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Review: 30 Rock - Stone Mountain

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 30th 2009 1:15AM
Betty White
(S04E03) "I met JJ Abrams once, and I don't know what this means, but he said that the island was just Hurley's dream." - Jenna

In a typical 30 Rock episode, not all of the plots always work. While the A plot will be great, B and C will be lame. If A and B are great, then C will be lame. If A and C are great, B will be lame. Sometimes A is great and B is fair, but C will be really unnecessary and forced. Sometimes there will just be an A and it's great, and there will be dashes of B and C. I don't know where I'm going with this because I was terrible at algebra.

Oh yeah: tonight A, B, and C all clicked, and that made for a very good 30 Rock.

So ... will people from "real America" be angered at this episode because it depicted them to be just as mean, dirty, and insulting as "non-real America?" Or will they just laugh that people are alike all over the country and there's only one America, like Liz was saying (in her tortured way)? I bet there will be some that will say Tina Fey and company, in their attempt to portray everyone in America as the same, still managed to "insult" real America (in this case, the South).

I like how the show has a plot that is running throughout this whole season. I guess you could say season one had that too, with the show getting used to Tracy being hired and Jenna fighting for the spotlight on the show and all that. But this season's plot, finding another cast member to be a regular on TGS, makes a lot of sense, and Jack and Liz going to Kenneth's hometown to find "real" comics made sense, too. Though I wonder why Kenneth didn't go with them to show them around.

Of course, this was a Halloween episode, too, so we got Frank, Lutz (very funny), and Toofer being friendly to Jenna just so they can go to her gay friends' Halloween party where there will be hot chicks. Is this a real thing? I remember a Will & Grace episode that said gays throw the best Halloween parties.

More thoughts:

- The show did some stunt casting a year or so ago that was rather ill-advised, but when you have them in small cameos like tonight's episode, it's OK. Betty White was great in her short scene, and Jimmy Fallon ... well, he was on the show, too. His acting was horrible, but it was a nice tie-in with NBC, and he and Tracy Morgan got to act together again (and there was a nice jab at the quality of his guests). So Tracy was going to kill both Betty White and Jimmy Fallon? Good to know. (I thought Brian Williams was going to be in this episode, but maybe he's on a later episode when the auditions start in NYC.)

- One of the many things this show does well is refer to pop culture. I know, I know, that's not exactly a profound statement, but having a subplot that revolves around the "rule of three" when it comes to celebrity deaths is a clever choice, especially since 30 Rock fans are the type of fans who know and follow that sort of thing. But if you think about it, three celebrities die every single week, it's just that they're usually not major.

- I think we've had enough "Liz farting" jokes to last us the rest of the series. I don't want to think of Fey that way.

- First the show gave us the funcooker, now we have the chuckle hut.

- Jenna mentioned being "pushed aside" at her sister's funeral. Is this the same sister who urinated in her eye?

- For the record, like Liz, I didn't get Jack's joke to her at the beginning either.

Quotes:

"I asked you to find an actor from middle America, a real person. You're not going to find him in the People's Gaypublic of Drugafornia." - Jack, about San Francisco

"The American public doesn't want your elitist, east coast, alternative, intellectual, left wing..." - Jack
"Jack, just say Jewish, this is taking forever." - Liz

"At least he died doing what he loved most: blogging on the Huffington Post." - Kenneth, about a celebrity dying

"Mr. Donaghy, I wasn't sure if you were going to participate in this year's pumpkin carving contest or like last year I should go jump up my own ass." - Kenneth

"When the Parcells first came to America, they lived in a town called Sexcriminalboat." - Kenneth

"The usual, I suppose. Two hobos sharing a bean. Lady airline pilots." - Kenneth, on what he finds funny

"The folks who are teaching our kids, running our prisons, growing our cigarettes." - Jack, on small town America

"Good God, Lemon, your breath. When did you find time to eat a diaper you found on the beach?" - Jack

"And no making fun of me for using outdated pop culture references. Are we cowabunga on this?" - Jenna

"I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich." - Liz
"How surprising that your world view is food-based." - Jack

"Keep refreshing. Maybe Andy Dick has died in the last 20 seconds." - Tracy, to Kenneth on the computer

"Oh, don't look at me like I'm a football game." - Jenna, to her gay friend

"That's three! Tell my wife I went to Philadelphia on business!" - Tracy

"Down here we call it Sexcriminalboat." - Travis, about Manhattan

[Watch clips and episodes of 30 Rock and other shows at SlashControl.]




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26 Comments

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George

Elaine West was reading "From Peanut to President" by Milton Greene, Jack's dad (Alan Alda).

October 31 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to George's comment
George

I meant Betty West. Sorry. From the Golden Girls.

October 31 2009 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dawn

Almost there...you mean Betty WHITE...

November 03 2009 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robo

does anyone else feel that the show is developing an unecessary mean streak? especially Jack seems to be more ruthless than before towards staff, and particularly in his comments and attitude towards Kenneth. But he's also much more critical/less tolerant of Liz's foibles, except when she somehow saves his butt. But Liz is meaner to Kenneth, too (as in the cell phone episode).
Is it supposed to be a reflection of our current hard-line times, when cost-cutting and slashing staff are all that matter in corporate America?
It unfortunately reminds me too much of when "My Name Is Earl" lost its subtleties and went strictly for the easy laughs - crass (read that 'mindless', not gross) sex humor, quick put-downs, slapstick-style interchanges and vitriol.
For instance, Jack and Liz's exit from the club last night was much more about their physical actions in the club, while their exit from the reunion awhile back left much more to the audience's thoughts about what was happening. it felt like a loss for the two of them, not a victory. as if they'd lost the upper hand.

October 30 2009 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkny

Can someone please site more demographic info? I'm doing a term paper on things no one gives a shit about!

October 30 2009 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkny's comment
Andrew

Zing!

October 30 2009 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daune Calovini

Well, these people in "real" America (Cleveland) laughed a lot, last night. Yes, some jokes fell flat, and Liz being sick is gross. But, a guy falling with a tray of pudding in stemmed glasses is funny. Liz loving food is funny. Calling Betty White to yell "Boo!" is very funny. Not the best ep ever, but a heck of a lot better than most half hours on TV.

October 30 2009 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gin

er sorry, Dunham. I mean, he's pretty famous...at first I thought he was going to play himself.

October 30 2009 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gin

Umm...is no one gonna mention the obvious cameo of Jeff Dunhum as the ventriloquist?

October 30 2009 at 11:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Gin's comment
Matt

and the commercial for his new NBC show following his first appearance?

synergy at it's best.

October 30 2009 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dan Buckley

Yes his new NBC show... On Comedy Central. :)

November 02 2009 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tater

Stone Mtn is internationally known?? Hahahahaha!!! Silly redneck, no one outside of the 404 has heard of it. Get over yourself. And yes, that was one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. That Chucklehut comedian doing his best impression of dumb "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" stuff was dead perfect.

October 30 2009 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dan

Did anyone count how many cameos Jack McBrayer made as different people in the Stone Mountain scenes? I saw two, but wouldn't be surprised if he were there more.

October 30 2009 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dan's comment
Johnzo

Yes, I noticed the same thing!!! How is that not in the review???

October 30 2009 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

I don't mind *what* they're saying about the red state-blue state issue. It bothers me *that* they're focusing on it so squarely, for multiple episodes.

30 Rock's humor is best when it's drive-by. (Jack last year: "...the recession Nancy Pelosi caused." Zing, and on to something else before you have time to laugh.) There's no agility or obliqueness to this year's "culture war" plot thread. They're just taking it head-on, and doing it to death in the process.

I'll know they're in trouble when they send the cast on a side trip to Pahrump, Nevada... except oops, they kinda just did.

October 30 2009 at 8:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
Jim

Pahrump? Good one!

Take that, Sassone! ;)

October 30 2009 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Please cite examples of 30 Rock in which the B AND C plots are lame.

This reads like revisionist history to me.

October 30 2009 at 8:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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