Now that Season 5 is here all 22 episodes, all three discs I realize how much I genuinely missed its regular presence. While no longer the award-hogging it comedy it once was, its still scene-to-scene hilarious.
The start of the season finds the gang at TGS in flux. Overeager former NBC page Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) misses his job; clueless TGS star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is hopeless without him. Meanwhile, NBC exec Jack Donaghy contemplates fatherhood with his ice-queen girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), while also unsure about his future with the network. And TGS head writer Liz Lemon? Well, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) lives her usual screwed-up life, so at least something is consistent.
Year five appears to grant more air time to Jane Krakowskis ditzy actress Jenna, which is always a good thing, as is any appearance of Chris Parnell as incompetent physician Dr. Spaceman (Ive already administered the epidural. Now would you like one as well?). But the real star of 30 Rock isnt a who, but a what: the whip-smart writing. It moves fast and furious, unconcerned with whether you get the reference. It can deliver one as obscure as J. Fred Muggs, then turn around with one as lowbrow as pube shirt.
This may explain why the series never has garnered a wide audience, but hey, thats Americas loss. And it also may explain why so many celebs are game for self-deprecating cameos, including NBC News Andrea Mitchell saying slut, Paul Giamatti as a Civil War re-enactor, Will Forte in drag, and even Cash Cab host Ben Bailey as himself. Most impressively, Chloë Grace Moretz (Hugo) goes toe-to-toe with Baldwin in one episode as the 14-year-old heir apparent to the Kabletown ship; I swear, this girl is our next Jodie Foster.
If you watch only one episode among this set, shame on you. But do check out the live show; although it received mixed reviews after airing, I found it quite an inventive way to adhere to the 30 Rock brand despite technological limitations. Rife with bits from the likes of Jon Hamm and Matt Damon, its also just damned funny.
So is the Joke Too Dirty for NBC, one of the many, many deleted scenes among the special features. Housed on disc three, the bonus content also includes a trio of animated shorts depicting Donaghy as a superhero, and despite having him fight with Brian Williams over fro-yo, theyre skippable.
But 30 Rock as a whole? Definitely not. Then youd be denied such genius lines as I need you to get me something called Vagitrax. It's for ... dry knees, My uncle was a tinkerer. Until the FBI shot him and Shoulders back, Lemon. You're not welcoming people to Castle Frankenstein. Rod Lott