Forget Connecticut, I heart "30 Rock." This was easily one of the best episodes of the season, thanks in large part to the return of Tracy Jordan, an extended "Pete is awesome" plot that turned out to all be a dream and a particularly insane subplot with Jack and Jenna.
Of the three, the Pete one was the one that at first seemed like the worst, because I wasn't sure where it was going. Pete felt disrespected as the producer -- thanks in large part to a great cameo from Rob Riggle as one of the crew members -- and challenged Frank to arm-wrestling to pick lunch. Then it turned out he was crazy good at it, and challenged Riggle's character, only to decide to throw the match when it turned out Riggle was just as disrespected as Pete, only by his family. That was all OK, but when Pete lost the match, then it cut back to him sitting across the writers' room table and it was all a dream, that's when I lost it. SO well done.
The Jack and Jenna plot wasn't quite as inspired, but the increasing absurdity of their efforts to get their movie made was great. The Connecticut jokes were only OK (and I don't say that as someone who cares about Connecticut -- I've lived here 25 years and still hate the place), but just the overall effect was great. I particularly loved the guy playing Slaughter Face, who had some nice non sequiturs.
Then, finally, Kenneth and Liz finally tracked down Tracy, who had relocated from the empty warehouse he was staying in to the one place he knew Liz would never be while she was out trying to save her show: the upstairs of Liz Lemon's apartment. Liz's motivational speech to get Tracy to come back (basically telling him to start being batshit insane again) makes me really excited for the next few episodes. I miss crazy Tracy.
Speaking of crazy, I happened to watch the first two episodes of "30 Rock" last night after I watched this one. It's amazing just how much crazier the show has become over the years. The first couple episodes actually seemed like relatively standard sitcom fare compared to some of the stuff we've seen this season, and hopefully we're in for so much more.
Lastly, in the tag, there was a "text-to-vote" gag. Yes, I tried texting the number. And yes, it works. If you text "Liz" to 62288, here's what you get in response:
"Thanks for your vote! The last person to spend 99 cents on me was when Dennis Duffy bought me a foam St. Patrick's Day hat... for Christmas 2004. Lemon, out!"
And now for the top lines of the week that you didn't have to send text messages to read.
Liz: Tracy only contacts Kenneth on special occasions, like Bastille Day.
Jack: I'm going to go ahead and assume that Bastille is a stripper.
Liz: As well you should.
Jenna: Listen up 5s, a 10 is speaking.
Jack: Congratulations. According to the transitive property, you just beat Muammar Qaddafi in arm wrestling.
Frank: Pete! Lunch is your pick!
Pete: Takeout from Hooters!
Frank: That makes no sense!
Pete: We'll know they touched it!
Liz: Can I work here? I'll do anything. I'll get in my bra and you can throw nails at me.
[God, Liz is messed up]
Liz: Kenneth and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon trying to think like Tracy. I ended up eating a swordfish dinner at a strip club and Kenneth grabbed a cop's gun and shot a blimp.
Jenna: We just need to hire some of those ugly people who have the paper and change the shapes on it.
Jenna [filming "Take My Hand"]: Please, don't kill me. I still haven't tried the famous seafood pizza at Sally's in New Haven!
[FYI, if I'm ranking the New Haven pizza places, it's Wooster Street, Frank Pepe's then Sally's. So I hope Jenna's character has at least tried the first two.]
Liz: You're the one who wrote "every kind of mustard" on my shopping list!
Tracy: And you STILL don't have the one I'm thinking of! It's red, it says "ketchup" on it. ... Oh, I hear it. That's on me.
Tracy: Sean Penn wanted me to go to Haiti with him. And I'm not strong enough for the pain and the human misery of a three-hour plane ride with Sean Penn.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.