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It’s St. Patrick’s Day everyone! (Seriously, did you know?) And of course 30 Rock had to dedicate an episode to this joyful day. A familiar face returned and some major character developments took place. Is this the final season? Because it feels like everyone we’ve ever met is coming back and that some stories are heading towards an ending. Not that NBC would ever consider killing this beloved show, but this season does feel like a goodbye tour. But let’s not wallow in self pity because there was a lot to laugh about in this episode. 30 Rock is establishing itself as a show that has run its course while still producing some serious laughs.
Let’s get the cheesiest story over with. Liz wasn’t keen on the Irish festivities so she and James Marsden decided to stay in for the day. As healthy as that may sound on a holiday, some issues did surface, mainly because Dennis returned. Last time we saw him it was stated that he would come back and now he has, though seemingly for the last time. The relationship between he and Liz is a complicated one, essentially because it’s straight-up weird and unexplainable, and yet it happened. Since Liz is in a happy relationship (is she though? Criss doesn’t seem very much of a challenge to her) it seems natural that Dennis would appear and stir things up. In a predictable and very uninspired turn of events, Liz tried to play Dennis by saying “I love you” to him and call his bluff. Though that may work on anything on The CW, it felt too forced into the story to fit here. Obviously, the issue arose that Liz hadn’t said those three words to Criss yet and that perhaps she is the problem, instead of Dennis. What felt weird was that this development came in the back half of the episode and the entire first half had very little pace. Sure, there were awesome German jokes, but this story in particular took a while to get started. When it did, Liz was forced to look at herself and wonder why exactly she hadn’t uttered the most overused words in the English language. In a paraody of the typical romantic movie cliché,r she ran into the street filled with people puking green and told Criss she loved him. They kissed, someone puked. Good times. But for better or worse, Liz is in a serious relationship now. So, Marsden might be sticking around (unless he becomes a pilot, of course) and Liz might not ever be single. Unless this isn’t the final season, in which case I give the two lovebirds three episodes tops.
It’s pretty admirable how this show balances repetition with great humor. Tracy and Jenna were at odds again as they both needed to present some show featuring St. Patrick’s Day since Harry’s Law wasn’t bringing in the money. This story has been done so many times that watching it is almost equal to doing laundry. Although, it made me wonder if this was the first time they used a green screen for an outside scene.
The jokes in this storyline weren’t special either. Tracy made some dramatic sounds, Jenna had some lines that didn’t stick, but in the end they did have a heart-to-heart. Thanks to Kenneth, they actually overcame their differences and supported each other—not for the first time, more significantly than in the past. Their reunion delivered the episode’s best sketch as they pointed out how viewers felt about long-awaited payoff and Jenna ended the episode with a song.
Jack was completely off the rails. His adventures are often questionable but this was spectacularly odd. Now he was just playing some kind of board game with the writers that was some kind of a mix of every board game ever. Here, the economy was somehow involved and orcs raped everybody. Jack also went to a church.
Maybe we should drink less whiskey or maybe St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the best holiday to center your episode around, but 30 Rock was all kinds of odd this week. There were some solid laughs (we can watch Lutz fall off a chair all day long) and some questionable storylines (how is Hazel even still on this show), but in the end most of it was heartfelt. If this turns out to be a goodbye season then it’s a pretty solid one. What did you think of the episode? Do you play Colonizers of MaLaar? Was that a green screen or do Jenna and Tracy just attract different light? Is anyone even celebrating St. Patrick’s Day anymore?