Well, if I weren’t already distraught about the upcoming end of 30 Rock, tonight surely would have done the trick. “A Goon’s Deed In A Weary World” was an absolutely fantastic episode of television. It was an episode that was full of nonstop jokes, one that featured some genuinely emotional moments that caught me off guard, and one that was so much fun to watch that I immediately watched it a second time as soon as it was over. It was a bittersweet episode as well. While it showcased everything that is good about 30 Rock, it also showcased everything that we’ll soon be missing.
Just look at that flawless cold open! The way Lutz gets the shaft even in Liz’s nightmares, Beverly’s HotJugsBev2@adoption.gov e-mail address (“Guess there’s another full-figured Bev at the office,” Criss pipes up), Liz’s kneejerk George Bush reaction, the Treme references, and Jack’s observation that “Women who try to do things sure do get killed a lot” were all great. It was a barrage of rapid-fire jokes piling on each other (the ridiculous conversation about the size of an 8-year-old’s head just about killed me) that also managed to set up the A-story for the night: Liz has to prepare for the arrival of her adopted twins while also staging a no-budget presentation convincing the network to save The Girlie Show.
The problem is that no one else seems to be concerned with the cancellation of TGS. The writers are too busy procrastinating and playing with Nerf guns to write anything (a feeling I know all too well), and Tracy and Jenna, unsurprisingly, are only concerned with what’s next for their careers. They come up with the stupidly brilliant idea to star in a movie as Siamese twins. I love the way they finish each others sentences as they effortlessly come up with the plot: Jenna is a young president, Tracy is Santa Claus, and they’re both in love with the same woman. This episode really made me appreciate the evolution of their friendship throughout the series. At the start, their egos were the main source of contention between the two, but now they’ve seemed to realize that if they work together, they can do some pretty serious damage—and pitch a truly awful movie that, admittedly, I would totally see. I mean, it IS directed by Michael Baio.
But her staff’s apathy isn’t the only reason why Liz is frustrated. She doesn’t have the time to help Criss prepare for the twins (which apparently involves shopping for trampolines or “hymen demolishers” as Liz painfully refers to them) and she’s learning it’s pretty much impossible to do the show without a budget (I loved the green screen gag). Liz’s search for a sponsor leads her to awkwardly sit in a blow-up chair in the offices of Bro Body Douche, pitching her case to a douchebag who wouldn’t even be welcome at Entertainment 720. There are a few stipulations to the sponsorship—The Girlie Show is now Man Cave and Liz’s name is now Todd—but she agrees for the sake of the show. Plus, this setback pales in comparison to the real problem at hand: Liz Lemon can’t leave work to meet her kids for the first time at the airport.
Meanwhile, Jack is trying to find his replacement by setting up a Charlie and The Chocolate Factory scenario (reminiscent of Liz’s excitement for the Mamma Mia scenario a few seasons ago) and enlists the help of Kenneth—finally back in his Page’s uniform! They both reach the same decision, a man named Mr. MacGuffin (of course) but for very different reasons. It turns out that MacGuffin plans to destroy the network and turn the building into a Forever 21 because, as we know, broadcast television is dead. Later, in my favorite scene of the episode, Jack admits to Kenneth that he was never good at running a television network (“I mean, the monkey was funny, dammit!”) and appoints Kenneth to be the President of NBC. It’s not the most shocking revelation (after all, Jack once said that eventually they’ll be working for Kenneth or dead by his hand) and I was honestly expecting it to happen during the actual finale. Still, watching Kenneth finally get his version of a chocolate factory was a touching moment, and I’m not ashamed to say that I did tear up a little.
Back at TGS/Man Cave, it’s time to prove why the show should stay. However, upon realizing what Liz is sacrificing for them, the staff comes together and dramatically quits one-by-one, except for Cerie who quit two years ago, essentially setting Liz free of the burdens of work and allowing her to finally throw herself into her personal life. The scene is a wonderfully executed tearjerker but the show goes one step further when we actually meet Liz’s newly adopted children who are mini, adorable versions of Tracy and Jenna. “That seems about right,” Liz says, and I agree. The staff putting Liz first, Kenneth finally running NBC, and Liz as a happily married mother? It all feels right.
- “I’m never in the mood to watch Treme.” You and me both, Liz.
- How long have the writers been sitting on a “You’ve got lemon, make lemonade!” joke?
- Pete’s (Hi Pete!) advice for saving money: Fire Danny.
- It’s a shame we’ll never hear Liz Lemon’s inspirational speech centered around Eminem.
- Replacements for Tracy and Jenna: David Alan Grier and Ms. Piggy.
- “Man cave” is one of my least favorite phrases, but 30 Rock managed to pull a great gag out of it. But now that that’s over, can we retire it from our lexicon?
- I’m so stoked about Kenneth being president of NBC, but I still feel the need to bring up the disastrous Gold Case idea.
- Admittedly, I have a tendency to cry more during funny sitcoms than during like, emotionally hard-hitting dramas, but I still was not expecting to cry twice during this episode, and I can’t even think about what’s going to happen next week.
- “TV for your peen!”