There were two remarkable feats pulled off Thursday night courtesy of an all-new “30 Rock”: not only did the show manage to somehow make an office supply store into the latest hub for love and romance, but it also somehow managed to make us like Bryan Cranston even more than we already do.
The best part about the Emmy-winner’s guest-starring appearance here is that Cranston’s Ron really could not be any more different than his “Breaking Bad” character of Walter White. Rather than being willing to poison a kid, Ron wanted Kenneth to be his own kid so badly he did whatever he could to impress him: he wrote songs, said a score of nice things to him, and even behaved himself around Jenna Mulroney (which is far from the easiest thing to do). Even more so than Cranston’s lines, though, what really sold this were his facial expressions. There was something earnest about him, and he stole every single scene that he was a part of as he later revealed that he and Kenneth’s mom are married. Sure, Cranston has plenty of awards-show hardware already, but expect another Emmy nod coming his way soon after this comedic tour de force.
As for the rest of the episode, it almost felt at times like it couldn’t keep up. While it was interesting to see Liz Lemon equate romance with organization, Jack was torn between a major crisis: tank NBC by not having them cover politics, or help out the Mitt Romney campaign by continuing to go after his new running mate (which was in turn making him more likable). Ultimately, he allowed Lemon to keep writing sketches about the “Governor,” who bore a striking resemblance to Tracy Jordan and was getting some residual effects of the jokes fired off in his direction. There were some great one-liners in here, but nothing near the great payoff we have seen on the show before.
The best line of the whole episode? When Liz compared herself and Criss to Don and Megan from “Mad Men” (yes, in that order), only to later change it to Sally and Glenn. Gotta love a great reference!
What did you think about this episode, and about Cranston’s performance? If you want to see what Jack McBrayer had to say about working with him, be sure to visit the story over here.