The Head and the Hair
|"The Head and The Hair"|
|30 Rock episode|
Liz and "The Head" (left) with Jenna and "The Hair" (right)
|Directed by||Gail Mancuso|
|Original air date||January 18, 2007|
"The Head and The Hair" is the eleventh episode of the first season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock. It was written by series creator Tina Fey and co-executive producer John Riggi. The director of this episode was Gail Mancuso. It originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in the United States on January 18, 2007. Guest stars in this episode include Katrina Bowden, Craig Castaldo, Peter Hermann, Brian McCann, John McEnroe, Maulik Pancholy, Keith Powell, and Lonny Ross.
In the episode, two men, one a cerebral nerd (McCann) and the other a gorgeous hunk (Hermann), capture the attention of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). Meanwhile, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) trade places for "Bottom's Up Day" at the office and at the same time, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) enlists Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander) and James "Toofer" Spurlock (Powell) to write his autobiography in one day.
"The Head and the Hair" received generally positive reception from television critics. According to the Nielsen ratings system, the episode was watched by 5.0 million households during its original broadcast, and received a 2.4 rating/6 share among viewers in the 18–49 demographic.
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) keep running into the same two men in the elevator at the 30 Rock building, and find themselves interested in them. Not knowing their names, Liz and Jenna refer to them as "The Head" (Brian McCann) and "The Hair" (Peter Hermann). After talking with Jenna, Liz decides she is going to ask "The Head" out on a date. However, on her way to find him, she runs into "The Hair", who asks her out, and discovers his name is Gray. She agrees to attend a restaurant opening with him. Feeling uncomfortable with Gray, as she believes that she does not date someone like Gray as it feels wrong, Liz tries to go home, but he convinces her to hang out for a while longer. The next day things end abruptly when Liz finds a picture of her great-aunt in his apartment and they learn that they are related.
Meanwhile, Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) panics in the TGS with Tracy Jordan staff office, as his autobiography is due to a publisher the next day but he has not yet begun to write it. He begs Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander) and James "Toofer" Spurlock (Keith Powell) to help him get it done in time, and they agree. They run into a problem when Tracy cannot remember much about his own life, and turn to English Wikipedia for the answers. They work non-stop on the project, until Tracy remembers that there never was an actual publisher for the book, thus shutting the project down.
Finally, Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and NBC page Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) are participating in "Bottoms Up" day at the office. Jack must work in Kenneth's job for a day, to help him be a better manager. During their time together, Kenneth tells Jack about an idea he has for a game show called Gold Case, in which contestants must correctly guess which briefcase being modeled contains gold bricks. Jack helps him sell the idea to NBC. The pilot episode of Gold Case is in production, with host John McEnroe. Due to the weight of the gold, contestants can quickly spot which model is straining with the weight of the case. Every contestant wins almost immediately which results in the show being shut down.
"The Head and the Hair" was written by series' creator, executive producer and lead actress Tina Fey and co-executive producer John Riggi. The director of this episode was Don Scardino. This was Fey and Riggi's first script collaboration, and they later co-wrote the season three episode "The Natural Order". "The Head and the Hair" originally aired on NBC in the United States on January 18, 2007 as the eleventh episode of the show's first season and overall of the series.
This episode featured guest appearances from actors Brian McCann and Peter Hermann, in which McCann played "The Head" and Hermann "The Hair". Former professional tennis player John McEnroe played himself in the episode, in which he hosts the game show Gold Case. McEnroe would later guest star as himself in the November 20, 2008, 30 Rock episode "Gavin Volure". In one scene of this episode, Kenneth runs into a man named "Moonvest", and tells him that he got an idea for a television game show, but Moonvest tells him "Give me your fingernails". Moonvest was played by Craig Castaldo, or known as Radio Man.
One filmed scene from "The Head and the Hair" was cut out from the airing. Instead, the scene was featured on 30 Rock's season 1 DVD as part of the deleted scenes in the Bonus feature. In the scene, Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit) is visibly upset that someone added paper in the regular garbage and demands to know who did it, as NBC recycles. Jack and Kenneth show up. Jack apologizes for throwing the paper in the regular garbage, which results in Pete telling him to go through the garbage by hand and "fish out anything that's recyclable", as Jack is dressed as a page, in which he is participating on "Bottoms Up" day.
In the scene where Tracy is on his bacon run, every mention of January 17th is either shot so the actor's mouth is hidden or dubbed over. This can be seen most clearly when Cerie says January 17th. It seems the original was February 17th but later changed to match the release date of the episode. Closed captioning still shows February 17th.
In one of the scenes of the episode, Kenneth is in news anchor Brian Williams's dressing room. There, Kenneth is seeing cleaning out a half-cleaned graffiti that reads "Kat Cou Suc", a reference to fellow news host Katie Couric. Williams' has been on the series, having appeared in the season three episode "The Ones", in which Tracy has been giving out Williams's phone number instead of his. He next appeared in the season four episode "Audition Day", as he is auditioning to become a cast member on TGS. Williams appeared in "Future Husband" in which he tells the CNBC staff that his news program Nightly News "rules".
There are frequent references to Star Wars in 30 Rock, beginning with the pilot episode in 2006 where Tracy is seen shouting that he is a Jedi. Liz admits to being a huge fan of Star Wars, saying that she had watched it many times with Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit), and dressed up as the Star Wars character Princess Leia during four recent Halloweens. There is also reference to Star Wars when Tracy takes on the identity of the character Chewbacca. In "The Head and the Hair", Liz tells Jenna that "The Head" asked her out and says "I had to say yes. I mean he looked at me with those handsome guys eyes. It was like the Death Star tractor beam when the Falcon was...", until Jenna interrupts her and says "No Liz, do not talk about that stuff on your date. Guys like that do not like Star Trek", to which Liz corrects "Wars!". Fey, a fan of Star Wars herself, said that the weekly Star Wars joke or reference "started happening organically" when the crew realized that they had a Star Wars reference "in almost every show". Fey said that from then on "it became a thing where [they] tried to keep it going", and that even though they could not include one in every episode, they still had a "pretty high batting average". Fey attributed most of the references to executive producer and writer Robert Carlock, whom she described as "the resident expert".
In its original American broadcast, "The Head and the Hair" was watched by 5.0 million households, according to the Nielsen ratings system. It earned a 2.4 rating/6 share in the 18–49 demographic, meaning that 2.4 percent of all people in that group, and 6 percent of all people from that group watching television at the time, watched the episode. This was a decrease from the previous episode, "The Rural Juror", which was watched by 6.1 million American viewers. Since airing, the episode has received generally good reception from television critics.
Television columnist Alan Sepinwall for The Star-Ledger said that 30 Rock "feels like a show that's already made The Leap midway through season one." He reported that Tracy's story was "largely a dud", but said that the two other plots were "so funny" that it would not matter much. Sepinwall said "The Head and the Hair" was "splendid". Julia Ward of AOL's TV Squad was complimentary towards Alec Baldwin's Jack in this episode, citing that he knows "how to squeeze some serious funny out of a simple gesture and a pause." She added that his "lingering stare" at both Jenna and Liz after taking their drink order "was the funniest moment in a very funny episode". Ward also enjoyed that it "brought us maximum Kenneth, which is great. He's turning out to be one of the show's most endearing characters." IGN contributor Robert Canning wrote that the pairing of Jack and Kenneth was a "great idea and gave Kenneth his best episode" since "Blind Date". In regards to Liz's story, he commented it was "her strongest episodes to date", and said that it "felt good" to see her "have a little luck for a change" with "The Head". In conclusion, Canning gave the episode an 8.0 out of 10 rating. TV Guide's Matt Mitovich disliked that NBC "utterly ruined" the outcome of Liz's plot in the promos, though, said that it was a "very funny resolution to the relationship that was too good, and too well coiffed, to be true." Mitovich said that it was "fun" to see Liz successfully date "while it lasted".
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