’30 Rock: Hey, Baby, What’s Wrong?’ Review

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2602807552/tt2105091

The exciting prospect of a one hour episode of 30 Rock did not disappoint. With some of the quickest humor and more subplots than the show has seen in quite some time, this week’s episode was the best of the season so far.

The episode starts with Liz waking up to Criss reminding her that it’s Valentine’s Day. After a quick humorous flashback to past Valentine’s Days (showing both clips from previous episodes and new clips), the two plan a trip to IKEA to buy a table for their romantic dinner. Unfortunately, IKEA means death for most relationships. As the couple struggles to get through the gauntlet that is IKEA, they ultimately get into an argument and fail. However, in a cliché but enjoyable resolution, Liz returns home to find Criss waiting for her with dinner made and a table set. They both realize how compatible they are, which makes one wonder: Has Liz Lemon finally found her soul-mate?

Meanwhile, scandal erupts as Jack, stressed by his lack of sex since Avery’s detainment in North Korea, meets Avery’s mother. Together, the two meet with the Transylvanian Ambassador at the UN. Although the Ambassador yields no solutions, he does two things for the episode: he provides the most hilarious scene in the show, acting as a vampire-ambassador; and he brings Jack and Avery’s mother “closer together”. As the two spend the evening together, they must deal with the awkward rising sexual attraction between them.

Two unconventional combinations of characters joined up for even more subplots. Jenna’s producer on “America’s Kids Got Singing” has died, and she turns to Pete for help.  As she prepares for her performance on the show, she discovers she cannot sing for some unknown reason, which Pete diagnoses as “the yips,” something that causes normally talented people to struggle. Pete once had the yips during his time as a professional archer. Finally, Pete realizes that pain is Jenna’s key to perform and at the last minute, redeems both characters by striking Jenna with an arrow. With its ridiculous ending, not to mention another riotous appearance by Dr. Spaceman, this subplot certainly made its mark.

The other combination of characters consists of Lutz, Frank, and Tracy. Usually Toofer would take the place of Tracy in this group, but this story called for a more absurd and low-life character. As Lutz laments over his inability to pick up women, Tracy and Frank try to teach him their methods on preying on insecure women. This culminates in the predictable but still funny coincidence of Lutz hitting on Liz, who, at the time, is dejected at her fight with Criss.

The final subplot is based on the much-anticipated return of the new page, Hazel. As Kenneth prepares to leave, he gives Hazel an orientation on all of the jobs he had to perform. As Kenneth shows her around, she becomes overwhelmed with her new, outrageous duties. The majority of Hazel’s story was actually relatively boring. However, Hazel redeems her character and fulfills her high expectations as a new member of the 30 Rock crew when she delivers a package to Liz. When she sees the life that Liz leads, she becomes not only inspired but seemingly obsessed. The formerly “normal” Hazel has now developed a quirk, and takes her place alongside everyone else on the show. My only fear is that her obsession will serve as a crutch and lose its comicality, as Jonathan’s obsession with Jack did in past seasons.

Overall, the episode was stupendous. On top of the multitude of stories that would have any viewer keeled over laughing, new (probably non-recurring) characters were introduced, such as the IKEA worker, the Italian restaurant owner, and the UN Ambassador, all of whom received booming laughter from any true 30 Rock fan. Furthermore, the show handled the timing impressively well, pacing the stories perfectly. If 30 Rock episodes maintained an hour’s time from now on, it would be no problem. The amazing quality of this episode proves that 30 Rock is still one of the best comedies on television. (9.5/10)

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