Review: 30 Rock - The Problem Solvers
by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 13th 2009 3:04AM
(S04E05) "He looks like all the guys in my magazines!" - janitor, about Danny
Another week, another "30 Rock isn't as good as it used to be" article. This one is from The Atlantic, of all places. The gist is this: "30 Rock used to be funny, but now it's not!" The Onion thinks so, too.
Oh, that's such crap.
I was talking to Joel about this earlier this week, and while it's probably true that the show doesn't have that "new car smell" anymore, so what? It isn't like the show is halfway through it's first season and it has fallen apart, the show is in its fourth season and it's still strong. This show has more jokes (and funny jokes) in one episode than most sitcoms have in six episodes. In fact, tonight's episode had more jokes before the opening credits than most shows have in six episodes.
And ladies, if you date a guy who doesn't think 30 Rock is still great? That's a dealbreaker.
Some of the best episodes of 30 Rock contain not just smart, wacky humor but also some real heartfelt feelings between Liz and Jack. No, not romantic feelings, but a sense that Jack really does care for her and wants to take care of her. Tonight was a good example of that, as he was trying to help her with the Dealbreakers talk show (not screw her over in any way) and how he moved the candle away from her because he knew she was going to reach across the table to sample his dessert.
And the way that both of them came together in Rockefeller Center at the end, sort of like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan coming together at the end of You've Got Mail. Only this ended in a handshake and not a kiss and hug. I love when 30 Rock remembers that about these two.
I'm not quite sure if having Liz actually be more successful and/or wealthy from this new talk show is something I want to see. Well, I do (as I've said many times I want to see Liz have more victories and not be a lonely schlub all the time), I just hope it doesn't tilt the show in the wrong direction. Nah, I'm sure future episodes will throw plenty of obstacles in Liz's way.
The new guy is played by Cheyenne Jackson. I'd love to know if he was really underneath all of that make-up as "Partybot." He could make for an interesting character: the good-looking normal guy surrounded by all the madness at TGS. OK, he's not completely normal, he's Canadian after all and says "about" funny, but it's going to see him try to fit in. Of course, the question is, is Jackson's stay just a multi-episode arc or is he on the show for good?
- The awful rear screen projection in the flashback to Danny's football movie he made in Canada was funny. The pic above shows you what the scene is like without the background.
- This episode had more visual humor than usual, from Kenneth walking backwards to Jack's suggestion of a weird arm movement for Liz's signature move
- Did you notice that during Liz's opening scene talk with Jack about TV show continuity a scarf magically appeared around Tina Fey's neck and then quickly vanished a couple of seconds later?
- Kenneth says that in ten years NBC won't even be a network anymore. Actually, some are saying that now.
- I love how this show takes TV cliches and takes them for a spin. Besides the continuity joke, this episode brought up something that sometimes bugs me about shows (at least ones with big casts), that two characters can't have the same first name. Danny's real name is Jack but Donaghy can't have two Jacks around now can he? (And neither can viewers.)
- Sports Shouting made me laugh out loud.
- If someone could tell me what the hell Kenneth was saying in that song I'd appreciate it. I think only dogs could have understood it. And are we to assume now that Kenneth has been alive forever?
"Dealbreaker, the book for you, man no good, by Lesbian Flower Sour Fruit." - Chinese translation of Liz's Dealbreakers book cover
"I do! I bought an Activia microwaveable panini..." - Liz, to Jack, about her dinner plans
"I've worked here for three years. I gave you that car I won?" - Lutz, to Cerie
"Last week I was just this street performer getting 50 bucks a day and getting memory loss from all the silver paint fumes, and now I'm...um...um..." - Danny
"Two questions: must I live by Superman's moral code and will the woman get older?" - Jack, about Liz's "would you rather" quiz
"Spit take. Are you serious?" - Liz, to Jack
"Wade Boggs Carpet World, Wade Boggs Carpet World, Wade Boggs Carpet World, Wade Boggs Carpet World." - Tracy, who once signed a contract and has to say the phrase five times whenever he's on screen
"He knows you're special, like a black stripper with blue eyes." - Tracy
"I feel about as useless as a mom's college degree." - Kenneth
"My book is number 15 on the non-fiction bestseller list, behind The Founding Fathers Diet." - Liz
"Oh, he called about your lunch but I told him you had already eaten a weird panini." - Cerie, to Liz
"That's exactly how you look." Cerie, to Liz, who asked "do I look OK?"
"Who cares if Kenneth is bitter? He's an underhuman." - Jenna
"Then who's going to host Top Chef? Aw Jack you're ruining my life!" - Liz, on getting replaced by Padma Lakshi
"I didn't get a bathroom door that looks like a wall by being bad at business." - Jack
"That was aboot the coolest thing I've ever seen." - Tracy
"Regular six, drunk seven." - agent, about Liz
"And one more piece of advice from someone who has been on this side of the business for a long time: Wade Boggs Carpet World." - Tracy