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30 Rock -The Queen fo Jordan review

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Written by : published Saturday 19th March 2011

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A weird, sad, unfunny episode. I watched it twice to make sure I wasn't hearing things. I would have not aired this turkey episode at all rather than spoil the incredible run of gifted shows with this awful reality show cr*pisode. Yes, it was that bad. What could have been a really terrific take on the real talent in Tracy's family was instead misspent on a boring and numbingly prosaic show. Where were the Charlie Sheen jokes?


Tracy Jordan has been missed but replacing his comedic heft with his TV show wife and her own reality show just wasn't amusing or genuinely funny. Just like a real reality show, the skits were forced, the dialogue tedious, and the issues more sobering than warranted humor. The characters in Mrs. Jordan's life aren't funny or interesting. Her catchphrase is "It's my way 'til payday". Ridiculously, she can't sing or has never heard of the Beatles.


Jenna fakes a wine throwing habit and Pete throws an intervention. She does this for screen time but it's not funny. Jenna's bits can drag but this is a new low. Pete does this because the insurance company then has to comp the show the staff salaries with both Tracy and Jenna putting th TGS show under. The presence of a blonde, Sue Sylvestre type character in the Jordan menage is never explained. Portia, one of Angie's retinue, has no purpose.


What would have been brilliant was a expose of the Jordan's home life. Brilliant would have been  a mock reveal that Tracy's antics are carefully planned by her to boost his celebrity and image. That would make Tracy's fleeing to Africa make sense, he got tired of the game or she stopped being willing to write his material for him. Tracy Jordan's wife always had the funniest bits running counter to stereotype, like when Liz assumed the Jordans voted for Obama but Mrs. Jordan said they preferred Mike Kucinich.


The wife of Tracy Jordan doesn't have hidden depths, she is depicted as a slave to her weave whose exaggerated African American diction of the word "Ham" gets her a gig as spokesperson for the Ham Council. Kenneth loses a glove but discovers it is his own. Not funny, and doesn't take the show anywhere. This episode reads like a stale run through they forgot to fine tune with really funny jokes. The wedding video of Tracy and Angie with him in handcuffs just has nothing to play straight against.
Jack is depicted as possibly gay. He discusses with Dot Com how he swung both ways for his baseball team at Princeton, then discloses he was Maria in an all male version of West Side Story. When Mrs. Jordan's gay hairdresser suggests to Jack he has a homosexual sex incident in his past, he fakes dancing badly to throw him off the scent. His history as a father and parent is never referenced. Being on Angie time is work.


Jack is photographed falling awkwardly and the footage is used on "The Queen of Jordan" to create the character of "gay Jack". And Jack has fart jokes, too. Avery, the best part of the Jack Donaghy storyline, is invisible. Coming after such a strong episode with Hooper's granddaughter (Chloe Grace Moretz), it's just awful. Alec Baldwin is much much better than this material. The toxic topicality of gayness permeats every scenes except Angie's.


The most astonishing part of this episode is Susan Sarandon guest starring as Len Unkman, the schoolteacher famously imprisoned for being in love with one of her eighth graders. Frank turns out to be her former love, and they resume their former relationship somewhat. What an awesome misstep for the star of Thelma and Louise and other films. Frank is an arrested 8th grader. We discovered they cheated on the Presidential Physical Fitness Exam.


The episode cranks on. It just isn't funny. Jenna buys a domain name and puts in on her hat, spelling 'Jenna-Cide".  The interleaved scenes have an ugly tone. Dot-com complains that Jack disrespects him. The spinoff of matchmaking for wealthy dogs is actually better TV than this. When D'Fwan says he got thrown out of the military for trying to bang everybody it's time to turn off the TV. Outing Jack as a clumsy gay seeming man just doesn't play with the success of hs character.


I can't believe anybody read this script through and consented to act in it. "D'Fwan glue on the business wig". 'For your information I am a Christian illiterate". Angie counters the absurd extremes of her character by correcting Liz Lemon's moments in a politically correct manner. "Written" by Tracy Wigfield is actually in quotation marks in the credits. The problem is that the arch comedy needed to float this satire doesn't work on characters and a plot that mainly  already a satire. Jenna's having two psychics who don't know about each other is as amusing as it gets.


Jack says, "Nobody ever talks about Hitler's paintings".


Liz Lemon's character spends the entire episode struggling with Mrs. Jordan for the survival of her own show. All joke and no actual plot mean the show is a bomb. This must be too inside an NBC joke for me to get. What would have been hilarious was an episode written by Mrs. Jordan that audiences loved. This is just not writing or producing at Tina Fey's caliber of work at all. The potential of Angie fell flat. What a waste.

About the author tvqueen

tvqueen

I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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