21
Oct
2010
30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 5
Reaganing
Jordan
30 Rock occasionally over-relies on coining terms and theories to fill out episodes. Some of these are clever little theories and ideas that are actually worthy of hanging a story on, while others are just there because the episode would only be 15 minutes long without them. Fortunately, I found the concept of "Reaganing" to be a smart one, and totally in keeping with Jack's egomaniacal tendencies and Reagan worship. Plus, call me a sucker, but Kenneth, Jenna, and Kelsey Grammar forming "The Best Friends Gang" and pulling a long con on Carvel's has got to be one of the best premises in recent memory.

Jack is coming close to "Reaganing," pulling the equivalent of the perfect game for an entire day and making perfect decisions, including green lighting "Child Hell Flight." This leaves him feeling bullet proof and omnipotent...until Liz Lemon shows up with her unsolvable sexual problems. I generally find the show's tendency to make Tina Fey off as disgusting and undesirable pretty silly and occasionally annoying, but one running joke that always seems to work is Liz's revulsion at the idea of sex. As many of the flashbacks tonight show, Liz has a long history of saying hilariously absurd things about the act itself, and all of this deriving from her mother "taking all the people away" and tearing down her posters after finding a 9-year-old Liz (a freakish gag I hope never happens again) splayed beneath a poster of Tom Jones on her way to the bathroom. While Liz's sexual problems were more creepy than funny, the conversation surrounding them was actually very funny.

The subplot surrounding Kenneth and Jenna was a plotline you see in sitcoms all the time, mostly because there's something undeniably awesome about con man lingo, and something endlessly hilarious about straight arrows like Kenneth getting involved in a good grift. This plotline would have been transcendent with just that, but adding in Kelsey Grammar as an all too willing participant in their con was a stroke of pure genius. 30 Rock has taken a lot of flack, some of it from me, for stunt casting, but I think they don't get enough credit for how well they use some of their guest stars. Grammer is a very funny man by himself, but he is utilized perfectly in this episode, being surprisingly interested in the con from the start, and being totally willing to move to Florida with "The Best Friends Gang" to start a new con. There's just something hysterical about the idea of someone as rich and reputable as Kelsey Grammar being a lowly con man that I could not stop laughing at.

Tracy spends the episode doing what he always does--fucking up lines for a commercial for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Again (I feel this sentence has come up a lot tonight, but its been applicable a lot), this was a pretty obvious plot, right down to the ridiculously complicated commercial leading up to a single line Tracy could not nail, but give Morgan a chance to be completely insane and incompetent, and he will make it comedy gold. 30 Rock is on a run the likes of which it hasn't had since way back in season two, churning out another fantastic and hilarious episode tonight and making me regret ever doubting this show. I wrote, minutes ago, that Community was quickly becoming the best comedy on tv. That may be true, but reigning champ 30 Rock isn't going down without a fake.

Grade: A-

Notes:

-"Ugh, she likes that?" "No, but she respects it when its done well."

-"I have to talk to Rachel Maddow. Only one of us can have this haircut."

-"We've had to sell off Sally, Julie, and Poppy." "Are those some of your pigs?" "...Yes."

-"What's my cue? You know what, it doesn't matter. I don't know my line."

-"Bappy Hirthday Gremlin."

-The Parcell farm is just past the tire fire.

-Kelsey Grammer's one rule before joining the gang: "Anybody gets hurt on the score, we leave them to die."

-Another great moment, when two celebrities and Kenneth are celebrating: "$800 split three ways. Carvel will rue the day they messed with The Best Friend's Gang."
Tags: 30 Rock
comments powered by Disqus