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Friday, January 13, 2012

Recaps for Poor People: Yay! 30 Rock is Back! Parks and Rec is Good! Everything Rocks!!!

Posted by Elinor Jones on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Hi everybody, and welcome back to my recap area! I hope you all had a nice hiatus (a.k.a. “Christmas”). I spent the holidays in the sunny Caribbean, but honestly, most of the time I just stared at the gently crashing waves going “why are you not my television?” So let’s go!

30 Rock

Finally!! Not one beat was missed in the gang’s first episode back in what has felt like years. I hope Tina Fey is pretty damn happy with her new baby because she really messed with my fall by taking all that time off. God. Selfish.

So. Jack only briefly mentions his wife who is still being held captive in North Korea. Now, I’d assumed they filmed this episode before Kim Jong Il died, but Jack mentions Kim Jong Un; it happened too fast for me to notice, but do you guys think they just dubbed over that one syllable? I really don't know.

Meanwhile, Kenneth has heard that the apocalypse is happening and he cheerfully prepares himself. Toofer, Lutz and Frank mess with Kenneth by saying they just saw four flaming horses run by. Kenneth retorted with my favorite line of the episode: “Super gay horses are one of the signs of the apocalypse!”

THERE ARE SO, SO MANY MORE WORDS BELOW THIS JUMP. GO THERE.

Jenna has landed a judging position on an American Idol-style show for kids where she verbally abuses children into tearful, hilarious puddles of despair. I hope I someday get to tell a child she should be pushed off a waterfall in a barrel if I haven't already during one of my "morning wine"* phases. Jack is horrified by what he sees because he does not want his own daughter’s dreams to ever be pissed on. This is drawn out into a weird chat between Jack and his daughter where she says “mommy” but he hears “money." Dummmmbbbbbb.

Through it all, our hero Liz Lemon is full of positive energy which, try as they might, her staff just cannot crush. She credits her dickie because she is no longer “weighed down by redundant torso fabric,” but something else is going on. Tracy sees her buying something on the street and becomes convinced that Liz is a crack whore, but then discovers that Liz has been part of a jazz dance troupe for a WNBA team, and the exercise and access to discounted snacks have made her happy. That is nice. Then Liz and Jack have a chat in his car where he insists he knows her better than she knows herself, and that she has “waited 5 weeks to see New Year’s Eve because you didn’t want to contribute to it being the #1 movie in America, but you’ll still tear up when Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele kiss.” (I saw that steaming pile of crap. The only tears I shed were for humanity as a whole.)

But then — WHAT? Lemon goes and kisses a dude!! TWIST. We never see his face, but I am so completely intrigued. Well played, 30 Rock. I was always gonna watch you, but now I’m gonna watch the shit out of you, and probably squeal. I love a good tv romance (for a while, anyways). It is nice to write about sitcom romances because all of you boy commenters get all irritated and salty. Which brings us to….

Parks and Recreation

See what I did there?

Before the break, the Parks Department team stepped in to run Leslie’s campaign after her romance with Ben blew that shit up. They are gearing up for an event to relaunch her campaign with Ann as campaign manager and everybody else working together. Ron agrees to build Leslie’s event stage because he says that all contractors are thieves. (It sounds annoyingly like my husband’s approach to projects, which is why I do not currently have a functioning garage or laundry room. Husband nodded all serious-like at that line.)

Anyways, everybody is doing stuff but it all goes wrong. Ann tries to get local basketball legal Pistol Pete to give Leslie an endorsement and to dunk at the event but instead makes him have a breakdown. (“Sometimes life dunks you.”) April didn’t realize the venue would be an ice rink, Tom couldn’t get enough red carpet, and Ron couldn’t build a big enough stage. Jerry’s job was to get butts into seats, which he did well, except when they realized the event was a disaster, Jerry’s success was deemed a failure. He “Jerry’d being Jerry.”

The group shuffling over the ice together to a 5-second song clip was pure awkward comedy gold.

During all this, Ben Wyatt, is using his unemployment to make claymation videos and work on creating a “lo-cal calzone zone.” (“PIZZA? NEVER HEARD OF IT.”) His hair has gotten taller and messier. Chris tries telling Ben he’s depressed. Only after Ben shows Chris his “Requiem for a Tuesday” claymaish video does he realize that spending 3 weeks to make 2 seconds of video set to an REM song and wearing a Letters to Cleo shirt does mean he is depressed. So Leslie gets Ben to take over her campaign. Win-win.

This is what I think: I think that this show is shifting its focus back to the Parks Department as a team and away from Ben and Leslie’s storyline. While they are still happening, and adorably so, it’s the whole group bouncing off each other that makes this show one of the best on television. I’m amped about the rest of the season. How about you all?

The Office

Broken record here: this show has lost some magic over the last couple of years. That said, the trivia night thing was good. I love bar trivia. And I love that sometimes you can win because you learn things from watching Khloe and Lamar.

Up All Night

The best thing about Up All Night being on Thursdays is that Whitney is no longer polluting my recap space. More like Shitney! Oh man, I just thought of that joke and now the show has moved. Bummerl. Anyways, I like Up All Night. It’s not great yet but it's got an awesome cast and tons of potential. I think it’s going to pull a Cougartown * and grow into itself and its writing and away from its central gimmick of that baby thing. We’ll see.

There you have it. A great evening of television. What kind of feelings did all of you feel? Thoughts? Predictions? Conspiracies? Do tell!

* Cougartown is an excellent show. This is not up for debate.

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