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Me Want Food: Jenna Gets Famously Fat on "30 Rock"

I don't know about you, but I've already ordered my "Me Want Food" t-shirt from the NBC store.

Last night's episode of 30 Rock ("Jack Gets in the Game") was, in my opinion, one of the strongest of the series and has officially pushed the zany comedy into the realm of Arrested Development: deftly plotted and intricately layered, with so many jokes piled atop of jokes that it requires several viewings in order to catch them all. While at its heart, 30 Rock is a workplace comedy, it's left that narrow pigeonhole behind to become a witty example of how intelligent and taut humor can work (and flourish) on television... and exist in harmony with hilarious throwaways like the Thriller-inspired Werewolf Bar Mitzvah music video that would have done the AD crew proud.

I want Will Arnett to appear on this series whenever possible. His gay exec Devin is hilarious, manipulative, and has an inexplicable weakness for Kenneth the Page, but he claims to have been cured of his homosexuality by a cult that worships the alien god inside Stan Lee. In last night's episode, he went up against Jack in order to position himself for Don Geiss' job at NBC parent company GE... and found himself in a compromising position with a young wrestler before nearly choking to death on a hot dog. Poor Jack attempted to conceal his recent heart attack (er, cardiac episode) from Geiss and the rest of the NBC brass, instead focusing on living vicariously through others. Like watching Liz Lemon inhale a $52 steak.

I love how consistent the characters are. Take a look at how Liz attempts to turn Jenna's weight gain into an issue-related statement (she gained the weight after eating all that pizza during a summer run on Broadway in Mystic Pizza: The Musical); it's classic Lemon as she attempts to turn a nothing into a larger statement about life in America (in this case the unfairness of body image). For her part, the hilariously vain Jenna turns to Dr. Spaceman for some quick fixes, only to learn that her fat has made her famous, especially after uttering Frank's mocking catchphrase, "Me want food," on-screen. Ultimately, she decides to keep it (the fat, that is) rather than have it removed. Not for health reasons, not for image reasons, but because at her heart Jenna is a shallow woman who just wants to be recognized in the street, even if it is for being fat.

A brief aside: Dr. Spaceman has got to be the funniest TV quack since The Simpsons' Dr. Nick Riviera and I love the way that Tina Fey and the 30 Rock writers have subtly parceled his appearances out rather than have him become an integral part of the cast. Sending Jenna to a clinic where the "Olsen twins were separated" for a radical treatment of bone-shaving and organ-reduction? Brilliant. What other show would show among a doctor's numerous patients ALF, Kenny Rogers, and The Unabomber?

Loved that the $4000 wedding dress/ham napkin Liz bought last week has now become an integral part of her office furniture, propping up an uneven leg on her Blerg desk. (And, bravo for use of the work "Blerg" again, even if it is for an IKEA joke.) It's clear that Liz isn't over Floyd and probably won't be. At least not until he shows up in November sweeps and they get back together for one last fling. (Conjecture on my part, but let's be honest, Liz needs some closure and fast.) Still, only fitting that the music in the background during the Blerg desk-construction scene is the "That's Me!" song from 30 Rock's pilot episode.

Best line of the night: "I'm a real good sex person." - Kenneth attempting to woo Tracy's estranged wife Angie. I also love that Angie seems to have gotten custody of Grizz during her separation from Tracy Jordan and that Kenneth was shaking so hard during his flirting with her that he spilled water all over himself afterwards. (And threw up when attempting to break the bonds of holy matrimony.)

Second best line of the night: "I am wanting of the foods." -A street vendor to Jenna after catching the TGS episode where she uttered her infamous catchphrase. Sadly, Jenna was still impressed he recognized her.

Next week on 30 Rock ("The Collection"), Jack enlists the help of a private investigator (guest star Steve Buscemi) to prevent GE from digging up dirt about him, Angie announces her intention to shadow Tracy every moment of the day, and a now-famous Jenna scarily realizes that she's starting to lose weight.

Comments

Anonymous said…
LOVED the episode. I think I woke the neighbors laughing at Werewolf Bar Mitzvah. Love that it rewards loyal viewrs with things like blerg furniture.

And love my dvr so I could pause and look at all the people on Dr Spaceman's wall. Unabomber. Classic.

Oh Jenna. It's so hilariously sad, yet so fitting w/her character.
The CineManiac said…
I too loved the episode. Thank you so much for convincing me to take a chance on this show. It has definitely taken The Offices spot as the 2nd funniest show on television (Sorry but How I Met Your Mother still holds the top spot in my heart)
I loved the Werewolf Bar Mitzvah: "Boys becoming Men, Men becoming Wolves!" Hilarious!
Plus Kenneth flirting was hilarious, Jack McBrayer can make me laugh just by smiling, he's amazing. Can't wait to see what he does next.
Anonymous said…
"...Dr. Spaceman has got to be the funniest TV quack since The Simpsons' Dr. Nick Riviera..."

So true!!!
Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett are hilarious together. Will Arnett is my favorite 30 Rock guest star. He was much funnier than Jerry Seinfeld. (Yeah, I said it.)

I love the Fat Jenna storyline and how conflicted she is about losing the weight.

And anything with Tracy and Kenneth is comedic gold. Kenneth's attempt at hitting on Tracy's wife had me rolling on the floor.

I definitely want to watch this episode again. It was one of my favorites so far and I'm sure I didn't even catch all the jokes the first time around!
Anonymous said…
Loved all of the call backs. My favorite was Jack saying that "Garkle in legal probably doesn't even need that wheelchair." Meaning the Garkle who got Floyd's job. Awesome.
Anonymous said…
Loved the episode too. I thought that it was great how the writers advanced the plot while also using a hell of a lot of inside jokes. Whitney, I knew that i recognized Garkel but couldn't place it. Funny that he's the disabled guy who gets Floyd's job. I love this show but find it slightly sad that it makes The Office seem unfunny in comparison. Then again The Office is having a really bad year so far.
Bianca Reagan said…
I'm glad Grizz and DotCom are back together.
Anonymous said…
Thought this was a great episode and a reminder why bigger isn't always better. It's definitely replaced the Office as my favorite sitcom. Werewolf bar Mitzvah was hilarious.
Anonymous said…
$54 steak.
Anonymous said…
Help save blerg! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blerg

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