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30 Rock season two episode reviews

Season 2, Episode 1. "Seinfeld Vision" Although I'm a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld, the most laughs in this episode came from the Tina Fey storyline.

Season 2, Episode 2. "Jack Gets in the Game" Much as I love 30 Rock (and I'm so in love with Tina Fey at this stage that it's not even funny) I must admit that I've just not feeling "the vibe" this year. Whatever that means. Storylines for Jack, Tracy and Jenna totally fail to raise laughs. Usually Will Arnett or Chris Parnell would have me in stitches. Not this time. Disappointing.

Season 2, Episode 2. "Jack Gets in the Game" I decided to give the most disappointing episode of this season (for me, anyway) a second whirl (in the company of someone who hadn't seen it) and I must admit that I stand by my first impressions. Storylines for Jack, Tracy and Jenna totally fail to raise laughs. The worst offender (least funny) is the storyline for Jack. His rival is trying to induce a heart attack? Maybe it's funny on paper, or with different actors or something, or I'm just missing the joke. Never mind, the season got better after this.

Season 2, Episode 3. "The Collection" The so-far-lacklustre second season delivers it's most even episode so far. No huge laugh-out-loud moments, but all the storylines are equally amusing. Which has got to be a step in the right direction.

Season 2, Episode 4. "Rosemary's Baby" The so-far-lacklustre second season delivers it's most enjoyable episode so far. All storylines were good and several scenes were really brilliant. My favourite scene was Tracy's therapy session with Jack playing the various members of Tracy's family (plus an upstairs neighbour at one point). But, even better than that was the pairing of Jenna and Kenneth. It was a simple plot but it did wonders for Jenna's likability.

30 Rock is a really odd show. It's created this very peculiar world and populated it with genuinely original characters. Some jokes (indeed some episodes) miss the mark, but the show always manages to be likable. Maybe I like it because, more than anything, it seems like the personal vision of one person. And even when the tone of various scenes/plots is incredibly diverse, the whole thing manages - somehow - to retain cohesiveness. Or, at the very least, the illusion of same.

The character of Jack Donaghy was used in completely different ways within this episode. First, he was being the heavy in a scene that has a certain resonance with the current Writer's Strike (as he and Liz were arguing over who owned the show). Then, barely minutes later, he was part of a very absurd moment of pure comedy (the therapy scene) where he was the engine driving the wackiness of the scene. Scenes this diverse probably shouldn't appear on the same show, never mind use the same character. Yet they do, and - most of the time - it works.

Season 2, Episode 5. "Greenzo" feeds my appetite for shows with something important to say. On one hand this episode was part of NBC's week-long drive to have environment-themed shows. On the other hand it was a parody of same. Now, that's balls-y. Is Tina Fey awesome or what? Best episode of the season so far, and a series highlight. Quite frankly, some of the images from Kenneth's party will haunt me for a long, long time...

Season 2, Episode 6. "Somebody to Love" The show is on a roll again, and some of this is the most inventive and funniest stuff they have ever done. Like what? Well, how about all those scenes from the Lifetime movie: "A Dog Took My Face And Gave Me A Better Face To Change The World: The Celeste Cunningham Story". Much as I laughed at that, and at Jack's reactions while he watched the movie, I laughed even more when Kenneth donned a gorilla mask and scared the living crap out of a sleeping Lutz. Lutz, of course, awoke screamed "Ape Attack!" and grabbed a golf club to beat the living crap out of the ape. Before the writers - eventually - ran in and pulled him off poor bruised Kenneth.

Season 2, Episode 7. One of the best elements of 30 Rock (and one of my favourites) is the friendship between Liz (the geek) and Jack (the sophisticate). Jack's genuine interest in, and liking for, Liz is one of the show's strengths. He sometimes acts like a mentor to her. Pushing her gently (and sometimes not so gently) in the direction of life's best offerings. And some of the shows best moments come (a) from their conversations, and (b) from their unexpected social meetings, when Jack bumps into Liz away from work.

"Cougars" is one of the shows funniest episodes, and both storylines are generated/sustained (to some degree) by Jack's mentoring personality. Liz dates a much younger man, and Tracy coaches a little league team. Jack encourages Liz to pursue her romance (as part of his long-term plan to overhall her, I suppose) and he totally takes over the running of the little league team from Tracy (in a nicely done political allegory). There are many, many laugh out loud moments.

Season 2, Episode 8. "Secrets and Lies" Another funny outing. Jack's romance with CC takes a big step forward with a sweet gesture (for Jack) when he unveils his 'hippy chick' to his peers.

Season 2, Episode 9. "Episode 209" Sometimes when you watch something on TV, you think "wouldn't it be great if..." but you don't really expect that to happen. And sometimes it does. This is the Christmas episode of 30 Rock. Jack's mother (the wonderful Elaine Stritch of Two's Company) comes to visit. Liz's family comes to visit also (including the genius that is Andy Richter). And, much as I hoped would happen, Jack ditched his awful mother and chooses to hang out with the Lemon's instead. Even better, his mum eventually catches them. Hilarious from start to finish. Worthy of a re-watch over the Christmas season.

Season 2, Episode 10. "Episode 210" Liz tries to buy a new appartment and the storyline is written and played like she's dating someone. Funny in places, heavy-handed in others, it's not the best Liz plot ever. Must better is the storyline for Jack and CC as they try to make their relationship work despite their busy lifestyles. The conclusion of the episode is inspired: a musical number about Kenneth missing his midnight plane to Georgia.

Season 2, Episode 11. "MILF Island" highlights the show's three greatest characters: Liz (how I love Liz Lemon!), Jack and Kenneth. Liz, you see, has done something bad. It affects Jack. Jack is angry. And Kenneth is the only one who knows that Liz is responsible. And it's pure comedy all the way. Liz (how I love Liz Lemon!) is mean to poor Kenneth. Very mean. The meaner she was the more I laughed. She called him an "Apple Faced Goon" at one stage and it's the funniest insult I've ever heard.

Season 2, Episode 12. "Subway Hero" is another laugh-out-loud funny episode. Liz gets sucked back into a relationship with Dennis, Alec Baldwin plays Nixon, and Tim Conway takes a tour of NBC. But the highlight, of course, is Dean Winters.

Season 2, Episode 13. "Succession" Dr. Spaceman is a truly superb character. And the show (wisely) keeps his appearences to a minimum. Of those appearances none has even been as fantastic as his "rush to the rescue" in this particular outing. Liz has inadvertantly sent Don Geiss into a coma (well, accidents happen) and she and Jack send for Dr. Spaceman. Given his track record this may not be the wisest choice, but who ever thinks logically on this wonderful show. So he arrives: music blaring, cape blowing in the wind (wind?). Amazing.

Season 2, Episode 14. "Sandwich Day" is an example of the show at it's most surreal and hilarious. Jenna in a crazy drinking contest to win mysterious sandwiches from a secret location in Brooklyn, Jack demoted to an odd place straight from The Twilight Zone and Liz being shown in two vastly different lights: truly beautiful in one scene (the hilarious red dress and wind machine combo) and truly horrific in the next scene (flinging tables aside and threathen to wound her staff with sharp objects). Can it be the same character? Can it even be the same actress? Tina Fey is truly gifted. If I thought she was anything like Liz Lemon in real life, I'd stalk her and ask her to marry me!!

Season 2, Episode 15. "Cooter" While 30 Rock is not as funny as, say, My Boys it always manages to be the most inventive sit-com on the air. It's a worthy successor to Arrested Development and nips closely behind shows like The Office and My Boys for title of funniest show on TV. The second season may have started slowly (for me) but it soon picked up speed and never missed a step in it's final batch of episodes. As funny as this episode was (and it was very funny) the thing I loved most was the way Liz and Jack reach out to one another despite being seperated by many miles and different jobs. Tina Fey has managed to create a relationship that is almost as good as Mary and Lou on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And that's no bad thing.

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