A while back in a Newswire entry about the current writers strike, my colleague Sean O'Neal tried to preempt the inevitable "Dude, who fucking cares? Television blows monkey chunks anyway, you hipster douchetard. Why don't you go listen to some Decemberist b-sides while lovingly combing your faux-hawk?" with the following observation: "Just a note before these comments get hijacked by a dozen variations on Joshyloshy's sarcastic implications that the writers' strike doesn't mean anything—you know, because it's just TV, and TV sucks and so on: This is The A.V. Club. We like pop culture. We assume you like pop culture too, otherwise you wouldn't be here. TV is part of pop culture. Ergo, this strike is important news to us, because if it drags out, it's going to drastically affect TV for the next several months. Granted, it's not martial rule in Pakistan or floods in Mexico (and I think there are a few places where you can read more about those), but it's our little corner of the world. If you don't care about TV, that's fine, but I don't understand the point of acting as though other people are stupid for caring—particularly on a website that's dedicated to covering the very thing that you're so above."?
I couldn't have said it better myself. Granted, television doesn't mean as much to me now as it did when I was an impressionable young person and fed greedily at her glass teat as a means of avoiding human interaction, but the prospect of weeks, if not months, of no new Conan, Letterman, The Daily Show, The Simpsons, or The Colbert Report, not to mention The Office and 30 Rock has me seriously bummed.
Tonight's killer episode of 30 Rock provided us with a reminder of just what we'll lose once our television friends go bye-bye and we're forced to read books, visit entertainment websites, or, God forbid, spend time with our families and/or pastors. In honor of NBC's Green Week, tonight's episode was both environmentally conscious and a scathing satire of liberal environmentalist self-righteousness.
In a desperate bid to suck up to Earth-huggers in a pro-capitalist, free-market friendly way, Jack Donaghy hired a struggling actor played by David Schwimmer to portray "Greenzo," a tree-hugging do-gooder in green designed to win hearts and minds while fattening NBC's pockets. Best of all, Donaghy breathlessly announces that Greenzo scores well with "colored people, broads, and fairies!". But it isn't long before Greenzo and the clueless thespian portraying him go mad with a very modest amount of power (or would that be eco-power?). I'll probably never write this ever again, but Schwimmer was hilarious in a role that simultaneously spoofed both do-gooder excess and actorly hubris.
In the b-story, Kenneth the Page's party plans begin to spiral out of control once rumors begin to spread that T.I., Fall Out Boy, and foxy boxing will all be involved (but not, alas, foxy boxing between T.I. and Fall Out Boy). The C-story, as usual, was less inspired, but brief and finally gave Pete something to do this season. Also, I could be mistaken but I think that was Paula Pell, veteran SNL writer, as Pete's wife, who apparently does some sinful, sinful things with a pop tart.
The climax of tonight's show was an elliptical flashback to Kenneth's party, which apparently found Gris and Liz Lemon finally hooking up. Also, Gris or Dot.com cried. All in all it was a classic 30 Rock episode, studded with great lines and wall-to-wall hilarity. I don't know about you, but I will miss my TV friends something awful when they go away in a few weeks. You can only watch the "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" clip on Youtube so many times.
Grade: A Stray Observations -Great "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" callback. -"People are like lemmings. Harvey Lemmings, my lawyer. He never misses a party." -Meredith Viera had some serious sexual chemistry going on with Greenzo. Get a room, guys. -Is it possible to watch pornography ironically, Candian or otherwise? -"Greenzo out!" -"Do you even compost your own feces?" -"What's in that Styrofoam cup? The Earth's blood?" -Maybe they could fill up some of the dead space by giving Greenzo his own show. Greenzo don't need no writers! Greenzo is powered solely by self-satisfaction! -"I love foxy boxing! It combines my two favorite things: Boxing and referees." -It was neat to see 30 Rock score its first Nobel Prize-winning guest star, but I'm still waiting for John Edwards to play either Kenneth's dad or Kenneth in about fifteen years. The resemblance is downright uncanny.