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What the Frak?: Strawberry Allergies, Lion Tattoos, and Murderous Rampages on "30 Rock"

Call me a complete and utter geek but I was totally over the moon when Salma Hayek's Elisa stormed into Jack's office wearing a Battlestar Galactica "What the Frak?" t-shirt.

Sure, it was a blatant case of cross-promotional product placement (The Sheinhardt Wig Company--excuse me, NBC Universal--also owns Sci Fi and produces BSG via its Universal Media Studios unit) but it was so absurd, so completely random within the fictional universe of 30 Rock that it caused both me and Elisa's would-be fiance Jack Donaghy to pause. It was in a word: awesome.

On this week's episode of 30 Rock ("The Ones"), written by Jack Burditt, Jack contemplated marriage to his Puerto Rican girlfriend Elisa (Hayek), even as he learned that she harbored a dark secret from her past; Jenna fell for an attractive EMT who leaves before she can get his number, leading her to attempt to send Kenneth into "acute strawberry shock" by repeatedly poisoning him; Liz discovered the joys of the "slanket"; and Tracy debated getting a tattoo of his wife Angie's angry face on his chest.

(Seriously, what other series could have those storylines in their logline, I ask you?)

Coming on the heels of last week's extraordinarily strong "Jackie Jormp-Jomp," this week's episode was another virtuoso performance from the cast and crew of 30 Rock, turning in a hysterical installment that had me rolling on the floor. (I believe that I might have to keep these last two episodes on my TiVo to cheer me up if I'm ever blue.)

There was a beautiful symmetry in the storylines between Jack and Tracy and writer Jack Burditt seamlessly had the two plots overlap halfway through the episode, in a scene where Tracy reveals that, for all of his talk, he hasn't ever cheated on Angie during twenty years of marriage... leading Jack to decide he does want to marry Elisa and can commit to being faithful to her. (Which is good, because she killed her last husband who stepped out for some extramarital activities.)

Tracy's admission was a nice surprise from a character whose main role on the series is to shock and provoke, often saying illogical or nonsensical gobbledygook or throwing some diva-like tantrums. That it was juxtaposed with Tracy getting a tattoo on his back that conflated his wife's image with a lion named Tangiers was just the icing on the cake. It's the bizarro moments like these, skillfully planted and payed off, that make 30 Rock such a pleasure to watch week after week.

What else did I love about this week's episode? Kenneth' saying "My real name is Dick Whitman," a hilarious shout-out to Mad Men's pseudonymous Don Draper; Elisa's aforementioned "What the Frak?" t-shirt; the fake engagement ring showroom at Cartier, Kenneth and Jenna's un-PC conversation about girls in math class and Filipinos; the Pranksmen; Tracy thinking about getting Angie a "denim jacket that says Hot Bitch in diamonds"; Liz's consistent use of "Puerto Rican" every time she sees Elisa; Jenna's EMT admirer not being gay or bi-curious; quesadilla meat; Tracy giving out Brian Williams' home number to ladies; Jenna failing Pete's sociopath test; UGC site's users only posting penises on it; Jenna singing to get Pete's attention; Liz's grandfather being involved with the Kent State massacre; Liz liking the slanket and saying that it's "not product placement." (Really, I could go on and on.)

Best line of the evening: a tie between Kenneth's "My real name is Dick Whitman," Liz's "Elisa has a terrible secret! My current theory is she’s the mother of those Michael Jackson kids!" and Jenna's "So there are different shifts, like on a sheik's pleasure yacht!"

All in all, "The Ones" was a fantastic episode overflowing with hilarious quotables, pop culture references, and some great character moments. It's likely one that I'll be watching again and again... and again. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to try to have this lion tattoo lasered off of my back.

On the next 30 Rock ("The Natural Order"), Liz reprimands Tracy in front of the "TGS" staff and he decides to start acting like a professional but demands that Liz also give up some privileges; Jack's mother Colleen (guest star Elaine Stritch) reveals unpleasant memories about Jack's father leaving the family; Jenna adopts a pet gibbon and learns that motherhood is difficult.


Nikki said…
Fantastic episode! This is one that I'll definitely have to rewatch, not only to laugh again at Liz in her "Slanket" with her "Night Cheese" but also to catch all of the funny lines I'm sure I missed the first time around!
Anonymous said…
Sorry to be pedantic, but it was a LION named Tangiers (the Moroccan soccer team's mascot + a city in Morocco, per Dot Com). A really gay lion.

Also, when Kenneth sacrificed himself by drinking the strawberry-tainted water for Jenna's "true love" and he said, "earn this," as he collapsed, I thought that was a 'Saving Private Ryan' reference (you know, when Tom Hanks' character was dying at the end and said it to Matt Damon). Do you think it was?

And I really wish I knew what the words to the song about the murderess Elisa were. On hulu the played the whole song at the end of the episode, and it's just, "Elisa, Elisa, spanish, spanish, spanish". Can anyone translate?
Anonymous said…
I found one that look pretty much the same. Just bought it for my wife! It's frakin' awesome. Can't wait to give it to her! It doesn't have the seal at the back (copyright issue I'm sure!) but way cooler than the WTF ones you find in the official store.
Anonymous said…

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Anonymous said…
"Elisa, Elisa, la viuda negra" is how the song goes, meaning: Elisa... the black widow

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