Back in January, we called Tina Fey “the first true female Woody Allen” — and quickly added, “Which is not to discount Cathy Guisewite and her clear influence on 30 Rock.” And wouldn’t you know it: Last night, when Liz Lemon ran into her starchy anti-husband Wesley (last name Snipes) at a showing of Hot Tub Time Machine (nice product placement! We’re totally seeing that), their inevitable bickering led Wesley to compare Liz’s life to “something out of a Cathy cartoon — it just won’t end.” Now, comparing 30 Rock to Cathy isn’t exactly obscure or brilliant, but to do it in such a terrific episode — really, a Cathy parody — reminds us of just how sharp this show remains.
Things got off to a lightning-paced start, with Jack’s company-wide meeting that devolved, randomly and almost immediately, into city rivalries, with Boston-bred Jack throwing a battery at Liz in return for her Philly snowball, and all of it culminating in Jenna shoving a man away from the mike and breaking out into “Amazing Grace.” The stories that followed — Jack trying to fit in at Kabletown (and suggesting “porn for women,” meh), Liz contemplating Wesley (Snipes) for a “settling soul mate,” and Tracy dealing with the world’s discovery of his fidelity to his wife — were all quite comfortably situated in the show’s wheelhouse, but great vehicles for the gags, a few of which we can’t resist bullet-pointing here.
• Tracy’s Ben and Jerry’s flavor, “Adultaraisin.”
• Tracy’s Post headline, “Old Faithful.”
• The glimpse of the lesbian and the Hasid canoodling in the dentist’s recovery room.
• Jenna confusing Tiger Woods and O.J. Simpson. Yikes!
• Jack “the Master Baiter” Donaghy
• “I innovate products.”
• Don Geiss encased in Carbonite.
• And greatest of all, Fresh Ass: Based on the Novel Tush by Assfire
And of course, Tracy Jordan took his shirt off: