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TV Tonight: "30 Rock"

TV Tonight: "30 Rock"

One of the things that's most impressed me about "30 Rock" so far — besides Alec Baldwin, of course — is that it goes places where other network shows fear to tread: kissing cousins, say, or Liz's ex getting caught courting a teenager on "Dateline NBC." Tonight's episode is no exception, with Paul Reubens, aka Pee Wee Herman, making an appearance as Prince Gerhard Hapsburg, the quite obviously inbred end of the royal Hapsburg line.

The pasty prince's birthday party is the hottest invite in New York, and Jack asks Liz to accompany him. Jenna, meanwhile, thinks Gerhard may be her ticket to a fairytale life, and Tracy tempts producer Pete to embrace his inner bad boy. My awesome friends over at TV with MeeVee (who also love "30 Rock") slipped me a screener of this episode, so if you want some other good reasons to watch tonight and don't mind a few small spoilers,

Liz isn't sold on attending the dinner— "would I have to wear high-heeled shoes?" — but Jack ultimately persuades her, telling her it will be good for her to get out after finally dumping Dennis. "You're even wearing lipstick!" he says. "No," Liz replies, "they're just really chapped." Jenna convinces Liz that Jack has asked her on a date-date, which leads to some awkward romantic comedy-esque moments (swelling music, meaningful looks) between Liz and Jack.

Back at the studio, Tracy decides producer Pete needs to loosen up and have some fun, and because he's Tracy, fun = strippers. Innocent Kenneth decides Pete's venturing further into immorality than a family man should go, which leads to a hilarious scene in the men's room that had me cackling.

Jenna, meanwhile, uses her powers of persuasion (read: breasts) to get into Gerhard's party, sure that she's about to meet her prince. You'll have to watch to see how that turns out (hint: not well), but I have to give props to Paul Reubens, who manages to give Gerhard an astounding number of hideous tics in just a few short minutes of screen time.

Other highlights:

  • Isabella Rossellini throwing tantrums and pulling hair as Jack's ex-wife
  • Jack and Liz speaking German to each other
  • Will Forte from "Saturday Night Live" playing Gerhard's loyal aide
  • Liz really, really, really not understanding how to dress herself for a formal affair
  • Oh yes, and Jack telling a "yo mama" joke. That alone makes the whole episode worthwhile.
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