When Liz Lemon and the gang returned last night from a Thanksgiving hiatus, they truly expected to be greeted as liberators. Of course, they were by me, but then I always was theAhmed Chalabi of 30 Rock. (Unfortunately, that wasn't enough, hrrrumph, to get me invited to last week's underground 30 Rock Liveperformance. No biggie. I already had big (big!) plans that night anyway. In Brooklyn. After hours. Yes, my Quiznos meatball sub with extra bread was excellent, thank you for asking.)
But I digress. As you probably surmised, last night's episode humorously addressed the war in Iraq. Frequent Bush administration critic Alec Baldwin must have been positively giddy lampooning the president. His Jack couldn't resist getting involved with Tracy's mean-streets Little League team from Knuckle Beach, the worst neighborhood in the city. Tracy warned Jack that he didn't know what he was getting into, but Jack was undaunted: ''I don't have to understand their world to help them. It's like this great country of ours: We can go to any nation, import our values, and make things better.'' For a brief shining moment, Fun Times were Accomplished, as Jack's glorious banner proclaimed, and the players pulled down the park statue of Jefferson Davis. But chaos loomed. When Paul Bremer, I mean Kenneth, appointed a Trinidadian team captain, the Latino players erupted, and the deposed Tracy threatened a tell-all book about the growing fiasco, titled Betrayal: What Really Happened With My Baseball Team, Disaster at Knuckle Beach? Obviously, I'm not opposed to Mesopotamian metaphors, but once Jack started arguing for a surge, I started to miss the strike-halted Daily Show.
Fortunately, Lemon steered clear of the war zone, but love is also a battlefield. Her new beau, Jamie the office coffee boy, unfortunately wouldn't recognize that Pat Benatar reference, but that was what made their May-September fling so memorable. A Mrs. Robinson joke would've been too easy, but when Lutz called Lemon Maude, koo-koo-ka-choo, brilliant. Jenna, of course, thought there was nothing wrong with being a cougar and dating a much younger man. Besides, she said, rules are meant to be broken: ''I had my no-sex-with-Asians Rule, but then one day you walk into Sharper Image and there's Quan.''
There's a lot of Jerry Seinfeld in Liz Lemon, and her lackluster love life is oddly reminiscent of Jerry's more numerous trysts. On his show, Jerry dumped women who had man hands or used a dirty toothbrush. In just one-plus season of 30 Rock, Lemon has already dated her cousin and, in last night's case, went out with a boy toy with mommy issues. For a ''sexy librarian'' with ''thick hair and a decent set,'' Lemon deserves better. Someone smart, ambitious, and with a good head suit. Someone kind, who gives tuxedos to the homeless. Yes, someone like Jack. Did you catch that at the end of the show? When Jack let slip that he's off the market — bleeding-heart congresswomen C.C., right? — Lemon was awfully quick to ask, ''Oh. Are you seeing someone?'' Conversely, it was he who bluntly complimented Lemon's lemons. Methinks there's something there. Let's just hope it doesn't emerge until at least season 4.
Last night was a coming-out party of sorts for ''sexy bear'' Frank. Not only did he play a prominent role, but he dwarfed Michael Scott's man crush on former Dunder Mifflin intern Ryan with his own pathetic infatuation with Jamie. ''We're just two straight guys who want to enjoy each others bodies,'' Frank said, but his affection was unrequited. Not even his artistic depiction of the One-Armed Mermaid That's Part Unicorn With Bigfoot was enough to win Jamie's heart. Fortunately, Frank didn't cut off his ear in despair.
So, am I way off on Jack and Lemon? And how priceless was Jenna's Amber Alert affair with the soda-drinking, Heelys-gliding teenager? It didn't end well. (''Stop hitting yourself, Jenna.'') Thank goodness Kenneth gave her that Native American complaint catcher during the Holiday Funtimes ad that aired during The Office.