30 Rock 5.22 “Everything Sunny All the Time Always” Review

Ian McDonald April 29, 2011 8

No. Way. Condoleezza Rice? For real? They got Condoleezza Rice?

Say what you will about 30 Rock as of late, but they can sure land some high-profile cameos. On top of former Secretary Rice, Margaret Cho appeared as Kim Jong Il and Elizabeth Banks returned as Avery Jessup.

In “Everything Sunny All the Time Always,” Liz attempts to take control of her personal life but hits an unexpected snag, Tracy attempts to recreate the conditions of an inside joke upon feeling left out and Jack must find a way to bring his kidnapped wife back from North Korea.

The scene with Condoleezza Rice was as funny as it was surreal. 30 Rock has quite a past of turning political figures, specifically members of the previous administration, into cartoon versions of themselves. This wasn’t quite so in the scene with Rice. Viewers were offered a glimpse into her and Jack’s relationship and it seems as though they were constantly competing against one another. The only real bummer with the scene was Rice’s acting ability. I know, I know, she’s not an actress but she looked like she was about to break with every line.

As Liz begins organizing her life, a brief montage plays of her painting her apartment and eating ceiling lamp candy (I hope it was just candy). A self-aware montage song plays with Tina Fey explaining how montages work. This was very reminiscent of Matt Stone’s and Trey Parker’s montage explanation song heard in South Park and I’m pretty sure Team America, as well. Fey’s version doesn’t seem to have the same vibe as Stone and Parker’s. It almost seems like she went down the cutesy path and made it a big joke. Sometimes the best jokes are when one appears to take something too seriously, much like the South Park montage song.

I was completely surprised when I found that Margaret Cho played Kim Jong Il. For a second, I thought that they brought in the same person that played Mr. Kim in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Cho portrayed Il the dictator as a folk hero whose ridiculousness is on a Charlie Sheen level. Humor at the expense of North Korea’s leader is never not funny, but it makes me wonder if he pays attention to it and what he’s planning for a response. I’ll begin constructing my bomb shelter once this review is posted. Nah, nevermind. Screw that guy.

Last week, I suggested that it may be time for 30 Rock to throw in the towel. This is an opinion that seems to be changing constantly now. I feel like if 30 Rock continues to produce episodes like “Everything Sunny All the Time Always,” the show will remain adequate … just maybe with less shark-jumpy moments like a major character winning an Oscar or the wife of another major character being kidnapped to North Korea and essentially written out of the show. Just a thought.

  • coe

    30 Rock…adequate? You know, Ian if you really don't know anything about comedy, you shouldn't be writing about it. By the way, "thought" has a "t" at the end. Man , you're really an idio.

  • Ian McDonald

    Thank you for your constructive criticism. Most people would have resorted to name calling, but you didn't do that. You offered a very well thought-out rebuttal and I appreciate that.

    As for the spelling error, it was a horrible mistake and it won't happen again. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • A Non Ymus

    You know, coe, you didn't actually contribute any thoughts at all. I found the article to be very well written. Many people are not willing to admit that 30 Rock has been on the decline since the end of the 3rd season and Ian pointed out some very important flaws in the show.

    In my opinion, it has turned into a show that feels like it is written to please critics and has become somewhat equated. I still love the show and will see it through to the end, but I feel the writers know that the gig is almost up.

  • Ruth

    Is Avery written out of the show? How can they do that, while Jack still has her baby? That is really sad, I thought Avery was quite entertaining.

  • michael scott n&#039

    This was an amazing episode, and I applaud the writers for continuing to come up with creative ways to write out their guest stars. I feel like with Matt Damon and Elizabeth Banks, as well as last season's Julianne Moore, the exits have been creative, and not lackluster as some other shows have done in the past. Airplane gun showdown? Korean kidnapping? We couldn't ask for anything more.

    Just as Double-Edged Sword focused on the culmination of Liz's Season 5 relationship, Everything Sunny All the Time Always serves as the culmination of Jack's Season 5 relationship. Great character development, and sets up the stage for a very interesting plot with Jack.

    Ultimately, this season, while plot-wise, not as captivating as other season, has done an above average job. 30 Rock's meh-season is 10 times better than other shows' best season. That said, I'm looking forward to what creative turns the writers take to rectify Jack and Liz's relationships.

  • argh

    Erm. Some people refuse to admit that it's "been on the decline since the end of the 3rd season" because they don't agree that it has.  I'm aware of the criticism of "30 Rock" and you're free to think it's been getting worse, but I genuinely think it's as funny and spot-on as it's ever been. Yes, it has flaws, and sometimes it lacks actual plots or is too focused on its guest stars, but I still think it's one of the best comedies on TV and it's certainly still my favorite show. Maybe it's changed course a little, but in my opinion, it's much, much better than just "adequate." :)

    Anyway, is Avery actually written out for good? I got the feeling that she'll be back eventually (especially since she's a mother now — actually, I assumed they'd sort it out during the next episode), although I guess I could be wrong.  It just will feel very weird if the show just ignores that in future episodes, especially if Jack ignores her permanent absence.

  • Ian McDonald

    To be clear, I definitely don't think 30 Rock has been bad at all. In fact, it's still pretty brilliant. I just think that it's not as good as it once was.

    As far as Avery goes, I feel like the episode hinted at her departure. She may pop up once or twice again, kind of like Liz's ex, Floyd, but I won't be expecting to see her again anytime soon. It does make me wonder what'll happen to the baby, though.

  • Antonio

    I think this is ridiculous, season 6 does not belong with 4 and 5. This season is far superior to the previous two, amazing as it was in the beginning. Last week's episode was my favorite ever and I don't think you are into the kind of humor 30 Rock wonderfully employs. Maybe you shouldn't be writing the reviews of this show. I hope Avery returns, she was always fantastic.