30 Rock - "Subway Hero" - April 17, 2008Pre-credit sequence:
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey
) enters Jack's (Alec Baldwin
) office and he tells her he's organizing a fundraiser for John McCain and he needs some women to attend, "so it doesn't turn into another giant sausage-fest."
Liz is unsure. While looking at the invitation, she asks, "What's the Committee to Re-Invade Vietnam?" He implores her to come and says McCain is rounding up all the cool Republican celebrities. Liz snorts, "Like who, Chuck Norris?" Jack admits that he and "C.Nor" had a falling out after Jack picked another Dojo. Liz says she's not giving anybody money until there's campaign finance reform.
Plus, she's saving up for a new humidifier. It's the same model that's keeping Larry King alive.
Jack also wants Liz to book the "Subway Hero" on "The Girlie Show." Liz is unaware of him, "because the Food Network doesn't have a news show." Jack explains that this guy stepped in front of a train for another passenger who had fallen onto the train tracks. The train missed their heads by inches. Every show wants him for a guest spot but they have an advantage: He's Liz's ex, the beeper salesman Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters
). Liz watches agape as Mayor Bloomberg, in a cameo, awards Dennis the bronze medallion for heroism.
Dennis thanks "Mayor Bloomberger" and then yells, "Stern rules! Baba Booey!"
"Yes," says Jack, "Dennis Duffy, beeper salesman and your ex-boyfriend." "And 'Dateline' predator," says Liz. "Exonerated 'Dateline' predator," retorts Jack, calling it a "silly misunderstanding, like the Giuliani campaign."
Liz says no, and Jack tells her to be professional and that we all have to work with people we hate. He follows this up by snapping at entering assistant Jonathan: "why don't you put on more of that cologne?"
Liz runs into Dennis on the street at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a 99 cent store. He says he knew she'd be back. Liz tells him that Jack wants him on "TGS" and he claims their whole crazy on-off relationship can't be stopped. Liz refuses to acknowledge their crazy thing. He insists they're "like Ross and Rachel, but just not gay." He can't believe that he's becoming somebody because of this and not his band, and we get a quick shot of him singing Sugar Ray's "Fly," badly, in a dive bar.
She mentions "Dateline," and he swears the girl was 18. Why? Because her last boyfriend was Asian, and "that crap doesn't start until college." She asks about the show and he says he doesn't know, since he's getting lots of offers from news and dancing programs. But then he acquiesces in order to see where the crazy Dennis/Liz rollercoaster takes them, then he rubs her head.
Jack enters his office to see an older man looking at his photos. Jonathan informs him that it is Bucky Bright (Tim Conway
) "a major TV star in the '40s, '50s and the fall of 1972" and that he's Jack's Republican celebrity for the McCain fundraiser.
Jack asks after Bruce Willis and Jim Belushi and is informed that they both "insist on singing." Jack complains the Democrats have all the good celebrities. This makes Bucky sad.
) enters with something for Jack and exclaims, "Son of a married couple -- Bucky Bright!" Jack is amazed someone knows who he is. Jack asks if Bucky told Kenneth to vote Republican would he? Kenneth replies that "choosing is a sin," so he just always writes in the good Lord's name.
Jack says "That's Republican, we count those."
Bucky explains that he used to do the old soft-shoe at the Eisenhower rallies and then demonstrates. (Conway is 74, by the way, and looks great). Jack ushers him out.
At the elevator Bucky reminisces about 30 Rock and Kenneth says he'd love to hear his stories. Bucky says things were different back then, classy, men came to work in ties and hats with carnations on their lapels, and the suits had monogrammed inside pockets, "for your opium pipe and your switchblade."
In the writers room Dennis walks in with the Stanley Cup as Jack says, "Ladies and gentlemen I give you the bravest New Yorker since Bernie Goetz." They applaud him.
Frank (Judah Friedlander
) tells Liz he could never be a hero like Dennis and when she replies that he can't be sure he says that he knows since he's watched seven people die in subway stations.
Jack asks Dennis to tell them about the moment. He says it was all instinct and that he thought about Derek Jeter. He raises the roof and everyone claps.
In Liz's office Jenna (Jane Krakowski
) marvels that Dennis is back. She observes that Liz and Dennis do have a weird connection and remembers the moment they met. Cut to a shot of Liz and Jenna at the movies. Liz asks "Why is this thing called 'The Hours' when it feels so much longer?" Simultaneously Liz and Dennis, who is sitting a few rows in front of them, say "They should call this thing 'The Weeks.'"
Back in the present Liz laughs at the memory. She's also munching on junk food and Jenna makes a bad food/bad men metaphor and says, "You deserve a good meal, Liz." She opens the door and Dennis is leading the writers in a chant of "Subway Hero."
Jack approaches Tracy (Tracy Morgan
)and Dotcom (Kevin Brown
)in the hallway and asks Tracy if he's ever considered becoming the celebrity face of the Republican party.
Tracy replies "What?! Hell no! Black people supporting Republicans? Does hot support cold? Does rain support the earth?'" Jack says that misperception is why the Republicans need better celebrities, and a black celebrity would make them look good.
Jack asks Tracy if he supports lower taxes -- he would if he paid them. Gun ownership? Tracy says, "Go on...' States rights? He loves states rights! Jack also mentions that Lincoln was a Republican, and Dotcom chimes in.
"Actually, today's Republican party would be unrecognizable to Lincoln. He fought a war to preserve federal authority over the states, that's not exactly small government." Jack says Dotcom's need to be the smartest guy in the room is off-putting.
Dotcom hangs his head and says "I guess that's why I'm still single."
Tracy says the Republican party sounds pretty attuned to his unique way of life, but he doesn't want to turn his back on his people. Jack has put him in a quandary, he says. "A quandary."
Turning the corner are Bucky and Kenneth. Bucky is explaining that in his day they didn't have pages -- they had "sandwich girls." It was not because they got the actors' sandwiches, as Kenneth hopes.
In the writers room Dennis is cracking up the writers. Liz falls into making fun of them with him. Bucky and Kenneth come in and Bucky says "We used to call this the Jew room." Kenneth hustles him out.
Dennis ridicules Twofer (Keith Powell
), likening him to an Urkel impersonator, and Liz piles on. As Dennis puts his arm around Liz and she eats another one of her "off brand Cheetos" she realizes, with alarm, what is happening. He's worming his way back in.
The next day Jenna confronts Liz with a picture of Liz and Dennis at dinner. (The paper identifies them as the Subway Hero and actress Sally Field.) Liz defends herself by saying entertaining a guest of the show is part of her job and points out she paid. Jenna points out she always paid when out with Dennis.
Kenneth runs into Bucky who, it turns out, never left. He just wandered the building all night without encountering another soul except one gigantic lesbian. He asks, "Who is Conan O'Brien
and why is she so sad?"
Tracy is in his dressing room dancing jubilantly to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire." It skips on "NixonNixonNixon." As he tries to fix the boombox by sticking a screwdriver into it, it explodes -- and he appears out of thin air in heavenly glow, wearing all white clothes. He looks around perplexed to find himself in a room with some other men. He asks where he is. "It's purgatory Tracy," says Alec Baldwin doing his best Richard Nixon impression. Tracy can't believe he's dead because there's so much still left on his "bucket list." "So many different kind of buckets I wanted to own!" Nixon says Tracy can't die now because the GOP needs him.
Nixon says there's a history of black entertainers supporting the Republicans and asks for help from Sammy Davis Jr.
played by Twofer. They ask for Tracy's help to make it a "big tent" again. Tracy awakens in his dressing room with the boombox still stuck on "NixonNixonNixon" screaming "I got a mission!"
In the make-up room Jack asks Dennis about his politics. Dennis is a "Social conservative, fiscal liberal." Jack asks for his help with the GOP fundraiser. Dennis says he can't since McCain was a Navy man and he almost joined the Marines, once.
In the break room Liz admits to Jenna that dinner with Dennis was fun. Jenna is disgusted. Liz says she doesn't like a lot of people but "that dumb creep makes me laugh." Jenna says Liz knows better but Liz isn't so sure, since she eats junk food and uses her oven to warm her jeans in the morning.
Back to Dennis and Jack, with Dennis telling Jack that the subway incident taught him to use his instincts to get ahead, something with which he assumes Jack is familiar since he smells rich. Jack says his cologne is "distilled from the bilge of Rupert Murdoch's yacht." Dennis says in this world you need to be a man of action, not an overanalyzer. Jack agrees "not thinking is what makes America great."
Wardrobe shows Dennis two suits which he deems "wack," and instead asks for "a leather jacket, a glow in the dark skeleton T-shirt and a porkpie hat." Jack notes Dennis is a man who knows what he wants and, noticing him eyeing Liz, wishes him luck. Dennis assures him no luck is necessary, since when he grabs onto what he wants he doesn't let go,"like a killer whale going nuts on his trainer at Sea World."
Back to Liz and Jenna: Liz is saying that being with Dennis is low maintenance since she doesn't have bathe, shave, be clever or nice. She can just be herself, and isn't that what love really is? Jenna says no: Love is hiding who you really are at all times, even when you're sleeping, by wearing make-up to bed and going downstairs to Burger King to poop and hiding alcohol in perfume bottles. Liz says that sounds hard, and being with Dennis is easy. She just gets numb, and warm and sleepy. Jenna replies that that's how they describe freezing to death. Liz blurghs.
Bucky points out a picture of himself on the wall to Kenneth. He says men were men back then. "If you wanted to do something private with a man back then it wasn't gay," explains Bucky. "It was just two men celebrating each other's strength." Kenneth continues to be upset.
Tracy excitedly tells Jack that Nixon's ghost convinced his ghost to help the GOP. Jack is thrilled and wants to shoot some commercials.
On the street Dennis is posing for photos and Liz is starting to chafe at his idiocy. He asks Liz to marry him in front of the crowd. She says no and freaks while picturing herself freezing to death. She yells no way, the crowd turns on her and she says he's not the man they think he is. Dennis asks what her problem is considering he could get any girl he wants in the crowd, and "not just the fatties and the but-her-faces." The crowd turns on him. Liz calls him a loser and says he will always be one. Dennis reminds her that she is the one who missed catching the puck at an Islanders game and that she sucks. She says he sucks.
Tracy is trying to shoot a commercial for the GOP with a big flag waving behind him. He claims that a wall to keep Mexicans out and abolishing estate taxes was part of Martin Luther King's dream. Dotcom is disgusted and Tracy is abashed, telling Jack quietly no matter how great the GOP is that blacks will always vote Democrat. Jack comes up with a compromise.
Cut to a shot of Tracy and Jack watching a commercial in Jack's office of Tracy imploring black people to just not vote at all. They both seem pleased.
Liz storms into Jack's office and says it won't work with Dennis. Jack tells her to save it for her iVillage blog, because he's already replaced Dennis with the 911 bird. On the television we see a bird being celebrated for dialing 911 with his beak and yelling "fire." (He didn't know how to say the word rape.) Jack tells Liz to bump Dennis.
Kenneth and Bucky emerge from swinging doors as Bucky finishes telling a story "...when we sobered up we realized we'd eaten the peacock and put the ham in Pat Weaver's office." Kenneth has had enough and tells Bucky he's ruining television for him. Bucky says things have to be messy before they can be good. Kenneth realizes that all the crazy things he does for Tracy are like the crazy things Bucky did.
Liz fires Dennis for the bird and he's upset. He says that Liz cursed him and all his good stuff is going away. He also left the Stanley Cup on a water taxi. He imagines he will write a classic song now.
Liz tracks down Dennis on a subway platform and he's moping about the life he could've had as a hero, or a successful beeper salesman, or a firefighter if he hadn't failed the exam. He says being with her and being a hero were the two greatest things that ever happened to him, and he wishes he could get it back.
She says he'll be fine. "If reality TV has taught us anything, it's that you can't keep people with no shame down."
A train is approaching and he grabs Liz to throw her on the tracks so he can save her. It turns out it's on the wrong track. She punches him and swears "never again!" He grins and says she'll be back.