Most things get significantly better when you add Tina Fey to them. (See: Weekend Update; the Golden Globes; American Express ads.) So it makes sense that adding the 30 Rock alum to the Season 2 cast of NBC’s Great News — where Fey’s also an executive producer, by the way — takes an already-fun sitcom and elevates it about a bazillion notches.
After Katie and Greg have an awkward elevator run-in following their almost-kiss in the finale, Greg announces to the Breakdown staff that in light of last season’s hacking scandal, they’ll soon be getting a new network president. Chuck hopes that means they’ll be getting back to “hard news,” but Stanislav the Russian janitor (??) pipes up to eloquently disagree, and when Chuck waves him off, Vladislav yanks off a mask to reveal he’s really the glamorous Diana St. Tropez, played by Fey… and their new boss.
While Katie fangirls out — she’s read all of Diana’s books, including Boardroom Bitch — Diana introduces herself as “the only female Fortune 500 CEO from a non-shapewear-related company.” She sleeps two hours a night, she’s constantly Kegeling and she wants to give The Breakdown a modern makeover. Everyone applauds, except Chuck, who’s suspicious of change in any form. Carol doesn’t like Diana much, either… especially when she sees one of her books is titled Everything Your Mother Told You Was a Lie.
CALL ME OLD-FASHIONED | Chuck chafes when Diana wants to turn The Breakdown into a panel discussion with “a bunch of lunatics screaming at each other.” He calls the idea “balderdash” — “News is not the place for screaming opinions! The place for that is my mother’s grave!” — but she wins him over with a shiny new red desk chair. The first panel includes a “transracial fracking misunderstander,” a Wiccan priestess and a gay dog, and amid all the shouting, Chuck can’t get a word in edgewise. Finally, he bursts out with “Show me the facts on that!” But it’s long after the show’s ended, and he’s yelling at an empty chair, Clint Eastwood-style.
The new format works, though: Diana tells Greg and the anchors their ratings just hit an all-time high. Chuck still doesn’t like it, but he senses Diana is eager to replace him, so he caves, pretending to agree that change is good: “It’s good that nobody reads books, and that old buildings are just knocked down and become new buildings.” When Portia feels sorry for him, Katie reminds her of what Diana always says: “If he’s male, let him fail.” But at the next taping, Portia throws Chuck a bone by introducing the next topic: “why change is bad.” Chuck comes alive, going off on a nostalgic rant about why the old days were better (“The guys who were wearing dresses were funny! Not brave!”) and finally getting his mojo back.
MENTOR VS. MOM | Katie timidly enters Diana’s office — a pristinely Zen workspace filled with fresh flowers and Voss water bottles — and gushes that she wants Diana to be her mentor, rambling on about a dream she had where they were topless in a lake together. (Yeesh… dial it back a bit, Katie.) Diana doesn’t have time to mentor anyone, but she does give Katie some advice: “Focus on your work… and freeze your eggs.” Personal lives are just distractions at Katie’s age, she says: “30 is for working, 50 is for having kids, and 140 is for dying.” (Is Diana a little Jenna Maroney-ish, or is it just us?) Carol doesn’t like the sound of any of that; she just hears all of Diana’s female-empowerment blather as anti-motherhood… and anti-Carol.
The last straw for Carol is discovering egg-freezing hormones in Katie’s purse — she wants her daughter to have “unfrozen kids”! — so she barges into Diana’s office and full-on tackles her. Luckily, Diana is fit enough to easily fend her off, and even helps Carol realize she doesn’t really want Katie to give up her dreams. When Katie bursts into Diana’s office, hormones raging, to tell her off, she and her mom have a good cry together and apologize to each other. Diana decides she’ll take Katie under her wing after all, not because she’s “persistent and plucky”… but because she somehow survived being raised by Carol.
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Carol still hopes Katie will have kids someday, though, and when Katie insists she hasn’t taken men off the table, Carol sniffs: “Men have taken you off the table. Same thing.” Insulted, Katie defends herself by blabbing that she and Greg almost kissed. (Oops.) As soon as Katie realizes her mistake and runs out of the room in horror, Carol excitedly calls her priest to reserve the church for a 2019 wedding. Hey, gotta book that venue early!
* Carol sending everyone into a frenzy by reading a news alert about China launching a missile, and then correcting herself: “It was Blac Chyna, and she launched a lip gloss line.” (How is Carol still employed, by the way?)
* Katie and Greg’s agonizing post-kiss elevator conversation. (Her: “We wouldn’t want things to get awkward, because then the words that we talk wouldn’t work anymore for working.” Him: “I completely respond.”)
* Chuck defending The Breakdown by declaring it’s the top-rated show “in hospitals, and on sinking riverboat casinos!”
* Beth, after hearing how much Katie loves Diana’s books: “That’s like me and Shakespeare. Have you read Rick Shakespeare? He writes nasty, funny erotica.”
* Diana thinking Katie is her new personal trainer: “You better be mean and gay. They’re the only ones I respect.”
* Diana, rapidly dialing a phone number after Carol walks into her office uninvited: “Could we get a rush installation on that electrified doorknob?”
* Diana showing Carol a photo of her four multiethnic children, all from different donor fathers and surrogate mothers, and “born on international flights so that they’re citizens of the sky. It’s advantageous for tax reasons.”
* Katie telling Diana about her search for a bargain fertility doctor: “I found a guy who does a payment plan called Dr. Pizzazz. Is that who you used?” Diana: “No, my doctor was a uterine drone.”
* Chuck, describing his tight bond with Portia: “We’re a team, like Starsky and Hutch. But I’m both of them. And the car. She’s all the girl characters.”
* Carol, seeing Katie in tears: “I always cry when you cry. That’s why I never got you vaccinated. If you get chicken pox, you’ll die!”
* The very British Greg, explaining why any sign of human emotion freaks him out: “Growing up, my governess was an actual teapot.”
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