30 Rock: Stride of Pride Review

Tina Fey and her crew have really outdone themselves this time.  Tonight’s 30 Rock was an instant classic.

Though this episode temporarily abandons some of the season’s main storylines, the jokes fly fast and furious, continually hitting their marks.  Each of tonight’s plot points were strong, and this will definitely make for an excellent standalone episode when it is undoubtedly aired in syndication.

After spotting Jack on a very put-together walk of shame, Liz tries to use the opportunity to discuss her newfound sexual awakening with someone.  Now that she finds she’s finally enjoying her bedroom romps with Criss, she feels entitled to the Sex and the City-style gossip brunch that she never had.  Seeing Liz try to goad her fellow female employees into drinking martinis and talking about their love lives is hilarious, especially since no one really wants to partake.

You might be wondering why Liz doesn’t ask Jenna to gossip with her.  Well, our favorite blond narcissist is busy with her own problems.  As it turns out, she now trying to make herself seem older in an effort to be categorized as an ageless beauty (instead of being stuck in middle-aged actress limbo).  You know, like Helen Mirren or Diane Lane?  She even is up for the spokesperson role in the Geri Chair commercials.

Jack has started dating multiple women at once and is insulted when he discovers one of his companions, Zarina, (Nina Arianda) is doing the same thing to him.  She calls it “Pokémoning,” because you gotta catch ’em all.  They each have different companions for different reasons, including a “sex idiot” who is just there for fooling around.  In a terrific–and probably true to life–cameo, Olympic Medalist Ryan Lochte plays Zarina’s sex idiot, there only to fulfill her wildest bedroom fantasies.  What’s even worse, Jack is Zarina’s father figure companion, or in his words, “the guy who falls asleep at the opera and doesn’t realize that she’s texting her real boyfriend from his bed.”  At first he’s insulted, but Jenna tells him to embrace his old age.  Old people can get away with a lot of things, after all.  Plus people always bring them soup.

The main story of the night, however, revolved around a tweet Tracy sends to @theRealStephenHawking claiming that women aren’t funny.  Fey has obviously dealt with this issue in real life, and has often been quoted asking why it’s still being argued.  I mean, really people.  If women aren’t funny then tell that to the row of Emmys for Outstanding Comedy that Fey has in her house.  Liz uses this opportunity to stage an old two-woman show she used to do with Jenna in Chicago (a nod to her days in Second City with Amy Poehler?).  Everyone is then convinced that women know how to joke around, except Tracy who still finds a monkey in a suit to be absolutely hilarious.

Overall, this episode was pretty perfect.  The jokes were consistently good, and the pacing felt just right.  Perhaps one of the best moments came at the show’s end when Liz, wearing a pink tutu dress and typing away at her laptop, has an inner-monologue that tries to make sense of the episode’s various shenanigans.  It’s a clear parody of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie and her many inner-monologue moments from Sex and the City.  It also turns out to be a long-winded email Liz is writing to Zappos to correct her shoe order.  As she clumsily falls off her bed in true Liz Lemon fashion, I was immediately reminded of why I started watching 30 Rock in the first place.  With more episodes like this one, this season could end up being one of the series’ best.  Grade: A

 

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