30 Rock recap: “Respawn” (season 5 finale)

tina fey

Sorry that we didn’t have a recap last week, you guys. I was actually in NYC and was too knee-deep in booze while on my vacation. Last week’s episode was great, though. It took us back to the classic dynamics of the characters and was a refreshing return for Tracy Jordan. After last week, I felt relaxed and warm and fuzzy (though it could have been the overpriced booze). Things were back to normal. Finally.This week? Not so much. The season 5 finale was a disappointment in a lot of respects, and I hope you all know how painful that is for me to admit.

We see the season ending for TGS and everyone has an idea of what their perfect summer will be. Liz is going to the Hamptons to read and learn Spanish and wear boxy clothing. Frank, Lutz, Toofer and another writer who never talks are going to play video games as long as possible. Jack is going to figure out how to live his life without Avery, who has been kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il. Jenna is going to be the new face of Wool. The fabric.

Liz goes to the Hamptons, excited to start her white-wine-drinking vacation, only to find out that Tracy is going to be her next door neighbor the whole three months (watch the video below). As much as I love this idea, I was sad to see that this was the only time we really see Tracy the whole episode; just a few scenes where he’s interacting with Liz. We never even got to see him with Kenneth, you guys.

Jack is struggling without Avery, and starts to make Kenneth into a replacement for her. I will admit that this plotline was really well done and the two of them together is gold. Seeing Kenneth wearing clip-on earrings while Jack looked at him lovingly was perfect. Eventually, Kenneth takes the role of Avery into his own hands and reminds Jack to get himself together and press on with his daughter instead of having a pity party – just like Avery would have.

Jenna finds out that the Wool Council is concerned about her lifestyle with Paul. Having a boyfriend who dresses like you, as well as a relationship with a little person dressed like a jester who comes to sit on you regularly … it isn’t wholesome. It isn’t wool. Paul does his best to try to be “normal” for Jenna so that she can continue to be their spokeswoman, but they’re both lying about who they are. Victor Garber was the head of the Wool Council, and he was glorious. Paul and Jenna show him who they really are, with Paul donning his Jenna outfit and Jenna wearing a beard while the two make out. He might be disgusted, but they showed us what love is all about.

I was sad to see that the guys (Lutz, Toofer, Frank) spent the whole episode playing videogames. They apparently spend the entire summer playing because they simply kill themselves and “respawn” every time someone is close to killing them – so the game never ends. They had very little dialogue and it was a little bit of a bummer that they weren’t used more creatively. Also – where the hell was Pete?

I liked the final scene in the park where we see Liz finally got the summer she wanted (via community service), Jack bonded with his daughter, Jenna & Paul owned their kinky interests, and Kenneth gave us a nice little Lost tribute (which likely got lost on some viewers. Ha. See what I did there? With the ‘lost’ thing?). They’ve all “respawned” into their classically ridiculous selves, but after all the struggles with Tracy Morgan’s health, it took them the whole season to really get back there.

Tina Fey

I understand the focus on the main characters for the purpose of this message, but the reason 30 Rock has gotten so much better over the years, is the use of the extended cast. Maybe I’m asking too much. I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t wait until next season! THREE MONTHS IS SO LONG. UGHHHHHHHHHH!

Also: With all the rumors about the show ending in its sixth season – that last line “Give me more time, Jacob. I beg of you!” adds fuel to the fire. What do you guys think?

Favorite tidbits:

“Gavel! Gavel! Gavel!”

Dr. Spaceman was back! Yay!

“Can I borrow a cup of sugar. I’m trying to get a hummingbird to drink out of my penis.”

“It’s an old Parcell family recipe, but I like to replace the Union soldier meat with boiled potatoes.”

Barefoot Contessa guest spot. My Mom lost her shit.

“Hey guys. It’s me Tracy, the black guy from work!”

Meagan Kate

Meagan Kate is a Portland, Oregon writer and comic. She has been laughed at by audiences at The Brody Theater, The Someday Lounge, Theatre! Theater! and other venues that provide her with the validation she has yet to receive from a long-term relationship. She says things at http://myfacewasred.tumblr.com and you can follow her @MeaganKate.

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