30 Rock Recap: Conan-Leno Jokes Are Past Their Expiration Date

30 Rock

’Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter’ & ‘Khonani’
Season 4 Episodes 17 and 18

On last night’s 30 Rock twofer, Twofer got a new nickname (Kanye East!); Julianne Moore and her atrocious Boston accent returned; Ben Silverman was slapped around; Liz learned not one, but two important life lessons — neither about how to date properly — and we learned that it really is too late for Conan-Leno jokes.

In both episodes, Jack gets caught up in triangles. In the first half-hour, Nancy and her fake accent are back to complicate Jack’s relationship with Avery (Elizabeth Banks). Jack can’t make up his mind between the two — how can he choose between Lee Marvin and Derek Jeter!? — and opts to continue seeing both. Liz cautions him against this: “Mrs. Doubtfire shimself could not do it!” But Jack will not be deterred.

In the second episode, Jack gets embroiled in a much more meta conundrum: a janitorial battle for the “Tonight shift.” See, five years ago, on the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s death, Jack signed a paper-towel contract agreeing to give the janitor Khonani the 11:30 clean-up spot. But janitor Subas isn’t ready to give it up. What unfolds is more or less the Conan-Leno battle, but against the heated backdrop of garbage collection. A few months ago this would have been a cutting-edge satire of the Coco kerfuffle. Now, not so much. When Jack informs Khonani he has to take the 11:30 shift away from him, Khonani says it’s all right, “they have a job for me at Fox [cough], Foxwoods casino.” Bet Fey wants that joke back.

There was one better inside-baseball joke last night, at the expense of none other than Ben Silverman. In the evening’s best story line, about, um, affirmative action and racism, Twofer quits after learning that he provides TGS with “a point of view that is essential to keeping the diversity … guy from bothering us.” (Twofer asks after Tracy convinces him that since the election of Obama, racism is on the rise because white people no longer feel they need to be nice to black people. The irrefutable evidence: a Slovin’s Shield commercial with a black robber and an episode of Law & Order with a white judge.) Liz, certain she’s never gotten special treatment for being a woman, refuses to ask Twofer back. So Pete digs deep into Liz’s résumé, discovering “the only reason NBC picked up The Girly Show was the flack they got after airing the action drama Bitch Hunter” starring Will Ferrell and executive produced by … Ben Silverman. Burn.

Our pick for quote of the night: “This is the only restaurant in America with a veal tank.” “It just tastes better when you pick your own.”

30 Rock Recap: Conan-Leno Jokes Are Past Their Expiration Date