Friday, April 27, 2007

"I want a lobster. I want two lobsters, totalling five pounds of lobster meat!": 30 Rock

You may think I'm nuts (I know David will), but knowing that this show was coming back for a second season kind of sucked all of the air out of this season finale. If we had been on pins and needles, afeared that this was the last we would ever get to see the show, it might have been easier to forgive some of the weaknesses of this episode, seemingly constructed to function as a series finale if need be, though it had enough cliffhangers to be a season finale as well. Still, I laughed a lot, and it's better to know that the show will be back than have to spend the next few weeks fretting about it.

One of the nicest things about the episode was that it brought back a lot of the characters who seemed to have been nixed from the show over the last few episodes, perhaps as a cost-saving measure. It was good to see Cerie and Jenna (who, technically, was in last week's episode) and Dr. Leo Spaceman and Rachel Dratch again. But was Pete in the episode? I didn't see him. I could have just missed him though.

It was great fun to see Elaine Stritch as Jack's mother as well (and I like how all of the significant women in Jack's life assume he's with Liz, even though he insists -- and I believe him -- that will never be the case; it's a great commentary on how women find different women "attractive" from men -- not to say that Tina Fey isn't attractive). And Sean Hayes was able to tap in to just enough of the show's lunacy to make his turn as Kenneth's cousin not seem completely unrealistic.

That said, all of the plots here felt a bit forced and pitched too fast. Tracy's battle with the Black Crusaders, so promising last week, sort of fizzled out, even as Kenneth brought him back to New York just in time for TGS (and, oh, how I hope that Bill Cosby will guest star next season as himself). I did like Jack's oblique reference to his onetime relationship with Condoleezza Rice, however.

Jack's storyline (stress over his job and impending marriage led to health issues) was all right. I did like that he had Liz as his emergency contact (because she was the only one who wouldn't be afraid to pull the plug), but I wanted a little more time to get to see him and his mother interact. I did like the character of Phoebe, and I hope Emily Mortimer eventually lands her own sitcom.

At the center of all of this was Liz Lemon, doing her best to hold the whole show together. Seeing her do in this episode roughly what she did in the premiere showcased just how much more confident Tina Fey is as an actress. I do sincerely hope she gets nominated for an Emmy, even if she is just playing herself. She's grown into the part and into her own talent so well that I can only hope she'll push the part even further in year two.

And, phew! We get a year two! Let's not forget that.

Expect a review of the season as a whole this weekend, and expect an Ugly Betty review tomorrow night.

1 comment:

David Sims said...

You're actually not crazy. I know what you mean. It's always fun to fret over a show on the bubble. Still, this ep was a lot of fun. Fey writes madcap well.