This week’s episode of “30 Rock” brings in two very special guests from the world of politics. Ok, to be fair, one of those “guests” is merely an actor impersonating a famed political figure, but the performance is so frighteningly spot-on that we’d be safe in pretending that it was the real thing. Sadly, the other guest didn’t quite deliver the goods, but that doesn’t ruin the episode by a long shot. Take a look at our review to see how we felt…
Episode Title: “Everything Sunny All the Time Always”
Upon realizing that she could improve her life if she only devoted as much attention to herself as she does to her TV show, Liz embarks on a mission to clean up her apartment, dress nice, and perhaps even be happy. However, a plastic bag caught in a tree outside her window threatens to ruin her self-improvement project. In the meantime, Jack learns that Avery has been kidnapped by Kim Jong-il, and Tracy is upset to learn that his entourage has an inside joke that he’s unfamiliar with.
- Kim Jong-il: As a show that often tackles the absurdity of modern life, “30 Rock” is nearly peerless. However, while it tends to focus its satire on elements of pop culture, it is also tremendously effective when it tackes on politics. Thus, its interpretation of crazy dictator Kim Jong-il is brilliant, primarily because it barely seems different from the real thing. His insistence that North Korea is abundant in food, sunshine, and all things any growing country needs is eerily similar to the real man’s own misinformation. Kudos, Margaret Cho.
- Talking Bag: Speaking of absurdity, Liz has an interesting conversation this week with a plastic bag. While in theory that sounds too ridiculous to work, it is actually pretty humorous. “I’ll still be up here when they take you out in my cousin: a body bag.” There is no reason why that should be funny, but somehow, it is.
- Jack’s politics: Casting Alec Baldwin as an extreme conservative has always been genius, and we are reminded of that in this episode when he is fine with the fact that Avery has endured extreme physical torture at the hands of her captors, but horrified that she claims to have rejected capitalism. Baldwin pulls off the reaction perfectly.
- Smooth move, Ferguson: Tracy’s unrelenting efforts to recreate the events that led up to his entourage creating an inside joke without him comes off as only slightly funny. It’s hard for anything involving Tracy to ever be unfunny, but this subplot feels like something that the writer threw in to fill up space, not exactly knowing where it would go. When it reaches its conclusion, we’re left a little bored.
- Condoleeza Rice: Nabbing Condoleeza Rice for a guest appearance seems like it should be instant comedy gold, but the sad truth is that she lacks the acting skill to keep us entertained. She can’t deliver a line believably, and when paired against Alec Baldwin, who can bring the funny like nobody’s business, this becomes even more painfully apparent. It was a great idea, but in practice, it just didn’t work out.
Hey, it’s no classic episode, but it was certainly funny, thanks primarily to the hilarious antics of Kim Jong-il. We’re not used to seeing “30 Rock” tackle the subject of crazy dictators, but given the way the show pulled it off this week, we’d love to see them revisit this territory. Thankfully, it looks like we aren’t through with the North Korean ruler just yet. Tune in to see what else has has in store.
“30 Rock” airs every thursday on NBC!
What did you think of last night’s episode? Tell us in the comments!