'30 Rock' Season 5, Episode 1 (Season Premiere) Recap
by Bob Sassone, posted Sep 24th 2010 1:00AM
['30 Rock' - 'The Fabian Strategy']
"Her name is The Barefoot Contessa, Lemon, and you will never be like her. Starting with the barefoot part." - Jack
Sometimes you don't know how much you miss something until it comes back. That's what it was like tonight with the season premiere of '30 Rock.' The summer becomes such a hot and humid slog that you can forget that, when the fall comes around, they'll be a new season with Liz and Jack and Tracy and Jenna and Kenneth and a list of LOL quotes that could serve as an episode review itself. This show just makes you feel good when it's on and when the episode ends you're already looking forward to next Thursday.
To quote Liz at the start of the episode, "Season 5 ... here we go!"
This season opener quickly answered two questions we all had: one, would Kenneth actually be working elsewhere after leaving at the end of last season, and two, would Matt Damon actually come back as Liz's pilot boyfriend. A lot of shows would have the unseen summertime magically resolve both plots, since Kenneth has to be on the show and Damon is too busy making movies to play Liz's boyfriend all the time, right?
But the answer to both was actually yes. Kenneth is working over at the 'Late Show With David Letterman,' which keeps him in the world of television, and Damon doesn't have to be on the show every week because Carol is a pilot and can conveniently be "away" all the time, like Bob Barsky in the final season of 'Kate & Allie,' allowing Kate to move in and keep Allie company.
A lot of the best '30 Rock' episodes revolve around Liz and Jack having relationship problems at the same time and the two helping each other out with the problem (or screwing it up more, which actually helps in the end). It's impressive that this show -- a fast-paced, sometimes surreal sitcom with 50 jokes squeezed into 22 minutes every week -- will actually solidify some of the plots. Besides the Liz/Carol relationship, we could have seen Avery become just another ex of Jack's instead of being a woman that he's actually in love with. There's a mix of heart and craziness on this show that really, really works.
And I still think that Liz and Jack have one of the best relationships on TV right now. No, not that type of relationship (and hopefully it never will be that kind), I mean a real, heartfelt concern for each other.
This was a solid season-opener, with lots of great lines and plot development and at least one phrase we'll all be saying for the next couple of weeks -- "pube shirt." It's one phrase you're going to have to explain to people though, so make sure the setting is right. I also liked how Jenna and Tracy weren't together this week, doing one of their crazy schemes that would begin to annoy. It made sense that Jenna would have a bizarre part in her contract that kicked in at the start of Season 5, and it made sense that Tracy would miss Kenneth so much he'd start hallucinating.
The question is, how long will the show keep Kenneth away from his friends at NBC?
• A great thing about filming in New York City: they can film in front of the Ed Sullivan Theatre. It's also great they used the actual logo for the 'Late Show With David Letterman' instead of making up a logo (or making up a fake late-night show that's supposed to be Letterman but isn't -- something else a lot of shows would do). And Dave gets some free publicity on his old network! (No going to L.A. and working at 'The Tonight Show' for Kenneth!)
• The footage of Ina and Jeffrey Garten on TV looked different than what you see on 'The Barefoot Contessa.' It looked like they filmed those scenes especially for the show.
• The fact that Liz wears a Life Alert button around her neck really pleases me for some reason.
• When Liz said "see you October 14" to Carol, that's the day of the live show.
• FunkyVintageWallpaper.com is already taken, but .biz is available!
"No, Tom Jones, no!" - Liz, waking from a dream
"It was so warm you could pick perfectly cooked lobsters out of the ocean." - Jack
"You sound weird. Do you have a beard?" - Liz, to Jack
"I'm in Lambert, St. Louis. I can see the arch from here. Oh wait, that's a half-burned down McDonald's." - Carol, to Liz
"Black bachelorette parties." - Carol, on who flies from Newark to Atlantic City
"Tracy's head size keeps changing." - Liz, on why she spends so much money on wigs
"It's just a vanity credit to make someone feel more important. Like 'Executive Producer Ashton Kutcher' or 'Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.'" - Jack, on Jenna's producer credit
"Then I need you to be back by noon to make the bathroom smell like sandalwood before I wreck it. Got that K-packs of gum?" - Tracy, to an intern he thinks is Ken
"You're the Jackie O of our time." - Jack, to Liz, about Carol getting special treatment at Chili's
"They clean them." - Jack, to Liz, about how Starwind Hotels keep their bath tubs so clean
"Before you know it she'll have me wearing jeans and reading fiction." - Jack, about Avery taking over the house
"I know this ... if an apple or a feather fall at the same time..." - Liz's guess on what "The Fabian Strategy" is
"Meeting someone at a hotel twice a month isn't a relationship. Ask any hooker." - Jack, to Liz
"Your health insurance will remain in effect until the end ... of this sentence." - Jenna, firing wardrobe lady Grace
"Like the World Cup!" - Tracy, after Liz said to imagine that Kenneth isn't real and that he's in control of it
"Yeah, but with more volleyball." - Carol, on how being a pilot is just like 'Top Gun'
"Sure. I'll just have to run home first and get some plates out of the bathroom." - Liz, to Carol
"A middle-aged woman saying 'dude stuff.' Is that on my 'Sadness Scavenger Hunt?' Why yes it is." - Jack, to Liz
"And now, as with all studio audiences, we will sort you according to attractiveness." - Kenneth, working at the 'Late Show With David Letterman'
"Mark Foley called them 'piercing'." - Jack, about his blue eyes
"Ina Garten, sweater weather, and when Muppets present at award shows." - the three things Liz likes
"Oh, I pushed it. I need a phone!" - Liz, about her Life Alert
"The last time I said that I was in a three-way with two of The Backstreet Boys." - Jenna, about not being necessary
[30 Rock' airs on Thursday at 8:30PM ET on NBC
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