What does every self-respecting career woman with a love for sandwiches do when she breaks up with Matt Damon? She buys a fannypack and gives up on any hope for a romantic future. This week’s 30 Rock highlighted just that event in our dear Liz Lemon’s life. After breaking up with crazy-dreamboat-pilot Carol, Liz pops a banana clip in her hair, rocks sweatpants tucked into Ugg boots, and buys a cat (affectionately named Emily Dickinson).
Jenna swears that she’ll take Liz out for a good time. And she does. She has a really good time. A suspiciously good time. There is soft music, low volume, a lack of malarkey – and a sexy man named Anders who loves Funky Juice (white wine, ice cubes and Sprite) as much as Liz. She gives in and says yes! Something that Liz promised she would do more of this year.
At the same time, Jack, though concerned about Lemon’s spinster awakening, is stressed about upcoming Kabletown negotiations and Avery’s sudden return to work. He’s trying to have it all. While trying (and failing) to negotiate a salary cut with his daughter Liddy’s Trinidadian night nurse, Jack is faced with a fear of every businessman: Have I lost it?
This was a simple way to show viewers that, for this first time (maybe in his life), Jack loves something more than money. His family is his priority now, not NBC. In perfect 30 Rock style, however, it wasn’t blatantly obvious. There was no monologue or shot of Jack with his daughter, sweetly rocking her to sleep. There was simply a change in Jack’s priorities, and his business style, which was smoothly weaved with the rest of the plot.
The third track of this episode’s plot involved Frank and Pete, two characters who rarely interact together. Pete divulged that in his younger days he was in the deliciously ridiculous band Loverboy. After an inspiring jam session, the two decide to form a band. What else is one supposed to do? Frank’s new Asian girlfriend, egos and jealousy begin to come between the bandmates, and their song “It’s Never Too Late for Now” may not have been produced the way Pete had hoped. Maybe it is too late after all?
The morning after this encounter, Liz addresses her staff – expressing her suspicions about last night’s tryst. Too many things went perfectly. Surely these situations were constructed by the people who, though merciless in their teasing of one another (especially Liz), love her deep down and want her to believe that romance is possible.
Or maybe she just had a sweet hook-up. Maybe she will choose to believe that she can have a romance again – whether for one night or forever.
This show was light on nearly every other character – Jenna was quiet, as was Kenneth. Tracy was gone entirely (as indicated in last episode’s discussion of his trip to Africa) – but got a shout-out when it came to the name of the “nightclub” (Tracy Jordan’s Place) Liz had actually attended. With fewer of the cast being in focus, there was an intimacy in the episode that made Jack and Liz’s revelations more prominent.
Many die-hard fans appreciate the fact that, unlike many of the other NBC sitcoms, 30 Rock doesn’t aim to bring us a message in every episode or prove itself sappy often. “It’s Never Too Late for Now” allowed the characters to have solid emotional moments through the show’s classically ridiculous scenarios – which is exactly what we’ve come to expect.
• “What IS business school?”
• “I hope there was enough shark meat in the fridge for one of your sandwiches”
• “I like my tampons to be cold!”
• “American Sub Restaurant Very Clean Come In”
• “Typical nightclub malarkey”
• “What? I got hit by a bird on a roller coaster”