fic: backstage passes (30rock)
five scenes Kenneth Parcell witnessed and never told anyone about
30 rock. here at TGS, ladies and gentlemen, our fine cast and crew gets up to all kinds of hijinks and antics, just like on tv! kenneth, ensemble. 1450 words. pg.
There is a knock at the door.
“Mr. Jordan, sir!” Kenneth calls from the other side. “Miss Lemon wants you on set for rehearsals of TGSWTJ! They want you in wardrobe for the Beyonce meets – ”
The door swings open quickly, an irate Mr. Tracy Jordan on the other side, clad in only one sneaker and powder blue tracksuit, strangely with the word “angel” airbrushed down the side. To add a bit more insult to style injury, the ensemble is ill-fitting, clearly indicative that his wife’s recent renovation of the house and subsequent closet swap has left her husband not only confused but a cross-dresser as well.
“What?” he spits out. “Oh, hell no. I ain’t getting involved in no missile defense system again. Hell no!”
Kenneth laughs, a little “aw, shucks,” movement of his arms and tilt of his head.
“No, Mr. Jordan! TGSWTJ! You know, like HIMYM! Or, SNL! Or, perhaps if we’re willing to throw it back a little, BtVS! It’s very popular, apparently, in the entertainment industry, as well as on the internet, to abbreviate possibly lengthy television titles into acronyms! TGSWTJ!”
“Son, you best be putting my name back in that title and out of this acronymical business, ‘specially if the interwebs are involved in this.” Tracy sneaks a little closer to Kenneth and leans over, casts his eyes to the right and the left, truly conspiratorial. “We clear?”
“Yes sir! Mr. Jordan, sir!”
Tracy disappears into his dressing room for a brief second and reemerges, his footsteps mincing and tight, as though on tiptoe, and when Kenneth looks down he sees exactly why. Tracy’s sneakers are easily five sizes too small, electric pink and bedazzled.
“Um, Mr. Jordan?”
“Not now, Kenneth, not now.” Tracy rests a hand on the page’s shoulder and takes a deep breath. “Pain is beauty.”
As Tracy walks farther down the hall Kenneth gets a lovely view of the gigantic angel wings decorating the back of Tracy’s jacket.
When Kenneth enters Jack Donaghy’s office, the shades are drawn. Sitting in the corner, a dark armchair and a glass of scotch is the boss himself.
“Mr. Donaghy! Sir!”
Jack exhales heavily, a shake of his head.
“She has spurned me again, Kenneth. That scarlet woman has ensnared me in her web of desire once more only to leave me, rotten and hanging as she returns back to that oaf of a husband.”
“I’m sorry, sir?” Kenneth puts his hands on his hips. “Are we talking about your former wife, the bewitching Miss Bianca?”
Jack waves his hand away, a rich guffaw from him and then the clatter of ice and almost a choking sound as he tries to both laugh and swallow simultaneously.
“Never! Never again, Kenneth. Never.” He sighs once more, reaches for the decanter, serving up a refill. He sighs again, much more dramatic than the first time and raises his head to look at Kenneth. “It’s that Hasselback woman – she’s at her tricks again. Goddamn her and her crafty, conniving, flirtatious ways!”
“You mean, from Barbara Walters and The View?” There’s a certain amount of awestruck thrown into Kenneth’s voice and this only seems to make Jack even more miserable as he hunches lower in his chair.
“One in the same, dear Kenneth.” He slams his glass down on the end table only to raise it just as abruptly. “She’s blonde, conservative and not nearly half as mannish as Ann Coulter. Ergo, Kenneth, she is perfection in her delightful neo-fascist frame.” He swallows down more of the scotch. “And she has left me, left me hanging, while she goes home to that jock prom king and their Aryan brood.”
He sits up a little straighter. “Kenneth, I need your help. And throughout this romantic endeavor, I must stress the absolute top secret nature of this joint venture to secure her love and affection.” He turns his head to the left, taking the concept of stage asides a little too seriously, and adds softly, “It would be ruinous for both if ever discovered. Positively ruinous!”
“Understood, sir! Absolutely!”
“I want to send her a telegram, Kenneth. We’re going to make her an offer she can’t refuse…”
A month later, Kenneth is called back into Jack’s office.
“Tell me what you know about this Rachel Ray woman. Her pastries look absolutely delectable.”
It’s backstage and the show has wrapped, the din of the audience can be heard over the TGS theme music playing. It had been a particularly difficult show – between Josh’s horrific Rudy Giuliani impression, Jenna of all people masquerading as both Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep in two different skits and Tracy’s ridiculous impersonation of Tyra Banks (which, for the record, he kept confusing with Tim Gunn, calling “make it work!” at random intervals in an even stranger accent than Tim Gunn’s own).
Needless to say, there was a lot of relief now that it was done.
While Kenneth was backstage helping mop up a lot of spilled lemonade, he heard the following:
“I must say, I had my doubts. But you pulled it off.” There’s a punch to Liz’s arm by Jack. Liz almost looks touched. “Way to go, Ollie Orange.”
Her face falls.
“No, seriously. What?”
“Are you making fun of me?”
There’s a weird moment of silence punctuated by Kenneth’s mop dripping excess lemonade and soapy water on the floor.
“You called her by the wrong citrus, sir!” Kenneth calls, dunking the mop head back into the rather pungent-scented water. They both turn to stare at him.
Jack walks away, his face spread in an all too self-aware grin. Liz shuffles off, grumbling, “no respect,” under her breath.
With the holidays and all, a certain amount of celebration goes with that, so, of course, Kenneth wasn’t completely surprised when he walked into the writers’ room and was greeted by nothing short of sheer debauchery.
There are several boxes of wine set out on the table, as well as a lot of now stained sheets of paper, the dark red stretching across them, now dyed a kind of purplish shade, sticking to the table. There were cookies, emphasis on the past tense, as both Lutz and Frank argue over the last snowman sugar cookie. Josh is trying to bust out the “Soulja Boy” dance but mainly failing miserably, looking more spastic than anything.
There is also mistletoe, which explains why Toofer is standing stock-still as Liz kind of hangs off his shoulder, whisper-yelling, “You just have to let me do it once! It’s the rules! The yuletide rules! And if I don’t kiss you, just a little, no one gets any presents! Just coal! And the reindeers will be sad!”
Kenneth imagines none of this is supposed to make any sense, on account of the devil juice, and he’s seen this scene before (flashback to that fateful party held at his own humble abode).
Kenneth turns away before Liz’s lips find their target, but as he walks away, he catches Toofer’s “oh dear Jesus, help me,” and Liz’s kind of maniacal laugh.
He shakes his head; red wine is definitely not her drink.
It’s Christmas time and the tree is sitting in Rockefeller Center. Despite the bad weather, the cold, and the scary New York Christmas shoppers, Kenneth still rides his bike into work.
As he leaves, he finds Cerie headed out as well. His bike gets stuck in the revolving doors while she waits outside; snow begins to fall.
He’s kind of blushing, a little embarrassed, his handlebars scratched.
“Rats and ‘roni!” he says when his bike is finally untangled and placed in its proper, upright position. “I’ll be darned if that doesn’t happen every day!”
“You’re silly,” she says, and then, rather shockingly, she leans forward. She presses a chaste kiss against his lips. “Merry Christmas, Kenneth.”
He shivers, but in a good way.
As he rounds a corner, whistling a Christmas carol, he all but runs into Tracy Jordan and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
“Peace talks,” Tracy tries to whisper over his shoulder, followed by a shrug.
“It really is the best time of year!” Kenneth crows as he rides his bike into an intersection, just narrowly missing the front of a yellow taxi.
As per his transport ritual, he opens loud in the first verse of “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
After all, it’s the only business he knows.