of something personal to her.  Hazel offers to be her assistant to help her manage her time better, but really just wants to Swan Lake her way into a part on the show.  Kristen Schaal does a perfectly fine job playing the looney, conniving page, but sometimes the show seems a little too crowded with her in it.  With Tracy, Jenna, and Kenneth running around, do we really need another person muttering crazy asides and hatching ridiculous schemes at TGS?

Speaking of Kenneth, all he wanted this episode was for someone to listen to him.  Jenna tries her best, but ends up just listening to her own voice inside her head.  These moments were easily the best of the night, as Jenna’s inner monologue involves some over-the-top singing, comparisons to the sun, and of course, lots of self-compliments.  Kenneth eventually wises up to the fact that no one at work really listens to him except for Hazel–who we all know is just using him for her own gain–and vows to only have a professional relationship with the TGS crew.  In Kenneth terms, this isn’t really much of a change.

The episode’s title refers to a series of movies Tracy creates that very closely resemble Tyler Perry’s Madea films.  The villain in each is a crotchety old stooge named Jack Donaghy.  Obviously the real Jack Donaghy tries to retaliate and sue for libel, but Tracy surprisingly outsmarts him.  Jack is impressed, and gains a new level of respect for the man who hired the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to play the Sanford and Son theme song on repeat.  The funniest bits of this story are the fake clips from the Aunt Phatso movie, but it was interesting to see Jack realize how much he and Tracy are actually alike.

This week’s episode ended with an age-old question.  Since the show fell apart without Liz, she begins to wonder weather or not she really can have a baby and continue with her job as head writer.  Can she really have it all?  It remains unresolved, but seeing as how a certain wedding announcement was recently released into the social mediasphere, we can’t be too far away from finding out.  This episode is decent enough to hold us over.  The jokes aren’t as sharp, but it’s easy to get invested in almost anything these characters do.  Grade: B+

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