Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 Rock, "Into the Crevasse": Werewolf bat mitzvah?

Quick spoilers for tonight's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I become ambassador to the world's gayest country...

Though I'll always love Will Arnett for playing Gob Bluth, I've never much liked him as Devon on "30 Rock." On a show that manages to make a lot of one-note characters very funny (see Dr. Spaceman, who doesn't even appear in this episode but gets a laugh from the appearance of his Cigarette Diet book), Devon just comes across as one-note. And while he occasionally brings out a funny, juvenile side of Jack (the headlines will be "Donaghy saves company, marries your mom"), an episode with this much Devon isn't gonna be one of my favorites.

And speaking of one-note characters, they either need to find something new to do with Jenna or have her quit "TGS" like Josh did last week. I've been trying to think of the last Jenna storyline I enjoyed unreservedly, and at the moment I'm going all the way back to the start of season two when she gained too much weight from eating all that Mystic Pizza. Untalented, oblivious narcissism can be funny in spots, but not for three-plus seasons.

Jack, Frank and Twofer trying to build a better microwave and instead re-inventing the Pontiak Aztek might have been funny if I'd never watched Homer Simpson destroy his half-brother's car company, and they've done better iterations of the "Tracy's mad at Liz" plot.

It's "30 Rock," so there will always be amusing moments in isolation - Pete shoving Liz, Jack's book jacket blurb ("Lemon numbers among my employees"), Liz foolishly popping her retainer back in - but there weren't even enough in this one to qualify for my Funny Forgives a Lot theory.

What did everybody else think?

53 comments:

Nicole said...

I think Porno Liz and Porno Jenna will be inspiring a lot of slashfic in the days ahead.

Steve Wirzba said...

Not a very good ep by any means.. I agree on the Jenna front; I wouldn't mind seeing her gone. Although I loved Arnett's confused look to the heavens after he retorted about the Leeman Brothers and something and something... even he wasn't sure.

Question Mark said...

Boy, I dunno, I liked this episode a lot. Time-traveling Kenneth dancing in the 50's to the 'Microwave' song was awesome.

Steve Ely said...

I actually found it really funny. Not brilliant but enjoyable and entertaining. But I think you've got much higher expectations of it than I do, Alan, and so are more apt to be disappointed.

TeD said...

Alan,

Tonights FLSH FORWARD was the best yet. it really kicked in. some nice acting too

I assume you still watch GREYS - great very different kind of episode - show is having a great year

Kevin said...

Sub-par, but definitely an improvement over last week's. It was a treat to see Delocated's Jon Glaser as the bookstore employee. The bit wasn't funny, but the man can only do so much.

amyp3 said...

This was one of the episodes where I laughed at a number of individual things but that sense of a masterful overlying cohesion wasn't there. (Excuse me, I've been reading Tre's vocab book.)

I posted elsewhere that something about Jack is bugging me so far this season. They're emphasizing the corporate d-bag side of him. He needs lost of Liz interaction to offset that.

30 Rock has really taken over from SNL as the show to push the envelope. Not only with the GE bashing, but seeing how much they could do with the porn stuff. And my head is still spinning from that convoluted final hidden joke. (What Liz's last line would've sounded like if repeated by PornLiz.)

Joe said...

OK, I'll be the one to point this out - I think that the porno Tracy was making was taken from actual footage of the 30 Rock porn parody that was released this summer (trailer's on YouTube, not really work safe).

Anonymous said...

Joe, I'm pretty sure the actress who played Liz was Lisa Ann who also played Sarah Palin in the Nailn Paylin porn.

Could be wrong on that though.

Adam said...

Delocated's Jon Glaser

A fellow Second City cast member alongside Fey, Adsit, Dratch and Adam McKay.

Stewart said...

I too found it a stronger episode than the premiere.

And did anybody else notice that the green screen when they shot Jenna filming at "Iceland" was immensely of a higher quality than past episodes? I'm looking at you, Sheinhardt Christmas Tree. I could still tell it was green screen, but it didn't look lazy at least.

srpad said...

Is it sad that I am pretty sure the porn actress that played Porn Liz was the same actress who played Porn Sarah Palin?

Yes, it's sad.

"Laser Shield!"

floretbroccoli said...

Jack's crevasse story -- a Baldwin movie? The Edge, maybe?

srpad said...

I swear I didn't see the comment above mine that said the same thing...

cadfile said...

There were some nuggets to laugh at this week like Devon going "Bom bom bom" before the actual sound effect when he shows up at the meeting.

I laughed when Liz was speaking to Jenna in Iceland and saying she knew about werewolves coming out at night from the Thriller video and Tracy said "Too soon..."

I thought the "Deal Breaker" plot was a bit stale.

Overall it still needs a thread in the plot for all the jokes or it is just a set of jokes and I agree that Jenna is getting a bit too much.

domino87 said...

An improvement over the premiere for sure, but still nowhere near as good as some of the late S1/ S2 episodes.

Agree wholeheartedly about Jenna, they really need to write her character off, or limit her screen time dramatically.

Anonymous said...

I write this with love -- if the rest of the episodes are like this, I really want the series to end.

-Faithful fan since S1

dez said...

Jack's crevasse story -- a Baldwin movie? The Edge, maybe?

It sounded like a Chris O'Donnell movie, "Vertical Limit." Which I remembered without imdb.com. I'm turning into a sadder version of Liz Lemon.

Loved everything with Tracy tonight, but that's about it.

KLR said...

My dirtbag brother points out that porn Liz was actually played by some frequent guest of Howard Stern's, not this Lisa Ann person who played Porno Palin: '30 Rock' Hires Actual Porn Star to Play Porn Liz

Really cracked up at Devin non-verbally trying to figure out if his analogy holds up. Like others I'm not obsessed with fully developed plot lines for every character - this is only a 21 minute show, after all, could that even work with as many secondary characters as 30 Rock has? So if the Kenneth story of failing to keep a steely nerve about putting down scores of dogs in a night doesn't exactly jibe with his backstory I'm not going to be that worked up.

Margarita said...

Oh, c'mon, what about Jackie Jormp-Jomp?

How quickly we forget!

Jordan said...

Pete pushing Liz into the wall via her boobs was hilarious. Simple, yet affective.

I liked the ep better than Sep. But I do agree that Jenna needs to come in smaller doses. And I didn't see the humor in accidentally inventing the Pontiac Aztec. Other than referencing a goofy car. Still plenty to laugh at though. Not top quality 30 Rock. But it's still head and shoulders better than most shows on right now.

Anonymous said...

I liked this more than last week's, but that's about it.

jerkstore said...

i liked pete getting a handfull of tits the best

OHHHHH HOOP THERE IT IS. HOOP THERE IT IS

AND I WILL TOSS OUT GREEN MAN
AND RUN ACROSS THE FIELD
AND GO CRAZY AS GREEN MAN

jerkstore said...

alan that guy's beating on the fernetic
is that a hate crime
nah it's not a hate crime
you wanna hammer his ass anyway?
DEFINITELY

HOOP THERE IT IS. HOOP THERE IT IS

Karen said...

@Cadfile's already mentioned what I thought was the funniest moment: Tracy saying "Too soon" when he overhears Liz referring to the Thriller video. What sold it is that Tracy didn't even look up from what he was doing to say it.

Otherwise, it wasn't the greatest episode, but so-so 30 Rock is still better than most everything else on TV. Jack in the pet shelter was lovely--although after setting up the joke of all the dogs in Liz's apartment they really didn't do anything with it.

Bryan said...

Wasn't great but didn't think it was as bad as what Alan and some of you thought. (however part of it might have been carryover giggly from the terrific Office)

I agree - enough Jenna- I cringe whenever I see her now.

James said...

I agree with the Jackie Jormp-Jomp love. In fact, I think that Nickelodean Kids Choice Awards episode was one of the funnier episodes of last season. What happened with that storyline?

Speaking of dropped storylines, what happened to Liz getting pregnant or adopting?

Nancy said...

I loved The Cigarette Diet. "Two packs a day, two pounds a week." Way to go, Spaceman.

Also, Milton Green published From Peanut to President. Do you think Jack's read his father's book?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was amusing that both last night's 30 Rock and Flash Forward had been lesbian kisses and yet the network didn't promo them in a lame attempt to get buzz and viewers like NBC recently tried (and failed) to do with Heroes.

rosseau said...

@floretbroccoli and dez:

Jack's crevasse story was a reference to the movie, Touching the Void http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379557/

digamma said...

The slightly NSFW Wikipedia entry on Savanna Samson sorts out the various Liz Lemons of porn.

J said...

Enough good throwaway lines to keep the thing moving while they find their footing again. "Too soon!" was easily the best laugh. Also liked Kenneth's Big Brother program.

I thought the crevasse story was a retelling of Touching the Void.

filmcricket said...

I actually really like Devon, particularly because any scene with him will involve Jack rather than Kenneth or Jenna. Plus I love the way Arnett plays him. I do agree, though, that Tracy shouting "Too soon!" was the biggest laugh I had last night.

jeffrey said...

the crevasse story is taken from 'touching the void' where one climber is cut loose by his partner. jack says connie chung cut him loose. great movie...should check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t65VrYZ2U9s

John the Editor said...

I liked the ep - I laughed enough so that I didn't think to ask whether it hung together or not. A big improvement over the premiere. I'd been worried.

Thumbs up from me re Will Arnett's character. Indifference re Jenna. Thumbs down on Tracy - spoiled, rich, clueless babies wear out their welcome fast. (Come to think of it, that describes Jenna too, but somehow he seems more disruptive than she is.) I'd be happier if the show dropped Tracy, humanized Jenna a little, and focused more on Liz, Jack, and guest stars, as the best shows nearly always have.

cadfile said...

Just needed to add that for me Jenna has become the *itchy version of Elaine from Seinfeld like the time she harped at a waitress to get her a "big" salad - like a small salad only bigger....

I would scream "Shut Up Please!"

I catch myself saying the same thing when Jenna's selfishness goes too hot.

TheEye said...

Jenna is definitely grating at times, but I'm confident they will start to utilize her more effectively again.

I always get a laugh out of Devon, the guy is just plain funny. My favorite line of the night came from one of his exchanges with Jack:

Jack: "Better than hot pizza? You're insane."
Devon: "You don't tell me what kind of pizza I like!!"

LA said...

Yeah, Jenna and Jules Cobb (Cougar Town) are running a photo finish race for "most grating and annoying female character on television."

Emily N. said...

As many others have mentioned, the best part for me was Tracy saying "Too soon" when Liz references the Thriller video. I didn't really care for the rest of the episode.

Anonymous said...

Two things kept this interesting and funny to me:

1. The extended homoeroticism of the confrontation between Jack and Devon (underlined when it was pointed out that it was purely accidental)

2. The microwave-car joke didn't strike me as similar to the Simpsons joke at ALL, and was a high point for me. I didn't see it coming when they gave it four doors and wheels, they planted that seed really well. And the whole thing really depended on the obvious similarity of GE to the auto industry planted at the start. It was just funny to see Jack obliviously insisting that GE was nothing like the auto industry, before taking ideas just like the ones attributed to Detroit, and then actually going so far as to design a car! That was an expertly structured joke, reminiscent of Seinfeld at its best for me.

David Glasser said...

So, um, maybe this is a kind of silly question to ask...

but did I miss any reference to whether or not Alan Alda got a new kidney?

... I guess he didn't.

blinky said...

Less story lines, more funny lines.
That's my advice.

flem snopes said...

Agree with all the Dump Jenna posters...

Let's get Rachel Dratch back where she belongs (and Tina Fey wanted her.)

I'm off to descend into the darkness.

Anonymous said...

PEW!
Vwoon. Laser sheild.

Best line of the night.

Anonymous said...

Terrific episode, with several earmarks of "classic" 30R from the characters showing their broadest AND most identifable sides. Instead of relying on cosmic intervention like a Geiss coma, Devin was able to get over on Jack by basically being a preteen girl, and Jack was able to cut his losses by taking a goverment bailout (along those lines, it's nice to see that this show won't be fawning about the government any more under Pres. Obama than they did under Pres. W Bush). Tracy was spoiled but shrewd, Jenna was just stupid, and the Liz/Tina Fey/Sarah Palin roundtable met its apex via hardcore pornography. And who other than Kenneth could combine pure goodness of saving so many animals and the most sinister way to apply the words "Big Brother".
I wonder if the angry response from those guys to Liz's book reflects the way no one can express any opinion about anything anymore without being fiercely opposed, including how a certain TV show is being run.

par3182 said...

i never tire of jenna's self-involvement and am looking forward to seeing how she defends her territory with the new cast member

and i consider will arnett the jewel in the crown of the 30 rock guest star roster

malan70 said...

An average episode of 30 Rock is like an amazing episode of just about any other sitcom, so there you go.

Anonymous said...

Worst episode of this series ever. Mediocre at best so far this season. Kind of like SNL.

Rich in Denver

Rob said...

You have to think that the team behind 30 Rock crew watched the actual porno influenced by the show.

Trailer here (no nudity): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz9aGKMz360

P@ said...

I think there has been a werewolf joke in each season of 30 Rock.
We had Werewolf bat mitzvah, the werewolf lawyer on Night Court, and now Night Stalkers. But this is season 4, so what (if anything) am I missing?

Dan said...

I thought there was more than enough funny in this episode to make up for the lame storylines. But I'm commenting because nobody mentioned the best joke:

"I'll have you know that Barry Diller and I are working on a whole new approach to media, combining all the digital... Gah!"

As much as I roared at that Ben Silverman reference, it underscores why 30 Rock won't go down as a classic sitcom: so much of its humor is topical and insidery, and won't make sense in a few years. But for now I can't get enough!

Anonymous said...

Everybody seems to agree... another subpar episode. 0 for 2 this season. I expect another undeserved Emmy and possible a Noble Peace Prize.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cp2Z712XtY

Zzzzzzzmm… Laser shield!