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Josh Hurst

30 Rock

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I think all three episodes of this new season have been flat-out masterpieces. This show has always been great, but it's suddenly exploding with brilliance, coming into its own in a big way. If they continue this brilliant streak through the entire season, it will be something truly spectacular.

I can't remember the last time I saw a big-screen Hollywood comedy that was even half as funny or inspired as this show is every week.

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I'm struggling to make sense of last week's episode. On the one hand, as a religious musician-comedian, I have a watchful eye out for all semblances of when comedy and faith mix; most especially when it comes to my own faith, that of a Catholic Christian. I recognize that sometimes comedians get the faith wrong, so the comedy doesn't work for me (case in point: Kevin Smith's Dogma). Sometimes they get it right, which make me want to stand and cheer (some of the most memorable eps of The Colbert Report have done this).

Last week was a mix. On the one hand, I'm utterly at a loss about the religious ceremony that Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is forced to attend. Setting aside the notion that such a religious service of this sort actually exists (which is most likely fictitious), the set up did not, in any way, demean the religious figures, the authority figures, or the culture there--I checked twice. Jack was the clown, while the overall millieu, and the priest in particular, was the "straight man."

The setup contrasted Jack's ignorance of Catholic religous culture and his lascivioius lifestyle with the aesciticism of a traditional Catholic environment. Fair enough. And other than the priest's failing to control the situation and letting Jack talk all over him in lengthy, explicit detail, the priest and the culture were pretty much unstained. Even with an accusation of Jack's Princeton credentials was turned over by the priest's Harvard Divinity School credentials.

But still...

The contrast, in this case, was a little too hard. It's not that God can't take a joke. But as I saw it, it soured my appreciation for both him and Salma Hayek. I mean, this guy is a head of a GE department--part of this is knowing how to properly behave in different cultural environments. Is it possible for someone that clueless as to the proper protocol in a typical, non-exotic setting to rise as far as he has done?

And on top of this is the contradiction in Salma Hayek's character, suddenly exposed to have a religious devotion. No doubt, I am aware that there are many who are cultural Catholics (something that 30 Rock's writers very slyly hinted upon in the opening scene), and people of a religious bent who have personally justified their promiscuous lifestyle. But then the writers of the confessional scene seem to be aware of this contradiction, otherwise Jack's "confessing" of his upcoming sexual conquest wouldn't be rendered as a joke.

Finally, the entire punchline to all of this, the "sign" of a McFlurries coupon in the collection basket, is utterly limp and unsatisfactory. No gold-karat edible leaf, was this.

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Man, does this show deliver. Very funny episode last night, IMHO. I tried to Google and find some of the great lines from last night, to no avail.

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Skimming online forums, I gather some people are ambivalent to the "30 Rock" finale, but I loved it -- a perfect end to the best season any sitcom has had since the 20th season of "Wings." (By which I mean the final season of "Arrested Development.") My love blooms triply for "He Needs a Kidney," which works both as a great comedy bit and a well-composed, manically catchy song. "Milton Green, Milton Green, Milton Green, Milton Green, Milton Green..."

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

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I have found myself chuckling quietly all day over "He Needs a Kidney". The inconguous sight of Steve Earle and Michael McDonald sharing a microphone, was reason enough to watch.

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"30 Rock" was the best comedy this past season by a significant margin. There's a couple less-deserving nominations -- Jane Krakowski jumps out -- but all in all, I think 22's not unwarranted.

Dale

Edited by M. Dale Prins

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Over here, I wrote that I enjoyed Matt Damon's guest appearance on 30 Rock.

Now comes word that he'll be back on the show this season. As if I needed a reason to keep watching.

Edited by Christian

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Just finished Season 2 over here, in scarily quick time. Baldwin is amazing and Fey pretty good too. It's a great series. I'm sure I was going to post something more than this but now I can't remember what it was!

Matt

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Tina Fey and Christopher Cross present "Lemon's Theme".

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Renewed, but...

The good news: NBC has picked up "30 Rock: for next season.

The bad news: NBC is moving the show to 10 p.m. Thursdays as part of a pretty thorough reshuffling of its primetime deck chairs starting in January.

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...which was quickly followed by this.

30 Rock star Alec Baldwin is known for shooting from the hip and dropping bombshells when cornered by reporters at various events. He did it again last night in an interview to Vulture at the National Dance Institute's annual fund-raising gala. "Next year is our last year of the show," he was quoted as saying. "Our contracts are expired (at the end of next season), and Tina (Fey) is gonna have a big career directing films and writing." Reps for NBC and 30 Rock creator/executive producer/star Fey declined to comment, but sources close to the situation called Baldwin's comments "total nonsense." There have been no discussions between NBC and the 30 Rock's producers about ending the show after the the upcoming sixth season.

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As the show has remained pretty strong? I would totally understand them wanting to close down before people started complain they had really lost their touch.

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Celebrate Leap Day with the one good episode this show has done this season.

Huh. I had heard the show was off the mark this year, but only sat down to watch a couple of episodes earlier this month. I enjoyed both (a 1-hour episode and a standard half-hour episode). I watched the Leap Day episode a couple of nights ago with my wife, and thought it was a bit less funny than the other two episodes I'd seen. Still pretty good, though.

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I think the show has been negative and kind of mean this season, in a way that doesn't fit what I still like about it. The leap day episode felt like a return to its form of three or so seasons ago.

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I think the show has been negative and kind of mean this season, in a way that doesn't fit what I still like about it. The leap day episode felt like a return to its form of three or so seasons ago.

I think the show's been like that ever since Liz was dating Carol. I remember watching the episode where they broke up and had the fight on Carol's airplane, and thinking that it was rather mean and bitter in a way that the show hadn't been before.

That, and it became way too fixated on Jenna's deviancy. Which before had always been kind of goofy, but became just kind of gross in the latter half of last season.

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That, and it became way too fixated on Jenna's deviancy. Which before had always been kind of goofy, but became just kind of gross in the latter half of last season.

That part hasn't gotten any better. She's currently on a "sexual walkabout."

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That, and it became way too fixated on Jenna's deviancy. Which before had always been kind of goofy, but became just kind of gross in the latter half of last season.

That part hasn't gotten any better. She's currently on a "sexual walkabout."

Hmm... I think I'll just stick with Community reruns on Hulu.

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That, and it became way too fixated on Jenna's deviancy. Which before had always been kind of goofy, but became just kind of gross in the latter half of last season.

That part hasn't gotten any better. She's currently on a "sexual walkabout."

Yeah, but the show has always pushed into this territory. I've never been entirely comfortable with it, and have wondered if a slippery slope had kept me from noticing a downward trajectory of that sort of material.

I confess that Jenna and her boyfriend's mutual, simultaneously spoken decision, "Sexual walkabout!" made me laugh out loud, even though the idea of it is scuzzy.

Edited by Christian

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