Spoilers for, in order, "My Name Is Earl" & "30 Rock" coming right up...
Well, I suppose "My Name Is Earl" has to go back to the formula every now and then, if only to make episodes like the last few feel more special. As generic "Earl" goes, this was pretty good, particularly the weird touches like the building super's blase expertise on Murphy bed deaths and pretty much any scene with John Waters.
(And having Waters guest star on your show is usually -- usually -- a sign you're doing something special, as his other TV guest spots were on "The Simpsons," "Homicide" twice, and... "21 Jump Street.")
One thing that interested me (aside from the TWoP shout-out, which I'm sure made the folks there happy) was Randy's comment about not liking legal massages. Admittedly, I haven't seen every episode, but this was the first time I remember Randy being written with anything higher than a 12-year-old's attitude and experience towards sex. Michael Scott's having sex, Randy is at least no stranger to happy endings -- is NBC's new Thursday quickly becoming a virgin-free zone?
"30 Rock," meanwhile, feels like a show that's already made The Leap midway through season one. I don't know if their joke-per-minute rate is approaching "Arrested Development," but there's a real confidence to the writing (dare I say that it has the boldness of a much younger woman?) such that even if one subplot is largely a dud (Tracy's autobiography was meh), the other two will be so funny that it won't much matter. Highlights: Liz and Jenna's freak-out seeing Jack in the page uniform, the entire Brian Williams bit (highlighted, of course, by the half-cleaned graffiti), Liz trying to talk geek TV with The Hair's pretty friends, both Jack and Kenneth rattling off TV show ideas, and the callback to the hot dog gag from the pilot as the reason why Liz fell for The Hair. (Also, subtle foreshadowing in that scene when The Hair says, "Hey, all of us have uncles who are cops.") Just splendid.
What did everybody else think?