Monday, March 26, 2012

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 6, Episodes 13 & 14 “Grandmentor” & “Kidnapped by Danger” (B+)

These weren’t perfect episodes, but they were generally entertaining and it’s hard not to appreciate their cleverness. I’d still prefer that this show didn’t continue to bump other Thursday night NBC programming due to the need for a double-dose. The night’s first episode was well-constructed, with Liz having to select a walk-on contest winner for TGS and Kenneth presenting himself as the perfect solution to the problem at the last minute. I liked how Jack’s new assistant was incorporated into a punch line, tasked with finding a featured extra with no lines and embodying those very characteristics. Liz taking on the role of Hazel’s mentor was never going to end well, but I like how Jack saw himself as a grandmentor. Liz’s tirade about there being too few women on death row and too few female serial killers was quite hilarious, and her rapport with Jack of the reasons this show works so well. Over-the-top as it is, Tracy being helped to do everything wrong is pretty funny. Jenna’s extensive efforts to be cast as Avery in the TV movie version of her story were impressive and irritating at the same time, as was her fervent attempt to write a story, with Tracy’s help, that couldn’t be parodied by Weird Al. Casting William Baldwin as Lance, the method actor portraying Jack, was an inspired choice, and Cynthia Nixon’s brief appearance as the actress playing Nancy was terrific. The return of Mary Steenburgen’s Diana was entirely welcome, as she described how the train was disgusting (she flew, but saw a train) and then forced Liz to be the “third wheel that prevents people from having sex). Her solution of having Lance substitute for Jack was smart, and I enjoyed the many differences between the two Baldwin brother characters.

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