Just before Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan took the stage for the 2012 Vice Presidential debate, 30 rock served up an episode skewering the 2012 presidential election, in ways Saturday Night Live could only dream of. “Governor Dunston” checks in.
From there, in this version of the 2012 presidential election, Romney replaces Ryan with the fictional Alabama Governor Bob Dunston (who happens to look just like Tracy Morgan’s character, Tracy Jordan — much as one-time VP hopeful Sarah Palin’s resemblance to Rock show creator Tina Fey was richly chronicled and exploited). As Fey asked, then and now, “What’s the joke?” Well, the possibilities are endless.
But at issue is the series’ final season premise that Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jack Donaghey (Baldwin) must team up to “tank” NBC (and get on with their lives). If their show-within-a-show TGS takes advantage of this ripe opportunity for political satire, ratings could skyrocket, and the tanking will fail. Unfortunately, for Lemon, the sketches are also helping the Romney/Dunston ticket (viewers like Tracy and are conflating the popularity).
Whereas the Debate was conspicuously silent on women’s issues, 30 Rock was not. As Jack tells Liz, “The success of your show is the only thing keeping Hank from selling NBC. And if he doesn’t sell, I’ll spend the rest of my career in corporate obscurity like a woman with children.”
“Dammit,” he spits out, “If I don’t help Romney, it’s four more years of socialism, corporations not being people, and a basketball court at the White House.”
The fictional 2012 Vice Presidential Debate featured Tracy as Governor Dunston, opposite Vice President Biden via split screen, spouting lines like:
“I’m glad you brought up my record…it’s called Sounds of Seduction…and it’s available on iTunes.”
“There are nine types of legitimate rape. 1. A Halloween party…”
“Let me ask you a question sir, do you know if this auditorium validates parking.”
Meanwhile, in an episode already bursting, Matthew Broderick reprises his Cooter cameo, and Catherine O’Hara guests as Kenneth’s Georgia-born Mom, Pearline (along with Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston as his, spoiler alert: stepdad). She explains that the economy and tough times aren’t getting any easier, “now that Obamacare is extending our life expectancy. Let me die in an emergency room with a treatable disease like an American.
30 Rock hasn’t been this good since the days of “The Bubble.” Tanking: failed.
NBC has posted the full episode: