’30 Rock: The Tuxedo Begins’ Review

I often think that 30 Rock tries to force too much into a 24-minute episode – usually there’s at least one plot point that ends up somewhat underdeveloped. However, tonight’s show saw a tightly wound series of plots that somehow intertwined perfectly.

After getting a cold from a thoughtless subway passenger, Liz Lemon is getting frustrated at New York’s sense of selfishness. However, after she vacates a subway car by wearing a strange wig and speaking gibberish from her fever, she begins to terrorize the city in order to get her way. Meanwhile, Jack gets attacked on the street and decides to declare his candidacy for New York Mayor. As a side plot, Jenna and Pete have a relaxing sleep next to each other rather than their typical bizarre sexual romps, and decide to turn “normalcy” into their new fetish.

Aside from all of these plots, The show is full of allusions to Batman, more specifically Christopher Nolan’s darker take on the franchise – Donaghy, dressed to the nines in a cape-like tuxedo is a perfect Bruce Wayne, whilst Liz, wearing a rotting purple jacket over an ancient green cardigan resembles Heath Ledger’s joker. These scenes are scored in a satirical take on Hans Zimmer’s score of the films. I’m not sure whether the 30 Rock people are just cashing in on The Dark Knight Rises hype or just thought that it would work for the episode’s story, but the parody is worth a few giggles.

Another great piece of the show was the reference to Jack Donaghy’s run as mayor and its rapid turnaround. This plot point was nicely timed, as it coincides with Alec Baldwin’s rumored interest in New York mayorship and his statement that he was not, infact, interested in running. Like the references to Tracy Jordan’s GLAAD crisis in the season pilot, 30 Rock’s writing team effortlessly collide the show’s world with the real world.

It was also excellent to see Jenna and Paul start to enter domestic normalcy, although that plotline seemed to fade into the background behind Tina Fey’s ridiculousness in the episode. Still, their plotline was the only part of the episode that seems to have any continuity, and I’m going to be following their “normal” relationship with interest. (8/10)

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