I have watched tonight's season finale twice, and I'm thinking of suing Tina Fey. The whiplash I have from so many hilariously neck-snapping lines and jokes is pretty painful. ...
If you're a fan of the show, you know the basic plots for tonight: Jack has gone to work in Washington and Liz thinks she's pregnant. But that's the sort of one-line summary that does no justice to what it covers.
There is, for instance, a wonderful performance by Matthew Broderick as Jack's new boss, Cooter Burger, a bureaucrat unbendingly determined to stick to the party line This, needless to say, does not sit well with Jack.
Liz's worries about her pregnancy send her ping-ponging: about the baby's daddy, about being a single mom and, perhaps most of all, about her friendship with Jack, who is not there when she really needs him. The Liz-Jack relationship has really evolved, especially in recent weeks; think of Liz's brief foray into being a corporate type. She and Jack are alike in many ways, including their loneliness. And even what appears to be their core difference -- Liz has more scruples -- isn't really. She was more than willing to go corporate; I think what she admires most about Jack is not his moral blindness but his ability to get things done.
But I digress. The stories don't end there. Tracy's porn video game makes a couple of memorable appearances, and Kenneth's desire to be an NBC page at the Olympics in China is spun into a very funny series of events, including Jenna's memorable involvement. (Combined with the Tracy story, Jane Krakowski gets to remind us that she's a player on this show, even if her screen time is occasionally limited.)
Another, lesser sitcom might have built an entire episode around Kenneth's dilemma, or Liz's, or Jack's. But "30 Rock" moves so fast, and juggles so ably, that it fits all those pieces into a breakneck half-hour. Even Cooter's name has a story behind it.
It doesn't all work. One sequence involving Kenneth was probably cuter on paper than it is onscreen. But so much of it does, I may risk permanent neck injury for a third viewing. After you've seen it, let's talk favorite lines.
Speaking of favorite lines, my buddy Sepinwall is worth a read today for his relentless series of "Princess Bride" jokes while talking about "Scrubs."