Nathan Rabin is off at Sundance right now, whereas I am not, so I'm filling him for him tonight on 30 Rock. Don't worry, he'll be back next week, probably with lots of swag and stories of cuddling with Robert Redford in front of a roaring fire in charming wool sweaters.
For me, there are two types of episodes of 30 Rock: the really really good ones, where all the parts come together to make a wonderful whole, and the pretty good ones, where there memorable jokes and lines are all there, but put all together create a kind of uneven episode. That struck me as tonight's type of episode.
Liz, when offered one of a few Dr. Spaceman-administered flu shots, refused on the grounds that it wouldn't be fair to the cast and staff of "TGS," who wouldn't receive one. Jack found this senseless. I normally love it when Jack encourages Liz to embrace her elitism (and when she gives in) but it didn't have the same hilarity as it usually does, maybe because we didn't see enough of Liz's guilty white liberal side. Except, of course, when she and Jack pondered aloud why it sounds so wrong for a white person to call a Puerto Rican person "a Puerto Rican." "That does not sound right."
Of course, when Liz discovered that she could after all make it to her vacation destination, St. Bartlebys, where you can wear a "tankort" and sport black socks with sandals and have sandwiches brought to you by a turtle while you take on an island lover, all her morals went out the window and she had to pretend that she hadn't gotten the shot while avoiding her sick colleagues. For some reason the scene with them as zombies didn't really work for me, except when she smashed a frame over Pete's head (who it seems we've seen very little of this season) and he cried "Why?!"
I wouldn't have minded seeing more of Jenna and Tracy's day together, as they attempted to make all their sick colleagues feel better. "I had a brainstorm, but it was a bad one. Jenna had to put my mouthguard in." Are the two of them, together or separate, ever not funny on 30 Rock? I'd rather have more of them than sick Kenneth. When Liz said that she didn't need to see a montage of their shopping trip, I kind of disagreed.
The illicit inter-taxbracket romance ongoing between Jack and his mother's nurse, Elisa, played by the smoking Salma Hayek, continued to be funny-sweet. "I wish you would exercise my muscles so they don't atrophy," Jack said, before looking on in horror and wondering aloud if Mr. Templeton, her other ward, had a beak on his foot. I enjoyed the cute song about Mr. Templeton as the two of them took him with on their night on the town, but I thought the funniest part was the look on their faces as the animals from The Lion King walked through the audience.
As usual though, Dr. Spaceman ran away with a lot of the great lines. Before he made Liz dance for her flu shot and informed her that he believes doctor-patient confidentiality works both ways, he asked Jack, "When's modern science going ot come up with a cure for a woman's mouth?"
--Jack had an assistant in this episode, but it wasn't Jonathan--I miss Jonathan.
--Not to be a nerd, but some tech things about this episode bothered me, like the dubbing during the zombie scene, and the fact that Salma Hayek was wearing two distinctly different shades of lipstick during the scene where she was wearing that sexxxy leopard-print dress in Mr. Templeton's place.
--My favorite line in the Mr. Templeton song was when it ran over the credits: "Please look away."
--Jenna: "Tracy, I've got it!" Tracy: "Give it to me! It's mine!
--"Then, I want to go to a negro bar."