'30 Rock' Season 6, Episode 4 Recap - 'The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell'
"The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell" starts off with a well-deserved lampooning of "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve" through a fake trailer for "MLK Day," which stars Emma Stone, Andy Samberg, Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, Nick Cannon, and Jenna. It's only slightly more ridiculous than the movies it is spoofing.
I feel as though Kenneth has been fired from his job countless times before, but maybe it was just once and it's such an earth-shattering event that it seems like it happened 20 times. Or maybe "30 Rock" is recycling plot devices. Either way, Kenneth gets fired again in this episode.
It's all because Jack wants to cut costs by eliminating the page program and automate it, inserting a computer (named "Not Kenneth") that spits out NBC facts. Eventually, though, Jack realizes the real value of the pages: being able to pin your mistakes on them. In a heartwarming scene set to a light pop soundtrack, Kenneth and Jack make up. MLK Day style.
Meanwhile, Jenna and Liz have a falling out as Jenna is now famous thanks to her appearance in the movie. Liz tries to befriend another Liz named Amy, but quickly realizes that her relationship with Jenna works for a reason: she's too self-absorbed to realize how unbearable Liz is. In a heartwarming scene set to a light pop soundtrack, Jenna and Liz make up.
And finally, Tracy realizes after Grizz and Dot Com tell people to donate to charity in lieu of presents for his birthday that he has nothing to live for because he already has everything in the world. He considers jumping off a bridge, but then Grizz and Dot Com get him presents and everything is okay. In a heartwarming scene set to... eh, you get the point.
Perhaps it was because this was the second "30 Rock" episode in the same night (really, we can do that but we can't air "Community?"), but this one just didn't sit right. It seemed like we've seen everything before. The MLK Day thing was a good idea, but could have been carried through the episode more. Why not make the whole episode like one of those movies, rather than just the end?
Ah well. They can't all have Kelsey Grammer playing Abraham Lincoln, can they?
Notes & Quotes:
-"She's bigger than Maulik Pancholy on 'Whitney.'" (Jonathan shout-out!)
-"...sittin' in here, listening to your depressing thoughts CD..."
-"To the Barnes & Noble bathroom!"
-"Let me imagine what Peeta Mallark looks like and how his arms smell of bread!" ("The Hunger Games" shout-out!)
-"You had me at 'I was wrong I do need.'"
-"Dump all over me, sir!"
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