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'30 Rock': Jenna finally gets to love herself

April 30, 2010 |  9:51 am


Thursday night's episode of "30 Rock" was my very favorite kind: extremely silly. Even though "30 Rock's" self-conscious acrobatics can be funny, sometimes you can feel the show laboring under the weight of its own cleverness. Other times, the writing is just so deliciously absurd that I can't help but giggle the whole way through. Thursday's episode, in which Jenna fell in love with her male impersonator, Jack shared a glass of scotch with Don Geiss' beloved pet peacock, Argus, and Liz had to negotiate Tracy and Dot Com's best-man wars, was sublimely inconsequential. Not a whole lot happened, but it was all very funny.

Of course, the Jenna-dating-herself plotline was inspired, and I was amazed at how much Paul (Will Forte) resembled Jenna, and it wasn't just the wig. I had to wonder what came first, the chicken (Will Forte's resemblance to Jane Krakowski) or the plot (Jenna being in love with herself, sort of).  Will Forte is better than just about anyone at being just a little creepy, so those few scenes before his big reveal were especially hilarious. "I’m just feeling the weight of Jenna’s jewelry on my fingerpads," Paul explains as he rifles around her dressing room. Who knew "fingerpads" was such an icky word?

This week Jack was being all tender and mushy -- dare I say irrational? The lucky man inherits Argus the peacock and, naturally, becomes convinced that Argus is the reincarnated spirit of Don Geiss. Maybe I am turning into a softie, but I could have sworn a tear came to my eye when Jack was sitting there, swilling his scotch with a bird that may have been, but probably wasn't, his long-lost mentor. Jack, what would we do without you?

Jack is being a richer and more hilarious character every episode, unlike poor Liz, who is still stuck in narrative purgatory. I suppose I should look on the bright side: At least the Liz-humiliation (readers, any suggestions for what to call this? "Liziliation"?) was a little milder than usual. Sure, Jack may have suggested she join a suicide cult and there were constant jokes about her inability to make it to the gym but this week only got molested by a peacock. In the grand scheme, things could be, and have been, a lot worse. Let's not forget that last week she got mauled by a dog. We've still got a few weeks left until the grand finale on May 22, when Liz will have to negotiate three weddings in one day -- and wear a dashiki at one of them. That's a lot of buildup for one show, so a lot can happen between now and then. Any predictions?

Best joke: It's a tie. Grizz's fiance's name is "Fiance."  "Like Beyonce with an 'f'," says Tracy.  Liz asks Jenna how much she knows about Paul. She says "I lost a toe ring in him, so I’d say a lot." Can I get an "ew"?

Nerdiest reference:  Jack wonders whether he will inherit anything from Don Geiss, thinking "maybe that boyhood sled he held so dear."

Most meta moment: While Pete is explaining to Liz that "life is like TV, people like weddings, births and episodes where people die," a stagehand takes a nasty spill.

Jenna's diva behavior:  Is there anything more self-obsessive than dating your own impersonator?

Extent of Liz Lemon's humiliations this week: moderate. She couldn't fit into a "Vietnamese size 2," but who can?

Meanest thing said to Liz: Liz tells Kenneth she's stretched pretty thin. "Well, not New York thin," he replies.

Most insane Tracyism: "You sound like my mom talking to the Planned Parenthood lady," Tracy tells Grizz, who "hasn't decided" yet about his best man.

Quintessential Kenneth: "There’s a lot about this world we don’t understand. Like the afterlife or how bread turns into toast."

Something I'd like to know more about: Liz asks Jenna, "Are you soaking your tampons in vodka again?"

Say this five times fast: "Kenneth says he needs some sumac bark and shrub yellow root to make a poultice for Argus."

Guest stars: Will Forte

-- Meredith Blake (follow me on Twitter@MeredithBlake)


Complete coverage of '30 Rock' on Show Tracker'

'30 Rock': Jack Donaghy brings an end to the late night (janitor) wars

30 Rock': The Return of Floyd

'30 Rock': Liz Lemon refuses to settle

Critic's Notebook: Tina Fey gets her Sarah Palin on for 'Saturday Night Live'

Photo: Jenna (Jane Krakowski) shares a moment with her new beau and lookalike, Paul (Will Forte). Credit: Ali Goldstein / NBC

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