’30 Rock’ – ‘Idiots Are People Two!’: Mercury rising

Senior Television Writer
01.20.12 31 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “30 Rock” coming up just as soon as Teri Polo and Ving Rhames call me at home…

I enjoyed “Idiots Are People Two!” much more all-around than the season premiere. The throwaway jokes were funnier (my favorite was Jack breaking down the “TGS” audience into demos including “black nerds,” “Jet Blue passengers who left the TV on” and “pets whose owners have died,” and I also appreciated the dig at Jeremy Piven with Jenna’s excuse for getting out of “Trivial Pursuit: The Musical”), James Marsden made a fine addition to the pantheon of Liz’s lemon boyfriends, and I was glad to see Kelsey Grammer return, here as a mix of James Bond and Winston Wolf from “Pulp Fiction.” And if Fey and company felt they needed to address the Tracy Morgan/GLAAD controversy within the show, I appreciate that they almost immediately spun away from the source material and turned it into a problem with idiots, who are truly the last group of people that comedies can mock with impunity.

But the strength of the episode – and the part of the series that always works in good times and bad – was Jack and Liz together. Though “30 Rock” overall is broad and light and will do anything for a laugh, that friendship has actual layers to it, along with the great chemistry between Baldwin and Fey. And that not only means you can generate real emotion between the two of them, but the laughs feel richer when he’s making fun of her taste in men because there’s something real underneath. Jack takes pleasure in Liz’s misfortune only to the degree that she doesn’t listen to him, because he wants her to be better than she is. And that is a a tremendous renewable resource for a show like this to still have in its middle age.

What did everybody else think?

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