Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
I don’t know if I was more excited for the return of Liz Lemon, or to see the return of John McEnroe and D’Fwan on the show as judges on America’s Kidz Got Singing! Either way, January 12th could not come soon enough. Maybe I’m excited about 30 Rock, or maybe I’m in a good mood because I’m not being weighed down by redundant torso fabric.
We find our gang in the midst of your everyday problems at the office: Jenna’s trying to be Simon Cowell, Kenneth thinks the apocalypse is happening tomorrow, and Liz is far too happy and is therefore hiding something.
Kenneth prepares for the apocalypse by telling everyone goodbye (good news: black hell has a jukebox). The apocalypse is definitely upon us, because Toofer and Frank claimed to see flaming horses outside, and Reverend Gary says super gay horses are one of the signs of the apocalypse. Do we love anything more than Kenneth’s apocalypse pants? (spoiler alert: the apocalypse ends up not happening)
Tracy knows Liz is acting weird because she doesn’t try to deal with his nonsense, is leaving work early, and is relaxed and not angry. Tracy goes to Jack to try to figure out what Liz is up to and why she’s hanging out by Penn Station and seemingly buying drugs. Suddenly, it becomes all too clear to Jack. Liz attended college on a partial jazz dance scholarship. Madison Square Garden (which is next to Penn Station) had a dance team performance last night. That’s right, kids—Liz is in a WNBA dance team called the Timeless Torches. SO MUCH GRAPEVINING. In case you’re curious, Liz’s favorite move is sunset arms.
Jack gives Liz a ride to the movie theater, thinking he’s figured out what Liz has been hiding. Liz gets out of the car at the movie theater, and just as Jack’s car is about to pull away he sees her kiss a mystery man in the lobby!! Liz’s got a new boyfriend, y’alllll.
Idiots Are People Two!
In the very first scene of episode two, Liz’s mystery man is revealed: it is none other than James Marsden, playing her new boyfriend Criss (yes, spelled with no h and two s’s). It’s their 3-month anniversary (long-term relationship alert!!) and the 2-week anniversary of Liz starting to go to the bathroom when he’s at her place.
Jack confronts Liz about Criss (“I saw you at the movies last night with your MOUTH on a MAN!”) At first Criss seemed perfect (and will even make her German flag pancakes, per her request), but Jack starts trying to get into Liz’s head to find out what’s wrong with him. Criss is trying to start up his organic gourmet hot dog truck, but in the meantime is staying at Liz’s place. So, James Marsden takes a break from playing Handsome Guy That Has It All to play Handsome Guy That’s Kind Of Lazy. I’ll let it slide. The next time Liz and Criss are together, Jack’s conscience-ghost haunts Liz by pointing out some of Criss’s more unforgivable characteristics, like possibly wearing a thumb ring and having a Sunglass Hut credit card.
Liz then has to deal with yet another Tracy mess—this time he’s angered the gay community by making insensitive remarks during a stand-up routine (which obviously cleverly and directly correlates with insensitive remarks Tracy Morgan made over the summer). Gay activists are protesting outside of NBC, and Liz yells at Tracy for being an idiot. Tracy then takes offense to Liz’s insensitive remarks about idiots, and gathers the idiot community to a) make awesome protest signs, and b) protest outside NBC; all with idiot celebrity spokesperson, Denise Richards—“That’s right, I’m an idiot. Surprised? Well, I am. For all intensive purposes.”
During all of this, Jenna and Kenneth have to break into the supply closet to get her special pink gel fluorescent lights to fix her dressing room light (what if a fanny-packed fatty tourist took a picture of her in bad light?). They accidentally break a few bulbs, making the closet a lethally contaminated room full of mercury, and the two make a break for it. Pete wanders into the supply closet because he’s tired of all the idiot writers, only to pass out from mercury fumes. When Jenna and Kenneth find him, Jenna does the only thing you can do—call Kelsey Grammer and show a James Bond-esque closing montage.
Criss later skypes Liz, and Liz decides to not let Jack get into her head and to ignore all possibilities of Criss wearing a thumb ring. After all, handsomeness is on the line. He tells her the good news that a random investor gave him a check to start his definitely-not-going-to-flop hot dog business. He shows her the check, revealing that Jack is the mystery investor! It also reveals 3 other wonderful things:
- Criss’s full name is Criss Chros.
- Jack’s checks have an American flag background with Ronald Reagan riding on an eagle.
- Jack used Liz’s bathroom when he gave Criss the check.
And finally, I leave you with some of Tracy’s lines presented without comment or context.
- “No, I’m not! I took a real age test, it said I’m dead!”
- “I just remembered I started a camp for underprivileged kids last summer. We have to drive upstate to see if any of them are still alive.”
- “I’m changing my name. From now on, everyone has to address me as Gentleman Formerly Known as Rectum.”
- “Did we switch brains? Why am I not feeling your boobs?”
- “So it’s not the bandito blanco, a name for cocaine I just made up?”
- “How dare you! I am nonplussed! And that is the correct usage!”
- “We’re here! We’re proud! I came up with this rhyme!”
- “Hi, this is Tracy’s cell phone. Dot Com, hold the steering wheel, I gotta leave my outgoing message. *crash* What’d I just hit? Was that a person?? Is that paint or blood?? Dot Com! This did not happen! WE TAKE THIS TO OUR GRAVES!!”
Watch new episodes of 30 Rock on Thursdays on NBC at 8/7c. Next week’s episodes on Jan. 26 are two new episodes entitled “Idiots Are People Three!” (8/7c) and “The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell” (9/8c).