'30 Rock': It's time for a Plan B


Image Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC

Last night’s episode of 30 Rock hit a little too close to home. I, like Liz, am a writer. And last night’s episode just confirmed that I’ll never be able to jet set around the world in economy plus.

You see, while Tracy was still gone saving lives in Africa (AKA hiding out in New York), the network was putting TGS on a forced hiatus. Because you can’t have TGS with Tracy Jordan without Tracy Jordan. It’s an oxymoron, like liberal government, female scientists, and well-paid journalists.

The lovely Elizabeth Lemon was forced to tell everyone about the hiatus, which she was confident was only temporary. But everyone (except Liz) knew that a forced hiatus meant only one thing — canceled. So the cast and crew of TGS put into action their backup plans. Frank R. would pursue his standup career. Pete would substitute teach. Jenna would sell Jenna Babies on QVC. Sue would go back to her police psychic show. Toofer would take his Harvard degree earned from his”concentration” to do a whole bunch of things no one cares about. And Kenneth, naturally, was planning bird Internet probably in honor of his now-deceased pet, Sonny Crockett. (Not to be confused with Don Johnson.)

Sadly, Liz was the only one without a plan B because there have been a lot of The Amazing Races on since she got her job, and she had to watch them all, and comment on the message boards. (Duh! All the cool kids comment on TV recaps.) Plus, her parents let her major in theater tech with a minor in movement. Probably not the best career move. So in an effort to figure out her life, she brought back her agent, Simon. He was able to get her a meeting with The Sing Off‘s Nick Lachey. While there Lemon ran into…wait for it…Aaron Sorkin. (Like my colleague Lynette Rice predicted, “Sorkin’s appearance featured lots of artful yammering and long, continuous shots through the TGS halls.”) Sorkin was also there to meet with Lachey, and to (rapidly) explain to Liz that the craft of writing is “dying while people are playing Angry Birds and poking each other on Facebook.” Just around the time Lemon was about to give up completely, (guys, she wasn’t even hungry!) she discovered what we’ve known all along. Tracy is not really in Africa! Turns out, Lemon won’t need to become the world’s worst hooker after all! Also, she won’t have to go work for a magazine. (Man, Liz. The knife is already in. Quit twisting it!)

Meanwhile, Jack was working on his newest network acquisition TWINKS. The poorly named network was focused on the gay crowed. (Jack took some notes after chatting up D’Fwan in last week’s episode.) Unfortunately, the “fellows who like fellows” network was losing money for Kabletown, and Hank Hooper didn’t like it. In an effort to make the new network more successful, Jack took a risk by hiring his old nemesis Devon Banks (Will Arnett). And after an argument based on the lyrics of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” Banks agreed to work for Jack. Banks arrived at the next day’s business meeting fashionably late and with his “sexiest” (eww) baby in tow. This, of course, only made Hank Hooper like him more and offer him a better job as the company’s face in Europe. Jack, I think that’s what you would call a plan B(ackfired). Ohhh, snap! In the end, Banks couldn’t leave his “gaybies” and turned down Hank’s offer. And Jack will probably sleep peacefully tonight.

Other “Plan B” highlights:

++ Lemon asking if Jack knew why the vending machine was broken. “I know. I broke it. I needed to speak with you, and I knew that was the fastest way to get you up here.”

++ “Is it TNT? Are Rizzoli and Isles friends in real life?!” –Lemon

++ Jack thinking “baby” was an acronym for “Black Asian Bisexual Youths”

++ The list of things Hank Hooper likes: Fishing, marches by John Philip Sousa, and telephones that look like footballs

++ “That would be like me hiring the mouse that keeps pooping in my slippers.” –Lemon on Jack hiring Devon

++ What do you think of this TV idea? “A girl television writer trying to have it all in the city. Also, she’s a vampire…I guess?” –Lemon

++ “I thought we understood that you are never to think that I understand anything!” –Lemon to Jack

++ “Listen lady, a gender I write extremely well if the story calls for it. This is serious!” –Aaron Sorkin

++ Everything else Aaron Sorkin said

++ Kenneth saying that fans sent in douchebags to save Entourage

++ Kenneth mailing sugar cubes (AKA faux anthrax) to Hank Hooper to save TGS only to be caught by Sue, the police psychic

++ The travel agent, American auto worker, and dynamite saxophone player who live under the subway with the CEO of Friendster

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did you love it like I did? And more importantly, will you comment so I feel like my job is somewhat important? My parents let me major in journalism, so my plan B is moving back to Oklahoma to live with them. So yeah, I need to know that the people of the sidewalk haven’t given up on the written word. And if you don’t comment? Well, click click click! I just put you in your place in African!

Breia on Twitter

Comments (77 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Good lord, what a disjointed mess this was. Maybe one laugh in the entire show. Maybe.

    • Hmm

      I liked that it was jam packed- we not only saw everyone, but everyone had a mini-plot & joke.

      • Twitter sucks

        It was a great episode, my favorite line was from Liz’s agent in response to her saying “You are supposed to be helping me” to which he replies “Like Frederick helps iCarly?” I love iCarly, so this was good BUT his name is not Frederick but Fredward

      • lefty

        I thought he did say Fredward cuz I thought “I didn’t know that’s his name…that’s strange.”

      • Sawyer

        I like 30 Rock but am getting sick at the racist attitude Tina Fey has towards Asian athletes – she said before during an SNL skit about Tiger Woods and again with the Princeton quarterback reference on 30 rock – asians and pacific islanders can be athletic, but I guess in her world only female equality is all that matters – as long as they are white

      • Sean

        Thought Aaron Sorkin’s appearance was flawless…it was short, sweet, and poked fun at EVERYTHING he has in his shows, from the circular paths his characters walk in to the non stop yammering and *this is important!* attitude. He was a great sport to play along with it (and the icing on the cake was the “Studio 60″ reference Liz made, to which Sorkin quipped “Shut up.”)

    • Mr. Holloway

      Did that laugh come at Liz Lemon, World’s Worst Prostitute:

      “It’s $500 for kissing, $10,000 for cuddling. End of list.” (Haven’t even mentioned the purple wig.)

      • fancypants

        snuggling, not cuddling. first word is funnier.

    • Meredith

      Loved the Entourage/douchebags line!!

      • Darrin

        Yeah, funny line, but to correct the recapper – I’m pretty sure it was Frank who made the Entourage crack, not Kenneth.

    • AK

      Really? I thought it was one of the funniest episodes all season. I was definitely laughing out loud.

  • Chris

    Really LOL? Very good episode as usual. Outstanding Aaron Sorkin scene. Somehow including Joss Whedon would be the only way to make it better. The three best writers in recent television history.

    • Really?

      “That would be like me hiring the mouse that keeps pooping in my slippers.” –Lemon on Jack hiring Devon

      When I hear lines like this I cringe for Tiny Fey and wonder if plan B may come sooner than we think. That’s jump the shark material. How does such a good writer let that line stay inthe show

      • Really?

        I will admit that gaybies is a keeper.

      • Bobby’s Robot

        Do you know what Jump the Shark means? One joke you didn’t like doesn’t mean the show has lost all credibility.

      • K

        As someone who once lived with mice pooping all over her floor and everything on the floor (I left a box of sewing needles on the bottom level of a shelf once, and later realized some mouse had peed all over it and permanently discolored some of the needles)….I totally connected with the idea of mice being one’s nemeses. It really sucks, because until you actually see the mice and realize that they’re probably not confining their poop to your cabinets, you just walk around obliviously in your socks or barefoot, trampling all over wild rodent poop. It’s small, so it’s easy to miss it. I had to start wearing shoes at all times around my apartment, from the moment I got out of bed until the moment I got back in. Also, they chewed holes in some of my shirts that I left laying on the floor after wearing them (again, before realizing that there was a mouse problem). Also, it was just SO DISGUSTING. I loved mice before their invasion. Once I shook out the little rug that was on the floor of my closet and a shower of droppings fell out, mice were dead to me. And it’s a huge battle to get rid of them. Effing mice. They’re worse than bugs, and I nearly vomit when I see big bugs. Anyways, sorry for the long rant, but mice nemeses are serious business, and I laughed in sympathy for a fellow warrior, even fictional, in the battle against mouse poop. Thank god the places I’ve lived since that time have all been mouse-free. So there. That mouse joke was awesome, in my PTSD-addled mind.

    • journay2

      Totally agree with the Whedon mention. I thought this was a phenomenal episode. Always love seeing Devon and his gaybies. Good stuff.

  • Dave

    I thought it was a really good episode. The Aaron Sorkin cameo was fantastic. And I loved Sue as the police psychic “The Mentaalist,” that was hilarious! I love Sue. She’s so great in the few moments she gets.
    And I loved Jack laughing about Devin being on LinkedIn, “He might as well be dead!”

  • leobean

    Jack got Liz the meeting with Lachey, not Simon.

    • kel

      And Frank made the comment about “Entourage” not Kenneth.

      • Anca

        Like that’s important.

        this episode freaked me out a little bit, as i want to be a television writer. aaarrrrggghhhh. am i making a mistake?!?

  • Lee Harvey

    What a train wreck this was. It was all over the place. No laughs.

    • Rich

      Stick to assassinating presidents, not TV criticism, buddy.

      • fancypants

        seriously? not funny.

  • Mary Catherine

    Breia – love your writing style, you dont need a plan b…youre the new voice of EW
    havent read you before but glad to read a fresh voice…
    the episode was hillarious…two excellent 30 Rocks in a row…

  • Loch Ness

    Probably the least funny, most irritating episode of 30 Rock I have seen.

  • Mikie

    I winced at the “doucebags for Entourage” comment. I seem to recall some kind of feud between the creators of the two shows.

    • Hannah

      A feud between Tina Fey and Mark Wahlberg? She could totally take him

  • Jo

    It was bad, though I did like the Amazing Race line. And Aaron Sorkin was fine.

  • Jus

    I loved it. I thought it was a great and very consistent episode. Def one of the best of this season.

    • frommtlwithlove

      I concur.

  • SuperWittySmitty

    Hmm, I haven’t seen it yet but tivo’d it and will watch soon. As usual, I expect it will race by, chockablock full of cultural references and allusions that barely have time to register. The show’s not for everyone but I love it. Not a big fan of Kenneth and I appreciate the occasional absence of TJ- Liz is hot and Jenna is priceless!

  • Shaw202

    I loved it. But, I’m a writer, too, so what do I know?
    Loved Jack forgetting he has a baby and I loved bird internet!

  • Elizabeth

    Breia – feel your pain… and I work for a trade magazine, so I’m super-screwed!

  • Geronimo

    Liz to Sorkin about shows he’s written/created, “Studio 60…”

    Sorkin: Shut up.

    • kim in kentucky

      LOVED that! — esp since they both debut the same season and Studio 60 was predicted to be the BIG hit – even Alec Baldwin did a promo about how he thought he was doing the the Sorkin show, not 30 Rock.

    • Gwen

      Loved that moment!

    • Mr. Holloway

      Yeah, pretty much everything about Sorkin’s cameo was incredible.

      (I thought the aside about writing well for women when it calls for it was a fun swipe at the people who criticized the depiction of women in “The Social Network.”)

    • SoyBombGuy


  • Gary

    “It’s an oxymoron, like liberal government, female scientists, and well-paid journalists.” You forgot to mention Princeton Football.

    • mkaffeine

      Well, they were 4-3 in Ivy League play this season …

      • fancypants

        When our quarterback, Henry Chang….

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