30 Rock Recap: Hard Ball - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

30 Rock Recap: Hard Ball

February 23, 2007 by  

30 Rock Episode Recaps

Title: “Hard Ball”
Original airdate: Feb. 22, 2007
GMMR Recapper: Brian

Seriously, why is 30 Rock on after The Office? I love 30 Rock or I wouldn’t go to the effort to recap it and break it down for all y’all each week. But after what just went down in Scranton, Pa., it’s going to take some serious buckling down right now.

OK, I’m cool now. So Jenna’s posing for Maxim. I know I’ve taken every opportunity I could to slam Jane Krakowski. Nine months later I’m still bitter that she replaced Rachel Dratch as the female lead in The Girlie Show-within-the-show. But she’s been breaking me down slowly, and what little resistance I had left to her after The Rural Juror is gone after tonight. But enough about me.

Liz (Tina Fey) is distressed that Jenna would demean herself by basting in salad dressing and posing for a magazine read by old guys that live at the Y and teenage boys with weird rashes. The photo shoot proves Krakowski can do physical comedy, by the way.

It’s contract negotiation time for Josh (Lonnie Ross), and Jack (Alec Baldwin) is salivating. It’s the essence of capitalism. (Why in the hell does Baldwin look 10 years younger? It can’t just be me noticing. He looked more like Hunt for Red October-era than the grizzled Hollywood veteran he’s been on this show.) Liz is in on the negotiations, to her dismay. Jack wants her to learn that she doesn’t need anyone, even if Josh does test well with girls 12 to 24 who’ll buy anything you market to them.

Having helped the prince of Nigeria and scoring a fat check in the process, Tracy is feeling good. His cronies suggest he add someone to the entourage, and Fat Balls is unavailable. (In the running for line of the night: “Well go ahead, Fat Balls!”) Enter Kenneth (Jack McBrayer). DotCom cooks and drives, and Griz sits on him when he gets overstimulated. But Kenneth can harmonize.

Turns out the volume was up during the photo shoot/interview, and Jenna ended up telling Maxim’s readers she hates the troops. Maybe no one will notice. Oops, too late. Protesters outside (in the person of Dratch, natch.) Jack’s solution is for Jenna to appear on Hardball with Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson to apologize. I wonder if those two were the inspiration for The Head and the Hair.

Liz, perturbed at Jack’s hardball stance on contract negotiations, warns Josh not to push too hard. And she lets it slip about his appeal to the 12 to 24 female demographic. Turns out Josh has got himself an agent, though he’s hardly Ari Gold.

Down in Tracy’s dressing room, Kenneth is pointing out that Tracy repeats the same jokes. And then he beats Tracy at Halo. This guy knows nothing about being in an entourage. Meanwhile, Liz is coaching Jenna for her Hardball appearance.

Jenna: I just want the troops to kill everyone and come home.
Liz: Pretty good, but this is Hardball. You might want to be more specific, that you support the troops but you feel that the war was poorly planned and was started under false pretenses and that we should have used those resources to hunt down Osama bin Laden.
Jenna: I’m just worried that I’m going to sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about.
Liz: Hey, would Sharon Stone worry about that? Would Richard Gere?
Jenna: No.
Liz: Then you go out there and you voice your opinions like a star. What are you going to do if they ask you about ’08?
Jenna: Well of course I want Hillary to be the first woman president.
Liz: No, Obama. You support Barrack Obama. Remember, you liked those pictures of him at the beach?
Jenna: Oh, Obama, what is he, Hispanic?
Liz: No, he’s black.
Jenna: And he’s running for president? Good luck.

In the negotiating room, Alan the agent comes out swinging, but Jack counters his demands by offering $1, and he’s got compromising photos with Lance Bass to back it up. So Alan drops the 12 to 24 market info. Jack can’t believe Liz betrayed him.

Dotcom and Griz tell Kenneth he’s got to build Tracy up, not tear him down. It’s too late. Tracy realizes he’s been treated like a child and disbands the entourage.

On Hardball, Krakowski shines (though Jenna stumbles), and Tucker is actually pretty good playing himself. Matthews, however, made a good case for the argument that Darrell Hammond does a better Chris Matthews. The guy couldn’t keep a straight face! What, was he cracking himself up? The interview ends with Jenna making the same Obama/Osama slip-up that everyone from Ted Kennedy to the folks at the Slate podcast have made (And it’s why he won’t be president, by the way. Not saying that’s a good reason. Just sayin’.)

OK, since this is the tangent recap (Office chatter, politics), let me just say that after the commercial break, Tina Fey looked hotter than ever. I’m stupefied. Focus! Jack’s got a solution to the Jenna situation, but the Josh situation is only heating up. Josh has called out sick, a move even Jack didn’t foresee. Liz, though, sticks up for him

On the basketball court, with Griz and DotCom to help him dunk, Tracy needs to hear the truth. Kenneth lays it out for him, and it’s tough to hear.

At the soup counter, Liz spots Josh taking a meeting with a guy from The Daily Show.

Josh: Liz, I’m sorry. It’s just business.
Liz: No, it’s not business. I stood up for you. You were opening up for a puppet when I found you. How could you betray me like this? That’s not even the worst part. You know what the worst part is, you proved Jack Donaghy right again. And by the way, what kind of moron calls out sick and goes to work to have a meeting.
Josh: I get an NBC discount here.
Liz: Idiot!

Kenneth is faltering as a full-time entourage. He can’t even turn on the TV for Tracy.

Upstairs, it’s back to the bargaining table, and Liz is out for blood. Jack gets it, too. He pulled some strings to kill The Daily Show offer. Josh is back with no raise and only one Jewish holiday. Not good enough for Liz, though. She makes Josh do The Worm and list why she’s better than him. Alan the agent has to do The Crab. It’s all good until he gets aroused. Anyway…

Jenna is making up for her troop hatred by doing an uber-patriotic number replete with spinning, burning red-white-and-blue pinwheels. Except they don’t spin, which just makes them look like uber-swastikas. This show stomps where the meek fear to tread. Tracy and Kenneth get caught up in the angry mob outside, but Griz and DotCom come to the rescue – to the tune of Tracy singing “I Will Always Love You.”

This episode left my head spinning. I don’t even remember what The Office was about tonight after that. Oh wait, now I remember. Friggin’ Roy.

Brian is a new dad and a writer who used to spend his free time obsessing on The Office and the Mets and his oversized mutt Riley. Now instead of free time, he has a 9-lb. future Mets fan to watch TV with. Check out http://remote.lohudblogs.com/author/bhoward/ to catch his daily musings on 30 Rock and The Office.


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One Response to “30 Rock Recap: Hard Ball”

  1. srah on February 23rd, 2007 12:52 pm

    I love that Josh just gets Sukkot off. “What’s that one with the tent?”