Friday, March 02, 2007

"What does she know? She's a Murphy. Bunch of mud farmers and sheep rapists!": 30 Rock

Most years, when February sweeps ends, you get a few days of March to revel in the sweeps, since sweeps begin on the first Thursday of a month and then end on the Wednesday four weeks after that. But since the first Thursday of February this year was February 1, we saw sweeps end Wednesday, exactly on February 28. Depressing!

Or not. March is the time when there's time to watch midseason debuts or catch up on shows that have been backing up the TiVo (I polished off Prison Break today, and should half-watch House over the weekend) or, I dunno, read a book or leave the house to see a film, your pale, ghoulish visage frightening all you see (expect that Zodiac review this weekend, kids).

Fortunately, a few shows are airing through March, largely because their networks aren't confident in their ability to pull in copious amounts of viewers in repeat. Hence, 30 Rock is new until it's replaced for six weeks by Andy Barker, P.I. on March 15 (don't worry, fishsticks, it will be back in April to finish out the season -- Thursdays at 9 on NBC are all new through the end of the year).

Anyway, here's hoping that two weeks not airing opposite new CSI and Grey's Anatomy give this show the ratings it deserves (though with the new ratings sensation Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader? airing opposite, things look grim). And tonight's episode was a fine way for those who've never seen the show to jump in and meet most of the characters (the other writers and Jenna didn't get a lot to do). Heck, even the much-maligned Tracy subplot (featuring him angering some rappers and having to host the Source awards to make do, only doing so as Oprah -- don't ask) was pretty good. And Kenneth got lots to do too!

But the episode belonged to Jack, trying to peddle his awful-tasting wine and taking care of Tracy, and Liz, sparking a relationship with an African-American (played by Wayne Brady), which she tried to get out of, despite his insistence that her desire to break up with him was racist (not that she helped herself any in the matter). Alec Baldwin has been the strongest element of the show from back when it was a shaky pilot, but Tina Fey has really improved her acting. I know she downplays it in interviews and she's essentially playing herself, but her work as the neurotic center of the ensemble is getting better and better.

Other stuff I liked:

--Jack talking about "the Blacks" (the family name of Brady's character) and his discussion of attending movies with Condi Rice.

--Kenneth saying his game was "Boggle."

--Brady singing a ragtime political satire song about Hillary Clinton so gamely (and being completely awful doing it).

--Tracy's loopy, bizarre Oprah impression.

--And, of course, Liz with a gun.

This show feels like it's doing so much right right now that if you haven't seen it yet, try it out next week. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

(A note: Since so few of the shows we cover will be airing in March, we'll be trying out some more non-specific stuff and reviewing some shows we might not otherwise watch.)


David Sims said...

After being lazy about it for so long, I was all ready to write up Scrubs this week, but they dumped a clip show on us! The bastards!

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I think you should cover it anyway, and talk about YOUR favorite Scrubs moments/episodes and why this season is such a disappointment.

Also, Libby broke the recent comments machine. Grrrr.

Libby said...

I ruin everything.
I loved Tracy's portrayal of Oprah. Frighteningly accurate ...

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