30 Rock: Season 4, Episode 13
Anna Howard Shaw Day
How do I loathe Elizabeth Banks? Let me count the ways: She's a consistently overrated, none too funny lady. I can literally see the gears turning in her head as she tries to make jokes work. And she seems hell bent on destroying everything in the world that I love. After single-handedly bringing about the shark jump of Scrubs (I will never forgive her, nor admit that the blame is only partially on her and partially on the quick descent into madness of the show's writers...), she took part in a sincerely mediocre Kevin Smith movie and has now moved into guest starring on shows I very much enjoy playing characters I very much don't. To say I am biased against "Anna Howard Shaw Day" by her presence is an understatement. Let me be very clear here: The grade for tonight's episode is docked significantly due to her mirth-sucking presence.

The plotline which dragged this humorless harpy onto my television yet again involved Jack's romantic conquest of her MSNBC anchor, who hosts a talking heads show that provides plenty of room for a more talented actress to banter, but plenty of moments for Elizabeth Banks to talk fast and hope for the best. Watching Jack try to woo her was marginally entertaining, but I honestly left each scene just hoping she would disappear for the rest of the episode.

Liz, meanwhile, attempted to ignore Valentine's Day altogether by getting a root canal, yet her plans were foiled when she was required to get a ride home and was forced to confront her loneliness. This lead to a hilarious hallucination in which many of her exes returned and she tried to make out with a tree she thought was Bon Jovi...several times. Tina Fey is a capable comedienne to say the least, and pulled this off solidly. In addition, the moment between she and Jack at the end was very sweet, and I can never complain about a Liz/ Jack bonding moment.

The C-plot revolved around Jenna discovering that her stalker has moved on and being broken up about it. Generally I find the less Jenna the better, but she was well served tonight, playing off of Horatio Sans as her ex-stalker and reminiscing through montage about the great times they had together (including when he filled her refrigerator with disembodied doll's heads) to "I Will Remember You." Also, Kenneth pretending to be her stalker at the end was perfectly ineffectual and gave us another glimpse of the patented so happy its insane Kenneth smile.

Overall this was a pretty mediocre offering from 30 Rock tarnished further in my mind by the presence of Elizabeth Banks, who cost this episode a full letter grade (as I believe docking a show she is lightly affiliated with in a forum that is barely read by anyone who isn't me is the best way to get my revenge). What we did see tonight was that Jack and Liz care about each other, and that despite her independent streak, Liz really does want to find love.

Grade: C+


-"One word: oral. Two words: Oral Surgery."

-"I'm attending an all day abstinence rally. You're welcome to come, I think I havean extra gender neutralizing hood..."

-"Has the dog who gives you your orders died?" "No, Brendan is fine."

-Top Chef Bon Jovi.

-Liz uses her treadmill to zip up her own dresses.

- Tyke Mison, baby boxer.

-Excuse me, Bon Jov. I'm in the middle of a conversation."
Tags: 30 Rock
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