TV is the answer: “30 Rock

Beth Carpenter

This is a difficult column to write. The time has come to talk about one of my favorite shows, one of the shows I anticipated most highly for the fall TV season: “30 Rock.” And what I want to talk about is how disappointed I’ve been with this season thus far.
Maybe it’s not fair to expect the show to maintain the admittedly high standard it set for itself with last season’s “Just Give a Kidney” and the Jackie Jormp-Jomp storyline, or season two’s “Midnight Train to Georgia,” but this season has been especially lackluster for me. It’s difficult to admit this because I routinely go around saying things like “Blammo!” and “Is that a thing?”
I often tell people that I am Liz Lemon, just the college version. I’ve missed dentist appointments. I’ve thought about taping my bra instead of buying a new one. So it pains me to talk about the failures of what used to be my favorite show.
Perhaps I prefer it when my Thursday night sitcoms are underappreciated by the general population, and maybe it feels like the show is too aware of itself, too smug, now that it’s become this incredible hit TV show, winning Emmy awards left and right. I’m not sure what it is, but the humor sometimes falls flat for me.
Oh, sure, I still chuckle at lines such as “Don’t look at me like I’m a football game” and Jimmy Fallon’s willingness to mock himself, or Betty White threatening to outlive Tracy Jordan, but I think the show is resting on its laurels.
Last season, even with excessive guest stars, “30 Rock” managed to find its stride and deliver laugh after laugh. This season has been returning to its roots, focusing on the fake sketch show “TGS with Tracy Jordan” more than on the crazy high jinks that guest stars bring with them, but in four seasons, maybe the writers forgot about the roots of the show – smart, witty one-liners, unexpected slapstick and a level of devotion to food unseen in primetime television.
So, this season is still enjoyable. It still makes me laugh on occasion. Not the full belly laughs that could make me think I was getting exercise, but a guffaw sneaks out here and there.
This season did give us a worldview based on sandwiches. This season is giving us some more of Will Arnett as gay network executive Devon Banks, which is always appreciated.
So there are problems, yes, but “30 Rock” is still giving us some of the little things that helped to make the show great to begin with. Hopefully there will be a resurgence of the more important things that made the show one of my favorites. But for now, “30 Rock” still airs Thursday nights on NBC at 8:30 p.m.

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