Friday, January 15, 2010

30 Rock - Klaus and Greta, or Lemoning the Situation with James Franco

On its triumphant return from the winter break, 30 Rock pulled out the big guns with special guest star James Franco, as...famous actor James Franco! Now, this interesting casting choice combined with the uber-meta storyline really raised some interesting questions about the nature of TV and stardom in general. You didn't think 30 Rock could do that, did you?

First off, a little background. For you non-celebrity watchers out there, James Franco has been appearing on the soap opera General Hospital as a serial killer named...wait for it...Franco. Just...Franco. Franco (the real one) then described his guest spot on the venerable soap as "performance art". And no, your eyes do not deceive you - that hyperlink goes to an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by...JAMES FRANCO. No wonder newspapers are going bankrupt.

ANYWAY. With that in mind, let's lay out the story of Franco as Franco on 30 Rock. James Franco, the handsome and popular movie star (the fake one) starts up a manufactured tabloid relationship with Jenna in order to dispel rumors that he's in love with a Japanese body pillow. And yes, this too is a real thing.

So, if I'm reading this right, James Franco, who is garnering hype for playing a serial killer on a soap opera that has the same name as him, is concurrently guest-starring on a popular sitcom as an actor with the same name, who, in addition to loving an inanimate object, concocts an elaborate tabloid ruse for fame. My question is: how much of this was intentional meta-ness? What is 30 Rock telling us here? Is James Franco (the real one) telling us that his "performance art" is really a ruse? Is this guest spot another form of "performance art" for the fancy-schmancy Franco? Does James Franco really love Japanese body pillows?

These are questions to which there are no answers, readers. What I can tell you is that James Franco overacts horribly throughout the entire episode. But is he overacting because that's what fake Franco acts, or is James Franco actually a terrible actor? So many questions.

So, while this whole business happened, other characters existed too! Jack drunk dialed Nancy, his lost high-school love, on New Year's Eve and undoubtedly left a ridiculous message. So, he coerces Kenneth to go up to Boston with him, break into Nancy's house, and erase the message. Let's just say things don't go as planned, and the relationship with Nancy may be back on. More Julianne Moore! Hooray!

Other takeaways from this episode include the delightful phrase "Lemoned the situation", which is shorthand for: made awkward, ruined, destroyed. I plan on incorporating it at every turn, and if people don't get the reference, well, then I'll know who my true friends are.

No comments:

Post a Comment