Governor Dunston

Season 7
Episode 702
Air Date 10/11/12
TV-14

Liz walks in on Jack video conferencing with Mitt Romney's champion mare, Rafalka. The horse answers yes-or-no questions by eating an apple or a carrot. Thanks to Rafalka, Jack learns that Paul Ryan has dropped out of the VP race (because he was born in Kenya); an announcement will be made later in the day about a replacement running mate. Liz and Jack resume brainstorming their plan to take down NBC. Jack makes Liz promise that TGS won't do a political skit, since that usually boosts ratings. Jack then gets personal: he tells Liz he doesn't understand her intimacy issues with Criss.

Jenna skips into the writers' room, holding an unopened envelope containing what she is sure is a hefty royalty check. She just knows that her summer dance jam, "Balls," was a goldmine. It turns out to be a check for $90. Tracy claims that because of "Al Gore's stupid Internet," people just get music for free nowadays. Tracy adds that this is why he abandoned his music career despite his beautiful singing voice and knack for lyricism. Criss stops by the office to say hello, but Tracy, inspecting Criss' cleanly shaven face and cologne scent, accuses him of wanting to do it on a desk. He's right. Criss and Liz are trying to have a baby, and Criss is trying to work around Liz's tricky libido. Ever thoughtful, he's even started tracking her menstrual cycle so that it feels like less of a chore for Liz.

Criss' spontaneity is halted when he messes up Liz's desk and she falls into a panic. They're then interrupted by Pete, who turns on the TV and brings Liz's attention to Romney's new running mate: a dummy of a politician who looks and acts just like an older Tracy. Even though Liz promised Jack she wouldn't devise any good skits, she can't resist the temptation. Outside in the hallway, Kenneth runs into Jenna and tries to introduce her to his mom, Pearline. But Jenna dismisses her - she's too busy dealing with her "actress side project" to care. But Pearline has also brought along a friend, Ron, and when Jenna sees Pearline handing Kenneth a CD, she's intrigued. She now wants to learn everything there is to know about this rare breed of human who still buys CDs.

Liz announces to Jack that she absolutely must allow Tracy play Governor Dunston, but Jack reminds her that a hit skit would disrupt their plan. In order to save the network he needs to destroy it, just like BP did when they "heroically tried to lubricate the Gulf of Mexico." Liz goes ahead with the Dunston sketch anyway; as predicted, the bit is a huge success. Liz strolls into work the next morning with calls awaiting her from George Clooney and The New York Times. Jack is furious. He fumes that she promised not to write this skit! She replies that she did, in fact, keep her promise: every word of that skit came straight out of Governor Dunston's mouth. Liz reveals she didn't have to write a thing.

Jack angrily tells Liz that the network now wants TGS to be on five times a week, therefore completely debunking his plan. But with Governor Dunston committing more and more unbelievably stupid acts by the day, Liz is on a roll. Meanwhile, Kenneth, Pearline, and Ron are sitting in Jenna's dressing room during lunch, watching her eat baby food with a pair of chopsticks. As Jenna questions them about what kind of music they listen to, it's revealed that Pearline and Ron got married secretly… seven years ago. Kenneth is furious, since he thinks Ron is an idiot. Kenneth musters every ounce of control he can and then steps out of the room, terribly upset with his mother.

Pete and Liz are trying to cross-reference TGS' crazy new five-nights-a-week schedule with Liz's menstrual/fertility cycle. Caught up in a flurry of scheduling, spreadsheets, and color-coded documents, it's clear the new logistical challenge has ignited Liz, striking a kind of spark that Criss hasn't yet been able to. Pete is (rightly) disturbed. Liz rushes home to Criss and rips off his clothes.

Meanwhile, Cooter Berger stops by Jack's office. As it turns out, he's the Deputy Chief of Media Relations for Romney-Dunston 2012, and he's here to ask TGS to continue their skits about Dunston. Tracy's characterizations are successfully positioning Dunston as a loveable buffoon rather than a mean-spirited pol who recently re-segregated schools in Alabama. Jack is bewildered. Nothing is going according to plan. The success of TGS is now aiding Republicans, a cause near and dear to Jack's heart. It's an existential crisis of the first order.

Ron and Pearline come to Jenna's dressing room to ask some advice about Kenneth. Instead, Jenna forces Ron to sing her a song for inspiration, since she's now trying to write music geared towards "unhappy middle aged bummers" who buy records. Ron and Pearline perform a sweet song about Kenneth, but Jenna halts them with a string of insults. Kenneth storms in and tells Jenna she cannot talk to Ron like that. Kenneth realizes that regardless of Ron's simplemindedness, Ron is Kenneth's family, and family sticks up for another, like that one time Pearline ate a boy who had been bullying Kenneth.

Chris and Liz go on a seductive date to Staples, where a flurry of Liz Lemon foreplay includes highlighters, paper clips, and CDs! She's solved her intimacy issues at long last! Later that day, Jack corners Liz in the studio. They're faced with a critical decision: either continue doing the Dunston sketches while helping Romney and NBC, or stop doing the Dunston sketches, help Obama, and tank NBC. No Dunston would also mean that TGS would go back to once a week, thereby threatening Liz's newfound busy love life. Obama? Or love life? Liz, in an uncharacteristic move, goes with love life as she sends Tracy off to do his Governor Dunston cold open.

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