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"I'm Snitting Next to Borpo!": Liz and Kenneth Believe in the Stars on "30 Rock"

I can't tell you how happy it makes me that 30 Rock is back on television after a far-too-long hiatus. I reviewed the second episode of 30 Rock's third season a few weeks back (you can read my original review here) but I once again tuned in last night to catch "Believe in the Stars" for a (gulp!) third time because I just can't get enough of its wickedly absurd humor.

Last night's episode, written by Robert Carlock, brought us something that series creator/star/writer/producer/multiple-hat wearer Tina Fey has been trying to do for the better part of a year: get Oprah Winfrey on 30 Rock. A Herculean task, given Winfrey's busy schedule, but not only did Fey manage to pull it off but Winfrey was so winsome, so funny, and so kooky that it meshed beautifully with the rest of the episode's bizarro charms.

And I have to say that I'm happy that it wasn't actually Oprah whom Liz was sitting next to on that flight, but rather "spunky little tween" Pam, who does manage to successfully mediate the conflict between Tracy and Jenna (from which springs forth a "Freaky Friday social experiment" in which they try to live life in each other's stereotypical shoes) even if she isn't the Great Winfrey herself.

As for how Liz could mistake eighth grader Pam for Oprah Winfrey, well that's down to the lovely drugs that Jack gets Liz to calm her during her flight: namely, Comanaprosil, whose side-effects include "dizziness, sexual nightmares, and sleep crime." (Cue Liz hitting her flying companion in the face and moaning "No, grandma, no" during her flight out to Chicago.)

What else did I love? Liz's successful effort to get out of jury duty by dressing up as Princess Leia and saying that she is telepathic; Tracy's third arrest at a Chuck E. Cheese's in the ball pit ("Do you know who I am?"), not to mention his hilariously stereotypical portrayal of a white woman ("Lipstick!"), albeit with alien claws as the makeup artist ran out of white paint; the faking of Tetherball as an Olympic sport; Jack admitting that he met Jonathan while under the influence of Comanaprosil and believed that his future assistant was in fact M. Night Shyalaman; Jenna and Tracy's shared use of the Adrian Brody/Halle Berry kiss at the Oscars for their own devices; Jack offering Brody to be the voice of KITT in "Knight Rider... the film" (ha!); Kenneth trying to shoot himself in the head in the trapped elevator and then offering to have someone strangle him with his own belt so that the other eight people could survive. Oh, and Tracy saying that he watched Boston Legal nine times before he realized it wasn't a new Star Trek.

But the very best bit had to be the plane conversation between Liz and "Oprah," in which she gushed at her hero, leaned over to smell her hair (Liz later says that Oprah smelled like "rose water and warm laundry"), and launched into a litany of what's wrong with her life, from her efforts to adopt a baby (fraught with peril because "my work self is suffocating my life me.") to the fact that she lost her virginity at 25 and once kissed a girl and camp "but she drowned." (The very best, however, was that when prompted to say what suffers most from women trying to do too much Liz says "bowel movements.")

I also loved "Oprah's" favorite things for the year, which included saltwater taffy from Rhode Island and "sweater capes, Calypso music, paisley tops, high heeled flip-flops that lift up your butt and give you a workout," leading the women of TGS to run off to the mall in search of those very items. (Nice touch with Liz later wearing a sweater cape and chewing on taffy.)

Best line of the evening: "Socioeconomically speaking, you are more like an inner city Latina." - Jack to Kenneth, who says that he is a white man.

All in all, another hysterical episode of 30 Rock that quickly proved that this series isn't going through a third-year slump at all, if the first two installments of the season prove to be true. As for me, I might just have to go back and watch the episode for a fourth time, if only to see Liz as Leia in that courtroom one last time.

Next week on 30 Rock ("The One with the Cast of Night Court"), Liz's former roommate/stalker Claire Harper (guest star Jennifer Aniston) turns up in Manhattan to visit Liz and Jenna and falls for Jack; a depressed Kenneth turns to Tracy for help after being let down over the new page uniforms; Tracy tries to surprise Kenneth with the cast of Night Court.

Comments

I don't know if I could pick a favorite moment but Liz's doped up conversation on the plane with an imaginary Oprah was definitely a moment of 30 Rock comedy history.
The CineManiac said…
Thanks for the recap. I couldn't tell what Tracy watched 9 times before realizing it wasn't a new Trek and now I know.
This show really gets better each week.
I also liked Kenneth's reason for not doing hypos: "It's lying to your brain"

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