Last week I saw the "tanking it" theme as 30 Rock's promise not to let quality drop just because it's in the home stretch. Based on Governor Dunston, I think it's safe to say that instead of taking it easy, the writers are trying to fit in all of the storylines that are too good not to get made.
One of 30 Rock's biggest strengths has always been Tina Fey's intimate understanding of a late-night sketch comedy show. One of Fey's most memorable moments on Saturday Night Live career (though she wasn't actually a cast member at the time) was her impression of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential election. It'd never occurred to me that 30 Rock should parody that situation, but now that it has, I can't believe it waited so long. Of course, the timing of this year's election didn't hurt.
The set-up was pretty great: Liz and Pete noticed that Tracy looked extremely similar to Romney's vice presidential nominee, Governor Dunston. Despite Jack's warning in last week's season premiere, Liz couldn't resist such low-hanging fruit—especially since Dunston was a completely ridiculous person. His pants accidentally came off during a debate, and he vomited chili (and loose change) at a fair.
Tracy's impressions became wildly popular, resulting in a demand from Hank Hooper to air new episodes of TGS five nights a week. Liz had already been having intimacy issues with Criss (turns out they WERE trying to make a baby!), and with the extra workload, she had to carefully schedule her life. As it happened, this was was a huge turn-on for Liz—which, naturally, led to a ridiculously sexual scene of Liz and Criss buying office supplies.
Meanwhile, Jack received a visit from Cooter, his White House buddy from his brief stint in the Bush administration. Cooter was eager for Tracy to continue his impressions, because even though Tracy was ridiculing Dunston, he was also making the governor seem silly and likeable instead of mean and evil. Jack was torn: If Tracy did the impressions, NBC would get good ratings and Hank Hooper might not sell it to Paas, but the situation would help the Republican party. Right before Tracy was supposed to go on stage Jack brought his concerns to Liz, who faced her own dilemma: Preventing Tracy from doing the impressions would help the Democratic party, but then TGS wouldn't be on five nights a week, her schedule would be more relaxed, and sex with Criss would awkward again.
The episode ended with Liz sending Tracy to the stage, but what will happen next? Will she stop him? Will Jack? Or will Tracy do something outrageous that ruins everything for everyone?
There was also a plot about Kenneth and his parents, but honestly, it wasn't nearly as good as Liz and Jack's story. However, it was great casting having Catherine O'Hara as Kenneth's mom and Bryan Cranston as her "friend" Ron. It's about time we met these characters! Also, I did thoroughly enjoy knowing that as soon as Kenneth was born he told his mother that he was an immortal being, and that she saw nothing wrong with that. However, I hope the writers don't try to do more with Kenneth's otherworldly-ness. I really enjoy having that as a running gag that none of the other characters take seriously.
My hopes for the rest of the season are pretty high right now. I get the feeling that the writers are going through their old ideas, saying, "That's brilliant! Why haven't we done that yet?" before it's too late. And I do want Liz to get pregnant, because there's a monster of comedy there just waiting to be released.
– Who do you want to see guest-star on 30 Rock while there's still time?
– Republicans: Are you offended by 30 Rock's portrayal of your party?
– Does it bother you when 30 Rock gets political? Or does that make you more turned on than Liz Lemon with four different colored highlighters?
– Do you think Liz will get pregnant by the end of the season?
– Are you also just a little bit curious what red wine, soda water, and olives taste like?