“30 Rock,” how we’ve missed you … and how we are going to miss you when you’re gone. Thursday night’s season premiere was in many ways a feast of great things, whether it be smart acting, stellar writing, and some unexpected moments. It was not the show’s best episode ever (mostly for one reason that we’ll get to later), but even with that, it still wins for being the funniest thing on TV Thursday night.
The major arc set up for the season is as follows: Jack Donaghy hates the idea of continuing to work for people who have no real vested interest in TV, so he has made a decision in order to get himself in a much better position: tank the network until Cabletown sells it. With that, we have a hilarious series of new “shows” including “Homonym,” “God Cop” (which actually “stars” Jack as God, who helps a detective solve cases), and the rather-appropriate show called “Tank It” that features old men in tank tops. “God Cop” easily had the best line of the entire episode, as “God” announced “let us pray” before he was quickly reminded that he has no one to pray to.
While all this was going down, Liz found inspiration to tank a responsibility that she had been given: being Jenna’s maid of honor, which in other words is really the most terrible thing that somebody can be. It’s hard to be responsible for something like a wedding, but it’s even harder when the person you’re helping out is the most impossible woman alive. The “Liz Lemon surprise party” that doubled as Jenna’s bachelorette party was genius, in particular the “cop stripper” that was really just a cop who showed up to talk identity theft.
Unfortunately, every comedy does have a sore spot, and the one for “30 Rock” at the moment is clearly Hazel. We don’t really understand why is she is here outside of causing trouble, and we’ve never really found her to be genuinely funny. She spent all of this premiere taking advantage of Kenneth to get to Tracy (or, as he refers to himself now, the “black Tyler Perry”), just so she could get a part in one of his movies. The problem with Hazel is that she seems genuinely bad, which is something you can’t say about any other character on the show. That’s the real joy of it: there is no black and white, and everyone does their share of good and bad things. Hazel offsets the balance of the universe at Rockefeller Plaza.