"30 Rock" is back. Though I mean that less as a triumphant proclamation of network television pwnage and more as a statement of fact, as in, "'30 Rock' returned to the airwaves last night." That being said, maybe "30 Rock" is kind of back in the triumphant sense too, because the premiere was actually pretty good. Not "Source Awards"/"Rural Juror"-good, but good.
The main takeaway from last night's episode was: Eat it, NBC.
Jenna had declared it to be her wedding year, and asked Liz to be her maid of honor, ostensibly because they're so close but really because Jenna doesn't want to be Pippa Middleton-ed. (Obligatory "Honey Boo Boo" reference: Check.) Jack was struggling with Kabletown and looking to find a way to break from them, and Kenneth was desperate to convince his sort-of girlfriend Hazel to stick around. Inexplicably, everyone kept going to Tracy for advice, at which point Tracy realized, "Three kids, married 22 years, I own my own business. Oh my God, I'm the most stable adult here."
Still, Tracy's advice to Liz was to tank it, which became the running theme for the episode, stretching all the way to the surprisingly literal "Tank It," the fictional new NBC show where old men wear tank tops while people laugh at them. I'd watch it. Liz threw the worst bachelorette party ever (unless sad clowns and would-be policeman strippers who lecture you on identity theft are your thing) to tank her way out of being maid of honor. Jack explained to Liz that he's going to create a terrible fall lineup of shows to tank NBC, so Kabletown will be forced to sell the network to someone else. (Liz: "Of course! How long has this been going on? Seven, eight years?" Jack: "...Six weeks.")
Liz successfully convinced Jenna that she should be both the bride and maid of honor, which is actually completely fitting. Jack continued successfully tanking the network, premiering other awful shows like the awesomely pointless game show "Homonym!" (Contestant: "Okay, the things you climb to get to--" Host: "No! The other one."), "God Cop," which incidentally stars Jack as "God," a full hour of Gary Sinise's band performing and televised cricket matches.
Meanwhile, Kenneth and Hazel hosted a dinner party for Tracy, and Hazel got tanked and we never heard from her again and everyone lived happily ever after. At least, that's how I would've played it, but sadly, Hazel continues to exist. While at the dinner party, Kenneth is sent out for dessert since his Dharma Initiative-brand ice cream (hollaaa "LOST" fans!) was unacceptable to Hazel, who was actually trying to get Tracy alone so she could try to sleep with him/convince him to hire her for a movie role. Her apparently blue boobs didn't do the trick, and Tracy was left confused and disturbed, but mostly confused. When he told Kenneth what happened the next day, Hazel denied it outright, and through some kind of logic Jedi-mind trickery that only made sense to Kenneth, he decided both their contradictory stories were true and forgave them both. And thus a vaguely interesting Tracy vs. Hazel dynamic was born.
A few random but awesome moments included Jack knocking New York City's "tiny, un-American sodas," the return of Jonathan, discovering that Kenneth thinks second base is sharing a yogurt, Liz's wonderful and terrifying "There's no cake?!" man voice and the fact that the Clinique lady told her she has witch undertones. You also have to give NBC some credit for being good enough sports to let them use official NBC graphics for all the fake promos. My absolute favorite one was: "Also, do you like that information channel you get at hotels? Well ... Thursday night is just that now." Again, I'd watch it.
The episode ended, awesomely, with Liz and Jack cheers-ing to NBC's demise with 9 a.m. champagne, a scene which felt so fitting after real NBC's spastic Thursday night lineup freakout last spring that I just typed "Tina" rather than "Liz."
Twelve episodes remaining, "30 Rock" fans! Good peacock to you!
What did you think of this week's episode? Everything you ever hoped for? A total letdown? Something in between? Tell us in the comments below!