30 ROCK: Larry King - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

30 ROCK: Larry King

February 27, 2009 by  

Would that I had more goodness to report, but I’ll remember this one primarily as the episode where Liz’s foreign exchange student past finally came to its inevitable “99 Luftballons” nexus, which was admittedly a thing of dweeby, mid-‘80s beauty. It also gave us the hopefully permanent departure of Elisa, with all apologies to Salma Hayek, who proved there are limits even to the awesome powers of Alec Baldwin’s chemistry. Who knew.

And although he’s technically the C story, I will award A story status to Tracy Jordan this week, since his bat-crazy appearance on Larry King saved the entire show for me. As we saw in his single-handed rescue of Lehman Brothers back in “Generalissimo,” this is a man with a plan for every crisis, and here that plan is Thunderdome. Also: freak the geek out. And hide your money in Kenneth. Tracy is so cheerfully adrift in his own sea of absurd that he makes a recap of “Teen Wolf” sound perfectly logical in the context of a promotional appearance on a cable news network, although given his love of werewolves, not all that surprising. In fact, I will give him a solid gold star for being my favorite thing about what has been overall a disappointing season. Devil’s avocado, indeed. (Also good was him leading the on-air treasure hunt for our good friend, guitar icon Peter Frampton, along with spider-face Lutz. I think the thing this season has suffered from most is a lack of exposure for the writing staff in order to focus on Liz and Jack’s personal lives.)

That said, the Liz and Kenneth story had potential, as their pairing always does, but it was handicapped by her needlessly complicated lie (her bold use of “Nena’s famous anti-balloon protest song” aside) and also being mean to Kenneth in a way I didn’t really believe at this point in the series. (As well as overlooking the fact that he’s left Manhattan before in pursuit of official NBC page business, when he went in search of nachos for Tracy at Yankee Stadium in “Jack the Writer.”) But their road trip to Long Island City (on the X Train!) wasn’t without its charms, and tied perfectly into Tracy’s “Mean Streets” scenario when Kenneth is tagged by a graffiti artist within seconds of exiting the Zagornia Avenue station. I didn’t quite get how Tracy’s cryptic clues led to Kenneth, but I liked him checking his own head for it, then telling Asif “I would thank you to give the lady its cell phone back” before inviting Liz to his asbestos removal party.

Jack’s story was also better for revealing more of Jonathan’s Smithers-like infatuation with his boss than it did about his own relationship with Elisa, although their parting gifts to each other were a nice touch: hers a caricature of herself on a skateboard, while he offers up matching t-shirts—one pink and one powder blue—with “Jalisa” written below a heart-framed screenprint of their photo. But his marriage proposal at the end came out of nowhere and led, ultimately, to nothing. Do you believe his heart is even broken over the woman? Not really. But that—and a topless shot of Jonathan (literally) playing his flute on video—are what you get for brushing Jorgenson aside in favor of canoodling with your hot nurse girlfriend.

Anyway, did you love “Jalisa” Are you sad to see Salma Hayek go? Please tell me why.


Liz to Jack: “Ugh! Ladies are such a bummer” and her glee at having had sex two more times than him so far this year. (Still, this is sex with a fictional guy who looks like Jon Hamm, right? So shouldn’t that number be a lot higher?)

Larry King: “Tracy Jordan: saying three serious things, and then a joke.”

Tracy’s translation of “TGS Fridays at 10:30 on NBC” into “NGS Fridays at C30 on TB10.”

Asif: “This phone was left in my cab by a woman wearing the shirt of a man.”

Liz’s initial response to extortion: “Yeah, I’ll definitely do that: on opposite day!”

Jonathan to Jack: “You won’t be coming in at all? But what about ‘Jackonathan’?”

Kenneth: “Adult? You mean like you’re driving a car or wearing a suit?”

Liz: “It’s a boobies picture, Kenneth, and I only kept it because for once they were both pointing in the same direction.”

Jack to Jonathan, re: Don Geiss: “Did you try his mistress? How about his manstress?”

Geiss’s 1987 video (“PLAY IN THE EVENT OF ECONOMIC MELTDOWN”) with its timeless message: “Avoid the noid.”

Elisa: “Everything’s gone coco for cuckoo poops! Is that right?”

Kari is a 30 ROCK fanatic and will be taking it out on you, her new imaginary friends.


5 Responses to “30 ROCK: Larry King”

  1. Erik on February 27th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Kari, I am curious to read your thoughts about 30 Rock’s apparent shift away from the office this season. In reading the responses to my House recaps, I have been surprised how many loyal fans have been turned off because of a similar change. Though I am not caught up on 30 Rock this season, do you think Tina Fey & Alec Baldwin are being overexposed for the sake of romantic storylines? To the point in your recap, are the viewers missing out on the playful nature between Liz & her writers? I loved that aspect of Season 1, but NBC is obviously interested in attracting a new audience through the soapy stuff.

    Great recap!

  2. Tessa on February 27th, 2009 9:07 pm

    I’m so glad Elisa is gone! (She is gone for good right? Is Salma Hayek’s stint over now?) I loved her first episode, but all the ones following have just lead to annoyance. And I do wish they would show Pete and Lutz and the writers more. I was really excited that they got some air time this week! I really like the work dynamic, and as much as I love story lines that involve Jon Hamm, I miss the office stuff!

  3. Angela on February 27th, 2009 10:13 pm

    I’m pretty glad it seems that Salma Hayek will be gone. She offered some funny moments (can’t remember the exact line, but whatever she said about “going all Marc Anthony” was hilarious). I think 30 Rock’s celebrity guest stars are either hit or miss. They definitely do not need them to be funny though. Somehow this is the show that beat The Office for the best ensemble SAG award, yet they still feel like they need to rely on huge names. Hopefully they’ll start focusing more on their ensemble now.

  4. kari on February 27th, 2009 11:34 pm

    You’ve all touched on my thoughts exactly. They’re getting so far away from what I consider the core of the show, which is the dynamic between Jack and Liz AND between all the weirdos at TGS. I miss the tension that’s inherent in having all the creative forces on the TGS staff not only clash with each other, but also with the corporate interests that Jack represents (which to me is also Liz’s most interesting personal conflict; i.e., between those two sides of herself).

    And a big part of that is also seeing how these characters negotiate their work selves with their “outside” selves, and the impact one has on the other. (And yeah, I get it: it’s a comedy, they just want to make people laugh, but that tension is what makes this show funny to me in the first place.) And all of these outside relationships this year have had no real impact on their lives inside 30 Rock (except for Jack and Elisa last night, which felt tacked on and was too easily resolved and then immediately dismissed). At least when Liz dated someone like Floyd (or Dennis, god love him), or when Jack dated CC, those relationships had a natural impact on their work lives, and therefore felt organic within the story and the series as a whole. I understand that they want to capitalize on two very hot stars right now, and flash big-time names up there in the previews, but by doing so I think they’re sacrificing a lot of what makes this particular show special in the first place.

  5. Kimber on February 28th, 2009 2:55 pm

    I, too, liked Elisa in the beginning, and while I’ve never really had a huge problem with her character, I didn’t necessarily enjoy it either. The relationship of “Jalisa” (I’ll admit that made me laugh!) was kind of … boring? Dull? I guess that’s my view. It was okay, but nothing that made me wish it could go on forever, or that they would find true love. I’m a big fan of Liz Lemon, and the dynamic between Liz and Jack, and Liz and her office cronies, so I enjoy that part of the show much more.