30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 12

Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning (27 Jan. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 327 users  
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Jack tries to put together a benefit for a disaster that hasn't happened yet, Liz and Tracy come to blows as reality show cameras follow Tracy around, and a mock disaster scenario gives Lutz a rare position of control with the writers.

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Storyline

Tracy has a reality TV crew following him around which Liz tries to use to her advantage, while Jack attempts to make a profit by pre-recording natural disaster telethons. Lutz lies to the writers to make him more valuable in the event of an apocalypse. Written by NBC Publicity

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Comedy

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Release Date:

27 January 2011 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a flash-sideways, Tracy is shown promoting a "SurfMaster Jet Ski". This is a fictitious brand and the vehicle shown is actually a Kawasaki Jet Ski. See more »

Quotes

Liz Lemon: You're getting an island?
Tracy Jordan: Every crazy A-lister owns an island. Nicolas Cage, Celine Dion, Charles Widmore...
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Connections

References Lost (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Help the People, the Thing That Happened Happened To
Performed by Jane Krakowski
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User Reviews

 
The Epitome of Reality Television
15 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tina Fey just created another masterpiece, essentially parodying, satirizing, and capturing the essence of reality television in just 21 minutes. Just like the soap opera episode, this episode is styled after a reality show, in its setup, yet like the traditional 30 rock theme, it is mainly the backstage story. There are actually two reality shows in this episode. The first just involves characters in a reality-showesque way, including facing a disaster and Lutz picking who to save causing the others to grovel before him for favor, meltdowns in different locations than the actual scene, and tense music. This was played entirely for laughs. The one between Lemon and Jordan is much more complex and deeper, which occurs because his wife is starring in her own reality show, so cameras are following people around in the office. Different characters even dress differently in order to appear on TV, which is a commentary on the desire for 15 minute fame. What makes a reality show sell is the absurd, over-dramatic fights, which the cameraman implores Lemon and Jordan to do, but Jordan is trying to act like a serious, actor with a strong work ethic to help his Oscar win. In every argument that occurs between the two, Tracy sabotages the ability to use footage due to singing copyrighted songs or wearing trademark logos. There is a beautiful relationship shown between actor and boss, and how dependent the two are of each other and the hidden love that exists: typical reality show bait. A video is created using footage obtained without their permission, deceiving editing, "mood music," and actors to play them to say dramatic, reconciliatory lines. And even when Lemon and Jordan watch it and know it's fake and that it's trash, they are still moved. Everyone knows reality shows are truly fake and overdone yet we can't resist watching. Tina beautifully captures the phenomenon and appeal of reality shows both for the public and the studio, and in doing so beautifully explores and reminisces about Lemon and Jordan's tumultuous relationship.


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