Brief, belated spoilers for, in order, "30 Rock," "Knights of Propserity," "My Name Is Earl," "Scrubs" and "Survivor" coming right up...
A very strong "30 Rock" this week, particularly the montage of Liz the runt-y boss and Pete hitting her up for cash for the strip club. This was also one of the few times I liked a subplot where Tracy was relatively sane, and not just because they brought in Rip Torn as some kind of GE/NBC/Universal/KMart bigwig. Liz being a rare female boss in an agressively male profession and Tracy being a has-been who's oblivious to being a has-been are both good comedy fodder, and they haven't exhausted either one yet.
The "Knights of Prosperity" guys appear to have written a series finale without even realizing it. In case you didn't see the episode, the guys saved Esperanza from her evil Colombian drug lord ex-boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale, and is he too young and/or well-known to qualify for Hey It's That Guy! status?) by trading him all of their intel and resources on Mick Jagger's apartment in exchange for her freedom. On paper, it allows them to work around Mick's lack of interest in coming back, but I also think it gives ABC an excuse to pull the plug, immediately, because the ratings have been awful, losing huge chunks of the lead-in from "George Lopez" -- "George Lopez" -- every week. Considering the struggles of "In Case of Emergency" and ABC's belief that the best lead-in for "Lost" is "Lost," I wouldn't be stunned to see "Lopez" and "According to Jim" airing from 8 to 9 as soon as this week.
After a few back-to-formula episodes, "My Name Is Earl" presents another treat for Bad Earl fans like me, with an entire episode of Bad Earl's greatest hits. My favorite: the montage of Earl making fat jokes about pregnant Joy, as there was a level of glee to Jason Lee's delivery that reminded me of Banky and/or Brodie.
I'm really not feeling "Scrubs" at the moment, unfortunately. This episode didn't have any jarringly bad decisions like Kim faking a miscarriage, but it just feels like the writers are forcing the wackiness. And at the same time, the show's been so hardcore wacky for a while that the emotional moments don't work. J.D.'s realization that he needs to grow up and stop leaning on his friends to solve every problem should have been an important milestone for the character, but he's become such a cartoon in the last year and a half that I don't expect the development to stick. For most of last season, the more ridiculous tone was fine because the show was so funny; lately, I'm not laughing very much, and that hurts everything.
Also not feeling "Survivor" yet. Still too many contestants, and they're no longer even trying to be subtle about who's going to Tribal Council, as it felt like we spent about 30 seconds at the fancy camp. I think my problem with the feast-or-famine twist is that it hasn't been earned. In "Pearl Islands," Sandra's team had such a kick-ass camp because she did an amazing job of bartering in town, while the opponents ran around like chickens with their heads cut off, foreshadowing how badly they would do in most challenges. In "Palau," Tom's team won an amazing camp little by little through pure challenge dominance. Here, one team won a relatively tight Immunity Challenge, and now they get to live high on the hog at least until the next twist? Meh. Aside from Earl and the snakes coming to an understanding, the entire hour was flat.
What did everybody else think?