Continuing its cameo-driven second season, Will Arnett and Rip Torn both return in this week's 30 Rock,
revisiting their previous roles as chief rival and boss, respectively. Additionally, we saw Kenneth help reunite Tracy with his wife, Jenna come to terms with her new body type and Liz continue to struggle with her day to day life.
The episode opens in Jack's office. Jack has just bought an expensive steak but is unable to eat it due to his recent heart attack. Because of this, he asks Liz to eat the steak in front of him so that he can watch her enjoy it. Though initially confused, she agrees and scarfs down the cut. While Liz stuffs her face, Jack reveals that, based on an article he read, he believes that his boss, Don Geiss, is thinking about retiring in the near future and, in order to not seem weak, he needs to keep his recent heart attack a secret.
Back in the studio, Liz talks to her friend, Jenna, trying her best to help raise Jenna's confidence after she put on a bunch of weight over the summer. Jenna is acting oddly due to crash diet she is currently trying called the "Japanese Porn Star Diet" which consists entirely of eating paper. All of Liz's best efforts at reassuring the star are nullified, however, when Jack insists that Jenna visit series regular, Dr. Spaceman, about her options for quickly losing the extra weight.
In the hallways of the building, Jack runs into one of his professional rivals, Devon Banks. Banks soon introduces Jack to his new fiancee, much to Jack's surprise since he knows Banks to be gay. When asked about this complication, Banks explains that he was recently "purged" of his homosexuality by a Stan Lee-related cult. We then learn the true motivations of Jack's competition, however, as Banks explains his new fiancee is actually DonGeiss' daughter. Apparently Banks has also heard that Don Geiss is thinking of retiring and intends to shoot for his job as well.
Meanwhile, Kenneth is helping Tracy deal with his marital difficulties, as his wife recently kicked him out of his home. Tracy, refusing to apologize, explains that his wife, Angie, was never supportive and was not even a fan of his vanity license plate - ICU81MI. When Kenneth inadvertently suggests that Angie may be seeing other people, Tracy gets upset and storms off. This gives Kenneth an idea which he shares with Dot Com.
Jenna then meets with Dr. Spaceman. After offering various drug-related weight loss methods, such as crystal meth, Jenna eventually asks the doctor about cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Spaceman tells her that he has just the thing and they set up the appointment.
Jack explains to Liz, much to her shock, that Banks is a genius to pretend to be straight in order to woo Don Geiss' daughter. At this time, Banks encounters Kenneth, one of his crushes from his last visit to the studio. After cornering Kenneth and talking about beating Jack for Don Geiss' job, Kenneth reassures Banks that Jack is stronger than he thinks, unintentionally letting slip Jack's recent heart attack.
Back in Liz's office, she tries to talk Jenna out of getting her cosmetic surgery insisting that overweight people should not be ashamed of their bodies. They are interrupted when Frank barges in with a series of fat-related skit ideas for Jenna, all ending with the catch phrase: "Me want food!" Liz and Jenna both dismiss these suggestions and Jenna states that she wants to do a singing/rollerskating number. Liz agrees but their conversation is abruptly cut short when one of Liz's teeth unexpectedly falls out.
Later, Jack purposely shows up at a restaurant he knows Banks is dining at with Don Geiss and his daughter. In an attempt to gain the upper hand and armed with the knowledge of Jack's weak heart, Banks insists that Jack finish his remaining steak since there is no way he could possibly finish it himself. "I'm going to make your heart explode" he whispers in his ear as he pours an enormous glass of wine.
Later that night, TGS airs and Jenna attempts her singing/skating routine. Unfortunately, due to her new body shape, she finds that she is not quite as graceful as she was before and accidentally crashes, tearing the set curtain down in front of the live audience. Desperate to make a recovery she finally exclaims Frank's suggested line "Me want food!" The audience starts cracking up.
The following day, Angie is dropping off the rest of Tracy's belongings. As she walks away, Kenneth asks Angie out on a date in front of Tracy, offering to have sex with her that night. Angie, seeing that Tracy is visibly upset, agrees. This was apparently the plan Kenneth and Dot Com came up with in order to make Tracy realize how much he loves his wife.
At the same time, Liz and Jenna are walking through city withLiz attempting to comfort Jenna about her performance in the show the night before. Much to both of their surprise, they find that many people loved Jenna's performance and even encounter a store selling t-shirts with Jenna's face and new catchphrase printed on them.
While the girls deal with Jenna's newfound fame, Jack is playing football with Banks, who is still intent on pushing his rival's heart to the limit. In retaliation, Jack invites his muscle-bound male friend over to wrestle Banks, who unconvincingly tries to feign disgust as he's pinned down on the field.
Back at the studio, Tracy decides that since he was unfaithful to Angie, he needs to give her the chance to even the playing field. Much to Kenneth's surprise, Tracy gives the page his blessing to go to his house and have relations with his wife. Kenneth is hesitant but agrees.
In the waiting room for surgery, Jenna thumbs through a gossip magazine. In it, she finds an article about her, talking about how proud she seemed to be of her body due to her recent performance. Overjoyed by this new fame, she cancels the surgery and happily announces to Liz that she is keeping the weight. Liz, however, is disappointed, thinking that she is staying overweight for the wrong reasons.
Back at the park, Jack is resting in secret when Banks encounters him. Bragging about being able to eat a hot dog, Banks suddenly starts choking on a bite. Jack agrees to give him the Heimlich maneuver only if Banks agrees to stop trying to push his heart. Banks reluctantly agrees.
Meanwhile, after a daydream about Kenneth and Angie, Tracy decides that he can not allow the two to sleep with one another and heads home to stop them. There, he finds that Kenneth not only did not do the deed, but also threw up in the doorway. Angie, who had no interest in Kenneth anyway, tells her husband that she will take him back only if he never leaves her side again. He agrees and the two kiss.
Later at the park, Geiss sits down to talk to Jack and states that he knows about his heart condition. But he also states that he was impressed by Jack's continued physical activity despite his recent heart attack. Geiss explains that he is thinking about retiring in order to spend more time with his secret family in Canada and that Jack might run the company some day. After Geiss leaves, Jack happily watches Geiss' granddaughter eat a hamburger.
Once again making great use of its stars, the NBC sitcom seems to be doing everything right this season. Though not using its writing staff as much as last year, 30 Rock
is developing its main characters perfectly and doing a nice job of incorporating the guest stars without taking the spotlight away from the regulars.
-George Freitag, Buddy TV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)