Thursday, October 15, 2009

30 Rock, "Season Four": Page-off! Page-off!

I had planned to write a more specific review of the "30 Rock" review than what I said about the show in this morning's column, but I'm a little swamped, and not really feeling the premiere (or next week's episode) enough to spend more time on. I imagine I'll have the time and/or energy to dissect some episode down the pike that doesn't work - or, hopefully, to lavish praise on the ones that work - but "Season Four" doesn't even really qualify as my default "lots of funny things happened but it didn't come together." I think I only laughed a couple of times (once for sure at Tracy's reference to Rabbi Shmuley).

What did everybody else think?

27 comments:

Brandon said...

I loved the close, especially Jenna's tennis song!

But yeah, it wasn't a standout. I didn't think it was terrible either, but, getting back to your column, Parks and Recreation probably had the best episode tonight. Though, to be honest, I didn't think any of the NBC comedies were at their peak performance tonight.

Is Josh really gone? It felt like 30 Rock was addressing one of their major criticisms from last season with the Josh story, but I hope it doesn't mean they're just cutting the characters they have trouble finding room for.

Isaac Lin said...

Although I agree there have been better shows, I enjoyed watching the premiere. Best meta moment: when Josh said don't you see me right here, and Liz replied how she forgets about him. And I admit I laughed at the closing tag...

Lane said...

I thought this ep had plenty of funny moments in it

Buscemi was great as always

"What show do you work on?"
"Donahue."

cheri said...

All the hater-critics were way too harsh (were you all paid off by ABC? I thought this episode was better than this week's Modern Family, even though it was weaker than MF's premiere); the the episode was great. The Steve Buscemi bits didn't work but then he was never a good fit.

Tons funnier than The Office tonight (the mafia plot was just bad).

Although they gave Jay Leno the opportunity to be in-the-joke for once. Ugh.

Greg said...

A pretty weak episode. And not happy that they tricked me into watching a few seconds of Leno.

J said...

No matter how tongue-and-cheek, the tie-in with the Leno opening was shudderful.

This show's developed such a consistent history of coming off breaks and hiatuses with strings of sub-par episodes that you'd think they'd just lock the writing staff in a room until all 22 eps were over. This one was sort of lame, and I don't think there was a single line as funny as Tracy Morgan's Twitter about his penis. Or the Photoshopped picture of same.

But it'll get funny soon enough, and I'll tolerate it while they rev up their engines.

Indeed said...

Pretty weak episode. I just wrote in the thread on Modern Family that I watched the two back to back tonight and 30 Rock didn't compare...
Anyway, I love my 30 Rock, but what I've always felt about the show is that it is so hot or cold. When it's on it is funnier than anything else, but when it's off, it's just really really off. I thought tonight was really off.

amyp3 said...

Here's a word you don't hear applied to 30 Rock too often, but I occassionally find some of the bits corny. You know the kind of groan you get when you make a pun? That's the reaction I have to some 30R jokes.

I admire the fact that Tina Fey seems to have a commitment to addressing class issues, the privileges of power/fame, etc. But tonight's episode felt a little forced to me. The Liz/Pete stuff probably gave me the most genuine laugh.

I'm also sorry if Josh really was written out of the show. I can't quite figure out why they did what they did to his character.

Matt said...

What's bugging me is the increased "Family Guy"-ification of the show--there were oodles of "remember that time when..." setups. Admittedly, most of them led into pretty funny jokes rather than random pop culture references, but I think and hope Fey and Co. are better than a horde of manatees.

Savvy Veteran said...

I thought it was far and away the best of the night, with Community a distant second (but what a great episode it was), followed by Parks (meh, especially after the brilliance of the last two) and The Office (which felt like a filler episode to me). It may not have been as good as the show can be, but it is still head and shoulders above everything else, in my opinion.

I am completely aware of and comfortable with the fact that other people's opinions can differ from my own, but I just DO NOT understand the mini-30 Rock backlash coming from some of the TV-community. If you ask me, it's as hilarious as ever.

Stephen S Power said...

It was a decent episode--the contortions Pete went through while his wife resigned herself to a three-way with Liz were horribly funny--but Modern Family was amazing in comparison. That whole show was Pete contorting, which made me contort just as badly.

Dan said...

I will never tire of meta, so I found the opening and closing hilarious. The moral of the story is, in this economic crisis, you have to give the unwashed masses what they want... "And now, ladies and gentlemen... Jay Leno." I saw it coming as soon as Baldwin turned toward the camera, but was still on the floor laughing.

The Josh gags were great too - it's nice of them to acknowledge that the character disappeared without explanation!

30 Rock may not be at (or near) its peak, but I think it'll still make me laugh as much as any other sitcom.

Riddler said...

I loved "This Page Won't Turn" . . . a sign in Kenneth's apartment and Josh just moving on. . . but overall, just weak, the old response to crisis gag. . .

Tyroc said...

I thought it had a lot of great laughs, and was still the strongest of tonight's NBC comedy lineup, even if it wasn't a top effort.

I can't agree with Matt's comparison to Family Guy. Sure there are flashbacks, but they tend to push the story forward. Tracy realizes he doesn't connect anymore with everyday folks after that moment. Maybe those types of jokes are easy or a bit overused, but as long as they move the plot I'm okay with it.

Anonymous said...

My worst fears have come true. The 2nd best sitcom on TV has jumped the shark.
Too smug,too self referential, just..ick. Especially when they went straight into Leno with Jenna's tennis back-up dancers...
The whole Outsiders with Inside Knowledge edge is just GONE.

I want the misfits back.

olucy said...

Was I just "in a bad place" tonight, or did all of NBC's comedies disappoint?

Mid-way thru 30 Rock I had enough and turned it off, which I've never, ever done before. I'll pick it up on Friday (ti-fauxed it), but I wasn't feeling it.

I deleted Community halfway thru and took it off my Season Pass. The Office was painful (again) and Parks and Recs was cartoony, but the only one that came close to being funny.

I'll come back and re-read comments after I've watched the ep all the way thru. But count me in as hoping that isn't the last of Josh.

Anonymous said...

Matt is right on the money. Should we call this show Family Rock or 30 Guy? I predict an undeserved Nobel Peace Prize to go along with another undeserved Emmy next award's season.

Lionors said...

"If it's another blonde woman, I'll kill myself!"

I laughed twice as hard when Tracey said it.

Tish Strandboge said...

I really enjoyed this episode. I'm surprised so many didn't seem to like it much. Maybe all the awards and accolades and waiting built it up too much. Yes, it was not the best episode of 30 Rock ever, but it was still the funny and clever show I love. I laughed out loud several times: Liz singing the Cheesy Blaster jingle, Jack's "period", Kenneth's mountain-people talk, and Pete's wife inviting Liz into their love making. Could have done without Jenna this whole episode, but Tracy was funnier than usual, especially his bizarre attempt to relate to people on the street.

Love the new header Alan! My F&G girls are rocking it!

filmcricket said...

Buscemi had me on the floor laughing, but yeah, this was pretty weak. I remember Alan saying he has a Tracey sweet spot - too much of him and it can ruin the episode - and I feel that way about Kenneth. The only Kenneth-centred ep I've ever enjoyed was the MuppetVision one.

I had never made the comparison to Family Guy before, but yeah, I can kind of see it. I do love that they'll fully commit to a joke, in much the same way Arrested Development did, but because there aren't the same kind of call-backs as there were in AD, it does sometimes feel like they're expending a lot of effort on throwaway stuff.

J said...

Oh, c'mon, 30 Rock's quick asides are nothing like Family Guy's. They're far more like Seinfeld's -- or Shoot the Piano Player's. They're a way to manage pacing and squeeze in extra gags.

Family Guy's interludes are there to provide pop culture pandering and work for struggling manatees.

jasctt said...

Too much Jenna. Always a problem.

David Glasser said...

2 4 6 8! 10 12 14 16!

Ben said...

I don't understand why people didn't like this episode. It was consistently funny. There weren't any genius scenes like some of the episodes but that can't be expected. Definitely better than last years season premier. My ranking of this week's network comedies.
1. HIMYM
2. 30 Rock
3a. P&R
3b. Modern Family
4. Community
5. The Office

olucy said...

Finally watched this, and thought it wasn't up to their best.

I was amused by Liz and Pete's completely bumfizzled attempts to be sneaky, especially when Pete's wife showed up.

But I thought Tracy's storyline was ridiculous. It reminded me of when Seinfeld was really starting to go downhill. There was an ep where Kramer had a girlfriend in lower Manhattan, and he didn't realize that television programs shown there were on at the same time as they were in upper Manhattan. He literally didn't know that all of Manhattan was in the same time zone.

People: these characters are *eccentric*, not stupid! Stop messing with them.

belinda said...

I think it was nice that they finally had Josh in an episode, but I wasn't sure if they were acknowledging that they forgot to write Josh in before, or if they thought Josh was a forgettable character to the audience. Which I would disagree with - I wish they could write him back into the show, because his contract negotiation with the worm and the crab was one of the funniest physical comedy bit I've seen of the show. Ah, the good ol' days.

I wish I liked the opening and end bit better, but they did it in the most obvious way possible - which made it weak. Kind of like, oh, right, so clever, haha. The throwaway line at NBC's sports lineup was funnier.

For me, this episode was better than I expected, but still pretty darn weak - I just didn't laugh much. I hope things get better in future episodes.

Grace said...

So what I'm hearing a lot of you say is that the episode gave you the cheesy blasters...