Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

30 Rock: "Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land"

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Tonight’s episode of 30 Rock could very well have been brought to you by the letter 3. Or rather it would have been if the letter three hadn’t foolishly thrown away most of its promotional budget buying up dot.com ads in the late 1990s. It just really seemed to think pets.com would radically change the way people bought dog food.

Liz was faced with the horrifying prospect of having to find dates for three weddings. In a fit of desperation, Liz was reduced to seeking out and propositioning the ghosts of boyfriends past. First up there’s dear, sweet Dr. Drew, who now has hooks for hands thanks to a pair of stupidity-related mishaps. Then there’s the Beeper King and, amazingly, an even less desirable option in the form of the Dread Dullard Wesley, the British buffoon convinced he’s the man Liz is destined to settle for.

It was a murderer’s row of great guest stars and although the Dr. Drew scene felt a little clumsy The Beeper King was hilarious as always and Michael Sheen once again mastered the tricky feat of making a supremely irritating character funny rather than insufferably annoying. Or rather he was once again able to make his character’s insufferable annoyingness funny.

Speaking of threes (for those interested, I will be teaching a class in segues over at the Learning Annex this weekend), Tracy signs up to star in Garfield 3: Feline Groovy over the counsel of his entourage, who want him to show off his dramatic chops by starring in a gritty drama that hearkens back to his own hardscrabble youth as a troubled young person in South Bronx. Shades of Mo'Nique in Precious.

This might have been the best Tracy episode of the season. Morgan delivered one genius non sequitur after another describing the comically over-the-top horrors of his childhood. He was the sitcom equivalent of Michael Jordan in the zone. The insane, eminently quotable one-liners were flying so fast and so furious that I could barely keep up with them.

So I am calling upon you, good people of the A.V Club message boards, to deliver an itemized list of every indignity Jordan endured as a child. Do not disappoint me, you beautiful, beautiful, ridiculously obsessive genius-people or I will terrorize you like Tracy terrorized the child actor playing Nermal to his uncomfortably intense Garfield.


In the third subplot (see what I did there?) Jack is once again forced to juggle his romances with a smoking hot MSNBC television personality with great legs and a sassy broad with a fresh mouth from Boston. This arc could easily have worn out its welcome long ago but Baldwin, Julianne Moore and Elizabeth Banks have kept lively and vibrant. But not quite as vibrant or lively as Tracy Morgan. Holy shit, that man was on fire tonight.

Stray Observations—

—“I didn’t realize we’re still airing it. Kramer’s been dead for months.”

—“I promise this weekend will be full of staring out a window while holding a glass of scotch”


—“I’m coming alone but I still want two meals”

—“He’s gay, but not when he’s drunk.”

—I think I saw Emanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land. Helped get me through adolescence


—“I saw this gorgeous woman putting glasses on her daughter’s Mr. Potato Head”

—“I’ve been dumped by four different guys in wheelchairs.”

—“They’re paying me exactly one million teacher salaries.”

—“And, in a less dramatic scene, ‘I’d like hashbrowns’”

—I like that the Beeper King is part of a program that places troubled adults with child mentors


—“A warm glass of milk and some John Philips Sousa marches” That’s how we get down in the Chi.

—“You sound like me at the Olympics Village”

—I loved Sheen’s weird dance/gesture/gyrate thing. So awkward

—“Our basketball hoop was a rib cage!”

—“A baby gave another baby a tattoo! They were both drunk”

—There, I’ve started you off, now finish the job!