Sometimes regression is progression, especially on 30 Rock.  While Jenna has moved on from Paul and Liz has moved on from the idea of being a foster mom, both spent last night’s episode wondering if they’d really made the right choice.  Meanwhile Jack’s attempt to broaden Kabletown’s horizons threatens to blow up in his face after his cottage industry turns out more torture device than comfy couch.

The Players:

Episode Title: “Murphy Brown Lied to Us”

As usual, 30 Rock is quick to praise and quick to shred; this week’s targets include the trendy furniture industry (digs at Jennifer Convertibles, Ashley Furniture and several others), Bazooka Joe gum, and celebrities who melt down just for the attention.  Praise this week is given to Miss Murphy Brown herself (Frank Fontana also gets a shout out), nap-drool-absorbent fabric, and Princess Leah Halloween costumes.

The Good:

  • Giving props to a legend: Murphy Brown was one of the most underrated shows ever.
  • Rightfully slamming an Icon: Bazooka Joe gets called to the mat for turning “a softer version of his gum into armor piercing bullets” and being comparable to “chewing a mountain someone shot a freeze ray into.”
  • Charmingly out of touch: Jack continues to be the most likeable tyrant on television, this week showing his inner Monty Burns by estimating a gallon of milk to cost, “oh, I don’t know, 90 dollars?”
  • Hitting the nail on the head: Jenna believes a celebrity meltdown is exactly what she needs to get back into the headlines. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so accurate.
  • The return of the masked man: Will Forte returns to Jenna and assures her they’ll be buried together, “pelvis to mouth,” for eternity.

The So-So:

  • Art imitating life: Jack’s push to move Kabletown towards couches is emblematic of companies trying to get their hands in as many pots as possible, but a furniture company seems like a sloppy move for someone as put together as Jack Donaghy.
  • Pick your battles: American engineering is slammed for the uncomfortable couch because all they know how to do is “build roller coasters.”  I’m pretty sure there are plenty of other industries that deserve more criticism than the engineers.
  • Battle of the network stars: A fine cameo from Matt Lauer, but give me Brian Williams any day.

The Bad:

  • Too many fringe characters: Will Forte is of course welcome, but this week we meet Kat, the 11-year old daughter of Liz’s blind date Kevin.  Although it was nice to see Jack set up his friend just so she could see how great children can be, do precocious preteens really need more airtime?

The Quotable:

  • Tracy on the set of TGS: “I didn’t get to work an hour late just to be the first one here.”
  • Jenna, on having a breakdown: “everyone does it: Demi, DeMi, Brittany, Lindsey…Momar.”
  • Jenna: “I need your input.”  Tracy: “I can’t, I’m a married man.”
  • Jack, on triumphing over adversity: “What did Theodore ‘Bazooka’ Joe do when all his father left him was a pink rock quarry?  He baked those rocks and sold them to children as gum.”
  • Liz, on how uncomfortable the couches are: “I can see the veins behind my eyes.”
  • Jack, chiding Liz on her frumpiness: “You look like a substitute teacher who just got her one year AA chip.”
  • Tracy: “I’ve been thinking.”  Jenna: “Why?  You’re famous.”

Overall:

Nothing remarkable, but as always, the jokes were quick, the patriotism was satirical, and the message was humble: always be up for new possibilities.

Rating: 8/10

30 Rock airs Thursday nights on NBC.

What did you think of the episode?