Review: ’30 Rock’ – ‘Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy’

A quick review of last night’s “30 Rock” coming up just as soon as I say “guards, seize him!” at a Knicks game…

The maturation of characters on long-running comedies can be a lose-lose situation. If characters don’t grow and change, their schtick may grow tired, but if they do grow and change, they may evolve past what made them funny in the first place. But it doesn’t always have to be that way, as evidenced by the A-story of “Aunt Phatso vs. Jack Donaghy.” As Tracy notes, he’s come a long way from the guy we met at the start of the series, and in terms of his larger portfolio, he’s actually more powerful than Jack at this point. And yet he’s still Tracy, the kind of guy who would prove his point by getting the New York Philharmonic to play a four-hour orchestral version of the “Sanford and Son” theme(*), and his inherent Tracy-ness would prevent Jack from recognizing that Tracy was now a legitimate peer. A very funny character story, as well as an effective spoof of the Madea movies, an homage to Alec Baldwin’s “Knots Landing” days, and more.

(*) I would buy a ticket to this concert, by the way.

The Hazel story was less effective because, well, it was about Hazel, but even it had its charms, from Liz literally babying her disgusting feet (“six times a day, brown stuff comes out of them”) to Jenna turning into Homer Simpson and having a running dialogue/duet with her brain. And I wonder if Liz’s part of that story is setting up an endgame where she walks away from the show (if not from showbiz itself) now that she’s recognized that everyone else at “TGS” is too incompetent for her to ever take the step back she would need to in order to have kids.

We’re almost at the halfway point of this final season. Given how funny “30 Rock” has been of late, I will be very sorry to see it go, but I can’t blame them for wanting to leave us wanting more.

What did everybody else think?