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Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Bird Internet"

Just realized that this is my 101st entry on girl glows green. Huzzah! Let us celebrate the moment by talking about tonight's awesome 30 Rock episode, "Plan B". Regular readers will be glad to know that a very similar celebration of last night's super-great Modern Family is on its way, but for the first time I'm gonna post on things out of order because I haven't had time to rewatch Modern Family but I just watched 30 Rock and it blew me away.

Maybe it's because this season has been so lackluster and filled with stuff that just hasn't worked. But last week's foray into reality TV with "Queen Of Jordan" was tons of fun, if not the comedy powerhouse that "Plan B" was. Even with the episode being unfortunately bookended by traditional "Hungry Hungry Liz" jokes, I was seriously impressed by how effortlessly 30 Rock returned to its classic and most hilarious roots.

Beginning with Will Arnett as Devon Banks. His practiced "devious asshole" persona has always provided Jack with a terrificly-matched foil. In this episode we find them once again discovering similarities between themselves and the verbal sparring is at its top-notched finest. That the episode ends with Jack realizing the emotional as well as financial benefits a family can reap is both true to character and slightly humanizing, and not too sappy. I really hope this means that Devon and Cashmere and the triplets will be making more appearances in the future.

Liz's story has to do with TGS going on a "forced hiatus" due to Tracy's supposed residence in "Africa". Everyone assumes that this means the show is dead and starts going for their Plan Bs. Liz...does not have a plan b. Her agent suggests she audition for an Alpo commercial. Jack has no ideas. And then she meets Aaron Sorkin at an audition for Nick Lachey for The Sing-Off. Let me just transcribe the entire exchange between him and Liz in full, as it went by so quickly you might have missed all the awesomeness:

"Walk with me. I'm Aaron Sorkin. The West Wing, A Few Good Men, Social Network - "
"Studio 60?"
"Shut up. Do you know Nick Lachey? I hear he doesn't even let you sit in the meeting, he just screams at you to see how you react."
"Wait, you're not really applying for this job, are you?"
"Of course I am, you gotta take work where you can find it, especially now. Our craft is dying while people are playing Angry Birds and poking each other on Facebook - what is poking, why won't anybody do it to me? I'm cool!"
"So it's really that bad out there, I mean, you're Aaron Sorkin!"
(Interlude about Angry Birds)
"Listen lady, a gender I write extremely well if the story calls for it, this is serious. We make horse buggies and the first Model T just rolled into town."
"We're dinosaurs."
"We don't need two metaphors, that's bad writing, not that it matters."

Anyway, Liz almost ends up living underneath the subway with travel agents, American auto workers, rock 'n' roll saxophone soloists, and other obsolete professionals, but thankfully realizes that Tracy is somewhere in New York. Along the way there's some very astute commentary on the relationship between Hollywood and corporations, along with some satire of the entertainment industry in general. But what really made this episode great was the sharp, rollicking writing. So many jokes, and so few of them flat or unoriginal or lazy. I wouldn't recommend reading this unless you've seen the episode, because this may be my longest Notes & Quotes section ever:

"Nonsense. Twinks is an acronym designed to project a positive gay image. TWINKS: Television With Individuals Naive Kinky Shaved".

"Wait, what did you major in?"
"I'm sorry, I don't understand. At Harvard we call them 'concentrations'."

"Like how Fredward helps iCarly." I haven't even SEEN iCarly, but that's still hilarious.

"Ah, yes, baby. Black Asian Bisexual Youths, those are the viewers we want." If only that were true.

"I am - pardon my French - bonjour!"

"Remember when a movie was just a fella with a hat running away from a fella with no hair?"

"He's gonna come in and try to ruin everything and everything is already ruining itself!"

"When the administration started to falter because of our conspiric- I mean, Obama's ineptitude..."

"Whatever! We'll go to IHOP! And not tell him!"

"He'll hate Banks and his hairless nostrils. A man should have nose hairs."

"Would you buy a show about a girl television writer who's trying to have it all in the city...and also she's a vampire, I guess?"
"I like the end part."
"How do I get to 10?"
"It's THE 10." Damn straight it is. West Coast!

"These aren't babies...they're organ farms!"

"You are the spider and I am the sun - I dry up all the rain!"

"I brought the sexiest one, too...his cheekbones are like granite."

Sue the Men-Tal-ist.

"People of the sidewalk: we can't give up on the written word!"

"I was trapped in a world of Wet Wipes and rectal thermometers - then the babies came, and life changed. But you set me free, Jack! Now it's weekends in New York, then jet-setting around the world in Economy Plus."

"I was bailed out of prison and told to come up here?"

"Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Paul Simon, Invictus"

Even though the cold open and the closing joke were classic lame Liz-is-eating schtick, "Plan B" gives me great hope that 30 Rock can get back to the awesome, fast-paced, joke-upon-joke rhythm that it used to do so well, and stop relying on dumb, tired stereotypes. Keep it up, bonjour!

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