24
Mar
2011
30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 18
Plan B
Jordan
When 30 Rock is firing on all cylinders, there is pretty much nothing that can stand in its way. It becomes an almost perfectly timed dance of absurdism, slinging great plot lines and one liners like there's no tomorrow and never missing a beat. After last season's slope in quality, season five of the show has been a return to form, and "Plan B" is an almost perfect episode. I laughed so many times tonight I probably missed some jokes. This was a marvel to see, and just a blast to behold.

Tracy's African sojourn has gone on too long for the higher ups at Kabletown (for those who don't know, Morgan's absence these past few weeks has been necessary for health reasons) and TGS is put on "forced hiatus," a studio executive term for cancelled. As the staff flees to find other jobs, Liz realizes that she has no back up plan and that her agent has nothing for her since he caters almost exclusively to dogs. There are some great high minded jokes about how undervalued writers are in our society (including a stellar Aaron Sorkin cameo in which he delivers a walk and talk and prepares to prostrate himself for a gig), but mostly the plot allows for a lot of weirdness to creep in, which makes for some great stuff. My personal favorite is Kenneth's idea journal, which consists only of "bird internet."

The real gold here though is in the return of the always phenomenal Will Arnett as Jack's nemesis Devon Banks, who has lost his edge and become a house husband and father of gaybies. Anytime Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett get on screen together it is pure comic gold, a brilliant and lightning fast exchange of insanities and ego that is never less than hysterical. Jack hatches a scheme to save his new gay aimed network TWINKS (Television With Individuals Kinky Shaved) by hiring Devon to run things, knowing he will keep his nemesis on a short leash. Devon is at first reluctant, but soon leaps into action, impressing the CEO of Kabletown wit his baby and landing a promotion immediately. But Devon, unlike Jack, doesn't want to leave his family for his job. There's maybe a sliver of a moral here, which isn't necessarily the best territory for 30 Rock, as Jack decides to spend more time with his daughter, but mostly the show just lets Donaghy be Donaghy, out foxing Devon and winning the day, and it is a joy to watch.

30 Rock is great at what it does, and when its at its best, there's pretty much no stopping it. There's never too much to say about the best episodes of this show, beyond that its just hysterical, an endlessly enjoyable half hour of television that made me a little sad when it was over. Or maybe those were just tears from all the laughter.

Grade: A

Notes:

-Thursday night is just an incredible night for comedy. Community, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Archer and Eagleheart all in one night (not to mention the stellar late night line-up of The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Conan that is on every night, but included in my Thursday line-up), and this was a great night for all of those shows. I actualyl hurt from laughter by the end.

-"I'm doing God's work here in Africa. Just yesterday I kicked two naked people out of a garden!"

-"Excuse me, GI, do you miss your girlfriend? I'm good at math." "So its not offensive."

-"If you can get through the audition without pooping, its yours."

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

-"Studio 60?" "Shut up."

-"Listen lady, a gender I write very well when the story calls for it, we make horse drawn carriages and the first Model t just rolled into town." Either Sorkin wrote his own cameo or the writers aped his style incredibly well.

-"These aren't babies..They're organ farms..."

-"The VC was everywhere, yes they were yes they were..."

-"I brought the sexy one too. His cheekbones are like granite."

"Its a toilet or a woman. Whatever you want it to be!"

-"Come, we live under the subway with the CEO of Friendster."

-"You want to party? Its $500 for kissing, $10,000 for snuggling."
Tags: 30 Rock
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