The Morning Round-Up: '30 Rock' & 'Up All Night'
It's morning round-up time, with brief reviews of last night's "30 Rock" and the "Up All Night" season finale, coming up just as soon as I put on my galoshes and go eat some fruit, like a Frenchman...
When it comes to Elaine Stritch episodes of "30 Rock," I'm definitely at odds with Tina Fey and the Emmy voters, and I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority among the show's audience. My heart sinks whenever I hear that Colleen is back in town, even though she tends to get off a few good zingers each appearance, and even though I occasionally wind up enjoying Colleen episodes, less because of her than because everything around her works so well. (Case in point: last season's Christmas episode, where the presence of Alan Alda and Elizabeth Banks counteracted my dislike of Colleen.) "Meet the Woggels!" was another example of that, where I mostly checked my watch during Jack and Colleen sniping at each other, but enjoyed the subplots, and the way that all the stories climaxed with Liz for once giving the perfect advice to everyone. Jack and Colleen's tearful confessions of love mattered much less than Liz selfishly reveling in her role in making it happen.
As the father of one kid who went through a Wiggles phase and another on the verge of starting it, I was amused by The Woggels, even though most of those scenes were pretty elementary parody. (The white supremacy angle, and then the surreal song in the tag, were the only times where it felt like some deep thought was put into it.) And the Tracy/George Foreman story was worth it if only for the glimpse of Liz deciding to go along with them making it rain on her, doing a goofy dance and stuffing the cash down her blouse.
One question, though: why does "30 Rock" hate Dean Cain so much?
As for "Up All Night," I have to admit that I missed the last six episodes leading up to the finale. I watched the one with Amy's first birthday, and then the ensuing episodes would sit around on my DVR, unwatched, until my hard drive started to get crowded and they would become easy casualties. It wasn't that I had disliked the show, but that it had never given me a compelling reason to tune in. It was pleasant, filled with actors I liked, and that was about it. I've heard from some friends that there was genuine improvement in this last handful — and I was amused by Chris Diamantopoulos in the finale, when he hadn't appeared before I stopped watching — so maybe I'll go back at some point if NBC winds up renewing it.
The finale felt mostly like more of the same, but I really did like Chris' proposal. Sometimes, sitcoms will force big emotional moments, but this felt earned, both from what had previously been set up in the episode and just from what we knew of these two over the course of the season. If "Up All Night" accomplished nothing but reminding both us and Will Arnett that he can convincingly, sympathetically play a human being with self-awareness and real emotions, then the show was still a success, because both he and Christina Applegate were terrific in that scene.
What did everybody else think? Are you more Team Colleen than I am? Did you stick it out with "Up All Night" all the way through the season?