Saturday, November 21, 2009

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 4, Episode 6 “Sun Tea” (B-)

This is one of those episodes that most sophisticated viewers of this show probably love, but I just don’t find nearly as clever or, more importantly, effective as some of my favorite installments. This show’s blatant incorporation of NBC Green Week into the storyline with Kenneth trying to figure out ways to conserve energy wasn’t bad at the start, but having him look down at the green peacock logo in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen was a bit too flagrant. Having Al Gore guest star once again and note that jokes are best recycled before uttering the same line he said when he last appeared on this show, in the “Greenzo” episode, was more muted and much funnier. Brilliant as Frank’s sun tea/pee system was supposed to be, that plotline fell flat. The spontaneous desire by Jack and Tracy to get vasectomies came out of nowhere, and the notion of another Geiss sibling should have inspired some smart casting and a whole new story arc. Instead, Tracy has a hallucination (never a good thing), and a laugh track is introduced. I find that whenever laugh tracks are used on shows that don’t have them, it highlights how unfunny that particular stunt is (see: “Scrubs” with Clay Aiken and the season premiere of “Monk”). Liz’s attempts to oust her upstairs neighbor in a shameless effort to get her own desirable second apartment were the strongest part of the episode, and it was fun to see Nate Corrdry, formerly a cast member on the other variety show series that started on NBC in 2006, as the guy who turned out to be both gay and a cop.

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