A quick review of last night’s “30 Rock” coming up just as soon as I have a tattoo of a leprechaun vomiting on a book…
“I Heart Connecticut” was the end of the show’s extended tap-dance routine to cover for Tracy Morgan’s medical leave. It was good to have the crazy SOB back together with Liz in the final scene so she could list the many ways in which he can get the world off his back – and to get the earlier scene where Liz is lamenting to Jack just how difficult it is to think like Tracy. (I, for one, am dubious about the quality of the swordfish dinner at your average strip club.) That said, a lot of that storyline felt like exactly what it was – stalling until the reunion at the end – and though bits of it were amusing (the silliness about the New York Pizza Academy and its lofty traditions), it was mainly killing time.
(Also, if they were going to dust off the old “Silence of the Lambs” bit where you think someone’s at one door when they’re really at another, they could have tried to tell a joke about it.)
Jack and Jenna’s storyline was a funny little satire of how bottom line concerns can wind up completely undermining the creative vision of a project, with sponsors(*) subsidizing the slasher movie even as it was turned into something unrecognizable. And just as the show never got too indignant about what Jack was doing to “TGS” in the early days – because “TGS” was, and is, supposed to be kind of horrible – there was never any pretense that “Take My Hand” was good at any phase of its development. (Jenna: “The producers of this movie rented ‘Saw,’ and they watched it!”)
(*) Including “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator – and Garry Marshall soundalike – Phil Rosenthal making one of his rare acting appearances. (I think the last time I saw him act was in “Spanglish,” though IMDb has some more recent credits for him.)
The Pete storyline was actually my favorite for quite a while, if only because it was so unexpected to see Pete finally be triumphant in something(**), and with a reasonable, funny explanation for why he was so good at it. Then they went and undercut the whole thing by revealing it to be a dream. Sigh… (If “30 Rock” were meant to be taken even vaguely seriously, I imagine some fan would start analyzing the rest of the episode to determine which other parts of it “really happened” and which were also part of Pete’s dream, “Dallas” or “St. Elsewhere”-style.)
(**) I especially loved him taunting skinny little Cerie, and not just because it gives me an excuse to note my amusement at Katrina Bowden being voted Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive.
The show has definitely struggled a bit in Morgan’s absence, but he’s back now, and I look forward to seeing just how crazy Tracy can be in trying to get the world to readjust its expectations of him.
What did everybody else think?