30 Rock – Episode 4-13 Review

So, boys and girls, what has “Anna Howard Shaw Day” taught us? Being single on Valentine’s Day sucks. While this is not a novel premise for a sitcom (or 30 Rock for that matter), the episode gave it a fresh spin and was one of the funniest episodes of the season.

The episode starts with Liz revolting against the idea that a woman needs a boyfriend in order to be happy. Screw Valentine’s Day, Liz declares that February 14 should be spent celebrating the birthday of woman’s suffrage movement leader, Anna Howard Shaw. So how does a liberated feminist celebrate Anna Howard Shaw Day? That’s right, by having oral surgery. When she finds out that she needs someone to pick her up after the surgery, Liz learns the hard way that Valentine’s Day is really about having someone who’s just there for you.

Jenna, meanwhile, is going through her own Valentine’s drama. Her long-time stalker, Maynard (played by Horatio Sanz), is no longer sending her letters cut out from newspapers; no longer filling her refrigerator with doll heads; no longer…Well, stalking. To us common folk, that sounds like a good thing, but to an egomaniacal celebrity, that is the loss of the one person who is there unconditionally – provided they are off their meds.

Jack, on the other hand, is moving on from Nancy and her annoying accent and getting back into the dating pool. Enter Avery Jessup (played by Elizabeth Banks, fresh off her guest stint on Modern Family), the host of an economic analysis show he guests on. It’s the same old story: Boy goes on CNBS; boy talks to girl about the economy; girl gets turned on; boy asks girl out. Dinner goes well, Jack’s game…Not so much. Usually Jack has Jonathan call with a fake conference call from Geneva – if the date is going bad, exit stage left; if it’s going well, he cancels the call and looks like a pimp. Avery sees through his game – it would be 3am in Geneva – and wonders if he can handle her.

Remember when a relationship was built on respect and honesty? Neither do I. So, how does a guy like Jack impress a girl like Avery? Make a fake TGS VIP room and invite NBC’s Artist in Residence, Jon Bon Jovi, of course. Bon Jovi is like Superman, he prevent Liz from signing a liability release from the doctor without reading it first (a release admitting that the undersigned is a lonely loser) and impresses Avery so Jack can close the deal.

Liz goes to the doctor without the release, instead opting to lie that her make-believe boyfriend will pick her up. The lameness of pretending to have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day is not lost on Bon Jovi – nor do I believe it would fly well with Anna Howard Shaw (I’m just saying). The resulting gag of Liz coming out of surgery high on anesthetics was the highlight of the episode. Waiting for Liz in the waiting room are her exes – Drew, Dennis, and Floyd (played by John Hamm, Dean Winters, and Jason Sudeikis respectively). The drugs project her true feelings that behind her independent feminist façade, Liz really wants to be loved. But, alas, it’s not going to happen this Valentine’s Day because her exes are just hallucinations projected onto the medical assistants. Sure, it’s a gag 30 Rock used before with Oprah Winfrey in “Believe in the Stars,” but it worked, served a purpose, and it was funny – so who cares?

Jack gets a call from the doctor’s office to pick up Liz, but Avery thinks it’s another call from Jonathan. Instead of having her do the walk of shame, Jack invites her to come along for the ride. Avery sees another side to Jack and with Liz’s confirmation, she thinks that Jack may be a guy worth keeping.

In the end, everyone gets what they wanted: Jack finds a woman who might be more than casual; Jenna gets a stalker note from Kenneth, showing her someone cares; and Liz gets to first base with a house palm who she mistakes for Bon Jovi.

So what have we really learned, kiddies? All we really need on Valentine’s Day is someone who cares…Or some good meds.

Some final comments:
• Danny is once again MIA – especially noticeable on a show day. I’m kind of neutral about him – he does not contribute anything but he doesn’t detract, either…So, whatever.
• Check out “proof” that Lutz is dating Karen at www.jdlutz.com/karen/proof.
• Toofer has surpassed Kenneth as the whitest guy on the show.
• Bon Jovi makes any show better.
• Is it me or is Jonathan getting progressively creepier?

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