TV Review: 30 Rock 7.2 - "Governor Dunston"

rating: 4.5

(WARNING: Significant spoilers follow!) This week sees the continuation of what€™s likely to be the ongoing story arc for this season: Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Liz (Tina Fey) trying to tank NBC by programming some of the worst TV imaginable. This includes things like Liz telling the writing staff that there are no bad ideas and then putting pretty much everything they suggest on TV (ie: Black Hitler going to a restaurant). This plan is, at this point, going well, and ratings are in the toilet. Jack is encouraged by this and tells Liz not to do anything political, because political stuff gets ratings. Then something horrible happens. Paul Ryan (Romney€™s vice-presidential choice, for you overseas folks), drops out of the race because he was, apparently, born in Kenya. Romney€™s new VP choice is the governor of Alabama, who looks and acts exactly like Tracey Jordan (Tracey Morgan). Things are further complicated when Jack€™s old associate from DC (Matthew Broderick) turns up and explains that they need to do more political stuff, especially against Romney, because every time they do, his favorable go up. So Jack and Liz are in a quandary. Tank the network and let Obama win, or program decent, hilarious stuff mocking the governor (which Liz does initially by simply having Tracey quote lines from the guy€™s speeches), and help Romney to win. This was a great setup to a great episode! The Governor Dunston/Tracey Jordan thing is a perfect parallel, of course, to the Sarah Palin/Tina Fey thing from 2008. The execution here is near flawless, and the fact that I€™m a Democrat and enjoy seeing all things Republican (at least as the GOP exits now), get mocked, helps. I also loved the return of Criss (James Marseden), who was sorely missed last week. The idea that he€™s been chronicling Liz€™s periods so that they can have a baby was amusing, especially since it turned out he€™d been doing it wrong. The idea that Liz gets especially turned on by sex once she can start obsessive-compulsively organizing it was hilarious! Plus there was no Hazel this week, which pleased me, and I was very happy to see perpetually youthful Matthew Broderick back on the show again. His character was great a few seasons back, and seeing him return is wonderful, especially now that he€™s a €œlobbyist€ by virtue of the fact that he spends a lot of time hanging out in hotel lobbies. Really I can€™t think of any complaints here. The setup was good and the payoff was good. I€™m looking forward to seeing where they take this next week!
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at wilybadger.wordpress.com