’30 Rock’ Recap: ‘Standards and Practices’

“A nemesis can be anyone… or anything,” Jack tells Liz in this episode, because in “Standards and Practices” they are each facing down a powerful enemy: Jack is once again engaged in dirty warfare with teenager and granddaughter to Kabletown owner Hank Hooper, Kaylie, who’s gunning for Jack’s job; and Liz wrestles with someone her own size… Kenneth.

It was only last episode when Kenneth underwent a tremendous transformation under Jack’s merciless business tutelage, and now he has his first chance to hone his battling wits against Liz Lemon. TGS is facing strict new guidelines from Standards after a certain incident on America’s Kidz got Singing, and Liz confronts Kenneth when she finds out the “dirtiest” word the show can now use is “dingbat.”

Kenneth is sitting uneasy on a pile of new power after his coworker was unceremoniously fired for the AKGS debacle, and he’s unsure how to proceed with Liz, for whom he was working for just a week ago; he’s also still unused to calling her by her Christian name, and his backbone is pretty newly formed. Though unused to seeing Kenneth talk back, Liz leverages his weakness: she informs Kenneth Tracy is on a fast, and who knows what he’ll let loose on live television. So sure, she’ll write a clean script, but there’s no scripting the big bellied, foul-mouthed loose cannon that answers to Mr. Jordan.

So what was that America’s Kidz got Singing mess, you may ask? None other than Hank Hooper and Kaylie were in town to watch a much anticipated episode, in which Jenna planned on crying (not really—she just rubbed Vick’s vapor rub under her eyes, a trick she learned from Glenn Beck’s prostitutes) to humanize her monstrous, Simon Cowell show persona. However, the blonde trickstress’ ploy is postponed when two of the singing tots take the stage… drunk.

Using a mostly forgotten section of the Patriot Act that allows any white man to arrest anyone for any reason, Jack interrogates the wee drunkards for an answer. With the girl’s doll in a vice, she snitches: it was Kaylie.

Surprising her at Hank’s apartment when he’s out of town, Jack barges in on Kaylie, who is basically already mid-sobbing sentence about a teenage tale of woe. Jack’s attack is put on hold as Kaylie breathlessly recounts her plot’s purpose: to get Hank out of town so he won’t find out she might be expelled from her private school for doing something like hacking a YouFace (30 Rock’s Facebook) account and putting up photos of fat Vicky (or was it Vicky P.?) with the word “slut” scrawled across her forehead.

With Kaylie’s parents suffering an extreme case of trust-fund idiocy, both of them are too busy skiing and overseeing Asian sweatshops to properly look after Kaylie. Sympathizing with her lack of parents, Jack agrees to attend Kaylie’s parent-teacher conference.

Though at first he set out to destroy her, now Jack is unsure which direction to take—is Kaylie vicious, or vulnerable? Looking towards Liz for advice (really Jack?), Liz informs him: she’s a teenage girl; she’s both vicious and vulnerable. Also, like all hormonal teenage girls, Kaylie is the spawn of Satan (OK, that part we just added ourselves).

Liz’s office politics are also flipped when she is forced to use the men’s bathroom, where she over-hears Kenneth crying in the next stall. Using her best male voice and pretending to be someone creatively named Kenneth Toilethole, Liz comforts Kenneth as he reveals his own vulnerabilities: he thought Liz was his friend, but if she doesn’t respect what little power he’s wielding now, how can he ever even dream of running a television company?

Now Liz is regretting her earlier showdown; Kenneth still carries a sensitive heart on his sleeve. As a condolence, Liz gives Kenneth some great advice: “Next time you see that Liz person, you should smack her in the mouth.”

Meanwhile, Jack pityingly attends the parent-teacher conference and watches Kaylie in the principal’s room cry out a tearful apology for her actions… but when she slips on her story, Jack pounces on her like Liz on a Defontes sandwich. He sniffs her fingers (ew, Jack) and then dumps the contents of her backpack on the table—aha!—Vick’s vapor rub. Those aren’t real tears are at all, but Glenn Beck prostitute/Jenna crocodile phonies! The principal’s heard enough; he expels her.

Jenna, meanwhile, is working on a new scheme to gain audience sympathy: remembering her college days when she donated eggs for money, Jenna tracks down all her children. Jenna unveils her Boys From Brazil (or should we say, Girls From Florida) gaggle to a horrified Liz, who witnesses proof of their clone-like qualities: “Jerome, share the bronzer, you slut.”

Jenna is a proud mother hen, and even plans on taking the blonde swarm to a taping of a Barbara Walters episode on the 10 most overexposed celebrities, in which, naturally, Jenna is a guest. However, there’s one ugly duckling: the overweight, brunette Judy. Fearing Judy is “off message,” i.e., going to make Jenna look bad, Jenna kicks her off the taping.

But, in the end, Jenna’s little monsters are, after all, like Jenna—and before she can fully formulate a Bravo TV show based on them, they gang up on mother dearest and vote her out of the group. Because she’s old. Gross.

Seeing the error of her ways, and how wrong it is to exclude people based on their looks (it’s only OK to do it based on their personality; possibly intelligence), Jenna asks for Judy’s forgiveness. Judy was never interested in the bright lights and glamour; she just wanted to get to know her biological mother over coffee. Jenna hears “coffee enema,” and off they go… to what should be a fun mother-daughter bonding gag!

In a third wave of mea culpas, minutes before the taping of TGS, Liz apologizes to Kenneth—but it’s already too late. Light headed Tracy is heading toward the stage to cover for Jenna’s absence as she gets coffee/enemas with her odd daughter out, and slightly punchy from the fasting, he’s seconds away from dropping a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobic f-bombs and c-bombs and e-bombs and who knows what else to a live studio audience and possibly even dozens of home viewers.

There’s no time: new Standards promotion Kenneth must take action, and take it fast… He’s going to live-bleep Tracy. It’s a crazy task few people in this world have the sheer concentration and strength of wrist (to press the red “bleep” button) to execute—but Kenneth succeeds. Though most of the live TGS show was a series high-pitched noises, Kenneth successfully protected late night viewers from understanding a Tracy skit about doctors (which are dangerously close to gynecologists, which, to Standards, is just gross, because gynos are health care providers for women—icky cooties, women!).

Gaylord Felcher, Head of Standards, walks into the control room, where the crowd is still clapping for Kenneth’s feat. Impressed as well, Gaylord promotes Kenneth, then flicks everyone off and drops a few curse words. Who can censor the censor? Will it be Kenneth? (Please tell us the next episode will be a Watchmen spoof.)

Kenneth, fresh from a victorious, record-breaking round of live bleeping (Image Source: tv.com)

Earlier in this episode, when Jack thought Kaylie got those kids smashed in order to take down her career nemesis, Jack feared he was no longer “on his toes;” so he hired a man to randomly attack him. However, the effort was for naught, because Jack barely starts celebrating his win over Kaylie when he realizes—it was a little too easy. The vapor rub—it was right there in the bag; the story—she could have screwed it up on purpose… was Kaylie playing the long game?

Kaylie strolls into Jack’s office to confirm his fears: with no adult supervision, she can do what she wants, including eating a fruit roll-up in the middle of the day. In a strip club. Kaylie’s expulsion only means she now gets to go to the school she desires: the one with her boyfriend. Who’s going to study acting at NYU (Jack, rightly so, snickers at this).

Not all is lost, however. Jack remembers the lacrosse ball he found in her backpack, and strong arms the school into removing its lacrosse field.

Jack’s still got it.

This article was originally published on AllMediaNY.com

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply