Friday, November 20, 2009

30 Rock, "Sun Tea": That's a Cosby sweater!!!!

Quick thoughts on last night's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I take a low-volume shower with Ed Begley Jr...

This was the strongest overall Thursday this season for NBC's comedies, and "Sun Tea" brought the evening to a fine close. Not all of it worked, but enough of it did (in that usual "30 Rock" power hitter way) that I was left happy.

Hell, if the episode had been 21 minutes of dead air and just the 10 seconds of Kathy Geiss using Teddy Ruxpin in a suit as her lawyer, I would have given "Sun Tea" my stamp of approval. (I'm easy that way. And note that a more casually-dressed Ruxpin was also in the photo of the Geiss family in happier times.)

But Liz's apartment story felt like a throwback to the sort of thing the show might have done a couple of years ago when the scale was slightly smaller, and it was a nice showcase for Dotcom's alleged improv skills. (I particularly liked, in his list of stereotypical Angry Black Man threats, that he was going to "take things out of context" all the time.) The environment story tied in nicely with both Frank's disgusting jars and the apartment plot, and if the show recycled Al Gore's whale joke from "Greenzo" (while acknowledging they were doing it), it also came up with a funny new joke about the pointlessness of the whole Green Week stunt, with Kenneth nervously eyeing the all-green peacock logo to his right.

Dr. Spaceman's first appearance of the season (if you don't count his cigarette diet book being shelved near "Dealbreakers") wasn't as deranged and brilliant as some past Chris Parnell guest spots, and I'm wondering if Tracy and Jack's desire for children will last any longer than Liz's baby needs did. But Tracy Jr. was on fire, as usual, and they told us just enough of the Charles Barkley/strip club story to make me, like Frank, really want to know the whole thing. And the increasingly strained nature of the tabloid headlines about the Geiss case was a nice background running gag, until finally the last one had to be explained in print ("a pun on disgrace").

What did everybody else think?

26 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

As usual Jane Krakowski just impressed me much. And although I didn't love the apartment plot it ended well enough.

So I guess Cheyenne Jackson was just temporary. sigh.

Matt said...

Jackson will apparently recur off and on throughout the season. His filming schedule is a little limited because he's doing 8 shows a week on Broadway. Personally, I didn't find his character that interesting.

filmcricket said...

Nate Corddry!!

Sorry, that's about all I have to say. I didn't find the episode that funny at all, although Liz drooling at the mention of "Cinnabon in the morning and Burger King at night" made me chuckle. The Al Gore appearance was a disappointment: the whale joke was a perfect capper to the "Greenzo" episode, whereas here it just felt tacked on. But still: Nate Corddry. Love that dude.

Brad Dourif said...

They had me at the opening shot of Liz snoring through the fitness tape.

Mike said...

Surely someone else recognized the delicate irony of having "Studio 60" star Nate Corddry on the show.

And "gay hipster cop" is pretty much comedy gold.

Anonymous said...

Favorite out of nowhere line: "Dammit! I can't live like this. I'm getting a vasectomy too!"

Robin said...

I think 30 Rock has lost me. The throwaway funny lines and bit characters aren't enough to make up for me simply not liking Liz Lemon anymore. I feel like she's gone from a socially awkward but endearingly funny character to a bitter, petty shrew. She was really proud of herself for driving out a perfectly nice guy out of his apartment? Really? It wasn't funny, it was just obnoxious.

Marlark said...

Sometimes the plot seems only a vehicle to throw out one hysterical line and stunt after the next. And I don't mind!

The part that had both my 16-year old son and me rolling on the floor was when my son pointed out that Kenneth used three fingers when doing his air quote for "global warming." As if '"global warming" was in three quotes.

For some reason it wasn't until last week's episode that I realized that each and every character was INSANE. Once I got that, the show became a total treat for me.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite moments: When Nate Corddry hit Dot Com on the back of the knees and he went down, Dot Com let out this hilarious "Oh Lawd!"

J said...

After the Teddy Ruxpin and the "this is what a feminist looks like" t-shirt, everything else was just cake. And I LOVE CAKE.

belinda said...

Dot Com was awesome! I love the whole 'angry black boyfriend' skit, and it's nice to see Nate Corddry again on TV.

Other than that, I liked that at least 2/3 of the storyline came together at the end, and maybe that is why even though Tracy Jr. was a riot, I found that whole vasectomy story not really all that funny.

Though, love Jack smelling the lovely 30 Rock flowers. Overall, a B episode for me.

Adam said...

When Tracy Jr. was reading his acrostic to Jack he only went through C. When Tracy was hanging it on his mirror at the end Y was visible and it said:

Y is for Yakuza the Japanese mob. When he shot a movie there from them he did rob.

I'm assuming a reference to Who Dat Ninja? from the movie poster in Tracy's dressing room.

Dave said...

Dr. Spaceman was still awesome, just not as quirky. And is it me or did Spaceman have one of those pens with 4 different color inks? And I love the fact "Cheers Lied To Me" was a choice on the sheet about having a vasectomy. And remember, this is surgery so don't eat anything beforehand. Because I'll have a big breakfast here waiting for you.

And when Liz passed out I almost choked while laughing. "THERES TWO!!!!?!?"

And the more of Kathy Geiss the better.

Anonymous said...

best episode of the season thus far the first couple of episodes this season about finding a new cast member were straight garbage. any episode with tracy jr is always a winner. where did they get a working teddy ruxpin

BigTed said...

I expected the apartment plot to end with a twist, and that it would turn out that the neighbor was pulling a similar scam on Liz. (And that he would end up getting her apartment.)

Which I think would have been funnier -- but these days, Liz isn't as much of a loser as she used to be. (And doesn't get punished for bad behavior.) I wonder if that's the result of some network exec's demand to make her more "likeable"?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember Jenna's quote about drama being a gay man's gatorade? I thought it was very witty!

Matthew L said...

Pretty good episode. The vasectomy stuff didn't work as a plot, but it had Dr Spaceman, so it was at least funny. (Spaceman is easily the funniest recurring character on TV today.)

One thing I found myself wondering about afterwards - how will the "Kenneth glances at the green peacock" joke work on DVD?

Robert said...

"No rules. Like check-in at an Italian airport." Killed me. Rest of the ep was ok. Not sure how much longer I'll keep watching.

Chuchundra said...

I'm liking 30 Rock less and less these days even though I'm getting a decent number of laughs out of each episode.

Liz is such an unpleasant character. In fact, there isn't any character in the show that I really like anymore and it's making the show harder and harder to watch. I don't even really like Kenneth now.

And the story was just so lame-o. The resolution to the "how to get rid of the roommate" plot was for Liz to pee in a big glass jar? Seriously? Did all the writers hit their head that week and get serious brain damage? Is that what happened?

30 Rock used to have some subtle humor along with the broad gags. Now that's almost completely gone.

Melanie said...

I actually would have liked if they played around with Liz having a roommate a bit longer -- "gay hipster cop" is a comedy gold mine that they really missed out exploiting, and Nate Corddry is like an adorable, younger Matthew Lillard, so... highfive.

And I do agree, Alan -- someone needs to have a baby around here if they kept playing the "baby crazy" card, although I'd prefer if they just dropped those storylines all together.

Donlee Brussel said...

Mike,

It was just you and me who caught the "Studio 60" reference since not even Alan is acknowledging it.

SJ said...

What Studio 60 reference? he's just an actor who worked on a show long forgotten.

I'm wondering if the gay gatorade joke ("it's full of electrolytes!") was a reference to Idiocracy?

Bob C said...

This one left us gasping and rewinding more than any 30 Rocks have in a while. I still don't know what Two-fer said while Frank was talking about pants and chicken wings. Can anyone with closed-captioning clue me in?

Great bits overall, but a couple of things hit home for personal reasons.

Peeing in jars - Some friends of mine had a strange roommate 20 years ago, and when the guy moved out and they were clearing out his room, they found jars and jars of pee hidden in his dresser. I honestly hadn't thought of that in years until the week before this show when another mutual friend brought it up.

Like check-in at an Italian airport - I figured the second reference would ramp up the lawlessness by saying "a Chinese airport", where I've had to swing elbows pretty fiercely. But that might've come off as insensitive, and of course Jenna would go for the sex reference.

denwer said...

"No rules. Like check-in at an Italian airport." Killed me. Rest of the ep was ok. Not sure how much longer I'll keep watching.

Jim Treacher said...

Do you think they'll have a Green Week next year? Wonder how that'll work?

Matt said...

"One thing I found myself wondering about afterwards - how will the "Kenneth glances at the green peacock" joke work on DVD?"

I watched the episode On-Demand, and they put the green peacock in the shot where Kenneth looks down at it. Before and after, it was gone.

I assume that's how it'll work.