30 Rock recap: Season 4, episode 4.01
There’s one question I’ve been asking myself since its second season premiered two years ago: What the hell happened to Rachel Dratch??? In the original, unaired pilot, Dratch played Jenna (a role now brilliantly played by Jane Krakowski) but once the series aired, she was regulated to cameos in each episode. One week she was a butch cat wrangler, the next Barbara Walters. It was fun waiting to see who Rachel would be each week, but by the second season she was gone forever.
The second question I’ve been asking myself about this show is, Where the hell is Josh? Yeah, the character (a writer and actor on the fictional show, TGS) would pop up in the occasional episode, but he hasn’t been a focal plot point since the first couple of seasons (like the classic contract negotiations episode). Tina Fey must have realized this, too, because Josh was the running gag in the season four premiere. Jack revealed that TGS needed a new cast member to drum up ratings and Liz said that Josh was pretty popular. Jack said, "Oh, that's right, Josh. I forgot about that guy. You think that's a good sign?" Josh quit the show (and tried to leave with a bang by unsuccessfully tipping over the writer’s table), and I’m guessing this might be the last we see of him. Maybe Lonny Ross (the guy who plays Josh) and Rachel Dratch will go on star in their own show together?
But back to last night’s episode: Liz and Pete snuck out to area comedy clubs to find the new cast member (we didn’t see any of this, so I’m assuming this will be a bigger plot point in future eps), and Jenna’s reaction was classic: “She better not be blonde!” And then she started screaming. But the real comedy came via Tracy Jordan’s storyline. Afraid that he’s too wealthy for his comedy to relate to “everyday people” (his jokes about eating lobster in St. Bart’s fall flat), he decides to get back to his roots. Two hilarious moments: He tries to become friends with a maintenance guy who lives in Brooklyn, but they get off on the wrong foot when Tracy asks “My dear friend Moby just opened a tea house in Park Slope. Do you know him?” Also, when he fails to connect with any “real people,” this is his response when Dot Com asks how it’s going: “It’s going great, Dot Com. Meet my new friends: Nobody, and his wife, Susan Walters-Nobody.”
Other classic quotes from the episode:
Kenneth: "Bonus means extra. I know that. From game shows.”
Jack: "I'm in the middle of a RAGING period ... of economic turmoil."
Tracy: “I blame you and Dot Com. You two have formed a protective shell around me like a hermit crab, or a mermaid booby.”
Tracy: “Hey, Rolly, you ever loose your remote control? And then your wife starts getting all mad because the roof won’t close and the bed that’s in the shape of your face is getting rained on. [Laughs] I like you, Rolly. Can I feel the rough skin on your hands?”
Kenneth: “John Frances Donaghy. Hey, he’s got a girl’s middle name too.”
Jack: “Step into the light, Lemon. There’s nothing wrong with being fun and popular and just giving people what they want. Ladies and gentlemen, Jay Leno.”