“30 Rock” hasn’t been as consistently entertaining this season as it has in the past, and most of the episodes feel unbalanced. Some jokes are fantastic, others are predictable, and others are just simply not funny. It’s still good comedy television, but “30 Rock” is usually great comedy television, and it hasn’t lived up to its previous four seasons thus far. Sadly, the same can be said about last night’s episode, which was at times hilarious and insightful, and at other times dull and disappointing. Read our review to find out why…
- Director: John Riggi
- Writer: Matt Hubbard
- Cast: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Elizabeth Banks
Episode Title: “Que Sorpresa!”
With Avery in the running for a new newscaster position, she’s hiding her pregnancy from potential employers. When cornered by her competition while shopping for baby items, Liz takes the fall by pretending to be pregnant, a lie which she must maintain until Avery gets her new job. Jack is adjusting to the friendly, democratic policies of Kabletown executive Hank Cooper. Tracy and Jenna fight over a Kabletown sweater.
- Carmen Chao: Avery’s competition for the new position is a fellow newscaster whose ethnicity remains a mystery to all who watch her program. The writers of “30 Rock” can always be counted on for jokes such as this, which pick out the little details of modern life that we didn’t know we could relate to.
- Jack: We get some good “Jack is an evil executive” moments in this episode, specifically when he points to a watch that Don Geiss gave him for “firing a man on his deathbed” and offering to take Kenneth to a restaurant where you can “watch a child play with a bunny, then eat the bunny!”
- Voice-activated TV: Jack pitches a new innovation to Hank Cooper which would make remotes obsolete by responding to the vocal commands of users. However, there are still some glitches in the system, and when Jack says “crap,” the TV responds by switching to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
- Liz’s pregnancy: Liz feigning pregnancy could have been a hilarious plot, but instead, it isn’t all that memorable. Sure, there are a few good jokes sprinkled throughout the episode, but not enough for this kind of story.
- Staff ideas: Hank Cooper encourages Jack to look for innovative ideas that the “TGS” staff might have, and while they are somewhat funny, they are also predictable. Pete wants a button that would make it easier to turn porn off when his children walk in the room, Frank wants to star in an over-the-top action film, and Kenneth wants to hide unsavory elements of shows, like nudity and soccer. Brian Williams’ idea is a winner, though.
- Tracy and Jenna: When the least compelling subplot of an episode is the one which involves Tracy, you know you’ve made a mistake. The entire Tracy/Jenna joke this episode is that they both want a Kabletown sweater. And, uh, that’s it. Not too many laughs there.
- Elizabeth Banks: Give this woman some comedy! She can do it! Did anyone here see The 40 Year Old Virgin? She’s not going to let her looks get in the way of a good laugh. Right now, she’s just on the show to be attractive, and that’s a total waste of her considerable talents. Her character doesn’t lend itself to wacky humor, but we can still throw a few more funny lines her way, right? Please??
A forgettable episode that doesn’t deliver on what “30 Rock” usually promises. Some good jokes, but we weren’t laughing the whole time, like we usually do during this show. It wasn’t a complete failure by any means, but it felt like a lazy effort all around.
“30 Rock” airs every Thursday night on NBC!
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