Steve Buscemi guest stars in this week’s 30 Rock as a private investigator hired to search through Jack Donaghey’s mysterious past. Meanwhile, Tracy Jordan deals with a wife that is determined to never leave his side as Jenna struggles to keep the weight that has given her a recent boost in popularity.
We open in Jack’s office as Liz interrupts a conversation between Jack and his assistant, Jonathan. Jack is apparently up as a possible candidate for the position of president at G.E. Because of this, the company is currently researching his past, looking for anything that could possibly embarrass them. So, Jack has hired his own private investigator to find anything incriminating before the company does. He rationalizes this by comparing it to Liz seeing a psychiatrist.
The next morning, Liz arrives to the studio, surprised to find Tracy on time and that the girl in his dressing room is actually his wife. Tracy’s wife, Angie, explains to Liz her terms for taking back Tracy in last week’s episode – that Tracy must never again leave her sight. In private, outside the dressing room, Angie confesses that she can’t take care of Tracy alone and asks for Liz’s help to which Liz agrees.
After, Kenneth is helping Jenna sort through her massive amounts of fan mail. Apparently her weight has made her more popular than ever and everyone seems to like her more. She even has a fragrance commercial marketed towards plus-sized women. She comments that even Jack seems to like her now as he congratulates her on her weight.
Jack later meets with his private investigator, Len. The investigator asks if there is anything he needs to know about Jack before he begins claiming that if there is, he will find out. Jack insists that his past is clean enough.
Later, Jenna runs into Liz’s dressing room, stressing out that she has begun to lose weight. Due to her boost in popularity, Jenna has begun to lose her appetite and as a result, started to lose weight. She worries that she will lose some of her offered roles, such as her upcoming role as Ms. Pac-Man, and that no one will like her.
Following Jenna’s rant, Liz goes over to check on Tracy who is reading the newspaper. Liz comments on how great Tracy is doing, but the moment he discovers that his wife is not around, he takes off to the strip club despite Liz’s protests.
Jack is upset that Jenna is losing weight. He sends Kenneth to follow Jenna around and make sure she keeps her weight on.
After dealing with his employees, Jack again meets with his investigator. After suggesting some minor changes in his lifestyle, Jack pays his Len and begins to walk away. Just as they are about to leave, Len presents Jack with one more thing he discovered. Apparently Jack has a love for cookie jars, collecting and showing them at conventions under the alias of “Victor Nightingale.” Len states that Jack has to let go of his cookie jar collection if he wants to be considered for the presidential position at G.E.
Back at the studio, Angie asks Liz about her husband’s whereabouts just as Tracy returns. Liz, after stating that Tracy has gone to vet to take care of a pet snake, has some surprising success miming the story to Tracy behind Angie’s back, but is revealed when Tracy continues to interpret Liz’s actions as part of the cover story. Angie blames Tracy’s trip to the strip club on Liz and demands that all decisions be run through her first.
Later, Liz tries to suggest sketch ideas to Angie for Tracy but Angie is going all “Yoko” on her and turning down everything. She asks for Dot Com and Griz to help with suggestions and the two offer an idea in which Tracy plays an astronaut in the future going to different planets, reminiscent of ‘s “Astronaut Jones” skit on . Liz is not thrilled about the idea.
Meanwhile, Kenneth is still trying to keep Jenna fat, but Jenna still can’t build up an appetite. Kenneth turns to Liz for advice and she suggests that, since Jenna’s loss of appetite is tied to her self-esteem, that Kenneth try insulting the actress in order to make her want to eat more. She happily writes down a list of things to say to Jenna in order to achieve this.
Outside, Jack tries to dispose of his cookie jar collection, but refuses when Len says he will just incinerate the collectables. Jack insists that he instead finds a good home for them.
Afterwards, Liz runs into Jack’s office, asking for advice on how to deal with Tracy’s wife. Liz first talks about offering Angie a “consulting” title to appease her but Jack does not think this will work. He suggests that, instead, Liz fight her. He then offers Liz boxing advice as to the best way to take down Angie as he always makes a point to size people up when he meets them.
In Jenna’s dressing room, Kenneth tries out the insults given to him by Liz. Unfortunately, the insults have the wrong effect on Jenna and, while still lowering her self-esteem, they amp up her sex drive instead of her appetite and she tries to seduce Kenneth.
Back in Tracy’s room, Liz tries her first idea, offering Angie “consultant” credit. When Angie declines, Liz is forced to go by Jack’s advice and starts insulting Angie with the intent of instigating a fight. As Liz removes her glasses and tearfully shuts her eyes in fear, Tracy finally stands up at the last moment and stops the confrontation. He scolds the two women for their immature behavior and forcing him to act like an adult. He starts to yell at Angie for being too bossy but she interrupts him, commenting how he’s never talked like that to her before. They two reconcile physically on the dressing room floor as Liz exits.
In Jack’s office, Kenneth admits to Jack that he was unable to get Jenna to eat more. While there, he comments on how much he likes the cookie jar Jack is holding. Jack realizes that he has found the perfect person to whom to hand over his collection and Kenneth happily agrees.
Though not as strong as the previous two episodes of the season, Tracy is still terrific and the nod to his old SNL skit was a nice touch. The lack of focus on the personal life of Liz Lemon, the supposed main character of the series, seems to give the series a lack of focus in general from episode to episode. Hopefully we will be able to dive back into her private issues soon, though, as her approachable yet successful persona was one of the main draws to the series in the first place.
-George Freitag, Buddy TV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)