I love when 30 Rock gets political. Some of the show’s best moments come when it takes on and skews current events or social issues, e.g. Jack’s pre-taped celebrity disaster fundraising extravaganza. “TGS Hates Women” does it perfectly. So far, it’s my favorite episode since the return from winter break. Liz stumbles across a blog post claiming that her show is misogynistic because all of her skits with females amount to women saying, “oh no, my period!” shortly followed by them going insane. To shore up TGS’s reputation in the blogosphere, Liz hires a female comic writer, Abby Flynn (Cristin Milioti), who, to Lemon’s dismay, turns out to be a grown-up Lolita, complete with crotch-length dresses, Justin Bieber voice and pigtails.
Lemon tries to convince Abby to drop the act, eventually finding a video of Abby before her transformation into a pedophile’s fantasy where she looks, well, normal. Of course, it turns out Lemon makes an epic fail. Abby changes her look because — of all things — she is on the run from her ex-husband who “went insane after getting electrocuted while watching Sleeping With The Enemy.” And now he’ll find her again. Good job Liz. The plot also features some pretty awesome Jenna one-liners, with Jenna attempting to “destroy” Abby because she’s too hot.
But the best thing about 30 Rock’s satire is that it takes an issue and turns it on its head. You’d expect an episode called “TGS Hates Women” to be biting jokes pointed at female discrimination in the workplace, and the episode lets you think that for awhile. But in the end, it pretty much ignores the issue, making a joke out of it, which I’m fine with. I don’t watch 30 Rock for social commentary — I watch it to laugh. There’s something to be valued in a show that points out an issue without telling audiences what to think about it.
The other major plotline of the show (also, thank you 30 Rock, for getting rid of the unnecessary, unfunny third plotline for once) revolves around Jack’s attempts to ingratiate himself with Hank Hooper in order to secure a position as Hooper’s Kabletown successor. The only thing standing in his way? Hooper’s adolescent granddaughter, Kaylie (Chloe Moretz, of Kick-Ass and Let Me In). Donaghy spends the majority of the episode trying to steer Kaylie out of competition for Hooper’s job, or as Liz says, “trying to destroy a 14-year-old.”
But, like Abby, Kaylie isn’t what she seems. Turns out she was playing Jack the whole time he thought he was playing her, and she’s not giving up Kabletown without a fight. The school scene is perhaps the greatest thing ever, and I am beyond excited for a multi-episode plotline featuring Moretz and Baldwin. In a way, Moretz’s character says more for women in the workplace than anything in Lemon’s plotline, so that the two stories complement each other nicely in a way. Kaylie picks up where Lemon and Abby leave off.