30 Rock, “Anna Howard Shaw Day”: One word. Oral. Two words. Oral surgery.

Last night’s 30 Rock offered up some laughs, but overall felt like a lot of missed opportunity. The especially guest-star-heavy episode followed Liz’s plans to blow off Valentine’s Day, while Jack met a new woman and Jenna pined after her stalker.

Jon Hamm, Dean Winters and Jason Sudeikis have all put forth great work on 30 Rock, so it was kind of disappointing to see them all come back in what, a combined three minutes of show, and in Liz’s drug-induced hallucination? I wish they had saved some of that and actually had Jon Hamm’s character come back, as his episodes from season three were hilarious and gave us a much better idea of what a great actor he is. The same with Dennis and Floyd. Every episode with Dennis has been funny and it feels like there was never really any closure with Liz and Floyd’s relationship. I thought the episode made much better use of Elizabeth Banks as Craig Jessup, host of the CNBC talk show The Hot Box. I’m interested to see how her relationship with Jack plays out, especially since she seems to be every bit as ruthless as he can be.

While the Liz/Jack storylines were pretty funny, the Jenna storyline felt like the show was just spinning its wheels and filling time. We get that Jenna needs people to pay attention to her, even psychopaths like her stalker. Last night was just another example in a long string of the same stuff, and it would be nice if the writers maybe tried exploring some new territory. There are so many underused characters on the show — underused may be the wrong word, they could be used more — so you’d think they wouldn’t need to recycle what’s essentially the same material again and again.

And speaking of underused characters, the scenes last night with Liz and the writers had some of the funniest lines of the entire episode. Frank telling Liz that if her ghost haunted him it was going to see some disgusting stuff, and Toofer trying to get out of a blind date with an “urban girl.” It seems like we saw more of these characters in the first couple of seasons, and it would be nice if we saw them more than we do now. Overall, last night’s episode had me laughing, but was nowhere near the top of the show’s game.

Stuff I liked:

  • “Happy Valentine’s Day no one!”
  • The very short bit at the beginning with Pete and his daughter. We need to be seeing more of him.
  • http://www.jdlutz.com/karen/proof
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2 responses to “30 Rock, “Anna Howard Shaw Day”: One word. Oral. Two words. Oral surgery.

  1. The oral line was gold, as was “Maybe I’m the painting elephant of being awesome.” Agree that the three exes were underutilizied because they’re hilarious but that “bonus scene” at the end (there’s got to be an industry term for that, but you tell me, smart guy, I’m not the one with the screenwriting experience) was hysterical. I died.

    Also, the Bon Jovi stuff felt a little forced, though maybe that’s just because I’ve never been a big Bon Jovi fan.

    Finally, I’m thoroughly enjoying your recaps of good shows – even though your wife has stopped talking to me on Facebook, I hope we can still be friends who only communicate through social media about the traditional medium of television.

  2. The last bit is called a tag.

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