Tuned In

30 Rock Watch: I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire…

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Tina Fey is probably doing just fine without our pity. But you gotta feel a little sorry for her, anyway. Even as the strike is about to shut down 30 Rock, her show is on a legendary tear: first the Emmy, then a string of great second season episodes leading to Alec Baldwin’s instant-Emmy therapy scene and then last night’s “Greenzo,” perhaps the only memorable thing to come out of NBC’s Green Is Universal week.

From the flashback Rick Lazio[!] commercial to the drunken-party flashbacks (“You kiss me, Grizz! Kiss me!”) to Liz dressed as Harry Potter to the final shot of the flaming, smiling Earth ball (“This Earth is ruined! We gotta get a new one!”), this was probably as close as TV comes to a live-action Simpsons episode. Or should I say Futurama episode, as it both gave Al Gore a real platform and took advantage of his willingness to make fun of himself. (“Quiet! A whale is in trouble!”)

It may be true, as Fey said accepting her Emmy, that 30 Rock has “dozens of fans,” but a lot of them must be in show business, since it’s proving itself the hottest ticket on TV among celeb guest stars. But 30 Rock actually guest- and stunt-casts well, fitting its visitors to roles perfectly suited to them, and I don’t just mean the wise move of having Jerry Seinfeld play himself. David Schwimmer, and I think I mean this as a compliment, is a jackass par excellence as the “corporate-friendly, nonjudgmental” green mascot turned egotistical eco-maniac.

Greenzo’s radicalization took the episode in an unexpected direction and allowed Schwimmer to play off the regulars in surprising ways–“Did he just talk to me like I’m ugly?” Yet interspersed with the guest antics, we also got a great B-story for Kenneth (his scolding of his officemates and the Harlem Globetrotter was fantastic, though for me the definitive Jack McBrayer moment was his confused, obligatory laughter when Jack came to beg him for a party invite: “I don’t understand what’s happening!”).

Also: Pop Tarts, yum! And also: Pop Tarts. Ick.