A quick review of last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I leave for my ironic kickball league...
"30 Rock" in general doesn't have much interest in interpersonal relationships or deep characterization, as those things get in the way of the show's anything-for-a-laugh ethos. But there is one relationship the show does care about, and every now and then it's important to check in on the state of Jack and Liz's mentor/mentee dynamic - or, here, to see how difficult it is for each to function without the other.
It helped that an episode that kept them apart paired them with other strong characters, whether it was the return of Buck Henry as Old Dick Lemon, Avery going crazy on pregnancy hormones, or Jack trying and failing to line up Jonathan, Tracy and Jenna as potential proteges. (Heck, Liz's quest for advice even led to Cerie's first appearance in forever.) Plus, my inner 12-year-old was amused by all the DIHC jokes, Alec Baldwin's outer borough accent is never not funny, and I loved Liz randomly turning into the Dustin Hoffman drag character from "Tootsie" as part of her ill-conceived plan to make Dick hit on her.
The Tracy/Kenneth/Jenna obituary subplot was more hit-and-miss, but the Tracy-related hits - "Perhaps best known for his FCC fines, and giving the queen parvo," the references to the New York Necks giraffe basketball team, or the predictable but still funny cutaway joke about his Shakespeare in the Park stint - were amusing enough to compensate for the misses. (Kenneth briefly turning into a "Lost" character praying to Jacob was just weird.) On the other hand, Tracy's desire to win an Oscar should have been accompanied by Grizz or Dotcom reminding him of his previous EGOT obsession, and how quickly he forgets about this stuff.
What did everybody else think?
Everything: 30 Rock
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