Skip to main content

The Splendor of My Beginning: Things Go Up in Flames on "30 Rock"

Here comes the funcooker...

Was it just me or was last night's episode of 30 Rock ("The Funcooker"), written by Donald Glover and Tom Ceraulo and directed by Ken Whittingham, absolutely hysterical?

Perhaps it was the fact that each of the four storylines this week didn't compete for attention but earned it by remaining distinctly hilarious while also managing to intertwine in a delightful way. Much like the ham setting on the new Funcooker, in fact.

While Liz found herself assigned to an arson trial (despite her Princess Leia costume, issues of Playgirl from the early 1980s, and her excuse of being a hologram), Jack attempted to find a suitable name for his portable microwave oven, Jenna participated in a risky clinical drug trial for an anti-sleep medication, and Tracy discovered he could say whatever he wanted on television as long as he could pay the fines... and ended up becoming one of NBC's main advertisers in the process.

It was a series of plots that could have only worked on a series as deliciously loopy as 30 Rock. And much of the credit for this highly memorable episode has to go to guest star Jackie Hoffman (Kissing Jessica Stein) whose hilarious portrayal of arsonist Rochelle Gaulke sparked a sense of kinship within our own frustrated fire bug Liz Lemon... who considered burning TGS to the ground and ended up starting a fire that made all of her staffers absolutely terrified of her. It was a tiny part that could have faded into the background but Hoffman's deadpan delivery of her testiomony and her brittle charm made this one-off character instantly unforgettable.

What else did I love? Kenneth's signs and proclamations about menstruating women and men with mustaches and beards being barred from the workplace; Jack turning to Scrabble letters for a name for his product and coming up with either vagina or Hitler; the BiteNuker; Josh offering to make t-shirts for the new members of the microwave division; Professor Bananas; the freaks in the jury selection pool at the arson trial;
Frankie Muniz, Katherine Heigl, and Raven Symone appearing on the cover of Dr. Spaceman's So You’re Simultaneously Doing a Movie and a TV Show! pamphlet; Tracy's excitement at making Martha Stewart Live as "raunchy" as possible; both Jack and Liz telling a silent Lutz to shut up; Robot-Bear Talk Show sketch (and how easily Jack was able to pitch an entire TGS episode of sketches); Hot Richard; Jenna's vision narrowing as the "darkness" closes in around her; Frank repeatedly removing his pants; Tracy's request for "Diet Slice and some pita chips" after everything that had happened; Liz changing her mind about it being the worst day ever when she discovers the Funcooker can heat up ham in the shower. (Really, the list just goes on and on.)

Best line of the evening: "Most of the time has been spent focused on coming up with a hip, edgy name for the product. Something that will appear to the marketing Holy Trinity: college students, the morbidly obese, and homosexuals." - Jack

What did you think of this week's episode? Will it stand the test of time as one of the funniest installments of 30 Rock? Discuss.

Next week on 30 Rock ("The Bubble"), Liz discovers that the good looks of her new boyfriend Drew (guest star Jon Hamm) have allowed him to escape many of life's usual frustrations; Jack tries to convince Tracy to stay on at TGS after his contract expires; Jenna considers getting a new hairstyle to attract public attention.


Jon88 said…
Not just you. I had to stop and rewind multiple times because I kept laughing and missing things.
Anonymous said…
I'm definitely going to have to watch this episode again as I'm sure I missed many of the lines while I was laughing. I think this episode had the 30 Rock spark that's been missing in the last few eps. And any episode with Dr. Spaceman is bound to be good!

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BuzzFeed: "The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now"

The CBS legal drama, now in its sixth season, continually shakes up its narrative foundations and proves itself fearless in the process. Spoilers ahead, if you’re not up to date on the show. At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, " The Good Wife Is The Best Show On Television Right Now," in which I praise CBS' The Good Wife and, well, hail it as the best show currently on television. (Yes, you read that right.) There is no need to be delicate here: If you’re not watching The Good Wife, you are missing out on the best show on television. I won’t qualify that statement in the least — I’m not talking about the best show currently airing on broadcast television or outside of cable or on premium or however you want to sandbox this remarkable show. No, the legal drama is the best thing currently airing on any channel on television. That The Good Wife is this perfect in its sixth season is reason to truly celebrate. Few shows embrace complexity and risk-taking in t