30 Rock "Stride of Pride" Review: Mining Bossypants
After last week's sendup of Tina Fey's 2008 Sarah Palin impressions on Saturday Night Live, this week's episode of 30 Rock explored another account from Fey's book, Bossypants. In 2007, Christopher Hitchens wrote a Vanity Fair column about how funny women are as mythological as unicorns. In Bossypants, Fey famously stated that claiming funny women don't exist just because you don't like female comedians is like claiming Chinese food doesn't exist just because you don't like it. (Plus the women-aren't-funny debate seems to keep resurfacing, as it did in June when Adam Carolla told The New York Post that "the reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks.")
In "Stride of Pride," Tracy tweeted that women weren't funny. Liz confronted him about it, and he insisted that not only are women not funny, but that monkeys are funnier (tell that to the now-canceled Animal Practice!).
Liz set out to prove to Tracy that women can be funny by doing a sketch with Jenna about a female doctor giving plastic surgery to a child. Tracy did find the sketch funny, because the idea of a woman doctor was outrageous to him. Liz counted it as a victory.
The whole episode was very female-themed. Jenna wanted to escape being a middle-aged actress in favor of being an old actress, like Helen Mirren. She succeeded, and was named the "spokescrone" for a company that makes those chairs that go up stairs. Is it bad that I wish my apartment had one of those?
Jack, meanwhile, was upset that one of his friends with benefits also had friends with benefits. I did really love that she called the practice "Pokemon-ing," because "you gotta catch 'em all!" I'm really curious as to how this season is going to end for Jack. His career and personal life are pretty dismal right now; he's still working on tanking NBC, and now he's settled for being the father figure in an array of boy toys that includes Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and one whose e-mail address ends in @brooklyn.beard. I'm hoping there's a triumphant end in store for him, because ever since he didn't get Don Geiss's job his stories have felt more and more depressing.
Overall, I liked this episode, but I also didn't feel like I laughed all that much. It was a little preachy, and even though I agreed with its message, I could have done with a few more side-splitting jokes and a few fewer speeches about feminism. I am also a little nervous that the writers are just going through Bossypants looking for material.
However, the timing of this episode was coincidentally amazing. Mitt Romney's "binders full of women" comment during the second presidential debate was just this Tuesday, so there's no way 30 Rock could have planned this. But the recurrent theme of not having to list funny women just to prove they exist sounds awfully similar to having a binder full of qualified women.
Also, I really want Stride of Pride to be a thing. I got married in April so I'm out, but can other people start doing it, please?
– Are you going to start doing Stride of Pride? If no, why not? I demand a good excuse.
– Which is a better term, Great Escape-ing or Pokemon-ing?
– Do you intend to stick with 30 Rock to the end, or bail early?
– If 30 Rock has been on for seven seasons, why is Cerie still supposed to be youthful?
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