Friday, March 19, 2010

30 Rock - Future Husband, or Kabletown, It's a Fine and Generous Company

Well, they finally did it. Kabletown (Comcast) has taken over NBC (NBC) in the parallel universe of 30 Rock. Jack finds out through Avery, his girl of the week, that it's all downhill from here for ol' NBC. Jack protests, and vows to stand by his old friend and mentor Don Guise, who's always been against the merger. But, bad news, Jackie boy, Don is dead, and the deal is going through.

Hold on! No more Rip Torn guest spots on 30 Rock! Where else will I get my weekly crotchety old scratchy-voiced man allowance?

Anyway, Liz does her trademark breaking of the 4th wall to call Kabletown "...a fine and generous company," and concluded with a pleading smile at the camera. Of course, no brand names were used, but it's abundantly clear that we're all talking about the real-life Comcast/NBC deal. Which makes me wonder, did 30 Rock have to get the OK from their new overloads on this script? This is the type of thing that almost, almost makes a person want to study patent law.

The future looks grim for Jack, but then, Avery saves him from executive oblivion by quoting various "sources" saying he's the only person being considered to head up the new conglomerate. Ohhhh.

Meanwhile, Liz has recovered from her root canal for the most part, but with a little lingering problem. Her phone now holds an entry titled "Future Husband", and the owner is a mystery. She's ready to write it off and delete the number, but Kenneth, convinced that he's got to be the one for her, persuades her to deceive in the name of love and impersonate her dentist's nurse to get them back in the same room. Then, to show his commitment to the idea of destiny, he throws his wallet out the window! It made sense at the time.

Liz goes to the dentist's office, and lo and behold, "Future Husband" is there. Turns out that not only does his phone say "Future Wife" when Liz calls, he's also Welsh dreamboat Michael Sheen! Swoon!

Sadly, their coffee date goes awry, all the way into the land of severe awkwardness and Liz loses faith in Kenneth's aggressive optimism. Just then - Michael Sheen shows up to return Kenneth's wallet, and they agree to give it another shot! Hooray!

Also, Tracey gets the Will Ferrell bug and decides to do a one-man show to win the T of his EGOT. Yeah, I was surprised they're sticking with this storyline too, but we'll see. The first show is a huge hit, and Tracey's ready to pack it in and wait for the Tony to roll in when Jenna tells him there's an 8 performance minimum to be in the running. She tries to teach him acting, it doesn't work, but the show still kills. Ta-da!

I'm glad Liz and the gang confronted the Comcast takeover head-on, and it will be interesting to see how they portray it going forward. It was also good to see Michael Sheen as someone other than Tony Blair, so there's that too. But let's get real for a second: is it just me, or is 30 Rock getting blander? It used to be there were so many plot points and twists that I couldn't even describe it to a friend, and now it's falling into the sitcom trap of two to three stories per week, and everyone laughs at the end. I would imagine it'd be difficult to keep up the absurdist pace of seasons past, but I'd hate to see 30 Rock go the way of a safe, boring sitcom. Maybe they're just having a rough arc, and things will perk up. Or maybe I'm totally off-base. Let's hope for one or the other.

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