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30 Rock Fodder

30 Rock: "The Problem Solvers" Review

Hello World! It's been a while since my last review, and for that I apologize. But I hope you've been continuing to enjoy the fall TV season. There's some pretty good new stuff out there (Glee, White Collar, FlashForward) and some disappointments (V...that's pretty much it).

But what hasn't disappointed so far is season 4 of 30 Rock. Lots of good belly-laughs and cameos so far, and it's only been five episodes so far! It has, however, perhaps been the most inconsistent season of the series. Episodes like "Into the Crevasse" had me rolling on the floor, while "Audition Day" were pretty underwhelming. Overall, "The Problem Solvers" was no exception.

But even the dumbest of 30 Rock is often miles above many other sitcoms out there. (Is "sitcom" even the right word for it? I think this show is above even that almost-derogatory term.)

In "The Problem Solvers," Liz learns that Jack has secured a deal to turn her "Dealbreakers" sketch and nonfiction bestseller ("Right behind 'The Founding Fathers' Diet'") into a talk show. After some bad advice from, who else?, Jenna, Liz decides to explore her options and hire an agent. Jack doesn't take the news too well and it soon becomes an all out war.

(One of the great nuggets of foresight the show creators had was naming their series "30 Rock," instead of, say "TGS." Many episodes, and indeed many of the best episodes, deal with Jack and NBC, rather than the sketch show that is supposedly being put on there every week. Even if they had called it "The Tina Fey Show" it wouldn't have been always appropriate, as many times as characters like Jack and Kenneth and, sadly, even Tracy are the center of attention.)

While this episode wasn't my favorite of the season at all, it definitely had its standout moments. I loved the little running gags, like Jack "Danny" Baker trying to say "about" without sounding like a Canuck. ("Ab-wow-tah", "oh-bot", "ab-huh-tuh").

Really, when it comes down to it, what I like about 30 Rock are those little throwaway gags. It's ironic that the show is about putting on a sketch show, when the humor is, itself, in many ways like a sketch show. It's just a series of funny gags, loosely strung together with a plot which, most of the time, doesn't really have much to do with said gags.

In my last review, I believe I commented on how 30 Rock is far from a show about 'nothing,' like Seinfeld was, but really it could just as easily be. In many ways, maybe it is. If the plots don't really dictate the jokes, and the jokes are what it's really about, then maybe it really is a show about nothing--it's just disguised as a show about something.

Things You Might Have Missed:

- Sports Shouting crawls:
"KC Royals accidentally left off 2010 MLB schedule..."
"...immortal Ted Williams signs 100-year extension, eats only rotten..."
"Brawl between Globetrotters and Generals leaves three..."
"Jacksonville residents "no longer aware" of Jaguars."
"Pitino: "I'm over here at the bar, if any of you ladies need..."
And my favorite, the World Cup scores where every team got "0"...

Posted by Bobby Bierley on November 15, 2009 3:29 PM
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