The world of 30 Rock is an unquestionably weird one (last night's episode featured a couch mascot in a threesome) but it's one that's always been acutely aware of its weirdness. In fact, the brilliant, off-kilter series has always worn its freak flag with pride (how else would you explain Prince Gerhardt?) but in its current disjointed sixth season, it looks as though the show might be starting to wave the white flag, both on and off-screen.
Aside from Alec Baldwin making his most recent threat to leave NBC and Tina Fey all but sealing the cult favorite's fate when she told the ladies of The View that "The end of the show is on the horizon," the show's writers may have not-so-subtly addressed the show's downward slope. In the opening scene of last night's episode "Meet the Woggles!" Liz complains that her sweatshirt is touting the wrong TGS catch phrase for its sixth season. The slogan for said sixth season? "Yuck!" And – you guessed it – 30 Rock in the midst of its sixth season. Coincidence? Twist!
Still, this is not to imply that the smart, funny, and talented cast and crew behind 30 Rock has surrendered. Even in the most mediocre of episodes, which "Meet the Woggles!" arguably was, they can still turn out some of the most quality comedy on television. Plus, you can't really ever go wrong with having Elaine Stritch return to play Jack's delightfully terrible mother, daughter of Unclaimed Irish Stowaway, Colleen Donaghy.
Jack and Colleen went toe-to-toe again as its discovered that the world's best worst mother has been in New York City to have heart surgery. Rather than tell Jack she's in town and ill (the hospital alerts him of her whereabouts after they found his name "on a list of disappointments she keeps folded up in her shoe") Colleen does what she does best: Repress. Well, repress and make some wildly racist and homophobic comments. But Liz, the over sharer extraordinaire that she is, eventually wears them down to get them to have a sweet and sincere talk with one another, a moment she took great pleasure in taking credit for. (Good God Lemon, Stritch deserves another Emmy for her work on this show.)
On the other end of the 30 Rock arena things were relatively status quo. Well, status quo in the sense that Jenna was doing something self-absorbed, this time pulling a Yoko Ono on her sexual walkabout to a White Supremacist Wiggles knock-off band called The Woggles (yes, you read that correctly) and Tracy was behaving as a barely functioning man child by trying to "reverse Urkel" his son George Foreman from attending Stanford. Tracy eventually came to his senses (well, as much as Tracy is capable of that) and Jenna came to terms with the fact that she is still in love with Paul, who she discovered has moved on with a new woman he dresses like and a couch mascot. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
Here are some of the best moments and lines from last night's 30 Rock "Meet the Woggles!":
- "Factories provide three things this country desperately needs: Jobs, pride, and material for Bruce Springsteen songs."- Jack
- "Proud? My son's a nerd!" - Tracy
- "What are you gonna do, put on your galoshes go eat some fruit like a Frenchman?" - Colleen
- "That song, like everything, is about me!" - Jenna
- "There’s no need for us to start jabbering about our feelings and sobbing like Bill Belichick listening to Adele!"- Colleen
- "If you're ordering me an edible arrangement to say thanks, I prefer meat ones!"- Liz
- Liz's pronunciation of "guarantee" is "gar-awn-tee." (I wish I had a cam-ah-rah to capture Colleen's face during this.)
- Liz's make-it-rain dance.
- Liz's "Talk to your mother!" emoticon. (The 8 is the glasses!)
- Paul's last name is L’Astnamé.
- Colleen's usual hospital of choice is Boston Catholic Guilt Hospital.
- Both Dick Cheney and Dean Cain had an equal number of jabs at their expense.
So maybe things aren't so bad as they seem on 30 Rock. There's clearly still some life left in the show and with awesome announcements like this, it's going to be sadder to let go than listening to Mike and Mechanics' "The Living Years." But what did you think of last night's episode? Par for the course with the so-so episodes as of late or redeemed by the incomparable Elaine Stritch? Sound off in the comments section. Last word.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
[Photo credit: NBC]