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30 Rock Watch: Your Sadness Scavenger List

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NBC

Note: For the record, any opinions I state about last night’s 30 Rock have nothing to do with any insinuations made by characters about those persons bearing my given name. Not, in any case, that there’s anything wrong with that.

Last season I was considering dropping 30 Rock from the regular rotation of shows I review weekly on this blog. This isn’t necessarily an insult to the show, which I thought had a weak season, but which I still generally enjoy and watch gladly. But the show was in a narrative holding pattern: a story arc would happen, then return to the status quo, Liz would date someone, then break up, &c.

That’s fine—it is what the show is. But it meant that, week in and week out, there wasn’t really much to say about the show besides listing all the funny lines. Not being very good at typing dictation, I’m not very interested in that.

Well, I’m not sure that 30 Rock has changed in that respect, but it’s good to see that it doesn’t have total amnesia about its character’s pasts. Remember Liz’s attempt to adopt a baby? I thought 30 Rock had forgotten it for about two years, and yet there it came up again, as Liz was wrestling with whether she wanted a real relationship, or whether pilot Carol was being too much of a weepy-man for her. (“I had to spoon him for an hour — and I was the outer spoon!”)

The rest of the episode was hit-and-miss—liked Jenna as super-producer, not so much Tracy/Kenneth and Pete’s creepy sleep-sex vision—but it’s good to see the show giving Jack and Liz some ongoing direction, not just in their personal lives, but also in the Kable Town sale. (As for Carol, if we can believe Liz, we’ll see him again Oct. 14—the live episode of 30 Rock.)

Still not sure whether I’ll be writing about 30 Rock every week or simply returning to it when it has an especially noteworthy episode, but I will be watching.

And as long as I’m doing a post, let’s have a hail of bullets:

* “She’s like a young Bo Derek, stuffed with a Barry Goldwater.” Now that’s love.

* We may disagree on Muppets presenting at award shows, but I will agree: there is no good reason for Geico to have three four[!] spokesmen.

* More seriously, it’s interesting to see that Liz and Jack are dealing with the “problem” of being in relationships with people who, in many ways, seem perfect for them. I’m still not sure how much mileage the show will get out of this (I can’t imagine Matt Damon is going to be on constantly, after all, and 30 Rock has a history of making love interests turn out crazy when it needs to get rid of them, a la Friends). But it will be interesting to see.

* Incidentally, while I use “James” as my professional byline, friends call me “Jim.” That’s right: I’m binominal.

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