’30 Rock’ – ‘College’: Donaghy, undeclared

Senior Television Writer
11.19.10 42 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “30 Rock” coming up just as soon as I minor in Bible sexuality…

“College” was an episode with a lot to like about it: the much-demanded return of writers room hijinks, and with it an amusing running gag about Jack as the voice of the pronunciation website(*); an introspective but funny Jack storyline that also had a good thematic parallel with Liz’s; Liz horrifying Pete and Jack with her pizza-shotgunning ability; and one of the better homages I’ve seen to the “Where are they now?” gag at the end of “Animal House.”

(*) And a meta joke about how Alec Baldwin wound up narrating “Thomas & Friends” for a couple of years.

But overall, “College” felt like one of those episodes we often got in the third season, where a lot of funny things happened but things didn’t quite work as a whole. There’s no sin in that – funny is funny, and we saw at various points in season four what it’s like when the show is both disjointed and unfunny at the same time – but after the strong run of episodes we’ve had this season, the episode’s flaws stood out more.

In particular, Liz having to embrace her unpopular destiny feels like a well the show has gone to a little too often, and that half of the episode definitely lagged behind Jack obsessing with the perfect microwave and being taught a lesson by his own voice. (“Goodbye, potato. Goodbye.”)

Also, I found myself oddly bothered by the one microwave developer having to point out that Jack and the delivery guy looked the same. “30 Rock” is too good to have to underline a joke like that, especially one they had set up so well, and so frequently, earlier in both the episode and that scene.

Still, I laughed a bunch, and compared to another Thursday NBC comedy I’m bracing myself to write up, that is a wonderful thing.

What did everybody else think?

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