Confession: I hated "30 Rock" during its first few seasons, having only seen the Pilot episode and a few of its underwhelming preliminary episodes. I also prematurely pledged allegience to NBC's other behind-the-scenes-of-sketch-comedy show "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip."
Fast forward to some seven years later, and the ultimate irony is that I now love those opening episodes and first few seasons of "30 Rock," and consider myself a huge fan of the show. And what happens? Now that I'm a full-fledged 30 Rocker, it has to go and end, and underwhelm me the way I thought it had in its first season.
Last night's episode, "The Beginning of the End," left off where we last left the TGS gang. Liz and Criss are trying to have a baby. Jenna's getting married. Kenneth and Hazel are living together. And Jack is trying to sabotage NBC.
The highlight of the episode was the return of Jonathan, played by Maulik Pancholy, who left NBC's "Whitney" (one sinking ship to another). The low point, I'm sorry to say, was Hazel, played by the usually wonderful Kristen Schaal. Her character is just too much freaky deaky, to paraphrase Tracy Jordan.
Despite this being its last season, "30 Rock" felt like recycled material last night. Tracy is still the king of misdirects (he brought a casserole dish to Kenneth's house party with his snake in it), and Jenna is still so narcissistic that she's gonna make herself her maid of honor at her own wedding. Somewhere along the way, this show became a parody of itself. While watching, I longed for the days when Tracy was getting face tattoos and Jenna was starring in The Rural Juror. It's become less about the making of a sketch show and more of just a sketch show.
Also, one of the things that has made the show so enjoyable is the dynamic between the writers and Liz Lemon. Notably, all-stars like Pete and Toofer were missing last night, as were Griz and Dot Com.
*Gasp* Even "The Office" brought it better last night, with Clark and Plop stealing my laughs away and a little bit of my soul since I promised I'd never tune in for "The Office" again. Whereas "The Office" is trying to revive the spirit of its inaugural season, "30 Rock" seems to be way off the path of Liz Lemon trying to properly manage a sketch-comedy show.
What did you think of "30 Rock"? Should I not wear green because I have witch undertones? Or did the show actually fit in with Jack's lame NBC lineup?