30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 6
Brooklyn Without Limits
I want to start off by commending 30 Rock for finally, finally, FINALLY doing a storyline in which Liz Lemon is depicted as an attractive woman. Sure, its blamed on magic pants, but one of my biggest pet peeves on the show is its constant reliance on "Tina Fey is hideous" jokes. As I've discussed previously, I think the "Liz Lemon is appallingly gross" jokes tend to land, because Fey plays them so well, but they just can't pull off calling someone as beautiful as Tina Fey ugly every week. On the other hand, the show also brought back its strange, off-putting fascination with poorly executed New England accents, this time under the visage of the always awesome John Slattery.

Slattery played a Tea Party style political candidate that Jack decides to back in order to knock off Representative Bookman, who is still fighting against the NBC Kabletown merger, and outside of his accent, it was a solid, very funny performance. Jack's desire to beat Bookman regardless of whether he had to let an insane person into Congress mirrored the Republican Party's reluctant alliance with the Tea Party in a way that was much more politically astute that 30 Rock usually pulls off.

While Jack compromises his ideals for good business, Liz compromises hers for her ass, buying a great pair of jeans that were "locally made," only to discover that they are in fact manufactured by a Haliburton subsidiary. They make Liz look good, they make her feel good, and they enable her to pull off that "back it up" move she's been trying to do again since high school. Liz is generally the most idealistic member of the cast, and the show often has fun with making her sacrifice her immediate happiness to stick to her long-held ideals.

In the C-plot, Tracy is getting sudden Oscar buzz for his performance as Lucky in Hard to Watch: Based on the book Stone Cold Bummer by Manipulate, and asks Jenna to help him throw a screening party for the Hollywood Foreign Press, who hand out the Golden Globes, an award second in importance only to the People's Choice Awards (where the fans are in charge). Jenna of course tries to sabotage Tracy so that he won't attain the success she has been denied, by having him throw a screening party with Kenneth as a human sushi platter and prepare to bribe the HFP (Which he seems ready to do by just pulling handfulls of cash out of a sack). In a strange turn of events, Jenna realizes Tracy's performance is actually great and decides to do the right thing, even though its hard.

This of course inspires Liz and then Jack to stop compromising their ideals, even if that will ultimately hurt them in life. This was a decent little moral from a show that often strains to add any sort of meaning to the string of one-liners its been since mid-last season, but like in most other episodes this season, the one liners are far more hit than miss, and "Brooklyn Without Limits" is a pretty funny episode. It doesn't quite stack up to the very strong material we've been seeing this season so far, mostly because the A and B plots are somewhere short of inspired, but as always, pairing Tracy and Jenna and throwing in a small pinch of Kenneth provides enough laughs to keep the episode afloat even when the other two plotlines are running a bit thin.

Grade: B+


-"I love award shows! They teach me how much to care about various dead people."

"Good God Lemon, you look like a Mexican sports reporter!"

"Technically I'm a freelancer, which is basically a modern cowboy." Liz also eats beans out of a can, though that's due to impatience.

-"Yeah, I know its not a house, but I sleep there!"

-"Now the only thing I use a football for is as a toilet."

-"My generation never votes. It interferes with talking about ourselves all the time."

-"The Hand are a tribe of Vietnamese orphans, and usa is their prison."

-"His great grandfather was Domingo Haliburton."

-"Your mother exploded."

-"That movie gave me drunk in the bathtub face."

-"You were right about Brooklyn Without Limits. Crunchy on the outside, crazy right wing nutjob on the inside." "Like Anne COulter's underwear."

-"Compromises are for lesser souls. Die werewolf zombie."

-"Ooga booga big, Ooga booga strong, I'm gonna sing my Ooga booga song."
Tags: 30 Rock
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