In this week's episode of 30 Rock
, "The Natural Order," Tracy is finally fed up with being treated like a child. His blow up happens at the TGS stage after Pete made up a fake call sheet and Kenneth changed all of his clocks to say PM when it was really still the AM. Tracy had no idea what time it really was (so realistically, they shouldn't be so made at him for sauntering in late all of the time), and he blames them for turning him into a stereotype, so he pulls a quite literal bright yellow Race Card out of his pocket. Liz foolishly accepts it and dooms her fate...at least for the next day or so.
Speaking of racism, Jack's mother is in town and plans to spend every waking meal with him because she has some "news" to spill about his father. Liz offers to take her off his hands when he needs a break because "there's a waitress in midtown [she]'d like to see cry," but it appears Jack, too, is doomed. She is in town to celebrate the anniversary of the day his father walked out on the family, and Jack's only regret in life (even though he also slept with Kathy Hilton and please-- oh please-- make a joke about him potentially being Paris' dad sometime down the line!) is that he never got the chance to tell his father off. Me thinks he may get that opportunity tonight!
Tracy sends a monkey to dress rehearsal in his place, to prove a point that Liz treats him as just a form of amusement-- someone who will dance around and entertain her. She challenges him to be professional and tells him to show up at ten a.m. the next morning, knowing all of his lines and no longer pointing at women in the cafeteria and yelling "I want to get that pregnant!" He accepts, but Grizz and Dot Com are quick to point out that if he does actually show up, he's bound to find an even worse way to act out than normal. Liz frets over this, but the next day, he shows up in a Cosby sweater and glasses and abides by everything he said he would do. He knows his lines, pays attention to when the unions need their breaks, and actually publically (well, to the cast and crew) thanks her for teaching him that no one needs preferential treatment. To the point where when the water gallon is empty in the stand-up machine, he makes her change in. Everyone watches as the contents of the new gallon flood the studio floor as she struggles. Equality...fail.
Oh by the way, Jenna decides she loves the monkey, who is really just a "little person," and who is the only thing currently showing her love back. So while Kenneth wants to call animal control, she decides to let it live in her dressing room. Kenneth warns her to be careful because the monkey is a wild animal-- as wild as the pig he kept as a pet as a child and who attacked his nutsack (in Kenneth's world, this of course is literal: the "sack [I] kept tied around his wait to feed squirrels") when he picked up one of her piglets. Jenna is not worried because the monkey likes her; his mariachi "costume is hiding his erection!"
Jack begrudgingly shows up at his mother's hotel room to begrudgingly take her out to dinner, only to find she has a man-friend in the room and had actually called Jack's office to cancel her plans with him. She figures the restaurant shouldn't have any trouble finding an extra chair for "a third wheel," so Jack tags along anyway, where he grows to distrust this guy more and more for the pinky rings he wears and the weird words he uses. He is afraid this guy is just another scam artist out to take advantage of a poor, vulnerable woman. Um, since when???
Jack re-hires Steve Buschemi (remember, he's the guy who Jack hired to look into his own past and who found out about the epic cookie jar collection) to look into his mother's new boyfriend. Unfortunately for Jack, he comes up with nothing, which is weird because everything checks out, and this guy has nothing to hide...except that he's been married to the same woman for the last thirty-five years.
Tracy gets the rest of the writers in on the whole equality thing, and they decide not to hold back from her anymore, which includes now farting freely in front of her and inviting her to Lutz' fake bachelor party...at a strip club. Because it wouldn't be fair not to. Fun! Liz heads up to Jack's office and asks if he treats her any differently because she's a woman. He admits he pays her a little less and actually has to talk to her but then just passes her his mother's boyfriend's marriage certificate in the worse segue attempt to turn the subject back to him. He decides that since he can't change the past (I guess he doesn't watch Lost after all), he will give this new guy the speech he originally wrote to tell off his father; for once he is going to stick up for his mother and right a wrong. Well, the attempt is sure noble, even when he "updates" his speech with a Simon Cowell reference. But of course his mother returns just at the end of the speech and admits she knows he is married. Her defense? "It's Florida, Jack; it's like it never stopped being the seventies down there!" Besides, this guy can drive at night, and that's something you don't say no to!
Jack's mother can't imagine what she should still be "coping" with after all these years. Huh. So maybe the key to a "successful" and healthy (at least emotionally) life for you is to put others down-- even so-called loved ones! She tells him that he is nothing like his father-- nor could he ever be, which catches his attention. She calls him her "good boy" and actually says she loves him, which only makes this whole thing look even more suspicious. I can't wait until Jack has Steve Buschemi look into who his real daddy is!
Liz decides to throw Tracy a twist. She's willing to go to the strip club with the rest of the guys-- and even pay for it, since Tracy points out that's what a "dude boss" would do-- but he can't go because he has to submit script notes because if they're all equal now, his opinion suddenly matters, too! Tracy obliges, crying and writing, until the next morning when he and Liz square off in the hallway. Which one will fold first? Both simultaneously, apparently! Tracy hates having to do real work, and at the strip club one of the girls removed Lutz' shirt and "that gland thing is no joke." Suffice it to say, they are both equally scarred and decide they need to re-set the (say it with me now) "natural order" and both get preferential treatment!
Best lines of the night:
(after telling Liz they need her in rehearsal): "You know, this food are is always the first place I go to look for you."
"With a man I can be more direct, but with you I have to have a conversation, talk things through more."
"Give me an example."
"Well, like right now comes to mind."
"1959? Boy it would have been fun to write back then; you could get away with crazy plot twists because audiences were much less sophisticated!" Cue twist.
30 Rock Cast: Tina Fey
, Alec Baldwin
, Tracy Morgan
, Jane Krakowski
, Scott Adsit
, Jack McBrayer
, Judah Friedlander
, Chris Parnell
, Maulik Pancholy
, Lonny Ross
, Keith Powell
, Katrina Bowden
Story by Danielle Turchiano
Starpulse contributing writer