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30 Rock Recap: Audi 5000

Heavy. Real heavy. Last episode Liz decided against giving in to Wesley, her wannabe “settling soul mate” — whom she met after she couldn’t find anyone to pick her up from the dentist’s office on Valentine’s Day, which, well, that’s just sad — and this week, Floyd, the only good boyfriend she ever had, returns to New York, eager to meet up. So what happens? He tentatively reenters her life? They have a bittersweet reunion, which ends, as it must, with them parting on good terms, some lesson or another learned? Maybe these would be television clichés, but they almost certainly would have been less of a gratuitous bummer than what actually happened.

Which was: Liz inadvertently gets Floyd, who is a recovering alcoholic, drunk. Dark. He explains their breakup by saying (sarcastically), “There are so many guys who wanna be poisoned and yelled at.” Darker. At episode’s end, Liz meets Floyd’s fiancée — oh yes, he’s engaged, to a peppy blonde — and looks genuinely crushed as the sobered-up groom-to-be stands with his new woman. Lights out, man. Sure, the fact that Floyd got a tramp stamp in the throes of his bender is hilarious, but we’re hard-pressed to understand why Liz needs to be brought so damn low. How can the show insist she’s so hard to love, when she’s so obviously the opposite? Oh, and also: Were it not for Tracy imagining he and Kenneth together in a hot tub — “glistening black and white skin ... like a killer whale being born” — Kenneth’s whole Nightmare on Elm Street subplot would have been pointless. Thank God for Jack Donaghy, by whose grace we were granted the clip below.

Photo: Ali Goldstein/NBC