Tuesday, February 26, 2013

5. 30 Rock Re-Watch: Season One, Episodes 6-8

Episode Six:
This is the first episode that really feels like what 30 Rock would become. Dennis is less cartoonish than he eventually will be, but Tracy and Jenna are both ramping up the crazy nicely. Rachel Dratch's Liz Taylor beating the crap out of Josh is the kind of twisted pop culture riffing the show does well, and there seems to be a general increase in the frequency of jokes.

Not coincidentally, the writers aren't in this episode much. While Toofer, Frank, Lutz and the rest are good in small doses, they're probably among the weaker elements of the show. But Jenna's obsession with age, Tracy's obsession with being weird and Liz's inability to manage her life are comedy gold mines that 30 Rock will return to again and again.

Episode Seven:
The show has found its footing at this point, and this was another strong and very funny episode. The first time we hear the names Grizz and Dot Com, the introduction of Chris Parnell's hilarious Doctor Spaceman and some terrific stuff with Conan O'Brien.

I wonder if the "I am a stabbing robot" bit was a nod to Crispin Glover's famous face kick on David Letterman. Either way, that and Tracy's extended dance were hilarious.

The Dennis/Liz relationship is a great source of comedy, and they seem to have settled into the dynamic for Liz and Jack as well. Pete's story, like all too many of the Scott Adsit stories, is a little sparse, but he's great in it. And a little Kenneth is just the right amount of Kenneth.

Episode Eight:
And so the Liz/Dennis relationship comes to a close for the first, but not the last time, thanks to timely intervention by Chris Hansen.

Tracy/Toofer turns out to be a pairing with a lot of story potential, but unless I've just forgotten, I don't believe they return to that well very often.

Jack dating Condi Rice is one of many funny uses of Jack's Republicanism and place in high society. Seeing him threaten to knock Putin's teeth in cracked me the hell up.

Not as full of rapid fire jokes as the previous episode, but a good use of several cast members and a very funny episode.

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