Episode 11 - Mrs Donaghy
22 January 2011
Synopsis: Jack accidentally married Liz instead of Avery and prepares divorce papers. However he has also rented out TGS' studio space to make more money for NBC to make it more attractive to Kabletown. Pete suggests that Liz refuse to sign the papers until TGS gets its space back. So Liz and Jack begin to torment one another and end up in marriage counselling. Meanwhile Jenna and Danny share a dressing room and Tracy learns that his health is in a precarious state.
The Good: Once more the writers turn to the Jack-Liz friendship for a plot because it is the only source of sentiment they have. Jack is the only character who is treated at all seriously and as Liz is the person he spends most time with their dynamic is all the show has that matters. And to be fair their scene with Weinerslav was good at drawing out how and why they matter so much to one another.
I did smile at Jenna reacting with motherly joy at the news that Kenneth had drawn a picture of her and Danny and then seeing it and saying "You might need help, that's awful for an adult." Ditto Jack claiming that he likes Liz because she's the only one of his employees who will tell him when he's "being too authoritative...or handsome."
The Bad: Man those 30 Rock writers are lazy. First let me get a familiar rant out of the way. The reason they return to Jack and Liz so often is that nothing else on the show has any resonance or sentiment. Why? Because they have destroyed time and again any sense that these people are remotely real for the sake of terrible terrible jokes. They are incompetent writers and don't understand the difference between sketch comedy and sit coms.
Now then the Jenna and Danny plot was utter laziness. It was insulting laziness. They spent a minute sharing the same dressing room and Kenneth joked that he didn't want to see them arguing like an old married couple. So they instantly did. Literally instantly. Jenna complained that Danny had forgotten their one minute anniversary. How is that comedy? There's nothing remotely real in that, it's a parody of a parody of a parody. If you can't be bothered to take a minute to set up your own stories then don't bother writing them.
As for Tracy's health concerns, there are two ways in which as an audience don't care. One is that Tracy lives like a mad pig so of course he is unhealthy, that isn't news. Second is that Dr Spaceman is a joke whose diagnosis is based on Tracy having a few bones missing and odd tasting blood. Why would we believe anything he says? It's all a setup anyway for Angie to play a black stereotype playing a black stereotype. There's nothing on this show that is an actual joke. Everything is a parody of a joke. It's like the writers are too arrogant and lazy to actually try and make you laugh they just make fun of other people's jokes.
Comic Highlight: Liz was asked a question by the Priest at Jack's wedding and said yes, this is what led to the misunderstanding and false marriage. Jack of course asks why she said yes: "Well one of my New Year's resolutions is to say yes. Yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more."
The Bottom Line: I really don't like 30 Rock, I think it's a symptom of what is wrong with modern sit coms. Some weeks it's more enjoyable than others and this was pretty lame.
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