TV Review: 30 Rock 7.3, "Stride of Pride"

rating: 4

(WARNING: Significant spoilers follow) Much happened in this, the third episode of the final season. We got to meet Jack€™s (Alec Baldwin) new girlfriend, we got to see a bit of Liz (Tina Fey) and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) perform one of their old stage skits, and we got to see more of Tracey (Tracey Morgan) being€well, himself. We also got to see quite a bit of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, and that is quite a good thing. Liz€™s story through this episode was all about Tracey making a #plotpoint tweet about how women aren€™t funny. Liz gets understandably annoyed at this and tries to prove him wrong. At the same time she€™s dealing with Jenna, who recently was €œoutted€ as being 56 years old. She isn€™t, of course, and explains to Liz that this is part of a plot she€™s got to skip the awkward phase of being a female actress and go straight on to older, more mature roles. I liked Liz€™s plot quite a bit. The stories where she€™s dealing with whatever weirdness Tracey and Jenna are up to are often the best, and the scene of Kenneth (Jack McBreyer) trying to seduce Jenna were both creepy and hilarious, which isn€™t an easy trick to pull off. I also enjoyed Liz€™s constant efforts to have a Sex in the City-style brunch so that she could talk about her recently rediscovered sexuality, something that fills everyone around her with a sense of horror and dread. As for Jack, well, like I said, he€™s got a girlfriend. He has several, in fact. He€™s got one for conversation, one for taking to glamorous places, one for politics and one that gets described as, basically, €œa sex idiot€, who according to Jack might not have hip bones. All is going well in his world until he discovers that the €œmain€ girlfriend has her own little collection of men, each fulfilling a different function, with Ryan Lochte as her sex idiot (a role which he plays, it must be said, quite well. €œAnother old man offered to buy my shirt! Old men are funny!€). Seeing Jack trying to come to grips with the fact that he€™s, perhaps, the complete package that he imagines himself to be is quite entertaining. He thinks he€™s everything any woman could ever need, and is horrified to learn that he might not be. Thankfully Jenna, of all people, is able to help him deal with this by pointing out that there are advantages to being the €œfather figure€, which is his role. I really enjoyed this story, which had basically everything I look for in an episode of 30 Rock. I am, however, somewhat confused. This story appeared to have no connection whatsoever to the larger €œtanking the network€ plot. Now it€™s possible that last week saw the conclusion of that, but I really got the impression it was going to be the arc for this season. Perhaps I was wrong. Regardless, this was another fine episode.
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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