30 Rock," network boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) asks head writer for the comedy show "TGS," Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), to officiate for a vow renewal ceremony with wife Avery (Elizabeth Banks). Last week, Avery had returned to the show after spending the season being held prisoner in Noth Korea. The much-anticipated two-episode arc promised a chance for Jack to tie up loose ends with the mother of his adorable daughter, Elizabeth, a.k.a. Liddy. While the episode did provide finality, it was ultimately dissatisfying. Despite a few well-placed zingers, the plot-heavy episode lacked charm.In the season finale of "
While most shows celebrate weddings as the giddy end of a season, Liz warns Jack that wanting to renew your vows, "is a sign that there are deeper problems." She reminds him that Jack had kissed Avery's mom while the two were commiserating over Avery's imprisonment.
In one of two subplots, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is named Man of the Year by the "Journal of the Aryan Patriot Party," due to his multiple roles embodying black stereotypes, but is oblivious to the fact that this is a bad thing.
In another subplot, fame-seeking page Hazel (Kristen Schaal) tries to find a new place to live after losing her apartment, which causes soft-hearted Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) to extend an invitation to her to stay with him.
Meanwhile, Jack's jealousy increases over Avery's connection with sports guy Scott Scottsman (Michael Mosley), with whom Avery had been held captive. He realizes that the two communicated with each other via finger taps in their version of Morse code. She defends it by saying that she was never physical with Scott.
Liz's boyfriend, hot-dog vendor Criss (James Marsden) is determined to earn enough money for the two of them to get married and think about starting a family. Of course, he finds this more challenging than he'd hoped, as he's lambasted by an orthodox Jew for attempting to sell pork hot dogs at a primarily Orthodox event. Did he rob a bank? A news report where his van appears to be the getaway vehicle initially seems to indicate so, but it's a misunderstanding.
African-American studies scholar Cornell West meets with Tracy to work on his image. In response to a question about his childhood role models, Tracy says, "Darth Vader, ninjas, some black licorice I tried to make into the shape of my dad." West encourages Tracy to find a role model to emulate. During his visit to an African-American history museum, Tracy sees his reflection in a case containing a dress worn by Rosa Parks and declares that his role model is Tyler Perry. From now on, he vows, he will only make movies that are directed, starring, and for African-Americans, and he's going to start his own studio.
At the renewal ceremony, Avery's mom, Diana (Mary Steenburgen), along with Scott, are determined to break up the wedding, and Kim Jong-Il (Margaret Cho), posing as a waiter, has the same idea. This makes Liz unwilling to use the "speak now or forever hold your peace" portion of the vows. However, the three would-be interrupters all keep their peace, and instead Jack and Avery speak up, airing their dirty laundry and confessing that they'd only gotten married because Avery was pregnant. With relief, they agree to split up amicably and ask Liz to declare them "divorced."
Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) fills Kenneth in on Hazel's machinations, showing him a forged application to the page program she'd submitted in his name (a position Kenneth had been trying to regain all season). When Kenneth confronts Hazel, she confesses that, while she'd initially wanted to sabotage him, she had since fallen in love with him. Awkward kissing ends the scene.
As Liz and Criss start nesting, her mentor, Jack, initially refuses to give her any advice, admitting that he's screwed up his own life. But upon her pressing for it, he shares his "25 Pillars of Motherhood," starting with "Don't overthink the names. Stick to kings and queens of England."
The episode paved the way for the show to end next season, as Liz becoming a mom and Tracy leaving "TGS" to start his own film studio would be valid reasons to end things. Perhaps that is why the show felt more perfunctory than fun. Like the commitment renewal, it was only a means to an end.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Liz Lemon
- Jack Donaghy
- Tracy Morgan
- Tracy Jordan