30 Rock – “I Do Do”
“It’s possible. Have you ever read Archie comics?”
I’ve talked a bit about the frustration that 30 Rock and HIMYM have put me through this season, and how their respective lead-ups to their respective finales have made me (somewhat) forgiving of their ups and downs this season. The good news is that “I Do Do” (“Oh, grow up, Lemon.”) is a pretty solid end note for the inconsistent season. It’s just a little bit tricky to tell if I’m evaluating this on a curve, or if the episode was genuinely good in the classic 30 Rock sense (and can I say “classic 30 Rock after 4 seasons?).
But the episode remains a delightful one. And with its move to 8:30, behind Community, next season, it at least means I can turn off NBC after 9:00. Thank goodness.
The episode actually allows for next season to begin with something of a clean slate, as Jack has resolved his conflict between Avery and the Boston Accent That Controls Julianne Moore (BATCJM) (nudge about idiotic accents aside on the show, it was still really painful, guys), selecting a pregnant Avery instead of the BATCJM. It’s ultimately the right choice for Jack, as Avery is the man he is now, not the man he was when he knew the BATCJM. My favorite moment of the plot, and indeed the episode, was Avery and Jack’s discussion that got buried under diegetic pop music, instead of mouthing dialog while non-diegtic pop music plays to supposedly emphasize the emotion (coughChuckcough). It was the kind of genre joke that 30 Rock can do well, but hasn’t in a while.
Meanwhile, Liz meeting Carol, an actual pilot (not a cartoon one like Dr. Baird), was actually a terrific highlight in the episode. I’ve always felt that Matt Damon has terrific comedic skill, but never fully deployed them (the Ocean’s films really prove this), and he felt like a natural fit into 30 Rock‘s zany world. Indeed, we can even say that of Michael Sheen’s irrepressibly obnoxious Wesley Snipes (“With a textual transmission!”). The frustrating thing about Carol and Wesley and Avery is that they’e all guest stars, so they’ll either fade away or get mentioned and do things off-screen. Such great characters that may not appear as often once the next season begins (though Wesley has little reason to return).
If there’s a weak spot in the episode, it’s Kenneth’s decision to throw his promotion by doing a bad job. It never really comes off as funny, but the pay off of Kenneth, totally hammered as Grizz’s wedding, telling everyone how much he loves them, was really expertly played by McBrayer. My only hope is that Jack’s prediction from way back in season 1, that Kenneth would kill everyone or be running the company in 5 years, comes true, somehow, next season. But then I’m still holding out hope that we’ll see Liz’s Charlie Chaplin-obsessed ex-boyfriend (maybe played by Robert Downey, Jr., just for a nice in-joke?).
So “I Do Do” puts 30 Rock in a comfortable position to essentially begin anew next season, and I seriously hope that Fey and her writers come up with something that is at least consistent, but hopefully they put on their high heels and don’t become quitters.
- It also didn’t work, but the Jenna/Paul relationship was fine enough, though Will Forte just doesn’t work well in a sitcom, with a relatively normal character. Though his half Cher-half Jenna look was odd and kind of funny.
- I’m going to start categorizing people I know the way Kenneth does. Seems like a good way to keep up with people.
- May 21, 2010