Spoilers for the "30 Rock" season three premiere coming up just as soon as I put on some strawberry lip gloss...
"No. I just like seeing you in there." -Liz Lemon
What she said. I wasn't crazy about certain parts of "Do Over," but I just like seeing "30 Rock" in there again.
So, let's get the bad stuff -- and with "30 Rock," bad is relative -- out of the way first. The entire storyline about getting Jack back into his office at GE felt fairly labored, as if Tina Fey and the other writers felt like they had to explain it but couldn't come up with anything particularly interesting. (If I was them, I would've skipped over it, the same way they did with the gay bomb and Kenneth getting shot for his kidney; if you're going to ignore one troublesome cliffhanger, why not ignore them all?) Plus, despite a few good one-liners -- in response to Jack's "This is GE!," "It's just G now, Jack! I sold the E to Samsung. They're Samesung now." -- Devin Banks remains one of the show's most one-note, least appealing recurring characters. (GOB forgive me.)
That said, feral overgrown child Kathy Geiss more than compensated for Devin's flatness. The trolls, the Little Ponies, the worship of Marky Mark (complete with "Good Vibrations" playing as she tried to have her way with Jack) were all frighteningly funny. And having to grovel and make out with this, uh, person gave Alec Baldwin a delightful chance to play some unusual notes as Jack dealt with a situation where he wasn't at all in control. His shame at being touched in his "swimsuit area" -- "It's not at all erotic and fun like when men do it to women" -- reached its comic apex with the speech about how Jack worked his way up (including working "the day shift at that graveyard and the graveyard shift at that Days Inn") and shouldn't have to be in this position. The soap opera payoff didn't really work, even as it tried to play on the (silly) speculation that Jack and Liz might hook up one day, but until then, there were a lot of laughs to be found.
The Liz adoption story was more solid from start to finish, though even it had a bit of an air of Fey trying to resolve a problem she created for herself in the season two finale. (I actually think Liz trying to raise a kid in the midst of this chaos could be very funny -- we got a hint of that in one of Fey's AmEx ads -- but I also understand the fear that baby=comedy death.) Megan Mullally did a great job as both Bev the hard-ass and then Bev the walking wounded, and the disaster unfolded with typical "30 Rock" farcical logic.
Not their best, but they had some things they felt obligated to deal with, and there was more than enough comedy genius that I can't really complain.
Some other thoughts:
• One development from "Cooter" that they surprisingly did acknowledge: Pete says that he had to do a stint in anger management after shooting Donny with the arrow. (And on a side note, I got to see Scott Adsit do an improv show at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater on my birthday a few weeks ago, and he was so great that it made me wish he didn't have to play straight man all the time.)
• I love the running joke about Frank's "Horny" trucker hat. First, Liz orders him to change it, so the next time we see him it's now a bowler hat with "Horny" on it, and then after Frank accidentally concusses Bev, the only thing Liz can think to complain about is the hat.
• Liz on Lil Wayne: "That's a person, right?" I don't know, Liz. I just don't know.
• Of course Jenna once dated OJ Simpson. Of course she did.
• Of Tracy's two lines about being sued, I preferred, "Who do you think you are, the San Diego Zoo?" (and all that implied), but I would also gladly accept, "You can't sue me! I'm already being sued! Double indemnity!"
• Also, of the two points of agreement Jack and Liz share in this one, I preferred their belief that graduate students are the worst people in the world, but was also amused by Jack understanding exactly when to have birthday cake for people whose birthdays fall on the weekend.
What did everybody else think?