Thursday's episode of "30 Rock" wasn't as strong as last week's reality TV parody "Queen of Jordan", but "Plan B" still had its strong points, and marked the return of both regular cast member Tracy Morgan (if only through his fake Africa video chat segments) and long-time recurring guest Will Arnett, who reprised his role as Jack's rival Devon Banks.
As you can probably guess, "Plan B" was not about the trendy burger joint in West Hartford (though I bet Liz Lemon would LOVE Plan B's mini-burgers and house fries), but about everyone falling back to their own personal Plan B, after Jack puts TGS on "forced hiatus" due to Tracy's continued stay in "Africa" (again, really a soundstage somewhere in New York).
The Plan Bs were:
- Frank: stand-up comedy (at Black Women's colleges)
- Pete: return to substitute teaching
- Jenna: continue to sell her "Jenna Babies" on QVC
- Sue: go back to being a police psychic in Holland (a Dutch TV show is based on her!)
- Toofer: architecture, or medical nanotechnology, or... whatever else his "concentration" at Harvard prepared him for (Liz shoving him in the elevator when he started getting all "Harvard"-y on her was a nice touch)
- Kenneth: transfer to NBC News
Of course, Kenneth wouldn't have needed to put in for that transfer if his idea journal had more ideas to save the show than "bird Internet." I loved that the show never bothered to explain that further, even via a cutaway gag, despite it coming up multiple times in the episode. What the hell would "Bird Internet" be? An Internet FOR birds? An Internet dedicated to the study of birds? Some guy in Boston's creepy fan page for Larry Bird?
There were two things I thought they really nailed in the episode. First was everything with Banks. I've missed that guy so much (and no, "Running Wilde" did not hold me over). The fact that his newfound family life made him the perfect candidate for working at family-owned Kabletown -- something Jack didn't pick up on until it was too late -- was phenomenal.
Second, there was a scene where Liz -- finding herself without a solid Plan B -- went to interview for a writing gig for Nick Lachey's "The Sing-Off". With her in the waiting room was Aaron Sorkin, who completely nailed a perfect self-mocking cameo. Let's watch:
Liz bringing up "Studio 60" was great, since that show and "30 Rock" debuted in the same season, and it was immediately assumed that only one of them would survive (since it was unlikely that network TV would support two shows about a behind-the-scenes look at a network late night show), and most people predicted Sorkin's show would win out.
Now, for the top lines of the night that weren't part of that clip (also, though not a "line" exactly, I have to give a nod to "Gay SportsCenter", which was SO wrong, but almost made me choke I laughed so hard).
Liz: Hey Jack! The vending machine's broken!
Jack: I know. I broke it. I needed to speak with you and I knew that was the fastest way to get you up here.
[Best line of the night, and it was the first line of the show]
Liz: "Simon, you're my agent. You're not supposed to panic, you're supposed to help me."
Simon: "Like how Fredward helps iCarly."
Hank: "So Jack, how's the baby?"
Jack: "Baby? Ah, yes, BABY: Black/Asian Bisexual Youths. Those are viewers we want, and TWINKS is gonna bring them in."
Jack: "Banks put all of his eggs in the Obama basket. When the administration started to falter because of our conspiracy... I mean, Obama's ineptitude, he tried to distance himself publicly from, um, YOUR president."
Kenneth: "We just need to think of something that fans can send Hank Hooper that says 'TGS'. Something like... BIRD INTERNET!"
Hank: [to Devon, regarding his baby] "I'll just entertain this little bundle of joy with one of my 'Uncle Hank' stories." [to the baby, in a foreboding tone of voice, completely different than Hank's usual cheerfulness] "The VC was everywhere..."
Pete: "So you're putting a sugar cube in an envelope and then mailing it to Hank Hooper, but then when he opens it, it will have been crushed into a fine, white powder?"
Kenneth: "I suppose so sir."
Pete: "Kenneth! Do you know what anthrax looks like."
[Homeland Security agents storm in; Pete runs off]
Pete: "I'm not with him! God bless America!"
Liz: "I have a degree in Theater Tech with a minor in Movement. Why did my parents let me do that?"
Tracy: "Africa's great. We've got juju monsters, gum-gum trees, and horsicorns, which is a unicorn with a horse's head."
Kenneth: "I did it! I saved the show! I won't have to go work at news."
Liz: "And I won't have to be the world's worst hooker."
Hooker Liz: "You wanna party? It's $500 for kissing, $10,000 for snuggling. End of list."
Oh, and in case you were wondering, Princeton was actually 0-7 in Ivy League play last year, not 4-3, and their quarterback was Tommy Wornham, not Henry Chang. Yes, I looked it up. I'm a dork.