Friday, January 19, 2007

Earl & 30 Rock: KAT COU SUC

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?


R.A. Porter said...

That was the best 30 Rock yet. First and foremost, they put Jack and Kenneth together for the whole episode. Both are absolute geniuses alone, but my favorite moments from this show have been their interactions. The pitch meeting, of course, was gold.

I also liked that Tina Fey let Liz be reminded that she is an attractive, intelligent woman. Of course, having it all ripped away at the end made it that much more delicious. The split-second when it seemed The Hair might have been a crazy stalker instead of just her cousin added a touch of anxiety making the reveal that much funnier a release. Tina's really learning how to play with these characters, now.

As much as I liked the Scrubs musical, I'm pretty sure I laughed harder and longer during this 30 Rock.

Michaela said...

Not only was there a TWOP shoutout, apparently someone on the show started posting messages on the MNIE thread there at least a few months ago. One of the earlier ones was actually about the guy being worried about his Murphy bed, and one of the later ones was exactly the line the guy said last night in the episode.

Pretty sweet.

vance said...

Yeah. I enjoyed the Scrubs musical but this was the ep where I think I found 30 Rock to be actually GREAT finally. It always had the potential but now I feel I HAVE to watch it every week.

Kristin said...

Okay, I will admit it, "30 Rock" is starting to win me over. I still have problems with Tracy on there, as well as Jenna. Something about her is not working for me.

But this was the funniest episode yet..with the Head and the Hair. My favorite line was Liz saying that, at most, she was a "Head plus."

I sort of wish they had let the relationship between Liz and the Hair continue. It would have been great for several episodes to follow them as a good couple, and then have it be dashed due to the cousin all happened a little too quickly for me. Plus, Hair was HOT, and I would have liked a little more air time for him...

I keep reminding myself that the first year of "Seinfeld" was not all that funny...and that it built over the years. Here's to hoping they give "30 Rock" some more time to grow and develop.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where this notion of MNIE being syrupy sweet came from. There have always been twisted elements, often bordering on the perverse (in a funny way). The hooker, Joy's various comments, and so on. Usually, these are thrown in as asides.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't want this show to become Arrested Development. I never liked Arrested Development. It wasn't funny. It just wasn't.

Matt Hunter said...

Arrested Development was VERY funny. It just wasn't funny to you. There's a difference.

The Gold Case bit at the end of 30 Rock had me howling. I'm glad I stuck with the show.

Johnny Too Bad said...

Anyone who doesn't think Arrested Development wasn't funny should have their television taken away.

I have high hopes for 30 Rock, but I don't think it will ever be able to touch the heights of AD.

Johnny Too Bad said...

errr, sorry, anyone who thinks AD wasn't funny...

Arrested Development hate makes me excitable, and it hurts the quality of my work.

Anonymous said...

AD was freaking funny. TOO FUNNY FOR THIS WORLD FULL OF According to Jims and Two and a Half Mens.

30 Rock is da bomb. I wish the Cute Cousin (I think he was in United 93 as well but I'm not sure, will have to check IMDB, but thought he was wonderful) could stick around a bit longer. So nice to see a hot guy interested in the equally hot Tina Fey. And the TWoP shoutout? Beyond Priceless. Yay to Internet Geeks!

dez said...

I guess I was the only one who thought the TWoP shoutout was a bit of a backhanded compliment (kind of like Comic Book Guy going to his computer immediately to register his disgust with whatever doesn't meet his exacting standards at the time).

30 Rock continues to get better and Alec Baldwin continues to make me laugh my ass off. And I geeked thoroughly seeing John Waters on MNIE. Good times!

Oh, and to destroy my credibility utterly: I like Two and a Half Men. It makes me laugh. Sure, not as hard as AD or even MNIE, but I do laugh :-)

Fred App said...

Arrested Development was funnny, but it was certainly an acquired taste -- and the humor came from the absurd, not necessarily from actual jokes. There's a bit of that in 30 Rock, too, but the humor is slightly more accessible and there are more actual jokes.

Fortunately, the jokes -- and their timing -- are not nearly as obvious as the Jims and the Two and Half Mens.

I loved the "KAT COU SUC" bit, because it wasn't over the top. It was happening in the background (kind of like the workmen sawing up the dead horse in Dean Wormer's office in "Animal House") and it took you a beat or two to figure out exactly what it was.

Undercover Black Man said...


"Gimme your fingernails!"

Lurv. This. Show. It has found its stride remarkably quickly. (Although, if I were the worrying kind, I might worry that Kenneth the Page is being used up too fast.)

Strangely, I've gotten in the habit of buying this show on iTunes. Thursday night comes and either I'm sleepy or I'm just not thinking about it or whatever.

But I don't feel like a sucker, paying for free TV. This is totally worth the $1.99. And I like having it on my laptop, commercial-free, to watch a second and third time.