We didn’t buy one.
A lot of new stuff was on, but not for the first week. It was for me.
30 Rock: Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Judah Friedlander, Tracy Morgan, Rachael Dratch, are you kidding me? It’s getting off the ground, and it wasn’t ridiculously clever like The Office, but Alec Baldwin’s character is excellent. If you never did read the “Things My Boss Said to Me Without Elaborating” list on McSweeneys.net, Alec Baldwin’s character, Mr. Donaghy, is the perfect person to say all of these things remorsefully dry and unconcerned. It’s rather hysterical. Part of the first episode dealt with Mr. Donaghy (Baldwin), the new boss, educating his new employees in a game of high stakes poker. The usual game of quarters and dimes becomes minimum $25, and the last round one character bets his wedding ring, and another bets his coworker’s Emmy. Donaghy still plays with cash. Almost all of the characters leave after realizing that Donaghy reads them like a book. He proceeds into a monologue of telling each player how he knows when they have a good or bad hand. There is, however, one character who is impervious to his innate ability to read people, the page Kenneth, whose middle name is Ellen. He is country, airy, dazed, and kind. He approaches Kenneth the next day and says “You are a puzzle, Kenneth Ellen, and I am going to solve you.”
The entire staff is invited to a casino setup on-set where they all play another very expensive game with real chips and on a real table. Cut to only Kenneth Ellen and the bossman left. K.E. is curiously licking a tortilla chip and Frank whispers to Liz “He’s awesome. You can’t read his thoughts because he doesn’t have any. Donaghy gives a great monologue in K.E. character, revealing that he’s done a complete background check on his rearing in Stone Mtn, GA, and how he was raised, etc and goes all in. K.E. has no more chips, and Donaghy settles to let him bet his page jacket, meaning if he wins, he keeps his job, and if not, he’s fired.
He loses, and Liz (Fey) stops Kenneth Ellen before he walks out and asks why he would bet his job on a King-high hand. He says “because I believe life is for the living, and in taking risks, and biting of more than you can chew. (cocking head to the side) Also people were yelling and I was confused about the rules,” and turns around to leave on his blue Schwinn bicycle. Donaghy stops him and gives him his job back because he says the shrimp tails need to be swept up by morning. All of that leads to the greatest quote in the episode, and one I will be using throughout my interaction with people:
Liz: Well, it was nice of you to let him keep his job.
Donaghy: The Italians have a saying, Lemon, (Liz’s last name): ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,’ and although they’ve never won a war, or mass-produced a decent car, in this area they are correct. In five years, we will all either be working for him (long pause), or dead by his hand.”
You can find the entire episode online here.
(Also I forgot to say “20 Good Years,” was enjoyable, but not worth elaborating on).