Recap: "Cutbacks"

Hey folks, Mickey O'Connor here, filling in for my brother-from-another-mother Matt Mitovich, who is enjoying a few days of well-deserved vacation. (Put.The.Blackberry.Down.Man.) I usually recap Lost and Desperate Housewives around these parts, so forgive me if this recap devolves into catty comments and conspiracy theories - it's what I know.

On Thursday's 30 Rock, it's the 50th episode of TGS with Tracy Jordan - hooray! - and to celebrate, parent company Sheinhardt Wigs announces its first quarterly loss since the Civil War, so it's time for cutbacks - the opposite of hooray! "The days of wild Coke parties are over," Jack tells Liz, and yes, he does mean the soda. Jack even had to fire his devoted assistant Jonathan (the very funny Maulik Pancholy), who greets the news by crooning Jack a few farewell verses of "Without You." (warning: disturbing YouTube link). Hilariously, Kenneth is reassigned to replace him. "I feel like I'm in The Pelican Brief," he enthuses (which becomes the night's recurring arbitrary film reference since it's on everyone's mind because Showtime is running it a lot lately).

A consultant named Brad Hollister (guest star Roger Bart) tells Liz that she has to cut 25 percent from the budget by the end of the day. Liz goes to Jack's office for advice, where she meets an executive named Cheryl, who suggests they team up and put the moves on Jack to save their jobs. "We could lez out, give him a show," she suggests. Jack admits that "sexual bartering sometimes pays off: Salome, Mata Hari, Deborah Norville..."

Since Liz will do anything for her show - the No. 1 late-night show among men 9-13 and the morbidly obese - she gets wardrobe to triple-Spanx her and the sluttier makeup girl to work her magic. "They may take our dignity, but they will never take our straws!" a skankified Lemon cries on her way out the door to meet Hollister for ethically questionable drinks, to the cheers and golf claps of her motley crew.

Her post-date, job-saving seduction goes as follows. Liz cuts to the chase, offering Brad:

1) 20 minutes, open mouth, I will work your ears

2) 30 minutes, I'll make some sounds and you can say one weird thing to me

3) 30 minutes, sounds, top front of my body is now in play

But! It seems not to have worked! The next day, the food is gone, the announcer is fired and the writers' room is now the studio for Telemundo's World Cup coverage, despite Liz's boast to Jack that she gave him "a little taste of the Lemon, and it was not sour, my friend." What went wrong? Jack reports that Liz's "top front" is her worst quadrant.

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