30 Rock” is the best kind of sitcom: one that lets us know that the writers are just as important as the actors. As we slowly (and thankfully) say goodbye to laugh tracks on our TV shows, it’s up to the writing staff to deliver comedy that is actually funny. Last night’s episode was another one that harped on this fact, but dammit, it’s difficult to harp on it enough.

The Players:

Episode Title: “Plan B”

With Tracy taking some time off in “Africa,” the network decides to put “TGS” on hiatus, forcing Liz and the rest of her staff to look for work elsewhere. Sadly, Liz discovers that show biz doesn’t exactly value its writers. In the meantime, Jack must seek out the assistance of a former rival after acquring TWINKS, a network for gay men which he finds himself unable to manage successfully.

The Good:

  • Aaron Sorkin: “30 Rock” has often been able to score some impressive guest stars, but writing geeks were thrilled last night when the one and only Aaron Sorkin, writer of The Social Network, made an appearance as himself. His dialogue wasn’t even that funny, but him being there was reason enough to get excited. The fact that he was applying for a job on a Nick Lachey show was icing on the cake, as far as we’re concerned.
  • Writers: Well, while we’re on the topic, we might as well once again commend “30 Rock” for being the kind of show that not only celebrates great writing by hiring skilled people, but also takes jabs at Hollywood for not giving enough respect to people who practice the profession. One of the best moments in the episode comes when Liz encounters a poster for Transformers 5 with the words “Written By Nobody” printed across the bottom. Sad, but probably close to the truth.
  • Will Arnett: It might be a scientific fact that everything from sitcoms to funerals becomes considerably funnier when Will Arnett is involved. His return to the show may have been brief, but his emotional breakdown when he thinks about his children is classic.
  • Tracy: Tracy’s attempts to convince everyone that he’s actually in Africa make for some of the funniest jokes on the show. He utters phrases like “Simba rafiki click click” and says he is hanging out with such people as “Invictus.” Who knew you could pack so many pop cultural references to an entire continent into only a couple lines of dialogue?

The So-So:

  • Pete’s jokes: No comedy show is ever perfect, and one of the few recurring problems that plagues “30 Rock” is the way in which it awkwardly sets up some of its jokes. For example, when Pete discusses returning to the profession of teaching, he says that his early experiences were just like Dead Poets Society, in that he got fired. That’s kind of funny, but it sounded a little forced.

The Bad:

  • Jack: Alec Baldwin wasn’t given enough humorous lines last night. That’s not a major complaint, but he has proved to us that he’s a terrifically talented comedic actor, and we want to see hom have more opportunities to deliver jokes.

Overall:

A very funny episode with an excellent guest appearance and some very clever lines. This is why we watch “30 Rock,” and as long as they keep delivering strong entertainment of this caliber, we’ll keep tuning in. Thanks for remembering the writers, guys.

Rating: 8/10

“30 Rock” airs every Thursday night on NBC!

Photo Gallery:

What did you think of last night’s episode? Did you enjoy it as much as we did?