30 Rock always handles racism pretty well, and tonight was no exception.
The issue is brought up by no less than Queen Latifah herself, as a congresswoman investigating the purchase of NBC by Comcast…er, Kabletown. Really, the logo is spot on, and I urge you to check out its website, which opens with: “Why Kabletown with a K? Because K stands for the Kindness we show our customers, the Keen interest we take in their needs and because Cabletown with a C was already the name of a store that sold cable knit sweaters and legal said we had to spell it with a K.”
Meanwhile, Liz can’t get no respect in the office. Her writers are creating unflattering name cards for her, “Winona Ryder…In 100 Years,” and “Paul Simon” (Liz: I don’t get it, but it hurts).
Back at TGS, Jenna spots Kenneth, who has vowed to earn his way back as a page, through the newly rigorous standards of NBC’s Human Resources department. Also: The return of Tracy and Jenna’s former mediator from HR, Jeffrey Weinerslav from Season 3 (“It’s pronounced Weinerslave”).
Before Jack travels to Washington, we are treated to a nice walk-and-talk as he converses with Liz (could it be perhaps another slight at the style employed by Aaron Sorkin, whose now-defunct Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was its big competition four years ago?). Liz is sad that she cannot find Monk on TV and asks Jack to inquire about that.
Of course, when bombarded by diversity questions, Jack responds that NBC broadcasts black athletes on Sunday Night Football and mentions Anthony Andersen on Law & Order. Someone tells Jack that the show has been canceled, much to his surprise, and Tracy’s later (“IT WAS A TENTPOLE!” “A TENTPOLE.”)
This really was a nice commentary about NBC’s programming woes. It really picked up the irony that Law & Order was canceled, people have gotten upset, but nobody noticed until four weeks into the regular season. My sister, outraged, texted me to ask why it was gone. But if she was a loyal viewer she would have already noticed. Still, I think NBC could have gotten away showing repeats from the Jill Hennessey era and more viewers would have watched. But, I digress.
On to the best moments of the night
- The lyric in the page’s audition, “Outsource is the new Friends.”
- Jenna slapping Kenneth. So unexpected. So raw.
- Everything Rob Reiner did/said.
- “The acclaimed director of When Harry Met Sally would never do that.”
- “Magnolia Bakery. Sorry, hips”
- Uttering “rhubarb,” and “peas and carrots” quite loudly when the crowd was outraged at Queen Latifah’s allegations of racism. A little background: Actors commonly utter these words when they are told to fit into a crowd and that their words will be non-distinguishable.
- My reaction to Queen Latifah as a member of the panel:
- Hm, that woman looks like Queen Latifah
- Jack to Queen Latifah: “I don’t really see color or gender, Mr. Chang”
- Tracy: “Dotcom Productions. That’s Tracy Jordan spelled backwards.” And then cut to Liz’s face. This is no Harpo.
- Liz’s pronunciation of one of NBC’s few black actors, Donald Glover, as Donal Glover.
- Liz losing speech function after she makes too many frustrated noises. A nice continuity gag to her eyes being stuck in place last season after one too many eye-rolls. This is why I watch.
- Jenna’s best insult ever, to Kenneth: “I wish you weren’t such a Houston foreclosure of a human being.”
- Lutz’ frustration at only being able to eat the food provided by TGS, “But they don’t have women’s sports bars. Men can have cramping too.”
- Liz on Right On was excellent. “I like your dress, do you have to wear a bra with it?”
- The host’s mention of The Angela Lansbury Lawsuit. Whatever that is. I hope 30 Rock elaborates.
- Jenna to Jack: “Actor-me emergency.”
What did you think? Should Toofer really have gotten the 2010 Tavis Smiley Excellence in Broadcasting Award? Anyway, thank you 30 Rock for making us all smiley.