If this week’s new episode is any indication, 30 Rock is going to be pretty bittersweet from hereon out. It’s not that the subject matter of this first rejoinder back from winter hiatus is at all dire or particularly sentimental — in fact, it keeps perfectly in step with the show’s usual brand of raucous absurdity. But the ep, titled “Game Over,” forced us to bid a solemn farewell to three recurring characters who have stood fast as fan favorites since first gracing the nutjob world of Liz Lemon and company: Dr. Leo Spaceman, Devon Banks, and Len Wosniak.
Goodbye, Dr. Spaceman!
That morally bankrupt, mortifyingly incompetent physician (and pretty good dentist) known as Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell), who has been tending to the ailments of the NBC staff for the past seven seasons, treats America to an extravagant series wrap in the opening tag of the episode, barging in on Liz in the middle of her appointment with another, presumably more qualified, medical professional. After basking in an acerbic, long overdue tongue-lashing from Liz over his derelict sensibilities and scattered knowhow, Spaceman is actually apprehended by a pair of police officers… informing him that he has just been named the United States’ Surgeon General. And so, as Leo is dragged out the door, offering only a meta proclamation of his character’s 30 Rock conclusion (“That’s a series wrap for Leo Spaceman!”), we are forced to bid adieu to the man who has treated Jack to so many a colorful pill, who has chuckled so giddily at the hard “k” sound in “kidney,” and who has promoted the use of crystal meth as a viable weight loss option.
Meanwhile, Liz is grappling with her decision to become a mother — each of her options seems to present a roadblock. If she tries to induce fertility and have the baby herself, she runs the risk of health problems for her child, due to her age. If she waits to adopt a newborn, she’ll be almost 50 before becoming a mother. And she fears that the choice to adopt an older child at the present time will present a whole separate set of challenges in the realm of parenting. But we’ll get back to all hubbub that after we focus on the more important issue at hand: saying goodbye to Devon Banks.
Jack’s arch nemesis. The only man with a business sense, unquenchable thirst for power, and Batmanian voicebox on par with those of Donaghy himself. Devon (Will Arnett) resurfaces in this episode when Jack actually calls upon him for help: in an effort to squash his top competitor for the position of KableTown CEO, Hank Hooper’s granddaughter Kaylie (Chloe Moretz, also back for a final swing this week), Jack joins forces with Devon to form the ultimate duo of dirty tricks. First, a bit of context:
Old-fashioned Hooper (Ken Howard), retiring as of his forthcoming 70th birthday (an event he holds sacred, as with each of his birthdays), wants to keep KableTown a family business. But Devon feeds Jack the sordid secret that Kaylie is actually the illegitimate child of Hooper’s daughter-in-law and the family pool boy, thus recanting her KableTown birthright. Jack machinates a plan to apprehend Kaylie’s DNA to prove her not the true child of Hank’s son, whom Devon reveals to be gay… but everything seems to backfire when Kaylie reveals that she and Devon have been working together all along, planting tall tales in Jack’s head in order to sway him into sending false accusations the way of Hank against his own granddaughter… but everything then unbackfires (frontfires? backices? goes swimmingly?) when Jack discloses his cognizance of the pair’s plan all along. He, in fact, was playing them, conning Kaylie and Devon into putting so much time into their devious ploy that they would in fact forget all about Hank’s birthday, thus losing his favor, which would fall duly in the lap of Jack… who, instead of false accusations about Kaylie, actually sent ol’ Hank a thoughtful birthday card. Donaghy, you’ve done it again.
But back to our farewell to Devon. Throughout the game of double agency, Devon employs all his old goldmines for comedy: desperate greed, childish competitiveness, and an apparent incapability to avoid making sexual innuendos while facing off with his archenemy. As with every one of his descents back into the dark cavern from which he sprouted, the farewell we bid to Devon this time around is not one that sees him off to happier locale. Having failed miserably, once more, in his warfare with Jack, we know not what the future will hold for young Banks: is he still living happily as a husband and father of three in Brooklyn? Or has his personal life fallen apart in light of his egomania? We’ll never know. But we’ll always have cold pizza to remember him by.
The least prominent of this episode’s recurring characters but perhaps the most recognizable of its guest actors is Len Wosniak (Steve Buscemi), Jack Donaghy’s bungling private eye whose personal life is always straddling the gutter. Jack brings Len on to aid his quest of defeat over Kaylie and Devon, knowing not that he would actually be unleashing Len onto the next chapter in his life. See, in going undercover as Kaylie’s female substitute teacher, Len discovers a happiness in this new identity like none he’s ever known. He feels free, he loves teaching, and he even gets engaged to a fellow instructor! It’s all-smooth sailing from hereon out for our pal Len, and we’re glad to see him off with such a bright future. No more clinging to the joys of free ice from the GE Building cafeteria or hats from his gym, or giving his gun to his pastor in times of the gloomies — things are going to be different now.
But back to Liz, who, as we must remember, is the main character of the show. See, it is surprisingly a conversation with none other than Tracy that answers her question about which option to explore in the vein of child rearing. When Tracy, who is now producing a film about Harriet Tubman with Octavia Spencer as the star, laments the perils of dealing with a difficult actor (Spencer, playing a loony version of herself, is twice the nutjob that Tracy is), Grizz and Dot Com help him realize that Liz was always the one to straighten him out when he got out of hand. Tracy forwards this message to Liz, recalling how she shaped him from a maniacal man-child into some semblance of a reasonable human being… and if she can do that with Tracy, she can do that with any kid. Thus, Liz phones Bev at the adoption agency (hey, Megan Mullally’s back, too!) to declare that she wants to adopt an older child right away!
But wait, shouldn't Liz talk to Criss about any of this? No? James Marsden’s not available this week? Yeah, okay, fine, just focus on Dr. Spaceman.
[Photo Credit: Ali Goldstein/NBC (2)]
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Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Billy Elliot, The Musical is leading the way at this year's Tony Awards after scooping 15 nominations -- tying with The Producers for the most nominations ever garnered by one show.
Click here for full coverage of the Tonys and all things Broadway!
The production, based on the 2000 film about a coal miner's son who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, will go up against Next To Normal, Shrek The Musical and Rock of Ages in the coveted Best Musical category at the 63rd annual ceremony, which honors the best on Broadway.
Elton John, who has been nominated for the show's original score, says of the nomination: "It's been an amazing experience. It's made an incredible impact on my life."
The drama 33 Variations was nominated for Best Play, competing against God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate and Reasons to be Pretty.
Meanwhile, Hollywood actors James Gandolfini and Jeff Daniels, who both star in God of Carnage, have been pitted against each other for the Leading Actor in a Play award.
Their co-stars Marcia Gay Harden and Hope Davis will battle it out in the Leading Actress in a Play category, which also includes veteran actress Jane Fonda for her role as a dying musicologist in 33 Variations.
The winners will be announced on June 7 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
The main list of nominees is as follows:
Dividing the Estate - Horton Foote
God of Carnage - Yasmina Reza
Reasons to be Pretty - Neil LaBute
33 Variations - Moises Kaufman
Next to Normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek the Musical
Leading Actor in a Play:
Jeff Daniels - God of Carnage
Raul Esparza - Speed-the-Plow
James Gandolfini - God of Carnage
Geoffrey Rush - Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski - Reasons to be Pretty
Leading Actress in a Play:
Hope Davis - God of Carnage
Jane Fonda - 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden - God of Carnage
Janet McTeer - Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter - Mary Stuart
Leading Actor in a Musical:
David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish - Billy Elliot
Gavin Creel - Hair
Brian d'Arcy James - Shrek the Musical
Constantine Maroulis - Rock of Ages
J. Robert Spencer - Next to Normal
Leading Actress in a Musical:
Stockard Channing - Pal Joey
Sutton Foster - Shrek the Musical
Allison Janney - 9 to 5
Alice Ripley - Next to Normal
Josefina Scaglione - West Side Story
Next to Normal
9 to 5
Shrek the Musical
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