Saturday, November 7, 2009

30 Rock - Audition, or The Vague Metaphor

Finally! Hopes of a new cast member are finally realized with the final decision to add Jayden Michael Tyler to the TGS family! He's funny, kind, and comes with an impressive resume: he lists his references as Martin Scorsese, Christopher Walken, and Gilbert Gottfried. But, to make Jack believe it was his idea to hire him, Liz and Pete selected three "decoy" candidates that Jack is sure to hate, making him choose Jayden.

Predictably, Jenna gets a hold of the audition list and raises hell. Apparently, she did a show with Jayden years ago, and he was terrible to work with. To further complicate matters, Liz agrees to let Dot Com audition (he played Trigorin in The Seagull). Word gets out, and the floodgate is opened, with Frank demanding to audition, and, in an excellent cameo, even NBC News Anchor Brian Williams begs to try out.

Jenna tells Tracy about Dot Com trying out, and Tracy is mortified, knowing that Dot Com is a far superior actor, so they decide to find better, neutral talent to bring in to usurp their nemeses.

Meanwhile, Jack has fallen to the bottom rung of society, a leper that no one will touch. Why? Apparently, there's a terrible bed bug epidemic sweeping New York, and Jack has caught it. He isn't able to attend meetings or use the company car. Not even cabs will take him, so he uses the subway to get to his dermatologist. The final humiliation comes when even Kenneth will not embrace him.

During the audition, we see a strong of unimpressive comedians, then, finally, Jayden makes his big entrance. Turns out his act is actually an impression of, you guessed it, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Walken, and Gilbert Gottfried. The references were fake, and Jayden is actually a sociopath who blackmails Liz into hiring him! And we thought it couldn't get any worse!

But, they don't have to hire Jayden in the end, since Jack chose another auditioner as his favorite. Now, Liz has to employ one of those robot impersonators you always see on the streets, because he was the only person who would shake Jack's bed bug-infested hand. What will he be like? We don't know. Does he speak English? We hope so.

All in all, a frenetic and exciting episode, with lots of ins and outs. But I'm unclear what the bed bug metaphor was all about. Swine flu? It's unclear. It seemed like it was trying to be "about" something, but too vague to really have a clear tie to the real world. Or, it could have just been an absurd little trope that Tina Fey thought up. I don't want to overthink it. The only thing that matters is the greatness of the following line, by Jack: "Human empathy, it's as useless as the Winter Olympics...this February on NBC." Zing! 30 Rock is really sticking it to the parent company this season, but with continuing hilarity, so I guess they're okay with it. I'm glad that Tina and the gang heard my plea to wrap up the "new cast member" storyline, so we can get on to bigger and better things.

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