Monday, May 9, 2011

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock (Season Finale)

30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 23 “Respawn” (B-)

If this season has been about anything in particular, it’s been the show enduring many obstacles and the unlikelihood of making it through it all with Tracy’s zaniness. To have Liz plagued by the omnipresence of Tracy is the ultimate irony, and I’m not sure I’m amused or impressed. Like the star of its show-within-a-show, this season has been highly schizophrenic and only intermittently reliable. Last season ended with an important choice between Julianne Moore’s Nancy and Elizabeth Banks’ Avery, and while Jack’s decision was certainly kinder on our eardrums, it’s still difficult to have a main character not be a series regular and therefore only pop in and out when her availability dictates it. That’s not to assign any blame to Banks, but rather to say that this show hasn’t made very good use of Jack’s first year of parenthood, or Jack himself, for that matter. He’s much less of a main character than he used to be, and far less deserving of the accolades he continues to win. Speaking of this episode in particular, having Kenneth pose as Avery isn’t a very good use of his time, and I didn’t find much in that plotline. The return of Paul and a guest appearance by Victor Garber was more on-target, even if it had some bizarre sitting stuff included, and finally a strong usage of Jenna. This episode was definitely not as strong as previous finales, and that’s true of the season as well. After five years, I could really go for a bit more consistency.

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