No one wants to remember their mean moments from high school. Not even Liz Lemon, who envisions herself as the nerdy outsider persecuted by the cool kids.
Perhaps channeling some of Tina Fey's leftover bits from her 2004 movie "Mean Girls," "30 Rock" took Liz back to White Haven, Pa. for her 20-year high school reunion Thursday. In addition to some painful reminders that we too listened to INXS and Simple Minds in the late 1980s, the episode unleashes Liz's snark on her revenge-minded classmates.
It was liking watching another John Hughes movie, assuming he made a "Sixteen Candles" sequel 20 years after the original, when Liz shrugged off her former classmates' scorn.
"If these jagweeds don't wan't to get to know the nice, new me, then [shrew, as in "rhymes with"] them and their rapidly yellowing teeth," she snarls to Jack Donaghy.
The writers had to figure out a way to get Alec Baldwin's scene-stealing Donaghy at the reunion -- and thankfully far, far away from a dumb subplot concerning Kenneth the page stealing laughs from Tracy Jordan with his elevator small talk. So they revive Jack's mentor Don Geiss from his coma, just in time to tell Jack that either a space alien, God or some unborn Aztec god spoke to him via a beam of energy to tell him it's not time to retire.
So much for Jack's plans to "wipe that smug smile off Michelle Obama's face" at the next Princeton reunion. With his dream of taking over as G.E.'s CEO delayed, he spirals into self-pity. Jack plans a trip to Miami after a pit stop to drop Liz off at her reunion, but a snow storm leaves him and the company jet stranded with her in White Haven, Pa.
Jack also is the one who convinced Liz to attend her reunion, to mark her triumphant return as the former ugly duckling transformed into a "vaguely ethnic swan." When she gets there, however, she discovers that the cool girls whom she remembers terrorizing her are the ones still suffering trauma from her cutting remarks in high school.
One woman still hasn't forgotten how Liz used to call her beauty mark the spot where God pooped on her chin. And the flamboyantly effeminate Rob Sussman, whom Liz once called gayer than the volleyball scene in "Top Gun," is all too eager to push his frumpy wife in front of Liz and tell her all about the three dogs they've raised.
Jack seamlessly adopts the identity of Larry Braverman, the AWOL big man on campus from Liz's reunion class. Regaling the cool kids with tales of how he wore out the old Camaro they all remember with his back-seat loving, Jack is asked to take a role in Liz's comeuppance.
He's still smarting from her reaction from when he told her about Geiss deciding to stay on as CEO. ("It's been a rough year for you. First William F. Buckley dies and then this. Next stop impotence, right?") So he falls temporarily under their sway, until he realizes that they plan on giving her a Carrie-style dunking in pig's blood, or something equally red and goopy.
Revived, but also alarmed by the attempt by one of Larry Braverman's high-school flings to introduce him to his teenage son, Jack pulls Liz offstage to escape to the G.E. jet. Not before Liz gets off the perfect scorched-earth farewell to her old pals.
"Suck it, you whittlling IHOP monkeys!" would have made the perfect senior quote in 1988.