30 Rock review – 7×01: ‘The Beginning of the End’

Courtesy of NBC

30 Rock is back, nerds! Last season may have been a bit bumpy, but with the final season premiere, Liz Lemon and company aren’t pulling any punches.

Let’s take a look at what the gang’s been up to…

Thankfully, Jack’s (Alec Baldwin) foray into the mediocre couch business has been set aside in favor of a more interesting story line: tanking NBC. If Jack can screw up NBC enough, it might push Hank Hooper to sell the network to a more appealing company, like the geniuses who have cornered the egg coloring market at Paas. I admit that I’m skeptical that Jack would go so far as to tank his own network, but the show has definitely established his frustration with Kabletown over the past couple of seasons. And if it means getting to see clips for shows he’s developing like Homonym and God Cop, then suspending disbelief is definitely worth it.

Meanwhile, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) has to get over her own disgust of tanking when Jenna (Jane Krakowski) ropes her into being her maid of honor. As usual, Jenna’s demands push the usually passive Liz too far, like carrying around the insane 18-year-old ringbearing dog, and Liz tanks her bachelorette party. It’s a little disappointing that even in the final season, Liz’s storyline is not about changes in her life or what she wants to achieve but again about how she reacts to the crazy around her.

Of course, the set-up is ripe for comedy for Jenna, and it’s why the episode is as funny as it is. Jenna by her very nature is the ideal Bridezilla, and Krakowski and the writers are taking full advantage of that – only Jenna could get away with killing doves in the name of preparing the staff for her bridal year. And Jenna flying into the air like a Wicked Witch of the West with blonde extensions was equally as funny as it was terrifying. It’s seeing scenes like this one that make Krakowski’s lack of an Emmy nomination this year all the more unjust.

Courtesy of NBC

Over the summer, Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) and Hazel (Kristen Schaal) have made a home for themselves, and invite Tracy (Tracy Morgan) over for dinner, offering some freshly hammered sturgeon and Dharma Initiative ice cream. I’ll forgo my usual rants about saddling Kenneth with such a dead-end storyline. Instead, I’ll find hope in the hints that this unhappy home, where Kenneth claims the Candyman murders took place, will soon fall apart via an epic battle between Hazel and Tracy. That would be a great arc for the final season for Tracy, helping to get Kenneth’s life back on track.

Other considerations:

  • Best nickname Tracy’s given Kenneth. Maybe ever: “Kenmore washer and dryer”
  • Jack’s assistant Jonathan (Maulik Pancholy) is back! No more suffering through Whitney‘s writing for him, more sarcastic, lovelorn assistant for us. Win-win.
  • Lutz (John Lutz) pitches to Jack a story about a boy and a talking panda who are allowed to sleep together. Does anyone else think that might be a confession that Lutz is a furry? Because that would explain a lot
  • Favorite promo for faux-NBC new show: Tank It, “where we make grandpas put on tank tops and laugh at them.”
  • Discussion question: Is there anything worse than a surprise Lemon party? I vote no. There is NOTHING worse.

Your turn! Are you excited for Jack’s epic tanking? Will Tracy defeat Hazel? And who is surprised that Bane is a good friend of Jack? Sound off below!

30 Rock airs on Thursdays at 8 EST on NBC.

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