30 Rock Season 5 – The Fabian Strategy – Episode review

A triumphant return for one of my favourite sitcoms. 30 Rock in its fifth season (or should that be TGS?), and it’s still looking pretty good. Playing it like a return to work after the summer holidays, it sees the cast and crew of TGS regroup for their fifth season.

Liz is still in a relationship, although her gynaecologist committed suicide (I loved that line) and Jack’s relationship with Avery seems to be moving so fast he has to come up with battle strategies to outsmart her. Elsewhere, Jenna’s been taking her responsibilities as a producer a little too seriously, while Tracy’s hallucinating that he sees Kenneth. Just another day at 30 Rock.

Having really only gotten into this show in Season 4, 30 Rock feels to me like one of those series’ that is almost effortlessly funny. The characters have established their groove and they’re able to play off each other perfectly. You often know what’s coming, but it’s the execution that impresses – like when Jack books up all the hotel rooms for Jackfest to force Liz to spend time with her boyfriend.

Alec Baldwin, for me, is the funniest thing about this show, and I can’t imagine it without him: from his relationship games with Avery to trying to half-seduce her gay interior designer friend and comparing Lemon’s relationship to prostitution, Jack’s so politically incorrect it’s genius. I’d hate to work with him though.

Guest star Matt Damon reprises his role as Lemon’s pilot boyfriend Carol – she’s reluctant to have him stay in her apartment until Jack forces her to be ‘grown-up’ about her relationship. Damon’s brilliant as the weepy pilot, but of course with his salary, he’s not going to hang around forever. So start wondering how this relationship’s eventually going to implode…

Jenna’s new role as a producer on the show sees her wreaking havoc, firing elderly wardrobe staff and ruthlessly hacking down the costs. She’s actually too good at her job – she realises that the show doesn’t actually need a third producer and eventually fires herself to bring the budget down to manageable levels. Not bad for a bimbo! And who couldn’t love her “Business Slut” t-shirt?

Finally, Tracy hallucinating Kenneth is fun, but he doesn’t have much to do in this episode. We get a minor laugh when he really does meet Kenneth at his new job and Kenneth walks in front of a taxi to prove that he’s real.

As I said at the top of the review, this show really is effortlessly funny. Even in the weaker moments with Tracy and Kenneth, there’s usually something to snicker at. Though I thought the idea of Pete having sex with his wife while she’s asleep was a bit of a gross-out moment. Though why she’d want to do him while she was conscious is beyond me.

Quotes from The Fabian Strategy

  1. Jack: “We didn’t need sandwiches, Lemon. It was so warm you could pick fully cooked lobsters out of the water.”
  2. Liz: “You sound weird, do you have a beard?”
  3. Liz: “Get this, my gynaecologist committed suicide.”
  4. Jack: “The Harry Potter theme park is a huge hit with both Anglophiles and paedophiles.”
  5. Tracy: “I need you to be back by noon to make the bathroom smell like sandalwood before I wreck it.”
  6. Liz: “The bathtubs are so much cleaner than at home. I don’t know how they do it.” Jack: “They clean them, Lemon.”
  7. Jack: “Meeting someone in a hotel room twice a month is not a relationship. Just ask any hooker.”
  8. Jenna: “Your health insurance will remain in effect until the end of this sentence.”
  9. Jack: “A middle aged woman saying ‘Dude stuff’ – is that on sadness scavenger hunt? Why yes it is.”
  10. Kenneth: “And as with all studio audiences, we will sort you according to attractiveness.”
  11. Jack: “Do you know what a prize I am in the gay community? There’s a term for it. I’m a bear and I’m a daddy. I’m a daddy bear.”
  12. Jenna: “As great as I am at this, I’m not really necessary. The last time I said that, I was in a three-way with two of the Backstreet Boys.”
  13. Jack: “Avery and I are perfect together, like whiskey and hunting. Soul mate doesn’t even begin to do it justice.”

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