Saturday, 26 March 2011

30 Rock - S5 E18 - Plan B

TGS is put on "Forced Hiatus". Meanwhile Jack buys a network targeted at gay men and needs to enlist outside help to make it work...

Spoilers after the jump.

You probably should have realized Tracy was in New York, Kenneth. It does make me wonder what all the Two and Half Men writers did when that show was on forced hiatus. Here, Frank goes to perform stand-up, Toofer draws on his scientific degree, Pete takes up substitute teaching, Foreign Female writer joins the FBI and Jenna sells racist dolls. No sign of Lutz or Cerie (who's not allowed to talk anymore) though.

Liz is left without any alternative skills to just write and create stories. As is expertly parodied in this episode though, there is little opportunity left for the truly creative in mainstream entertainment however. Most films are remakes or adaptations of existing works and the vast majority of new TV shows are rip-offs of (if they're comedies) Modern Family or How I Met Your Mother or (if they're dramas) CSI or various other police dramas. In real life creative types tend to be shunned in favor of those with "real jobs" that is to say people who work with numbers or motivational jargon. As we've seen of course, there's nothing as paper thin as the money industry, a manufactured system and environment invented to maintain the wealth of tycoons and invent new flow for their favored subordinates.

Hank Hooper, boss of Kabletown is meant to be some southern traditionalist, for a large part he's the typical annoying caricature that lefty writers tend to come up with. He is accepting of the flaming Devin though, as Will Arnett makes his triumphant return to the show. Jack must have known he would bring nothing but trouble but it's implied he was relishing the opportunity for a heavyweight business brawl after being stifled by the family environment of Kabletown. After briefly hamming it up in glorious style, Devin breaks down and returns to the new family he's created with his lover; he can't be away from his newborn babies. Jack learns that maybe he should be spending time with his own daughter, but I doubt that the lesson will stick. He's a little too obsessed with his climb to the top and it will likely eventually lead to he and Avery separating.

This was a very fun episode, though my enjoyment could have been enhanced by recent Arrested Development (re)watching. Minimal Jenna and Tracy is always good and Tina Fey was on delightful form. There was even a random guest appearance from Aaron Sorkin and the Kenneth entirely missing the point of the write in to save the show was great. Not as good as this week's Community, but still a strong episode.

"30 Rock" airs Thursdays on NBC at 8:30 pm EST.

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