30 Rock: Never badmouth synergy!

I guess Salma Hayek was busy with Ugly Betty this week, because we got an entire 30 Rock episode about Jack, and Liz, and Tracy, and all those other characters who interact with the guest stars from week to week.  Fun!

Jack is giving the keynote address at a corporate retreat, and he makes Liz come with him as his camp buddy.  He’s nervous, you see, because he hasn’t seen this group of conference-goers since he lost the CEO job and hooked up with Dick Cheney.  But upon arrival, Jack immediately makes friends with the head corporate guys, known as the Six Sigmas (they’re dudes!), and doesn’t need his camp buddy anymore.

When Liz helps him win a Lego contest (Lego Utilization for Negating Crisis Hierarchies, or LUNCH), a Sigma notices that Liz’s behavior toward Jack is totally inappropriate, what with the familiarity and nick-namification (she calls him “Haircut”).  And when Liz shows up at Jack’s room the next morning with two omelettes (don’t worry, they’re both for her), Jack reprimands her and sends her back to the lake with the fat kids to make bracelets.  Liz declares their friendship over, but she can’t open the door with her two omelettes (instead of helping her, Jack barks “like a waitress!”, which does the trick.)

But when the time comes for Jack’s big keynote speech, he has a hot-mic incident that results in his private psyching-himself-up speech being broadcasted to the whole room.  Everyone laughs and gloats, but Liz runs to help him, even though it’s way too late to stop him from making a fool of himself.  So Liz goes on stage and pretends she’s the stand-up act and was doing a Jack impression, but no one buys it.  So then she distracts the crowd by stripping.  Because that’s what friends do, Jack.

Meanwhile, free of supervision, the crew back at 30 Rock is busy with their usual madcap problems: Jenna is trying to method-act her way into her role as “a Janis Joplin type character,” and Dr. Spaceman (yay!) informs Tracy that he’s at risk for diabetes.

Frank convinces Jenna to do all her Janis research on Wikipedia, then, predictably, edits the entry to say that Janis speed-walked everywhere, was afraid of toilets, and drank a signature cocktail made up of cherry juice, buttermilk and tequila and called the Frank Schlong. (Regretfully, said Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janis_Joplin is back to normal now, but the history page is amusing).  Jenna happily goes along with all this, but Frank fesses up when she starts to eat a cat (that was ALF, he explains).  Then, fueled by tequila, they make out in the most disgusting possible way.  The next day, Frank begs Jenna to “be cool” and not tell anyone what happened.  Jenna, offended, proclaims, “You the one who cool should be,” and tells everyone.  Then she has to face the wrath of her hairstylists and various other women from around the set, all of whom are apparently sleeping with Frank.  Well, who wouldn’t, with those coke-bottle glasses, that hairy flesh, that elegant wit.

Tracy, meanwhile, isn’t concerned about the threat of diabetes (he’s always wanted a wheel for a foot, like Rosie on The Jetsons).  But Kenneth, who’s seen too many people back home die of diabetes and goat cart accidents, tries to scare Tracy into eating vegetables by dressing up as the Hill Witch, and it’s actually not that funny for a Tracy/Kenneth storyline.  They couldn’t have brought Dr. Spaceman in for another scene?

Other things we learned this week:

  • The pillars of the Six Sigma Business Philosophy: Teamwork, Insight, Brutality, Male Enhancement, Hand-Shakefulness, and Play Hard. (Btw, apparently Six Sigma is a real thing.  Ah, the stuff I miss out on working in the non-profit world.)
  • There’s no link between diabetes and diet.  That’s a white myth.  Like Larry Bird, and Colorado.
  • At some places they get mad when you eat in the sauna.
  • When a big one falls, four little ones move up.
  • What happens in Croton-on-Hudson, stays in Croton-on-Hudson

Season 3, Episode 9: Retreat to Move Forward (originally aired January 22, 2008)

For another take on this episode, check out Ms. Joplin, If You’re Nasty by Jaimie Campos.

For more on 30 Rock, click here.

Thursdays at 9:30/8:30C on NBC

Photographs courtesy of NBC

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