January 20, 2012

30 rock: idiots are people two

Last night's new 30 Rock episode was packed with celebrity guest stars. Three of the four appeared in the first 90 seconds alone and all had a hand in pushing along the main and supporting story arcs, which will be continued next week in Part Two.

Kelsey Grammer is back starring as a version of himself in the Best Friend's Gang. We got a glimpse of him at the beginning of the episode — and at the end with his James Bond-esque phone call and song number — which means we'll likely see more of him in next week's part two of the same episode. Jenna and Kenneth, the other part of the Best Friend's Gang, were on a quest to change Jenna's light bulb when things went awry. Who couldn't see them making trouble out of something as simple as changing a light bulb? That pretty much sums up subplot No. 1.

James Marsden makes his first appearance on the show as Criss, Liz's new boyfriend. Because he plans to open an organic gourmet hot dog cart and he spells his name without an h and with two ses, Liz is hesitant to introduce him to Jack. During a M&M pancake lunch, Liz misses most of her conversation with Criss, because Jack is in her head pointing out all of the flaws she knows he would hate. This arc takes a nice twist at the end of the episode.

Ann Curry and Denise Richard star as versions of themselves in the main story arc. In true Tracy form, he manages to offend the gay community, requiring Liz to step in to fix his problem. In doing so, she offends the "Idiot Community," and Tracy spearheads an effort to unite all idiots to protest NBC. As celebrity spokesperson, Denise arrives. It should be fun to see what she does next week.

This episode was a hit for me as 30 Rock endeavors to get back its swagger after months off the air. The writing — especially dialogue — was well done, and I found myself scrambling to try to remember all of the one-liners. My favorite of all was one we saw in the season preview, and it will likely become part of my vocabulary in the upcoming weeks:

"Now I'm headed home for a nooner, which is what I call having pancakes for lunch."

That's classic Lemon.

Other notes from the episode:
•  I love the idea of M&M pancakes. Delicious like chocolate chip pancakes, but you also get that thin candy shell.
•  Jack claiming he was hurt by Lemon not telling him about her new relationship shows they have come a long ways in the past few years. Her worry about them meeting, and his determination to get involved, also add up to the fact that Liz and Jack's friendship have gone deeper.
•  Probably my favorite moment was when Jack writes "I used your bathroom" on the memo note of a check, and Liz responds "Not cool." Another example of the good writing on this show.

What did you think of last night's episode?

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