30 Rock

Episode 6.04 : The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell

  • 30 Rock
    • Episode Premiere : January 26, 2012
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Comedy
    • Seasons : 6
    • Show Period : 2006 - 2013
    • Production Company: Broadway Video, Little Stranger, NBC Universal
    • Official Site : http://www.nbc.com/30_Rock/

Cast and Crew

The Story

Jenna's screening the trailer for her new movie called "Martin Luther King Day"; it's from the director of "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve." It's a star-stuffed romantic comedy with the likes of Andy Samberg, Emma Stone, Hugh Grant, Nick Cannon, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell and others. She wants Liz to promote it on TGS. Liz thinks the movie is garbage and wants nothing to do with it. But Jenna tells her she's already talked to Jack about it. It's a done deal. Liz storms off to talk to Jack.

Jack explains to Liz that "America's Kidz Got Singing" has made Jenna a huge star; she must be accommodated. Liz responds that it's not the movie she objects to but rather Jenna going around her directly to Jack - and Jack's caving. She must be stopped, Liz tells her boss. Jack doesn't want to roil the waters and coaches Liz to approach Jenna about the incident as a friend. He goes on to inform Liz that after his most recent trip to Washington, he's decided to eliminate the NBC page program. He's hoping that the cost cutting will make a good impression on Hank Hooper. He's worked for Hank for a year, but he still finds him hard to read. Liz is aghast.

Grizz and Dotcom visit Tracy in his office; they're delivering the printed invitations for Tracy's birthday party. Tracy examines them and is incensed that they state "no presents." He unloads on Dotcom; birthdays are all about presents, he says. Dotcom points out to Tracy that he really has everything he could possibly want already. This gives Tracy pause; he tells them he needs to think about it.

Liz seeks out Jenna for some girl talk. As she tries to explain why she's upset, Liz is distracted when she notices that Jenna has attached leaches to her face. "They're good for your skin," Jenna explains. "I've lost tons of blood weight and it angers PETA." Liz is appalled. She reminds Jenna of a pact they made to be honest with each other back in their very early days, when they were struggling improv artists doing small theater shows. Liz expresses concern that they're growing out of touch. Maybe they could go to lunch like old times, she suggests. They agree to head to Outback Steakhouse.

Tracy sits in his dressing room, alone with his depressed thoughts CD. Dotcom and Grizz enter, looking to cheer Tracy up. Tracy's taking his own reaction to the birthday invitation foul-up hard.

Liz and Jenna dine at Outback Steakhouse. As they catch up, Jenna notices a horde of paparazzi outside the window. She's really not up for being photographed while eating with her best friend, she tells Liz. Liz suggests she leave through the back door. Instead, Jenna invites Liz to take her coat, hat and glasses and serve as a decoy for the photographers out front. Liz happily obliges, feeling like a famous star in her own right - right up until a gang of PETA protestors throws a bucket of red paint on her. "Leach abuser!" they scream, thinking she's Jenna. Jenna then steps out of the restaurant, inviting the paparazzi to take pictures of her in front of the Outback Steakhouse sign; being seen eating at the restaurant is part of her endorsement deal with Outback. Liz is furious at having been tricked. She vows to find a new best friend.

Jack assembles all the NBC pages to let them know he's canceling the program. Kenneth tries to speak up, but Jack shuts him down. The NBC bigwig explains that all the tasks that the pages formerly handled will now be done electronically. Kenneth goes on to explain that moves like this have unintended consequences, but Jack is confident in his decision, as always.

Privately, Jack tells Kenneth he'll find him a job, but Kenneth responds that he doesn't want to work for a company that would reject a successful page program. Besides, he asks, who will give the tours? Jack unveils the NK (for Not Kenneth), a new computer terminal designed to do everything pages do and more.

Liz actively searches for a new best friend. She tries one of her staff writers, but there's clearly no love there. She tries dropping in on a group of gals out at a bar for ladies night, but they're not her type. Finally she realizes she has to go where there are women like her: Barnes and Noble! Liz finds a new friend who seems to be a perfect reflection of herself, complete with glasses, beanie and cynical observations about the world. Could this be the start of a beautiful friendship? No. Liz and her new friend quickly tire of each other. Liz realizes she doesn't need a version of herself to hang out with; she needs someone shallow who will listen to her complaints. She needs Jenna.

A distraught Hank Hooper waits in Jack's office; he's upset that Jack has apparently forgotten that today is the one year anniversary of the sale of NBC to Kabletown. He received no gift. Jack is baffled; he knows he ordered a one-year "businessversary" gift to be delivered to Hank. It would seem that the new computer NK sent the present to the TGS offices by mistake. Jack bolts for the TGS offices to break up the party. As the Phillie Fanatic gives chair massages and the writers drink from a scotch fountain, Jack puts a halt to the festivities. He doesn't want them getting the false impression that their work has been good.

Jenna's hanging out with her new, famous friends Like Charlie from "Charlie Bit My Finger," former wrestler Mankind and his Mr. Socko puppet, and an obscure Kardashian, Knob. They're all drinking red wine and enjoying each other. But the party starts falling apart as the egotistical stars all seek attention only for their own needs. Jenna realizes that hanging out with other stars is a drain. She needs a friend like Liz!

Thinking there's really nothing left in life that he wants, Tracy's suicidal. Dotcom and Grizz find him on a bridge and present to him a little old lady who ran a pie shop in the neighborhood where he grew up. She's brought a banana cream pie - something Tracy truly does want but doesn't have. A lifesaving light bulb goes off in Tracy's head. There must be other things I want too, he muses. And realizing how much trouble his friends went to, Tracy's touched.

Jenna finds Liz in the hallway and tells her how much she needs her; Liz says the same. At the same time, Jack realizes he's made a mistake by discarding Kenneth in favor of a machine. He hugs Kenneth and lets him know how valuable it is to have a "human wastebasket" he can blame his mistakes on. At Kenneth's urging, Jack berates him for the delivery foul-up; Hank Hooper nods approvingly. Armed with half a dozen presents, Dotcom and Grizz find Tracy in the hallway too. Tracy immediately is overcome; he realizes how he's missed his present, even though he owns every one of them already. It's a day of learning and love in the halls of 30 Rock.

Steve Earle sings a colorful true tale: The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell.






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