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Sandwich Day, Hill People Milk, and Unicorns: Another Day at the Office on "30 Rock"

There are few things in life that you can count on. Death, taxes, and laughing your butt off while watching 30 Rock usually top the list.

Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Sandwich Day") was no exception to this rule, with multiple plotlines that took the characters into unexpected directions... and hilarity. Ostensibly about the first encounter between Liz and Floyd (Jason Sudeikis) since their breakup--and his moving to Cleveland--the episode also involved Jack's fall from grace to the 12th floor of 30 Rock, a drinking contest between the TGS staffers and the transpo guys over a special sandwich from a secret location. Oh, and a fantastic guest turn from Brian Dennehy! What more could you ask for?

I'm thrilled to bits that Floyd is back in Liz's life, even if it is just temporarily. I've missed their goofy rapport and UNO sessions and I absolutely loved the scene in which Pete choreographed Liz's entire scene on the TGS set with Floyd, from the lighting cues to the wind machine, all of which gave our Liz Lemon the mystique she seems to be be missing. That she then begged to be let out from the stunning red dress she was encased in (she couldn't breathe) was just icing on the cake.

Sure enough, Liz manages to get through an entire evening with Floyd (the "Michael Clayton" of Cleveland) while maintaining her cool, calm composure and has him wrapped around her little finger... until the next morning when he catches sight of the real Liz, all bed-headed and makeup-less and cries out "crone!" (Hilarious.) The juxtaposition between their "perfect evening" and this less than perfect encounter was touchingly realistic, as was it when Liz broke down and demanded to know who the woman was who answered his phone eight months earlier. See, that's the Liz Lemon we know and love: a woman whose idea of using a treadmill consists of walking really, really slow while eating an ice cream sundae.

For his part, Floyd lies about getting on a flight (most likely on an airline that doesn't shut down to become a company that solely produces popcorn or the one with the foot baths and in-flight porn, one hopes) and hangs out in Manhattan rather than talk about things with Liz... but she still manages to run into him and they argue ("You used Ghostbusters for evil!"). Do we believe that Floyd doesn't know what woman Liz is talking about?

In the end, Liz has a classic dilemma set before her as she is forced to chose at the airport security gate between her beloved Teamster sandwich and catching Floyd before he gets on his plane to Cleveland. Like Mary Tyler Moore, Liz tries to have it all... and stuffs that sandwich into her mouth, dipping sauce and all (so quickly that I nearly choked myself) and then runs after Floyd. Who else gave an "aw" out loud when she let Floyd keep the key to her apartment, just in case?

Jack, meanwhile, is not having a good day of it. After failing to revive Don Geiss from his diabetic coma, Jack is kicked out of his executive office... which has been taken over by Kathy Geiss (prone to sending out emails with links to websites about cats wearing bowties) and transformed into a shrine to unicorns and, um, Mark Wahlberg. He'd been demoted to the loathed twelfth floor but, before he can go, receives a lovely, girlish "Friends 4 Eva!" collage from Jonathan, who serenades him with "I Will Remember You." Touching and troubling at the same time.

How hilarious was the terrifying twelfth floor of 30 Rock? I roared with laughter when Jack encountered a cadaver-like old man pushing a cart, an eye patch-festooned receptionist, flickering lights and an ominous sign that read "No Nut Food." No wonder Jack flees GE for the "sinking ship" of the Bush Administration, which Jack compares unfavorably to an American car company and where he accepts a post in the Homeland Security Crisis and Weather Management division. Just how will Liz and Co. lure Jack back to GE and take down Devon Banks?

Loved the scenes with the Teamsters and the lengths the gang was willing to go in order to obtain a sandwich to replace the one they stole from Liz, with Frank even willing to make out out with Lutz in order to discover the location of the fabled sandwich place. Still, I was glad that they turned to Jenna for help during their drinking contest ("It's in their contract," states Jack) for help; she's become the de-facto go-to savior in all matter of crises, whether romantic (loved her advice to Liz about returning from the bathroom and then handing a guy your underwear) or alcoholic ("A drinking contest? What am I, twelve and at my boyfriend's frat party?"). Classic.

Best line of the episode: "This smells like hill people milk!" - Kenneth, realizing he grew up drinking, just as Tracy's ankle monitor batteries die, Frank discovers the penny didn't end up in his ear again, and Jenna is close to passing out.

Next week on the season finale of 30 Rock ("Cooter"), Jack begins his new life as a Homeland Security adviser in Washington but when the job doesn't quite meet his expectations, he turns to former flame C.C. (Edie Falco) and a government staffer (Matthew Broderick) for help in getting fired; meanwhile, Liz tries to adjust to life at TGS without Jack and must deal with a pregnancy scare.


Anonymous said…

That was my favorite line.

I spent the entire drinking contest storyline going from "That guy sounds like Brian Dennehy." to "Wait - I think it IS Brian Dennehy" to "No, I don't think it is." to "No, I am pretty sure it is." to "I have no idea. Better check the guest cast list" to 1am when I realized "Blurg! I forgot to look!"

Thanks for clearing it up.
TxGowan said…
Did anyone else notice that the last line of the show was an overhead announcement stating that a flight was now "blurghing"?

I caught the Peter Venkman line and wondered if it was just a throw-away thing, but then it turned out Floyd was using Ghostbusters for evil. Oh well. I liked the idea of a Bill Murray cameo in the future.

As for next week, I think Jack is going to find out that being fired as a government employee is next to impossible without a really gigantically huge scandal. He *is* in charge of weather management, though, so maybe something with the tornadoes in Cleveland?
Anonymous said…
"Homeland Security Crisis and Weather Management division..." Absolutely brilliant. As was the 12th floor. I knew it would be funny but whoever designed the set for that really outdid themselves. I actually felt bad for Jack. I felt bad for a Republican! Blurg!
The CineManiac said…
Thanks for your as always insightful look at this fantastic show. I've taken to watching the show, reading your take and then watching it again.
Loved the Venkman line and Liz realization that he used GB for evil.
Anonymous said…
I'm wondering: was that scene, where Floyd shouts "Crone!" and Liz hisses a pop culture refrence? I feel like I saw it somewhere before. The Princess Bride, maybe? It's driving me crazy...

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