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10/26/2012 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 26, 2012

'30 Rock': 'Unwindulax' Recap

I've been waiting for politics to become a storyline, and this appears to be the episode (or the first of them, anyway). Don Cheadle (on a bed of rice!) was my MVP guest star this week, though Kellan Lutz definitely brought it too, with "it" being "sheer weirdness." Jenna's storyline was okay, but worth it if purely for the revival of the Pranksmen (although I'm not convinced the Pranksmen were at top form this time around). Observe:

Jenna's made it big with a Jimmy Buffett-esque island tune, and as a result, has ended up with a huge fanbase of people called Crab Catchers (from the lyrics "I caught crabs in paradise / and yes, I mean both kinds of crabs"). Led by guest stars Amy Sedaris and Gary Cole, the Crab Catchers basically wear Hawaiian shirts, drink margaritas all day and make a ruckus in Rockefeller Plaza, driving Pete and the writers crazy. The flaw in Jenna's situation was that in reality she's an insanely high-maintenance one-woman circus, not the "unwindulaxed," laid-back person she has to pretend to be around her fans. To try to expose her high-maintenance side, Frank, Toofer and Lutz targeted her insecurities -- dressing Cerie in the same shirt (a dress with a baby's necktie belt), handing out photos of Jenna before her nose job, getting a ridiculous haircut from Lutz. In private, Jenna warned them not to cross her, because she and her fans can shut them out of Florida (also, flying Delta and being able to humanely put down your alligator) since that's where they're from. The Pranksmen almost won with a DVD containing all of Jenna's most diva-ish moments, but Pete, having been converted to the Crab Catcher lifestyle, snapped it in half. And that's the end of that, since apparently that evidence existed solely on that single DVD.

Jack and Liz spar politically after Jack invited Liz to an expensive Republican luncheon. Liz loaded up on shrimp to the soundtrack of obnoxious rich person GOP talking points ("I earned my trust fund by always being very polite to grandfather."), and tried to contain herself as they pressed all her bleeding heart liberal buttons. Eventually, she broke in true Liz Lemon style with: "You don't have enough shrimp to buy my silence! Also, you're out of shrimp," and then went on a passionate -- if occasionally derailed -- train of thought about why they're all wrong. As a bit of sneaky Karl Rove trickery, this was exactly what Jack wanted all along since Liz's tirade only increased GOP donations. Liz was determined to prove that she could make just as much of a political difference via her ideas as Jack can using huge amounts of money. Planning to use the show as a platform, she recruited Lutz's grandnephew Kellan Lutz to get people's attention, but the over-excited audience screamed so loudly at his surprise appearance and subsequent shirt unbuttoning that it blocked out the message.

Also, a quick time out to say that, good God Lemon, did Kellan Lutz commit. His cameo was short but terrifying and awesome in its over-the-topness. I'll never be able to say or hear the word "marshmallow" the same way ever again, just like I now have to hesitate before pronouncing "Beyonce" thanks to SNL. Bravo, sir, bravo.

Anyway, Jack refused to believe that throwing money at something won't make people vote Republican. He set his sights on winning black voters from Democrats with an insanely expensive commercial starring Don Cheadle, which was mostly him trying to keep a straight face while reading his heavy-handed, pro-Mitt Romney lines. Basically, to appeal to African American voters, Jack figured having a black person say "rah rah Republicans!" (not a direct quote in this case, but might as well be) and including "the black Transformer, Jazz" and a lot of stereotypes would do the trick. It didn't. Jack and Liz started a simultaneous breakdown of the how the election will go state by state (in Liz's case, with Tracy as her guide since his nationwide comedy tours give him a good look into each state's collective political psyche). They come to realize that the only state that isn't accounted for and can't be predicted is Florida -- specifically, the part of Florida that Jenna's unwindulaxing Crab Catcher fan base resides in. "The next president of the United States will be chosen by Jenna," Jack realized.

I loved that Pete and the writers were a central part of the plot in this episode, and Tracy only had one of his fake-out lines that inexplicably annoy me ("Just came in to see how my friend was doing ... but obviously he's gone back into his mousehole so ... how are you?"). The political stuff felt a little mincing, a little too careful at times.

The Don Cheadle commercial was hilarious, as was Jack's double meaning of "chum" (wordplay!). Also, that Mitt Romey is Jack's hair mentor, Jenna's song lyrics ("more margaritas, sunburn's started to scab"), brother-dad is Mormon for dad, and the fact that no, I was not hallucinating, the pile of money in Jack's office actually did speak. All that, and Hazel hasn't appeared for three episodes now.

Also, shout out for the Huffington Post mention, when Jack tells Liz she can't come to the Republican luncheon as "Liz Lemon HuffPo Super User Gun Control Lunatic." Definitely a new commenter title we should consider rolling out.

What did you think of this week's episode? Leave a comment below!

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