This week’s 30 Rock was going to mark the return of Tracy Jordan. Something this writer had anticipated for a long time. As I mentioned last week – the story lines without Tracy were starting to lag. There was only so long we could watch Liz talk about not having him around.
After tricking Liz into his office (by breaking the vending machine. Vondruke!), Jack tells her that because they can’t get Tracy back, TGS must go into “forced hiatus.” It’s not permanent, he assures her. He goes on to explain he just purchased a new channel for Kabletown called Twinks. This, of course, stands for “Television With Individuals …Naive Kinky Shaved” – it’s aimed at gay men and it’s going to bring in a lot of money for the network.
Liz goes off to tell the staff about the “forced hiatus,” but her use of that exact term leads everyone to focus on their Plan B. Always ready for another option, everybody has fallbacks prepared: Frank will go to stand-up, Pete will go back to teaching and Jenna will sell her creepy Jenna-Babies dolls.
Sue (creepy foreign lady-writer) will go back home to be famous since there is a television show about her back home. It is like the Mentalist. With a hot blonde. I would watch. Meow. Everyone will be fine. Everyone but Liz, who doesn’t have a Plan B. Finally, she goes to sweet, innocent Kenneth who is determined to save the show using his Idea Journal. Currently it only has the term “bird Internet” scrawled in it– but he’s determined to help.
Liz’s creepy/youthful/awful agent tells her that he can’t do much for her, except for an Aalpo commercial. If she can finish the audition without pooping, he tells her gleefully, it’s hers!
At the same time, Jack meets with Hank Hooper – the CEO of Kabletown. We soon find out that he is hiding incredible fury under the sweet warmth of his goofy smile. He’s angry that this Twinks station is on the table, because he’s not sure it’s going to succeed. It has to succeed, he tells Jack.
So if Jack needs someone to help him ensure that Twinks is popular with gay men – he needs someone like him, but with a deep understanding of the demographic. He needs a Gay Jack. He needs … Devon Banks. Banks, played by Will Arnett, has been Jack’s arch nemesis for a few seasons – but was most recently working with the Obama administration, and we haven’t heard much from him. Jack finds Banks is on LinkedIn “He might as well be dead, Lemon!” Surely, Banks will want to help Jack with Twinks. Surely he’s desperate.
When going to Liz to talk about the recent events, Jack suggests that Liz goes to L.A. She’s been there, she says, as we flash back to Liz with a delightful perm, trying to find the highway amidst the Rodney King riots – completely unphased. (This, people, is why she is my hero. Nothing shakes Lemon!)
Jack decides to help – he can get her an audition with Nick Lachey, writing (we assume), for The Sing Off! This was thrilling! The opportunity for a Lachey cameo? No such luck. But what DID we get? Aaron Sorkin. Holy shit. The man who wrote The West Wing, A Few Good Men, The (FUCKING) Social Network! The man … is a genius. Liz is just as thrilled to meet him as I would be (with less pant-pooping), and as they walk in circles and talk – Sorkin tells Liz that they’re a dying breed. Writers aren’t the cream of the crop anymore. “Our craft is dying,” he tells Liz “while people are playing Angry Birds and poking each other on Facebook.” She realizes that she’s a dinosaur. Her talents don’t translate everywhere. She has no Plan B.
Jack finds Banks, living in Brooklyn, with three beautiful babies with his husband, Cashmere. Jack asks Banks to help him with the station, thinking that his old rival will lick his boots and thank him for the opportunity. But he doesn’t. He’s ready. And he wants to take Jack down again. In fact, he has his suit ready under his DILF status sweat suit. (Writer suggests a pause for mental image of Will Arnett in a suit. Oh, how I have missed that.)
We go back to Liz, in her office, who finds out she didn’t get the gig with Lachey, and her Agent tells her he’s dropping her. Things are going south.
Jack is set to meet with Mr. Hooper and Banks (who is late), to discuss the channel and its direction. Jack believes he’s got this in the bag, what with Devon being late to his first meeting. How amateur. And then he shows up. With his sexiest baby (“His cheekbones are like granite.”) and a plan. With Hooper distracted by the adorable child, Jack realized that Banks is playing for keeps. Soon, however, he finds that Banks can’t do it – can’t go back to the crazy executive life. He just wants to be with his babies. And Jack realizes that maybe he’s been so focused on finding his passion for work again, that he has neglected to be a good father. Family really is important to him, after all.
Again, back to Liz, who is walking the streets and realizes that people no longer care about storytelling. That the written word is lost. And she begs the people on the street to find their love for it again. Soon, she’s greeted by People Whose Professions Are No Longer A Thing. They live under the subways with the CEO of Friendster, and they ask Liz to join them. But she can’t do it.
She does what she knows best – pizza. She heads back to the studio, pie in hand, where Kenneth is packing up. He’s applied to transfer to News. Until the silly goon reveals that Tracy eats the same pizza when they video chat. They must have it in Africa, he says. No! They mustn’t! Tracy must be in the delivery service of the preferred pizza joint! Kenneth may have saved the show for everyone! Liz got her appetite back. Kenneth did a fist pump. And me? I slept like a baby last night. Like a babyyyyy.
It would have been nice to have more Tracy, but this was a great way to bring him back without having it be easy. If it had been easy – it wouldn’t have been Tracy Jordan. My question: What will happen to Twinks!?
• I just put you in your place in African
• “power wagging”
• “BABY – Black Asian Bisexual Youths”
• “I don’t know if my tone is conveying the fury I feel about this”
• “He’s a gay shark. Like the actor that played Jaws.”
• “These aren’t babies. These are organ farms”
• “Now … who wants some num-nums?”
• “MY THORAX!”
• “Do you have any idea how STRONG I’ll look?!”
• “$500 for kissing, $10,000 for snuggling — end of list”