30 Rock Recap: Corporate Crush
April 13, 2007 by Kath Skerry
Title: “Corporate Crush”
Original airdate: April 12, 2007
GMMR Recapper: Brian
I never thought I’d utter such blasphemy, but the contrast between Tina Fey & Co. and the Dunder-Mifflin gang was striking, especially with the two shows running back-to-back. Or maybe I was just expecting a little more Jam.
Anyway, “Corporate Crush” turned out to be an apropos title, though who had a crush on whom was a bit unsettling. And who knew history could be so funny? Or hollow bones?
From the start, Liz (Fey) is all smiles, and it’s creeping Frank (Judah Friedlander) out. Floyd (Jason Sudeikis) has her walking on air. He gets her, she says, as a series of funny/corny flashbacks illustrates. Jack (Alec Baldwin) has less to smile about, though. GE Exec Don Geiss (Rip Torn) comes down hard on him for his midtown “Salute to Fireworks.” His vote of confidence comes even as he strips Jack of his title as director of microwave programming. To add insult to demotion, he points out Jack’s the only one in his division who’s not married. Even Bob’s married, and his wife looks like Walter Matthau.
Don’s off to hear Tracy’s (Tracy Jordan) movie pitch, leaving Jack to sulk.
Tracy pulls out all the stops to impress Don, like offering grenadine and fried rice. But his pitch gets off to a rough start when Don mistakenly thinks the title, Jefferson, refers to a movie version of the 70s sit-com The Jeffersons.
Tracy: No, Thomas Jefferson. I just found out that he went to town on one of my ancestors, so we’re related.
Don: You want to play Thomas Jefferson?
Tracy: And Sally Hemmings and King George. I’m going to play all the parts. Did you know he had a lisp? ‘Whatthh up thtupid jerkth? I’m Thomath Jefferthon.’ So I’m going to need about $35 million to do this thing right.
In the writer’s room, Liz is being sickeningly sweet. Frank is unsettled. So is Liz when Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) announces Jack is at Christie’s Auction House. He only goes there when he’s depressed.
At Christie’s, Phoebe, who handled the sale of his ex-wife’s jewelry to an anonymous Arab, is getting flirty with Jack. When she leaves, Jack tells Liz she let him down by not being there when he was pitching the fireworks idea.
Jack: You left me dangling Lemon. I’m not a creative type like you with your work sneakers and your left-handedness. I can’t do what you do.
Liz: I know. I dropped the ball. I was just trying to do what you said and have a personal life, and I guess I got caught up with this new guy.
Jack: Oh right, flower guy.
Liz: His name’s Floyd.
Jack: That’s unfortunate.
Jack insists Liz and Floyd meet him for dinner that night. Awkward seed planted.
Meanwhile, Tracy is complaining to a crocheting Kenneth that Geiss shot down his Jefferson pitch. Geiss would rather see a sequel to the movie where Tracy turns into a dog (And in this post-Imus era I won’t repeat the offensive title no matter how many times it was repeated on the show. Seriously, does NBC even employ censors?)
Tracy wants to be taken seriously. From Kenneth’s rambling, Tracy somehow extracts the idea of making his own Jefferson bio-pic. By the way, Kenneth was crocheting a bikini top featuring NBC’s peacock logo for his nana. Out in the hallway, Liz balks at Tracy’s request to take over the set for three weeks to make his Jefferson trailer. She’s his Alexander Hamilton, whatever that means. So he turns to the writers.
At dinner, Floyd is gushing about Jack, whose book, “Jack Attack: The Art of Aggression” he’s read 20 times. A lame joke fails to impress Jack, but fawning sycophancy never fails. The company’s stability in the small appliance market is largely Jack’s doing, Floyd says. The dedicated popcorn setting alone was the imagination breakthrough of 1995. He increased earnings in a recession. And the Foo Fighters’ song “Best of You,” in Floyd’s opinion, was about Jack.
Suddenly Liz is a third wheel.
Jack: Lemon I want to kiss your boyfriend on the mouth.
Floyd: Chapter 12! (laughs). I thought you were going to do it.
Jack: What are you drinking?
Floyd: Club soda.
Jack: Oh that’s a shame. Pete!
Liz finds Tracy in his dressing room with a horse he’s using for the Jefferson trailer. He went over Liz’s head and got permission from Jack. When Liz goes Jack’s office to complain, she finds Jack and Phoebe there admiring equestrian paintings. Phoebe declines to shake hands. She has avian bone syndrome – hollow bones.
Jack manages turn the conversation with Liz from Tracy to Floyd in one breath. Classic Donaghy. Even with the beautiful Phoebe present, Jack’s emerging crush on Floyd, who he’s dubbed The Floydster, is apparent. He even buys Floyd a horse painting, and talk soon turns to a promotion. Next thing Liz knows, she’s joining Jack and Floyd for lunch.
That night, Liz and Floyd are settling down for the night. (When did they go from dating to living together?) She’s hamming it up doing old school dance moves in the un-sexiest pajamas ever when Floyd’s cell rings. It’s Jack. He wants Floyd to meet him for a veggie burger and a milkshake at the diner on 71st Street. Four text messages later, Liz responds with a phony excuse from Floyd. The reply: “Lemon, is that you?” Before long every line in the apartment is ringing. (How many phones do they have?)
Turns out Jack was just trying to leave off Knicks tickets for Liz and Floyd, but, as Jonathan the assistant notes, “someone pretended not to be home.” Turns out the tickets are for Jack’s private box, with Jack.
Tracy tries again with Don by showing him the trailer. The dialogue is ridiculous, the costumes authentic and the backdrops ranging from cheesy to pretty much just modern day. At 1 minute, 19 seconds, this is further proof of this show’s dedication to comic detail, following last week’s graphic illustration of a 10-second Internet sit-com. A for effort, and A+ for funny. Too bad Don wasn’t nearly as impressed.
At the Knicks game, Jack’s chewing Floyd’s ear off, and Liz is annoyed.
Liz: Don’t you kind of feel like a third wheel, Jack?
Jack: Oh no, Lemon. You’re the third wheel.
Liz: Excuse me?
Jack: Well, it’s really quite simple. Men seek out the company of other men they admire and want to be like. Floyd is me 20 years ago. I’m Don Geiss 30 years ago. Twenty years from now, Floyd will be me, I’m going to be Don Geiss and Don Geiss will be dead.
Liz: Who thinks like that?
Jack: Men. That’s why you’re the third wheel.
She tells him to back off. He’s in a bad place, but he needs to find his own Floydster. She’s not sharing. Like the skybox, his life if fancy, empty and smells like crab cakes. Harsh.
Tracy turned down Don’s $7 million offer to make the dog movie sequel. He’s going to make Jefferson himself. Kenneth is sold on the idea, even if Tracy’s his entourage isn’t. First order of business, get the dead horse out of Tracy’s car.
At Christie’s, sparks are flying with Jack and Phoebe. He’s rambling, so she offers to show him another piece he might enjoy. She’ll have to take him back to the private office. It’s a delicate piece very few people have handled. He hopes they’re talking about the same thing.
Next thing Liz knows, Jack’s announcing his relationship with Phoebe, and for some reason he’s seeking her approval. Before Liz can stop him, Jack’s proposing to Phoebe outside her office. It’d be a touching moment except that his every touch hurts her. Avian bone syndrome, you know.
So there you have it, two unresolved conflicts – Tracy’s determination to make his Jefferson movie and Jack’s rash decision to propose to Phoebe. Throw in the Fliz romance, which is moving right along, and 30 Rock has transformed into a serial dramedy. It’s Grey’s Anatomy, only shorter, funnier and with about one-third the audience. Even better, it’s a shorter, funnier, still-on-the-air Studio 60.
It’s almost The Office.
Brian is currently a stay-at-home dad and a writer who obsesses on The Office and the New York Mets. Check out http://remote.lohudblogs.com/author/bhoward/ to catch his daily musings on his favorite sit-coms.