A quick review of tonight's "30 Rock" coming up just as soon as I pre-apologize for clogging your tub, sink and toilet...
There's a generational thing with "Saturday Night Live" where the cast from your formative years is the cast you have the fondest memories of, making it the one period where you'll forgive all the sins (sketches that go on too long, recurring characters who recur too often, etc.) you can find in the show later on. For me, that was the Phil Hartman/Dana Carvey/Jon Lovitz cast - or, I should say, the Hartman/Carvey/Lovitz/Jan Hooks cast. For all that people talked about "SNL" as being a horrible showcase for women before Tina Fey and company showed up in the late '90s, Hooks was just as important a part of the late '80s/early '90s cast as Hartman, able to be just as strong playing the comic center of a sketch as she was being the straight woman.
So I was excited to hear that Hooks would become the latest "SNL" alum to pop by "30 Rock," in what IMDb tells me is her first credited acting gig since 2004's "Jiminy Glick in Lalawood." (Sigh...)
Unfortunately, Hooks wound up in another disappointing episode of what's been an up-and-mostly-down season of "30 Rock."
"Verna" was an episode combining two of my least favorite parts of the show: Jenna, and Jack's mommy issues. (Though Elaine Stritch didn't appear, it was a Colleen episode by proxy.) I understand the desire to make Jenna be less of a cartoon on occasion - and I've certainly complained plenty about Jenna subplots that are too far removed from reality to work - but the only parts of the Jenna/Verna/Jack story I found funny were on the margins, like Alec Baldwin evoking his "Glengarry Glen Ross" character with his "Always. Speak. Quieter." mantra, or Jenna conveniently having a hand mic in her purse.
Liz's story, meanwhile, was at least the third time she's had a "TGS" staffer crash at her pad (following Pete a few years back and Tracy earlier this season) and led to another one of those climaxes where the whole gang watches a horrifying video of Liz, only not as horrifying (or funny) as her phone sex ad from "Apollo, Apollo."
It's "30 Rock," which means there will always be funny lines and weird gags, but it was pretty weak overall.
What did everybody else think? And did the outtakes of Kenneth talking to Pete (including renaming this show "You-Know-What and the Bear"), which were tacked onto the end of my screener, survive to the air version?