'30 Rock': Steve Martin and the perils of investing

Stevemartin Any 30 Rock that features Steve Martin, jail breaks, and an exact replica...uh..."private funtime" doll should be enough to get you through to Friday. The only thing missing was a banjo.

We open with Liz and Jack attending a fancy dinner party at the Connecticut home of rich, agoraphobic, ex-businessman Gavin Volure (Steve Martin). Because he never leaves the house, he brings the world to him by inviting interesting people to eat with him (including John McEnroe representing the worlds of art collecting and yelling).

Before they leave, Gavin tells Jack about his new business deal and agrees to let Jack in on it. The pitch is comprised of three things: wind power, bandwidth, and the Chinese market. Because he's kind of germaphobic too, he has his man-servant Karl kiss Liz on the hand and tell her he had a lovely time and would like to see her again. The next morning, Gavin calls Liz and asks her for a weekender date which she somewhat reluctantly agrees to.

The B plot involves Tracy being wigged out by his kids, Tracy Jr. and George Foreman, who are all of a sudden paying attention to him. Kenneth says it's because they love him, Tracy believes they're out to get him. Because of all the money coming in from the video games and assorted tie-ins (including Japanese sex dolls made in his likeness), Tracy comes to the natural conclusion that the kids are out to kill him.

Because of the agoraphobia and germaphobia, Gavin says a relationship with him will only consist of watching TV, eating, sitting around and reading internet gossip, and never having sex - exactly what she's looking for. Except not because when Liz is leaving the next day, the other shoe drops. After locking Karl in a room, Gavin confesses that he is really under house arrest for tax evasion, fraud and arson. Karl's a government agent. He makes a break for it and gets tackled on the lawn by another agent, yelling to Liz that he miscounted. Awesome.

Meanwhile, Jack convinces Kenneth to give him his $4,000 coffee can savings to invest...and unfortunately he invests it in Gavin's business and they both lose their money. Jack goes to confront Gavin and finds out that he's broke, the house is owned by the government which he shares with a couple other white collar criminals, and that the "investment" money was really used to fund his escape (most of it was spent on disguises). The famous company he ran was really a front, a dummy corp - the commercials never actually said what it did. Gavin spills a drink on himself, then goes to the bathroom while Jack follows and talks to him. Once the door is closed, some of the answers are weird so Jack breaks in and finds that Gavin has escaped.

At Tracy's house, he uses only of his insanely life-like sex dolls as a decoy to trap his potentially murderous sons. Hiding in the closet in the middle of the night, one of them comes in to talk. Turns out the boys were just having nightmares about Tracy getting so rich that he'll leave them. Touched, he steps out of the closet...and scares the crap out of the kid who starts hitting Tracy with the lamp from the nightstand. Finally calming him, Tracy assures his son that he'll never leave the boys and the he loves them. He also adds that if anything happens to him, they'll get nothing.

The next morning, Jack tries to repay Kenneth his $4,000. Kenneth sweetly and politely declines. Pete pops up and asks Kenneth to be in charge of safety for the floor (a job he's been trying to get rid of since the beginning of the ep). Kenneth happily agrees and Jack says there's a $4,000 bonus for it. Looking at Pete to verify, he says he remembers that new tidbit from the same meeting that gave him a driving per diem. Jack somewhat begrudgingly gives up twelve-cents per mile.

As Liz walks on to set, Gavin appears disguised as one of the set builders. It's not a very good disguise. He tells her he'd been in Canada but had to come back for her. Jack arrives and confronts him, telling him that Liz is too good for him. Desperate, Gavin begins climbing up a ladder to the scaffolding 14 to 15 feet above ground and threatens to jump. Tracy appears and Kenneth runs in with his safety gear (a hardhat and a orange kit that seems to only contain water bottle and saltine crackers). Jack tries to talk Gavin down...but it doesn't work. Just as he's about to jump, Tracy appears and tackles him. Turns out the Tracy on the floor was his doll decoy.

Assorted Bits & Pieces:

  • I really liked the way they pulled all the plot points together this episode. They weren't as out there as they usually are, but that really doesn't matter. And you know a show is good at insane situations when all this doesn't seem particularly weird.
  • I also appreciate the "The More You Know" commercial at the end with Tracy saying that sex dolls get a bad rap but bring families together and save lives. And he knows because he's Tracy's sex doll.
  • It boggles my mind how many times I've just written the phrase "sex doll" or some variation in this recap. And I was trying to keep the number low too.
  • Nice to see Steve Martin again. I feel like it's been awhile (talk show appearances excluded). He's still got great timing. I almost feel like I wanted more over-the-top stuff for him to do. Maybe he can make an encore appearance...
  • Poor Kenneth and his family. He was saving money to reinforce the house to guard against the increasingly violent, inbred pigs on the farm. That doesn't sound like fun...unless it was a first-person shooter game. Then that might be fun.

So what did you think? Did you like Steve Martin's guest spot? Have any favorite lines/scenes?