30 Rock 3.14 “The Funcooker”

nup_133398_0123We open on Liz walking through the plaza of 30 Rock. She’s carrying some large bags filled with plastic totes as Kenneth runs up behind her and offers his assistance. She fills Kenneth in on how a trip to the Container Store can change your life. She’s going to be wonderful, like a phoenix rising – oops! She spoke too soon as a bike messenger mows her down. “Or maybe this is going to be the worst day ever.”

The writer’s room at TGS. Liz walks in with hair like Drew Barrymore at the Golden Globes and tells everyone to shut up. Today she’s already lost faith in the power of decorganization, chipped a tooth, and lost a shoving with what she thought was a female bike messenger. For the next 12-14 hours, they need to just BE COOL. In a show of how well they’ll follow direction, Frank walks in wearing no pants. Liz asks Cerie to book her a dentist appointment, but Cerie says no can do, Liz has jury duty today! Liz asks how that’s possible when she’s registered to vote in Illinois, and Cerie informs her she transferred her voter registration in an effort to to be more proactive. “No, buy more Proactive!” Liz hisses. Jonathan runs in and says Jack needs to see her ASAP regarding Jenna and Tracy’s antics during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

As Liz walks into his office, Jack asks Tracy and Jenna to explain to the elderly Irish man sitting in his office why hosting live coverage of the parade went so very wrong. Jenna explains how she’s shooting a Janis Joplin inspired biopic at night as they cut to her in full Joplin-esque regalia. “A synonym is just another word for the one you want to use,” she sings. Between that at night and TGS during the day, she’s exhausted. “That’s nae excuse!” Mr. Irish man yells. There’s more yelling before Jack cuts to the chase and cues up Jenna and Tracy’s earlier performance. Tracy announces the County Cork Steppers as Jenna keels over off her stool. “Wake up, motherf-” Tracy shouts, as Jack quickly turns off the tape. OK, time for digression! I had a dream just two days before this episode that Tina Fey “discovered” me on the internet, and was conducting a phone interview to possibly hire me as a writer for 30 Rock. During the course of the interview, I was doing about 10,000 things (much like Liz Lemon), and at one point I swore “Motherf*$#@*!”, impressing her, and landing the job. So the fact that that particular cuss word was featured so prominently filled me with absolute glee. Call me, Tina! “You’re a disgrace!” the old Irish guy cries as he storms out. “Passing out? Cursing? On St. Patrick’s Day? Is nothing sacred?” Jack asks, completely seriously. The FCC is fining Tracy personally the tidy sum of $50,000. Liz tells Jenna she’s spreading herself too thin, to which the dozing Jenna replies she only heard the thin part. Jack agrees, and says that Jenna can’t do Janie Jeplin and TGS. Jenna chooses the movie, but Jack cuts in and says that he’s sure Liz will find a way to make it work, right Liz? “You’re going to the Dr!” Liz orders. As Tracy and Jenna leave, Jack stops Liz for a moment to show her the new pocket microwave GE is releasing Friday. “It has a ham button! You used my idea!” Liz squeals with delight.

Dr. Spaceman! I’ve missed you, Dr. Spaceman. Jenna has followed Liz’s advice and is asking the good Dr. what to do. He assures her she can burn the candle at both ends. In fact, in the course of the sleep research he’s conducting right now on behalf of the US military and the WNBA, he’s developed a pill that will keep anyone awake during any circumstances. His lab rat has been awake for days! Jenna, his first human subject, just needs to take 25 of the pills he gives her every day for the rest of her life.

Liz is heading of to jury duty, Princess Leia costume and Playgirl magazines from the early ’80’s in tow. She admonishes the writers to behave again, and emphasizes that no one is in charge while she’s gone. She runs into Tracy on her way out, and all he’s learned from his $50,000 fine is that if you pay some money, you can say whatever you want. I think there’s a tie in to Lent and swear jars there. He’s off to appear on Martha Stewart Live. His departing words, “Oh, it’s gonna be RAUNCHY!” strike fear in Liz’s heart. Liz chases after him and they run into Jenna, who has taken her pills are is twitching like a crack addict. Liz begs them to hold it together until she gets back as Frank walks by, once again without pants. “I thought you left,” he says. “Just be normal for like two hours!” she cries, as Jenna twitches and scratches. I have a bad feeling about this.

Liz is up on the witness stand in her Princess Leia get up, trying to shirk jury duty. The judge doesn’t think it’s a problem for holograms to serve on a jury, so she’s on the hook.

Dr. Spaceman and his busty colleague observe the rat participating in the sleep study. Dr. Spaceman observes that, “The subject is unusually thirsty,” as the cameras cut to Jenna, downing bottled water like she just made it to the oasis.

Jack walks into the writers room and tells everyone to shut up. Apparently that’s the standard greeting there. Jenna scurries away behind him as he focuses his attention on the writers. He needs their help, as the name he’s chosen for the pocket microwave, the “Bite Nuker” is offensive in both French and Dutch. As of now, all the writers are part of the microwave division. Frank gets up and once again has on no pants. “Ah – absolutely not,” Jack orders.

Princess Leia Liz complains to the baliff that her get up used to get her out of jury duty all the time in Chicago. The baliff points out that compared to the rest of the jury, she’s damn near normal. There’s old man with a boombox, 60-something twins in Mondrian inspired tunics with matching Speedy the Alka Seltzer ad hair and crazed smiles, a guy with what looks like a bong, another guy wrapped in Christmas lights (lit), what looks to be a 10-year old boy with a fake mustache, and a woman with a dog wrapped up like a baby. There’s also an African-American guy wearing a knit hat, who is by far the most normal. That’s including Liz.

Liz calls Kenneth to warn him she’s stuck there. He tells her, “The pig spoor has hit the windmill!” Tracy cussed on Martha Stewart, Jenna drank all the water in the toilets, and Kenneth has a sneeze stuck. Liz entreats him to not let anything else bad happen. “I’m in charge!” Kenneth gloats. “Send home all the menstruating women!” I think the power went straight to his head.

Dr. Spaceman and Busty. The rat is pawing at the glass of his cage, and has been for eight hours. “You know what I like to do for eight hours?” Dr. Spaceman queries Busty. “The TV Guide crossword.” They cut to Jenna as Janie, pawing at the glass of some hotel room in the scene she’s shooting. The director asks her to stop, but “This feels more natural! This is what my character would do!” she says.

Liz finally gets back to TGS. Kenneth is sad his reign is over, and takes down a “No beards or mustaches in the workplace” sign. Liz looks annoyed.

The writers room is empty. “Where is everyone?” she wonders. “They’re all dead,” Jack replies, appearing out of the darkness. Liz is startled, until he adds, “Unless they come up with a name for my pocket microwave.” He’s keeping them all until they do, so Liz needs to write the show by herself. That’s not a problem, right Liz? He’s of the opinion that it will take her about an hour to write the show, the real problem is Tracy. Advertisers are pulling out, and while Tracy has enough money to pay fines for the next 200 years, if there are no advertisers, there’s no TGS. Jack sees Liz’s future – she’s self-publishing her autobiography and moving back in with her parents. She assures him she’ll talk to Tracy.

Tracy’s dressing room. He’s catching up on some work, and asks Liz what sounds more shocking, “Bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep?” or “Bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep, bleep.” “Oh, god!” Liz cries. He notes the second, and tosses Liz a wad of bills. “Tracy, just because you have money doesn’t mean you can say whatever the bleep you want!” Liz yells. Tracy gives her a look and she tosses him back the wad of cash. She fills him in on the problem with the advertisers, and he agrees that he doesn’t want to hurt the crew. He loves the crew, all they do is joke around about their stupid boss Liz Le- he trails off. Unless Tracy knows an advertiser who wants to be associated with bleeps, he needs to stop. “Great idea!” Tracy shouts. He’ll buy up all the ads himself.

The next day. As Jack enters his office, Jonathan tells him Tracy has invited him to lunch to celebrate his new ad campaign. Jack brushes him off, he’s still hard at work on the name for the pocket microwave. All the names the writers have thought of are offensive in some language, including English. “They knew what a Hot Richard was?” Frank says, amazed. Jack says it’s time to think outside the box, and pulls out a bag of Scrabble tiles. His first pull – VAG. Second – NI. Third – HITLER. He gives up and orders Jonathan to get Lemon on the phone.

Liz’s product placement iPhone rings, but she’s busy on the jury. Up on the witness stand, Mrs. Gawky testifies how her day was December 17th at Mail Boxes Plus. She’s the assistant manager there, and oversees a staff of 12 who “would be unemployable in any other field”. They’re selfish, irresponsible, and she knows they talk about her behind her back. They think their job is wasting her time by making all their miniscule problems her responsibility. “Don’t even get me started on Tracy and Jenna,” she adds. Liz has been sympathetic to her plight, but at this she looks slightly startled. Mrs. Gawky waited until everyone had left for the night, and she could smell it was time for it all to burn. A new, better, wonderful her would rise from the ashes like a phoenix. As the prosecutor rests, Liz looks weirded out by the similarities.

Jack’s office. Since he’s had no luck with the writers, it’s time to hear from the underlings. Jonathan is excited to get his big moment, but Jack turns to Kenneth instead, who dubs it “The Funcooker.” “It’s snappy, fresh and incapable of offending! Get legal on the phone!” Jack says. Jonathan mentions they’re about to read Tracy’s apology on Access Hollywood. After reading his “heartfelt apology”, the announcer cuts to commercial. “I do not apologize! I didn’t write that!” Tracy shouts in his commercial. “How many seconds was that? Was that 30?” Jack looks momentarily grim, then pulls himself out of it. “Doesn’t matter. We have The Funcooker.”

Liz calls Kenneth and says she should be there in about an hour. Mrs. Gawky is being led off by an officer of the court as Liz stand in the hall. “I’m going to have a sandwich in my cell and take a nap. This man opens doors for me. I’m free! I’m freer than you! I’m freer than you!” Mrs. Gawky cries. Liz looks terrified it might be true.

Dr. Spaceman and Busty. Professor Bananas (the rat) is dead! Dr. Spaceman pleads to borrow Busty’s car so he can rush to save Jenna. We cut to Jenna on the set of TGS. A costume assistant is putting a bear costume head on her as Kenneth walks by. He asks how she is. “Great!” she trills. “Hey, is your vision steadily narrowing down to a pinpoint as if the darkness is closing in on you?” she asks. “No, mam!” Kenneth cheerfully replies. Jenna nods, twitches, and puts on her bear head.

Jack watches a monitor of TGS. It’s time for the Robot & Bear Talk Show! Liz races in, convinced they need to shut down the production, but Jack assures her it will all be fine just as Dr. Spaceman races in. “Jenna needs to sleep or she’s going to DIE!!!!!!!!11!!!!!” He races onto the set and demands of the two bears and the robot, “Which one of you is Jenna?” A bear raises it’s paw. Dr. Spaceman grabs the bear’s head and starts bashing it onto the coffee table, screaming, “Go to sleep! Sleep, Jenna! Sleep! It’s for your own good. Don’t fight me!” Liz stares, momentarily frozen in horror, before racing to the control room with Jack close on her heels. The monitors show Tracy getting up in front of the cameras. “Oh, Tracy, please cover for them!” Liz hopes. “Hey America! Check out my Funcooker!” Tracy smiles, as he turns and droops his pants, mooning the country. “Oh, that’s where I heard that!” Kenneth giddily says as he walks by. Jack gives him a murderous look before racing off. “Go to commercial! Go to commercial!” Liz frantically cries. The monitors show Tracy hiking up his pants as Jack starts to move on stage from the wings, only to be hit in the face with a barstool Dr. Spaceman has started swinging.

Commercial. “Hi! I’m Tracy Jordan! My wife is throwing away some of our old towels. Do you want them? ‘Cause they’re out by the trash cans. Now that’s got to be 3o seconds! Nine? OK, here comes the Funcooker!” as a repeat of what happened just moments ago happens once again. Liz gasps and covers her mouth in horror.

Everyone is being herded into Liz’s office. She uses the voice mother’s have for misbehaving teenagers and says darkly, “I’ll be with you in a minute.” Jenna is still alive and conscious. “Can we get some Diet Slice and pita chips up in here?” Tracy wonders. Liz narrows her eyes in reply before closing the door.

Outside the closed door, Liz spies a book of matches behind a pile of t-shirts on a bookshelf. In a trance, she reaches for them, knocking the T’s to the floor. Lost in the moment, she strikes a match and watches it burn, thinking of the possibilities before snapping to her senses and blowing it out. She tosses it down, where it promptly ignites the pile of t-shirts on the floor, right in front of her office door. “Bite Nuker!” she shouts.

A fireman is helping everyone out through a hole chopped in Liz’s office door. Liz stands off to the side, looking resigned to the madness. “Monday, 9am! I’ll be there with pants on!” Frank enthuses with fear. “Hi girlfriend! Let’s go out this weekend and talk about you!” Jenna says with a smile. “All I did was ask for a Diet Slice and some pita chips!” Tracy whines. “Nice try, Liz. Now it’s my turn,” Dr. Spaceman glowers. Kenneth can’t even look at her. “Well, they’re all terrified of you,” Jack says admiringly. “That will get you a week of good behavior.” The fireman pulls out a wad of melted plastic – it’s Liz’s containers. So much for decorganization. Jack acknowledges they’ve both had a bad week. “I suggest we both go to our respective homes, open a bottle of wine, and heat up some ham in the shower,” Jack says, handing her the pocket microwave. “It works in the shower?” Liz asks, her eyes filled with wonder. “You know what? This really is the best day ever,” she says, hugging her microwave tightly as Jack smiles.

This week – it’s the return of Dr. Drew Baird! Happy early birthday to me!


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