Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 5, Episodes 20 & 21 “100th Episode” (B+)

Though I’m not all for each and every one of its nutty gimmicks, I think that the hundredth episode of this show worked pretty well overall. Having quick flashbacks to a few past events rather than a full-on clip show is a smart move, and I like how one such cut was triggered by Liz calling out “Flashback, please!” I’m impressed that this show avoided making the same mistake that other series have by remembering that Danny has not been around for the entirety of its run, and chose to make the most of that by having Jenna think he has been there the whole time and even having Danny start to think he’s Josh. I enjoyed a few of the subtler jokes in this episode, including the NBC store always being empty and Ken Howard, real-life president of SAG, knocking that very organization. The return of Dennis is always welcome, and I liked his idea about something like Netflix, but where you have to go to a store. Jenna’s instantly appearing and then disappearing hysterical pregnancy was amusing enough, and a decent use of her kookiness. Tracy’s efforts not to be taken seriously anymore were funny, and Jenna’s suggestion that he kill someone was exactly the kind of wacky thing he needed. Jack’s hallucinated versions of himself were amusing, and I liked three lines in particular – “Power clashing: a striped shirt with a striped tie,” “Sharks don’t have claws; you don’t even know what a shark is anymore,” and “I studied time dilation in college.” The guest appearance by Tom Hanks calling an “actor emergency” to take Tracy off the A-list was very much in the style of the show, as was Jack’s brilliant suggestion of how to lose Tracy his respect: do TV.

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