'30 Rock': When Jack met Padma
Are Liz and Jack the new Pam and Jim? The friendship between these two has always been platonic, but sometimes, I wonder (or maybe even dream about) what might happen if they drank a little too much eggnog at the NBC Christmas party. Cold as he may be, Jack is nothing if not devoted to his beloved Lemon. Over dinner, he even moved a candle out of Liz's way, knowing she'd dive into a piece of cake and set her sleeve on fire. It was reminiscent of the famous "Watch out for that glass" from "Say Anything" (or at least it was to me). This week, my curiosity was piqued even more: Even when Padma Lakshmi, almost every man's top "celebrity freebie" pick rolled into town, Jack only had eyes for Liz.
However, the same might not be said for Liz, whose loyalty to Jack is easily tested with a little push from Tracy and Jenna. With her book "Dealbreakers" a sort-of bestseller (Number 14 on the nonfiction list!), Liz wants to shop around for the best deal for a talk show. Jack won't take it lying down, and he claims the rights to the show, even offering a hosting gig to the luscious Ms. Lakshmi. I was looking forward to Padma's appearance on the show, but her scene fell a little flat. The running gag was that, being drop-dead gorgeous, she doesn't have to try too hard. But didn't they use this joke last season with Jon Hamm? Padma, keep Liz Lemon (and the rest of us) happy, and don't quit your day job.
Elsewhere on this episode, Kenneth was at odds with the new cast member (Cheyenne Jackson), who until last week was a street performer know as "Party-bot." His real name is Jack, but that other, more powerful Jack renames him Danny to avoid any confusion -- or competition. Jack/Danny is Canadian, which obviously means he's nice, and isn't comfortable bossing Kenneth around. Tracy and Jenna even try to be kind to Kenneth, but he feels useless without the abuse. Has anyone else noticed how Jenna and Tracy have become a pair this season? Has it always been like that, and I am only noticing now?
It was a solid if not mind-blowing episode, even with the presence of Padma. What did you think? Are you excited about Cheyenne Jackson as Jack/Danny? It seems a little too early to tell what he'll bring to the show, other than a solid Canadian accent. Can anyone explain to me what was with the part in this episode where Kenneth goes, "Who said I've been alive forever?", all creepy-like? There was another moment like this last week, when Kenneth said something that sounded like "vam-peer." Can anyone out there help me out? Am I missing some obvious "Twilight" reference? Please explain.
Best Joke: I am going to call it a tie, between Jack's "I didn’t get a bathroom door that looks like part of a wall by being bad at business" and the classic Tracy quip, "He knows you're special, like a black stripper with blue eyes."
Nerdiest Reference: This week was not as geeky as usual, so let's go with Liz's would-be agent, who planned to go skiing with Rahm Emanuel.
Most Meta Moment: Liz, wearing a striped sweater, says all that all actors have to do is "hit your marks, stay in your light and do everything the same take for continuity." Jack says, "See, it's easy." Cut back to Liz, now wearing a scarf and holding a can of soda.
Meanest Thing Jack Said to Liz: "Lemon has a decision to make. She can either be crushed by me, or she can suck in her stomach and crawl back through the tiny hole I’ve left for her in the proverbial door."
Meanest Thing Liz Said About Herself: After discovering that Padma might be hosting "Dealbreakers," Liz says, "Then who’s going to host 'Top Chef?' You are ruining my life!"
Quintessential Kenneth: "Miss Maroney, your Mexican diet pills came. Should I start taking them to test their side effects?"
Liz's Requisite Sandwich Reference: She plans to eat an "Activia microwavable panini" for dinner.
-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Not even Padma Lakshmi can take Liz's place in Jack's heart. Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC