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Review: 30 Rock - Winter Madness

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 22nd 2010 2:30AM
30 Rock
(S04E11) "They're all named Sean, they're mean, and I hate it here." - Kenneth, about Boston

Being from Boston myself, I'm really enjoying these Boston (and Waltham)-centric episodes of 30 Rock. I often cringe at shows that have episodes set around this area. They'll get a location wrong or make dumb assumptions about us or get an accent wrong (more on that after the jump), but this show is getting a lot of little things wrong. Even the street scenes were well done, with the brick and all that.

And wait... Nancy mentioned Kelly's Roast Beef and, holy crap, Jack and Nancy actually imitated Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson? That is 55 kinds of awesome. Someone at 30 Rock knows Boston well.

So this episode was all about Liz and the gang wanting to go on a getaway to some place warm like Miami but Jack switching it to Boston instead. This sort of depressed me. Not their trip to Boston, the fact that Liz is fed up with winter and wants to get away to Florida. Who the hell wants to go to Florida? I'm a fall and winter guy (I get summer madness, not winter madness), and in my mind I picture Liz as being the same way. In one episode a few seasons ago she even talked about how gross it was that some people wore flip flops. I picture Liz as hating the beach and the sand and the humidity, just like I do. I picture her all cozy in her apartment with her junk food and her TV and her cup of hot cocoa and her magazines. I don't want to think of Liz wanting to get away to some supposed warm paradise. I'm going to consider this episode an aberration in that regard.

But a funny one. It was sort of ridiculous, in a way. You can tell they really forced a way to get the entire staff out of the studio for a while, and we had yet another episode that had nothing to do with TGS itself. I'm getting a little tired of that. I want more sketches and NBC network shenanigans. Hopefully we'll get more later in the season. With Comcast buying NBC and the recent Leno/Conan mess, there's plenty of that stuff to make fun of.

This is one of the few episodes where we didn't have three or four different subplots going on at the same time (a Liz relationship problem, a Jack business problem, a Jenna/Tracy scheme, etc). Except for Jack's story with Nancy, this episode had the entire staff trying to deal with the trip to Boston. I guess that's one good point about getting out of the studio, you can a breath of fresh air when it comes to the plots.

I don't think Nancy and Jack are going to be a major couple though. I say this for two reasons: one, I think the Boston/New York thing is going to get between them, and two (SPOILER!) Elizabeth Banks has signed on to play Jack's love interest. Maybe Nancy will stay in Waltham even after selling the house and will vanish, only to come back later in the series to be Jack's real love. Or maybe Edie Falco will come back. Or Salma Hayek. Or...

More thoughts:

- I wonder why some actors take a regional accent and decide to not just give hints of it in their speech in a subtle way but decide to do the accent so THICK that it becomes the ultimate caricature accent. Hello Julianne Moore. The guys in that Dunkin' Donuts ad have accents more subtle.

- I like how Jack had his office duplicated in Boston. Clever, inside-joke way of using the same sets. But can someone explain the part where Jack asks Liz if she can tell which seven items are different and then Liz looks at the camera and they then quickly go back to the conversation?

- So how many different baseball caps did Frank bring to Boston anyway?


"You can do some serious subway flirting before you realize the guy is homeless." - Liz, on everyone wearing bulky coats

"I've been stuck inside playing online Boggle. It's messing with my head. STAR...RATS...ARTS...TARS." - Liz

"This is my stop. STOP POTS TOPS OPTS POST." - Liz

"Good morning, Miss Lemon. Oh, I'm sorry I snapped at you." - Kenneth

"Jonathan, why do I have an Indian assistant if my computer is always..." - Jack

"It was pretty bad...nutmeg.....rodeo, rodeo, rodeo!" - Pete, using words on a still-hypnotized Liz

"Florida. I can rent a convertible, you can complain about the heat with elderly people." - Pete

"Cross-promotional...deal mechanics...revenue streams...jargon...synergy." - Liz
"That's the best presentation I've ever heard." - Jack

"I went to college in Boston. Well, not in Boston, but nearby. No, not Tufts!" - Toofer

"Also, there is no internet or Spectravision in the hotel rooms, so plan ahead gentlemen. Porn-wise." - Pete

"That stupid, Irish piece of... oh boy, Boston is not going to go well." - Tracy

"What, you're not using an office replication service while you're here?" - Jack

"What keeps people polite on airplanes? A shared hatred for the CBS sitcoms they're forced to watch." - Jack

"Yeah, we talked about it with Dr. Phil and then we made a collage and wrote about it in our dream journals." - Nancy

"Oh, I would...'NT." - Kenneth, to Liz

"It'll be the new owner's problem, like the water heater. And the ghost." - Nancy

"We didn't land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on Mars! - Tracy

"The imaginary enemy. Classic move, Lemon. The Salem Witch Trials, the Red scare, global warming..." - Jack

"I am Silas Merrymount Peppercorn. This is my wife...Moronica." - Kenneth

"I can't run a store and make change for people!" - Nancy

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

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Just got around to watching Thursday's shows off the DVR. Am I the only SNL nerd who remembers the brilliantly over-the-top sketch that originated "vondruke!" as an epithet? Here's a terrible YouTube video of part of it.

January 24 2010 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Julianne's accent. Why? Well it mocks the area (always good to mock everything) and I've got a friend from Boston who spent a month there over Xmas. When she came back that accent returned as thick as ever - normally it's a weird mish-mash of boston and so cal. Not sure why people take offense to comedy...

January 24 2010 at 2:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bob Sassone, if you had watched the episode closely, you might remember that Liz only wanted to go to the Miami because, as Pete quotes, "you can complain about the heat with elderly people." She was obviously not there because it's a warm paradise. Nor do we see her in this episode on the beach, or doing anything in that nature to even suggest that she loves the warm conditions. Usually you've got your observations backed up with evidence, but not this time. I'm going to consider this episode review an aberration in that regard.

January 23 2010 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to point out that while Liz does have a thing about flip flops in public and feet in general, there was the episode "Flu Shot" in Season 3 where Liz frantically tries to escape to her tropical getaway.

January 22 2010 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DJ's comment

Exactly! Just because Liz doesn't like sandals does not mean that she doesn't like warm places.

January 23 2010 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Awesome dig at the CBS sitcoms. I love it.

January 22 2010 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think the way you feel Bob, about Boston, getting things right and including accurate detials - is they way we Puerto Ricans felt with the Salma Hayek storyline. They certainly do thier homework on 30 Rock!

January 22 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I enjoyed some of the "inside Baseball" Boston references, but Chet Curtis and Natalie Jacobson haven't been on the same network since their divorce years ago, and they were on the ABC affiliate WCVB anyway, so that's even more strange...

Why do I know this stuff?!?

January 22 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe it's because I'm not from Boston/Ma, but I find Julianne Moore's accent hilarious. I think it's more the idea of an oscar-level actress working the stereotypical accent that gets me. Then again, if she tried to work a stereotypical accent from my neck of the woods I'd probably get my gander up, as well. However, I was disappointed in this episode. It wasn't as funny. I don't mind deviations from TGS, but this week, I felt the show needed more focus.

January 22 2010 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Awful episode.

The Nancy Donovan character is terrible. It's not just the accent. The story line and the dialogue are just as bad.

January 22 2010 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
so and so

The 7 seconds thing was a take on Dora the Explorer (which they now have referenced multiple times, which I am totally fine with...) Also, as MarcDom said it was a DVR/TIVO moment.

January 22 2010 at 8:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to so and so's comment

yeah, i was going to say the same thing. From the couple minutes I've seen of that horrid show, I think I recall the characters sayign something like "see what has changed", then they stop and look at the camera and wait for the kids to answer or whatever

January 22 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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