88. "Greenzo," 30 Rock (2007)
Welcome to the “100 Best Sitcom Episodes of All Time,” a countdown for winter 2012. Each episode will get a separate blog post, counting backward toward No. 1. A list of the programs revealed so far is here and an introduction to the project is here.
Looking at this episode nearly five years after it first aired, I'm struck by how funny Kenneth is when he's genuinely angry, as opposed to grinning like an idiot even when he tells his friends that the world is ending and they're all going to hell. I don't know why the 30 Rock writers seem so reluctant to bring back Pissed Off Kenneth when he was in one of the show's best episodes.
"Greenzo" has a lot of stuff that I normally don't care for in sitcoms. It's got three unconnected storylines (which all happen to be good), stunt casting (all clever, including David Schwimmer basically telling Today Show host Meredith Viera to shut up), and a bunch of gratuituous cutaway gags (but who can resist a campaign ad warning of Hillary Clinton's plan for an "all-homosexual" army?). Even the jazzy incidental music, so often a stand-in for a laugh track on single-camera sitcoms, actually works to build comic momentum in "Greenzo," especially in the run-up to Kenneth's disastrous party.