The second episode of the final season of 30 Rock brings a little political satire to coincide with the real-life debates, but it has some unexpected consequences in the fantasy world of Rockefeller Plaza. How much could a change in the Republican ticket affect Jack and Liz’s plan to tank NBC?
Such a change does occur. Paul Ryan drops from the VP race because it has been discovered he was born in Kenya, and Mitt Romney picks up a new running mate in Governor Dunston of Alabama. Although Jack had made Liz promise to avoid political skits because they are good for ratings, Dunston, a Tracy Jordan look-alike, is too difficult to resist.
Of course, Tracy goes on to portray Dunston on TGS, using only words that had actually come out of the governor’s mouth (providing Liz with a little loophole with Jack since she didn’t write a word). There’s so much real-life fodder with Dunston’s puking in hats, sitting on his testicles and promotion of re-segregation that the piece is a natural hit, prompting Hank Hooper to request the show going five nights a week.
Meanwhile, Criss and Liz are trying hard to conceive, but Liz’s libido is getting in the way. Although Criss is doing a lot of the leg work like keeping up with Liz’s menstrual cycle, Liz just hasn’t felt like doing the deed. Now that TGS has gone viral, however, and she’s caught up in organizing all sorts of spreadsheets and the like, Liz feels far more in the mood. This presents a new dilemma: If she reverts to the plan of tanking the network, her chances of pregnancy also revert to next to nil.
Jack is also faced with a dilemma. After Cooter Berger stops in Jack’s office, announcing he is the Deputy Chief of Media Relations for Romney-Dunston 2012, Jack learns that the skits on TGS are actually helping the Republican cause. Satirizing Dunston makes the vice presidential candidate seem more loveable, shifting the focus from how the governor actually just instituted re-segregation in Alabama schools. As a die-hard Republican, Jack must put his plan to sabotage the network on the back burner.
In a lesser storyline, Jenna is disappointed with the performance of her latest CD. Her royalty check is a mere $90. Tracy explains that it’s all the fault of “Al Gore’s stupid Internet;” no one buys CDs anymore. Apparently, that played a part in Tracy’s own decision to get out of the music business.
Meanwhile, Kenneth’s mother Pearline and friend Ron show up, and Pearline hands Kenneth a CD, attracting Jenna’s attention. Jenna must chat up Pearline and Ron to gain insights into the rare people who still buy CDs. During this discussion about musical tastes, it comes to light that Pearline and Ron got married seven years ago. Kenneth thinks Ron is an idiot, and throws a hissy fit, fleeing the room.
Later, Pearline and Ron seek Jenna’s advice on how to get through to Kenneth. Jenna, as usual, is more concerned about herself than others’ problems. She has decided to target her music at “unhappy middle aged bummers,” and asks them to sing a song for inspiration. When Pearline and Ron sing a ditty in praise of Kenneth, Jenna insults them. Kenneth overhears this and storms into the room to take up for his mother and stepfather, realizing that Ron is family no matter what.
What did you think about this episode of 30 Rock? Did you enjoy getting a peek at Kenneth’s family? Do you think Jack and Liz made the right decision for their futures by abandoning the plan to tank NBC?
Photo Credit: NBC