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April 23, 2014

30 Rock: Fireworks

by Anna Johns, posted Apr 6th 2007 12:21PM
30 rock; will arnett
(S01E18) There were so many spectacular moments in this episode that I don't even know where to begin. This has to be one of the best episodes so far this season, because the writers juggled a handful of storylines very, very well. Most of the stories were flat-out hilarious, but they also managed to sneak in a very sweet storyline for Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and it totally worked for me. But, the best part of the show? The one-liners. They had me laughing so hard that I frequently had to pause the TiVo to recover. Does that happen to anyone else with this show? Let's just say I'm thrilled that NBC renewed 30 Rock for a second season.

One thing I noticed about this episode was that Jane Krakowski was not in it at all. And, I'm sorry, but I kind-of liked that. I think she is the weakest character on the show and is having a hard time finding her comedic timing. While all of the supporting characters are ridiculous, her character seems... well, typical. I haven't given up on her, though.

Reasons why this episode was so great:

  • Will Arnett guest stars as Devon Banks, "our vice president of west coast news, web content and theme park talent relations." Arnett is after Jack Donaghy's job, but also after Kenneth the Page's tail. The interactions between him and Kenneth were so unbelievably uncomfortable, yet completely silly. Arnett's short robe ("I had to cut it off myself") and Kenneth's attempts at seduction via dance were terrific scenes.
  • Toofer's past. He gives a monologue about his proud heritage. He's a descendent of one of the nation's first black officers during the Civil War. Oh, except Frank bursts his bubble and points out that Toofer's ancestor is shaking Gen. Robert E. Lee's hand in an old photo. "You're related to a black, Confederate officer. Do you think these other black guys are his prisoners, or what?" - Frank
  • Tracy Jordan's dream about meeting his real father, Thomas Jefferson, on the Maury Povich show. His "father" is Jack Donaghy dressed up in a period costume, and he flips off the audience when they boo him.
  • Liz's storyline. She follows her crush into an AA meeting and pretends to be an alcoholic. It's completely innocent on her part ("I know, I know. It makes me seem nutlug, Anne Heche-crazy."). Unlike the other storylines, this one was not ridiculously funny. It was sweet and sad, and, in the end, it was heartwarming. I was particularly happy about Liz's tell-all at the end of the episode. I thought for sure the guy she was talking to would be in the middle of a speaker phone call, but they didn't go there.
  • Fireworks at Rockefeller Center.
And, the lines that made me pause the TiVo so I could laugh:
  • "Those jokes you wrote for my Mitt Romney fundraiser? They were top notch." - Jack Donaghy "Those weren't jokes. That was an appeal for a return to common sense and decency." - Liz Lemon "Well, it got big laughs." - Jack Donaghy
  • "I never got out of my car, and she never got all the way out of her toll booth." - Tracy Jordan, on why he's not someone's baby daddy
  • "Dr. Spaceman, when they check my DNA, will it tell me what diseases I might get or help me remember my ATM pin code?" - Tracy Jordan "Absolutely. Science is whatever we want it to be." - Dr. Spaceman
  • "I have an idea for a show about a teacher named 'Art'. I call that one Art School. And one about a Jewish guy who opens an ice cream parlor. That one's called Ice Cream Cohen. And a drama about two cops: one named 'Cash' and one named 'Carry'. I don't have a title for that one." - Kenneth the Page
  • "You're going down." -Devon Banks "No Devon... I don't do that." - Jack Donaghy
  • "Just like Sidney Bristow on Alias, I will use my sexuality as a weapon. To the wig shop!" - Kenneth the Page

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Chris Lucas

As funny as it was for a comedy show, the fireworks gag was based on a real event.

In May 2002, NBC celebrated their 75th Anniversary with an all star bash on live TV. It was a Sunday night, and some dimwitted executive decided it would be a great idea to light up Rockefeller Center with fireworks at the conclusion of the live broadcast.

Keep in mind that this was at 11:30 at night in midtown Manhattan, less than a year after the September 11th attacks.

I live a few blocks away and was watching the broadcast. Honest to God I had the same thought as Liz Lemon, "Oh that's going to scare a lot of people."

Sure enough, the explosions, blaze and smoke panicked many New Yorkers (NBC, wanting to keep the finale a surprise, never mentioned anything in the local papers about it.) The NYPD switchboards lit up, and NBC got in a lot of trouble.

Glad to see Tina Fey remembered this incident and turned it into comedy gold. (The footage on "30 Rock" is actually taken from that fateful night.)

April 13 2007 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Janet Beatrice

Does anyone else think Kenneth the Page is truly hilarious? I hope he gets an Emmy.

That said, this was the best episode of a show that's already one of the very funniest on TV. The whole cast is great and the writing is great. But I am especially impressed with Kenneth. He's like a human version of Spongebob.

Janet

April 07 2007 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shawn

Marriage is like an onion. Peeling layer after stinky layer until you are left weeping over the sink!

April 07 2007 at 5:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JPH

As zany as this show is, I thought this latest episode was even better for showing how it doesn't have to be zany to be good.

Liz's new boyfriend Floyd is a solid character. More grounded than the other characters on the show, he still has a robust wit and silly side. He's exactly the sort of guy you'd hope the Liz character would wind up with -- a bulwark against the storm of her every day. It may just be that 30 Rock can be, dare I say it, romantic and kind of sweet. Without ruining the show.

April 07 2007 at 3:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kelly Gingery

Yes....."30 Rock" rocks!

I loved the Jack and Liz "Mitt Romney" bit. Basically, any scene with Liz and Jack is guaranteed to be great.

How about that bathrobe on Will Arnett? I kept thinkin'.....yep, this is where we're gonna see somethin' we're NOT supposed to see! Classic.

I am so glad that NBC stepped up to the plate and renewed "30 Rock" for a second season. Looks like they are really tryin' to bring back "Must See TV."

Now, if we could only guarantee that they're gonna do the same for "Friday Night Lights".....I'd be one happy gal.

Hey, if you're interested.....check out my miscellaneous musings on the wacky world of Hollywood and beyond:

http://redcarpetrehab.blogspot.com

I'd love to hear your feedback!

Thanks.

April 06 2007 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
radwimp

this was a fantastic episode. this is one show i'm always looking forward too now. i had no idea will arnett was going to guest star, so that was a huge surprise. every scene between him and balwin was golden.

also loved the AA storyline with liz! hilarious.

"Kenneth... you are the worst gay bait ever."

April 06 2007 at 7:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Segway

If you enjoy Will Arnett, check out the Will Arnett Research Project at http://blutharnett.blogspot.com

April 06 2007 at 6:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amy

I have to agree about Jane K., although she did have one of the funniest lines to date: "You know how much I remind myself of Grace Kelly."

Maybe she'll get better with time.

April 06 2007 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jordancda

Get rid of Jane Krakowski and sign on Will Arnett!!!! The show would improve tenfold.

April 06 2007 at 5:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lorilei13

Anita - Very good point about JK. I have always loved her, but I agree her character here is more one-dimensional than it should be.

And funniest line of the show? Kenneth: "No, sir, we just mainly talked about Anderson Cooper mostly..."

April 06 2007 at 5:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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