30 Rock Episodes

2006, TV Show

30 Rock Episode: "Verna"

Season 4, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: Frank moves in with Liz, but what seems like a hellish version of "The Odd Couple" could prove surprisingly beneficial when each helps the other overcome nasty habits. Elsewhere, Jenna's mother (Jan Hooks) arrives, cuing Jenna to seek wisdom about mothers from Jack, certainly no stranger to mommy issues.
Original Air Date: Feb 4, 2010
Guest Cast Jan Hooks: Verna
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Season 4, Episode 12
Free | NBC

Aired: 2/4/2010
Also available on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
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30 Rock Episode Recap: "Verna" Season 4, Episode 12

What do a suit-wearing GE Executive, a food-loving television writer, and a cartoon mascot for the "Cheesy Blast" brand of snacks have in common? They all appear in the opening scene of this week's 30 Rock episode, and they all seem to be suffering from a similar form of comedic insanity.

Welcome back to your 30 Rock recap. I'm your new recapper, Adam Mersel, and I live and breathe 30 Rock. Recapping this is as close as I've gotten to my dream of spending everyday in the building without being arrested for trespassing. So on with the recap!

Liz has a dream in which she is married to her boss and ever-changing "friend," Jack, and is giving birth to the cartoon mascot of her favorite cheese snacks. As she wakes up, Liz realizes that she must improve her eating habits by cutting out the junk food that gives her the most pleasure in life.

Meanwhile, as Kenneth tells Pete a ridiculous story about his childhood pet Mr. Wiggles, and Pete continues his frustration at being interrupted, Jenna is horrified that her mother is unexpectedly coming into town. Jenna explains that her mother tried "to use her OxyContin prescription as ID" to get into the building, and will inevitably try to use Jenna as "a gorgeous blonde ATM."

As the TGS writers discuss whether real firemen actually resemble those on the pages of women's calendars, Frank reveals that he is homeless, and needs a place to stay. Tracey offers his apartment, but everyone soon decides that since Liz still has the spare apartment she purchased before being fired from her failed Dealbreakers pilot, she will be the lucky one who gets to house the trucker hat-wearing slob.

Fearing her mother's pending arrival, Jenna decides to ask Jack for advice because of his constant mommy issues. In a sly nod to Baldwin's ABC (Always Be Closing) speech in the film Glengarry Glen Ross, Jack explains the steps to dealing with a complicated mother as ASQ: Always Speak Quieter. Step 1 involves the fact that the mother at hand will raise her voice, Step 2 describes how the victim must speak in a soft voice, and Step 3 will be the mother saying she is disappointed, and walking away. In summary, Jack explains, "Say no, talk low, let her go."

New roommates Frank and Liz agree that Frank's smoking habit and Liz's binge eating must stop, and that they were mystically brought together to "help each other from being gross." During their first day together, they both try to wean themselves off of their respective negative routines. However, Liz becomes distressed by how easily Frank is handling the situation, and begins to plot to sabotage him.

Things take an interesting turn when Jenna finally meets with her mother, Verna, and instead of begging for money, Verna proclaims her undying love for Jenna. The two begin a new chapter in their relationship, and as Jenna puts it, "it is as perfect as a John Mayer song." In order to show her love, Verna throws her daughter a surprise party, and the two sing a corny duet about their new devotion to one another. As Jenna says, "could a bad mother have raised a girl that was engaged to a congressman at age 16?"

As the episode comes to a close, Liz strolls into the writers room at TGS, confident that she has footage showing Frank cheating and smoking cigarettes, proving her point that it is difficult to quit a habit cold turkey. Instead, the hilarious footage, mocking the recent hit movie Paranormal Activity, shows Liz sleepwalking, ordering a pizza and eating large amounts of junk food, as well as ingesting Frank's cigarettes. Frank also makes a cameo, when he is shown having relations with a large cleaning lady from the office as she flirtingly says, "I'm your momma now."

Meanwhile, Verna comes to Jack with a pitch for a reality show, starring her and Jenna, in which the two go out on the town, and in turn receive "infections caused by Jacuzzi waters." In the end, Jack strikes a deal that as long as Verna continues to allow Jenna to think that her motherly love is real and sincere, she can have her reality show — though he never promises it will actually air. Jenna is overjoyed to learn that Verna will be returning for Mother's Day, and all parties end up with what they want. As Jack heads into the elevator, Liz's Cheesy Blast mascot-child proclaims, "You're a good man, Jack Donaghy!"

This episode's spot-on one-liners, witty pop culture references, and a hilarious guest-star in Jan Hooks (playing Verna) made this episode my favorite of the season.

Do you think Jenna will eventually discover Verna's true intentions? Will Jack continue to serve as the office shrink? Can Liz continue to scarf unhealthy treats to no end? If future episodes stay true to form, the insanity will only grow deeper. What are your predictions? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

 

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What do a suit-wearing GE Executive, a food-loving television writer, and a cartoon mascot for the "Cheesy Blast" brand of snacks have in common? They all appear in the opening scene of this week's 30 Rock episode, and they all seem to be suffering from a similar form of comedic insanity.

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Premiered: October 11, 2006, on NBC
Rating: TV-14
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Premise: A female TV writer tries to control the behind-the-scenes antics of a live, prime-time variety show and deals with interference from a network bigwig.

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