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"He Looks Like a Cartoon Pilot": Federal Offenses, Doppelgangers, and the Generalissimo on "30 Rock"

I want to go to there.

Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Generalissimo"), written by Robert Carlock and directed by Todd Holland, was filled to the brim with chocolate fondue, roofies, Spanish-language telenovelas, federal offenses, and stalkerish behavior from one Liz Lemon. In other words: yet another pitch-perfect absurdist treat from the gang at 30 Rock, which brought their A-game to this installment, which could have toppled over--in less gifted hands--under the weight of so much zaniness.

Instead, "Generalissimo" had something for everyone: a star-crossed romance between Liz and new neighbor, pediatric doctor Drew Baird (guest star Jon Hamm); OTT antics with Tracy attempting to keep up with TGS' new former Wall Street frat boy interns; and the increasingly complication-fraught relationship between Jack and Elisa took a turn for the bizarre when her grandmother disapproved of Jack because of his resemblance to an evil telenovela character named--you guessed it!--the Generalissimo.

I was rolling on the floor with laughter while watching this week's episode, which was easily the strongest of the most recent installments of 30 Rock. While it didn't focus on TGS or any of the goings-on at Sheinhardt-Universal (save the company's acquisition of Telemundo), the episode harked back to the early days of the series' first season, where such madcap action was the norm.

The plotline that had Jack confronting his gay Spanish actor doppelganger Moreda was hysterical. I know people haven't been bowled over by Salma Hayek's turn as Elisa, but this episode proved that her relationship with Jack has comedy gold embedded in it as he strives to impress her hard-to-please grandmother ("Le odio.") and goes so far as to take over executive producing her favorite telenovela so he can make the Generalissimo character more sympathetic, rather than the evil rake he is.

I'm already loving Jon Hamm's turn as Liz's new love interest, Dr. Drew Baird. Not since Floyd has such a character seemed so perfectly suited for Liz... which clearly means that she will destroy this man in the end. Her discovery of the things that Drew liked was absolutely hysterical, such as his Netflix rentals: "Muppets Take Manhattan, Caddyshack, and a documentary on how pies are made." (If this guy isn't Liz's perfect match, I don't know who would be.)

What else did I love? Tracy's "I transcend race" line; Drew accidentally taking roofies before his kiss with Liz and exclaiming "I don't know what that means" to Liz's "Generalissimo!" realization; Oswald opening Drew's door ("Girl!"); Drew smelling like frosting because of all the baking he does (and Liz once again delivering the perfect "I want to go to there"); Elisa's grandmother's silver frenzies; Liz's excuse as to why she wanted to take a picture of Drew on her iPhone; Moreda's Sabor de Soledad commercial ("Ahora con mas semen del toro"); a jealous Jenna telling Elisa to never listen to anyone who tells her she should be an actress; Liz's Pediatric Restless Leg Association t-shirt; Elisa taking out Liz's Star Wars references in the latest telenovela script; "I will put my mouth on his mouth!"; Liz attempting to put faux-Buster back in his "special kitchen cabinet"; Tracy taking over Lehman Brothers so no one will know he's getting old.

And, oh, the final cute meet between Liz and Drew, when he goes through her mail and discovers her Netflix (Monty Python, Cheese of the Month Club, Steak of the Month Club, Vegetarian Times) and says he would have wanted to meet her based on the mail. Aw.

Best line of the evening: "He looks like a cartoon pilot." - Liz, of new crush, Dr. Drew Baird.

What did you think of the episode? Did you find it as hysterical as I did? Did you truly want to go to there? Discuss.

Next week on 30 Rock ("St. Valentine's Day"), Liz goes on a first date with Drew, unaware that it's actually Valentine's Day; Jack prepares himself for an unconventional V-Day at church with Elisa; Tracy helps Kenneth win over a new TGS staffer.


Anonymous said…
Another great 30 Rock! Jon Hamm did not let me down. He was a perfect match for Liz and it was really fun to see him in such a different role. The scene where Liz accidentally drugs him and his frightened reaction to her "I'm Generalissimo" comment was hysterical.
Anonymous said…
Jon Hamm was fantastic! And he really does look like a cartoon pilot. Well, maybe more like a Disney prince. Anyway, I agree that this was the best episode yet this season, and that it recalled the zaniness of the earlier episodes. I have to say, though, that as the series develops I find that I miss Pete! Why hasn't Hornberger been around much?
Michelle said…
Hey Jace,
Michjoy61 here!! I just rewatched this 30 Rock episode and I totally loved it!!! I don't know why the first time watching it didn't grab me but YAY for Jon Hamm!!! I can't wait for their first date!!!!

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