Saturday, March 3, 2012

Jack Donaghy

John Francis "Jack" Donaghy (ˈdɒnəɡiː/ don-ə-gee) is a fictional character on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. He begins the series as the Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for a fictional version of General Electric and later serves as the head of a fictional version of NBC after it is bought by the entirely fictional Kabletown.

Donaghy is played by Alec Baldwin, who has received two Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, six Screen Actors Guild Awards and one Television Critics Association Award for his portrayal of this character.

Jack Donaghy had an unhappy and impoverished childhood in South Boston and Sadchester, Massachusetts. When he was two, his father lured him to the edge of a swimming pool with a puppy and pushed him in the pool, and later abandoned his family. His mother Colleen Murphy Donaghy has nagged him his whole life, even blaming him for John F. Kennedy's death and for his father leaving. However, she was also devoted to her children. For example, it was noted that she had traded sexual favors with F. A. O. Schwarz for Christmas presents for Jack and his siblings. Young Jack took to calling his collie "Pop" until the dog was accidentally run over by the mailman and left to die in the street by his mother, which caused him to cry. The dog had earlier been neutered, causing Jack to charge his mother with "cutting off Pop's balls." His mother even tried to send him to Vietnam when he was 12 to make a man out of him. He also played hockey, the piano and the flute as a child, prompting his mother to embarrass him by having him play "The Star-Spangled Banner" on said flute in front of his team. He was also the captain of the diving team.

Due to his family's poverty, Donaghy began working at the age of 12, as a stevedore at the Port of Boston. He attended Princeton University, where he played football and baseball for the Tigers, joined the Princeton Charter Club, played Maria in an all-male production of West Side Story was a member of the "Twig and Plums" secret society, and was a classmate of Michelle Obama. In addition to the Amory Blaine Handsomeness Scholarship, his jobs during college included "the day shift at a graveyard, and the graveyard shift at a Days Inn"; recording every word in the English language for the linguistics department (to preserve the perfect American accent in case of nuclear war); and as a janitor at a primate laboratory. He later attended Harvard Business School, which he paid for by working as a Swan Boat operator, and where he was voted "Most" by his classmates. Carly Simon's 1972 hit song "You're So Vain" was, in fact, written by him.

Post college, Jack worked as an intern for Senator Ted Kennedy, where Jack developed an extremely liberal political world-view. At some point, though as yet unexplained, he underwent a complete reversal of his philosophy and became a conservative Republican.

In the years after working for Kennedy, Jack, "thrived" on fear, bow hunting polar bears, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, once driving a rental car into the Hudson River to practice escaping, showering with Greta Van Susteren and overcoming a peanut allergy through sheer willpower. Jack once practiced martial arts under Chuck Norris, but they had a falling out after he switched to another dojo.

After years of market research, he finally made his "greatest triumph" in the form of the Trivection oven, a product he created at General Electric. It was on the strengths of the Trivection oven that, in mid 2006, he replaced recently deceased Gary to become "Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming". Jack was the catalyst for bringing Tracy Jordan onboard the NBC sketch show The Girlie Show, despite head writer Liz Lemon's objections. Jack made sure that Tracy was the main star and ensured the show's name was changed to TGS with Tracy Jordan after bribing a test audience with pizza.

In "The Baby Show," it is shown that his mother still constantly calls him and that she now wants to move in with him from her retirement home, which has rocks made of foam since she tends to fall down a lot, in Orlando, Florida. However, at the end of the episode, he blackmails Josh Girard into taking all his mother's calls for him for the rest of Josh's life (Jack says that his mother will outlive Josh - "she's like Castro"), since Josh has a flawless "Jack Donaghy" impersonation.

In the wake of the episode "Fireworks," Jack is demoted to "Vice President of East Coast Television" when CEO Don Geiss takes his "Microwave Oven Programming" duties away from him, although a comment to Liz suggests that it may have been given back to him. At some point, he wrote a book entitled Jack Attack: The Art of Aggression in Business.

Acting on Don Geiss' advice, Jack gets engaged to Christie's auctioneer Phoebe. However, Liz later discovers that Phoebe is actually an unscrupulous gold digger. Jack refuses to believe this since Phoebe had told him that Liz is infatuated with him and he decides to continue with their wedding. The situation is resolved in the season finale, "Hiatus," when Jack has a heart attack during an argument with his mother and Phoebe and realizes that he is not in love with Phoebe. Also in "Hiatus," Jack's middle name is revealed to be Francis.

At the start of season two, Jack has recovered from his heart attack and becomes a candidate to succeed Don Geiss as CEO of GE, competing against his arch-rival, Vice-President of West Coast Television Devon Banks, who, despite being openly gay, has gotten engaged to Geiss' daughter Kathy. Later in the season, Jack wins the coveted job of Geiss' replacement, only to lose it when Geiss slips into a diabetic coma. Banks makes a power grab, convincing the board of directors that the CEO's seat should stay with the family and getting his fiancee Kathy appointed, with Banks as the power behind the throne. Jack is demoted and humiliated, and leaves GE for a position in George W. Bush's administration. This proves to be hopeless, and Jack attempts to get himself fired. He succeeds this by funding a "gay bomb," a weapon that would cause enemy soldiers to "go totally gaybones for each other." The chemical warfare is accidentally released in a secret war bunker, and it is implied that Jack has sex with Dick Cheney. This implication is furthered when Jack confesses his sins to an ill-prepared priest in "St. Valentine's Day."

Season Three sees Jack starting again at GE - in the mailroom, and working his way up to the top again. Jack contemplates sleeping with Kathy Geiss to save the company from Devon's plan to shut GE down completely for two years, but is able to avoid this with Liz' help. In the end, Kathy signs a contract making Jack her main business advisor, and Devon runs away. Don Geiss emerges from his coma shortly thereafter, but stuns Jack with the news that he has decided to stay on as GE's chairman after all. Jack remains in his position as head of NBC, telling Liz Lemon how many times an episode she can use the phrase "Cat Anus."

At the end of season three, Jack discovers that Jimmy Donaghy is not his real father. Similar to Mamma Mia, Jack finds that he has three possible fathers. Liz invites them to TGS saying they won a contest, and Jack quickly finds that his father is Milton Greene, a Bennington College professor. Getting in an argument with Milton about politics, he says to Liz that he does not want to tell Milton, but Liz convinces him otherwise. After Jack tells Milton that he is Milton's son, Milton tells Jack he needs a kidney or he will die. Jack finds that he is not a match and organizes a "We Are the World"-type charity called "Kidney Now," with celebrities singing a song that asks anyone who is a match to give Milton a kidney.

In season four, Devon Banks comes back at Jack with a revenge plan involving the United States government trying to shut down GE. Jack is able to get out of it and it is not known what happens to Devon. In "Secret Santa," Jack is described by Jonathan as being the "best gift giver in the world." One year, Jonathan bought Jack a $95 bottle of olive oil for Christmas and in return Jack had Jonathan's sister released from a North Korean jail. When Liz and Jack finally agree to exchange gifts, they agree on spending zero dollars for each other (with both trying to one-up the other). Jack has Jonathan drive all over Pennsylvania to find a program of Liz's production of The Crucible, framed in wood from her stage and not reimbursing Jonathan for gas. Liz calls in a bomb threat at Penn Station (getting Frank, Toofer, and Lutz arrested in the process) to keep Jack's high school crush in town. Finally, Jack brings in Larry Wilcox in character as Jon Baker for Liz.

Jack learns from his girlfriend Avery that Philadelphia-based cable company Kabletown has bought NBC from GE. At first, Jack doubts the story because he hasn't heard anything, but then he finds out from former GE Chairman Jack Welch that the sale is happening and that Don Geiss is dead. Jack connects with an old colleague from GE who left to join Kabletown, and discovers that NBC's new owners don't make anything, they get over 90% of their revenue from men ordering porn on demand. This worries Jack, until he has an idea for Kabletown to create "porn for women," essentially women paying to have men on their TV screens listen to them talk and nod approvingly.

Jack married an Italian woman named Bianca (Isabella Rossellini), with whom he apparently made love on the floor of the Concorde shortly after their wedding, though he claims his mother deliberately had a heart attack to prevent him from going on his honeymoon. He and Bianca were eventually legally separated in 1989 because, in his words, he "couldn't keep up with her on any level." Though they weren't legally divorced, Jack went on to introduce Bianca as though they were. In the episode "Black Tie," Bianca shows up and he passes Liz off as his girlfriend to make Bianca jealous. When Liz pretends Jack has proposed to her, Bianca attacks her and Jack is finally satisfied that Bianca still wants him. In the episode "Up All Night," he and Bianca are finally officially divorced after 18 years of legal separation. Jack acquires "full stake in the Arby's franchises [he and Bianca] bought outside of Telluride" in the divorce settlement.

Jack had a brief relationship with Phoebe (Emily Mortimer), an auctioneer, and goes as far as proposing marriage. Even after Liz discovers that Phoebe is a gold-digger, it is only during a heart-attack-causing argument with his mother Colleen that Jack realizes that he does not love Phoebe, and calls off the engagement at the end of Season 1.

Jack begins a relationship with liberal Congresswoman Celeste "CC" Cunningham (Edie Falco). In spite of their ideological differences, they are a well-matched pair and, after a period of secrecy, eventually go public. Their bliss does not last long, as their long-distance relationship begins to negatively affect both their jobs, and they break up.

After accidentally breaking both of his mother's hips, Jack is forced to allow her to move in with him. He hires an attractive Puerto Rican nurse, Elisa (Salma Hayek), to care for her, and falls in love with her. He proposes — moments before she confesses to murdering her husband. Subsequently, they do not marry.

In the fourth season Jack had a reunion with Nancy Doherty (née Donovan) (Julianne Moore), his old high school crush. He is was torn between her and his new flame, CNBC anchor Avery Jessup (Elizabeth Banks). After having sex with Nancy, he confesses that he is in love with both Nancy and another woman. In the Season 4 finale, Avery and Nancy meet by chance, and Nancy discovers that Avery is pregnant. Nancy is the one to tell Jack.

In Season 5, Jack and Avery get married in the Caribbean and give birth to a daughter while in Canada (despite their efforts to cross the border and ensure she is born in America). Their daughter is named Elizabeth "Liddy" Donaghy, and their pediatrician is named Dr. Kevorkian. For a brief period, Liz and Jack are married because of the fact that the minister marrying Jack and Avery did not speak English and Liz was standing in as best man after Bob Ballard could not make it. Avery was kidnapped and held hostage in North Korea in the Season 5 episode "Everything Sunny All the Time Always".

Jack is portrayed as a slick, yet scrupulous network executive with an affinity for overtly backhanded compliments, which are usually directed towards TGS head writer Liz Lemon (whom he refers to by her last name more often than not). Although his first priority is to run a successful business, Jack has often shown a human side, as when he didn't fire Kenneth Parcell after beating him at poker when Kenneth bet his job. He has made it clear that he respects Liz's abilities and considers her a friend, albeit by calling for her advice at odd times. In "Jack the Writer", he tried to develop a friendly relationship with the writers, particularly Liz, and made it clear that his feelings were hurt when Liz told him to stay out of the writers' room (although he apparently couldn't let go of his pride to say this directly).

However, he still has distinct personality flaws. For example, in "The Aftermath," he changed the name of The Girlie Show without consulting Liz and then refused to tell Jenna that Liz had nothing to do with it because he thought Liz needed to learn how to handle her employees. After he discovered that a product he helped create for Tracy Jordan was dangerous in "The Rural Juror," he decided to sell it overseas to get around U.S. safety regulations. At the very least, however, he said he admired Tracy's integrity for choosing to back out of the enterprise.

Jack is a conservative Republican (initially supporting Mitt Romney). However, he is apparently tolerant of homosexuality (setting Liz Lemon up on a date with his lesbian friend). He is a firm believer in capitalism, stating in "The Baby Show" that "business gets me off", in "Hard Ball" that negotiation is his favorite thing in the world since it is, in his words, "the essence of capitalism." In "St. Valentine's Day", he refers to capitalism as his religion. Jack's business background clashed with the show's staff when he insisted on having the show use product placement (or "product integration" as he calls it) in the episode "Jack-tor." Citing Six Sigma, Jack has also tried to involve himself with the staff. Much to Liz' annoyance, he has even tried to "help" her with issues in her personal life, as seen in "Blind Date" and "Jack Meets Dennis," his reasoning that the quality of her life will reflect the quality of her work. In "The Source Awards," he started his own winery "Donaghy Estates" after purchasing a vineyard on the north fork of Long Island. Despite the wine being reviewed in Robert Parker's Wine Newsletter as tasting like "the urine of Satan after a hefty portion of asparagus," he attempted to market it to the hip-hop community as a replacement for Cristal champagne.

Jack dyes his hair, and is shown to be very formal. So far, he has almost always appeared on the show in suits and in "Tracy Does Conan" it is revealed that he considers tuxedos appropriate evening wear regardless of whether there is any kind of occasion ("It's after six. What am I, a farmer?"). In contrast, Liz and the other writers wear casual clothing most of the time and appear generally laid-back. A line by Liz in the episode "Jack-tor" suggests that he finds Asian women in their twenties especially attractive, though he seems to be open to dating women of other races. He is Irish Catholic, naming his fists after St. Patrick and St. Michael (though in "St. Valentines Day", it is stated he "has no faith, only capitalism"). Jack collected cookie jars and displayed them at conventions using the alias "Victor Nightingale", but gave his collection to Kenneth when a PI told him that it could hurt his chances at getting Geiss's job.

In "Corporate Crush," Liz mentions that Jack "goes to Sbarro when he's angry, the New York Stock Exchange when he's horny, and Christie's when he's depressed." He states in an NBC Business News interview that the individuals first on his speed dial are Warren Buffett on his BlackBerry and Jimmy Buffett on his iPhone. Jack is a talented painter, is still a talented flutist, and can also do a backflip, which he states is "90% confidence." Jack has also expressed an interest in science and admits that as a child he wanted to be a marine biologist until his father discouraged him.

Before his marriage Donaghy usually dated women who are celebrities or powerful figures in the media. Often, he hints that he is having or has had a relationship with them, but it is rarely explicitly stated. These women include:

* Greta Van Susteren, journalist (implied in "Jack-Tor", "showered with.")
* Condoleezza Rice, academian (implied in "The Break Up", confirmed in "The Source Awards" and "Everything Sunny All the Time Always")
* Maureen Dowd, journalist (implied in "The Rural Juror")
* Elizabeth Hurley, actress (mentioned in "Black Tie")
* Beyoncé Knowles, singer-actress (mentioned in "Black Tie")
* Martha Stewart, TV host (mentioned in "Black Tie")
* Alexis Stewart, daughter of Martha (mentioned in "Black Tie")
* Shakira, singer (mentioned in "Black Tie")
* Katie Couric, journalist (mentioned in "The C Word")
* Joan Baez, singer (mentioned in "Christmas Special")
* Kathy Hilton, actress and mother of Paris Hilton ("The Ones")
* Peggy Fleming, American former figure skater (mentioned in "Apollo, Apollo")
* Dusty Springfield, British singer, "Jack's first love"
* Carla Bruni, wife of Nicolas Sarkozy (hinted in "Black Light Attack!", in which Jack says he has had office relationships only with women he could transfer or introduce to Sarkozy)

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