I’m going to go ahead and get this lame joke out of my system before proceeding any further, but there’s no need to ask what’s wrong with last night’s hour-long episode of 30 Rock, “Hey Baby, What’s Wrong?”, as it’s very apparent. 30 Rock has never been afraid to occasionally make a dumb joke or two, but last night set a somewhat new low for sophomoric humor, and it gave the episode a slightly bad taste, like the taste Valentine’s Day gives me in general. I’m going to try and break down most of what I didn’t like about the episode, so here it goes:
1) Criss is not right for Liz at all
Liz has had good boyfriends in the past, so it’s not like we haven’t seen her in relationships with partners that suit her. Criss reminds me too much of the 20-year-old kid Jamie she briefly dated, and he’s just too much of a “bro” for me, I guess. Too young. Jason Sudeikis, Jon Hamm, and Matt Damon were all a good fit and met a lot of Liz’s criteria, so I don’t know why they can’t give her someone like that. Or maybe she just wasn’t meant to be with anyone at all. I just don’t really like Criss. Just because he played a Disney prince in real life doesn’t mean he has Liz’s necessary “Disney Arms.”
IKEA serves as the hinge between Liz and Criss this week as it is apparently some super Satan pit of stress for couples. Momentarily, I thought they were going to break up, but their furniture-and-sans-serif-fonts driven conflict sends to strengthen their relationship in the end. Ugh.
2) Dumb jokes.
I feel like the writers of 30 Rock can do better. Making sex noises while playing golf? Having the big punch line of an encounter with a Transylvanian ambassador be that he’s a vampire? Pete shooting Bob Costas with an arrow in the 80s? It’s all a little too much. Maybe the episode would have been better if it shaved off the extra half-hour and some of the unnecessary side-lots, but this is the kind of output I expect from a CBS sit-com, not something from NBC. Except for Whitney and Outsourced, but we don’t talk about those. I think overall a lot of the episode suffered because of the pointless and retread sexual jokes that come with Valentine’s specials.
3) Why is no one nice anymore?
Everyone on the show has started to seem mean and nasty, and a lot of the characters are starting to use their unique personalities. Tracy, Jenna, and even Kenneth have had character changes in the last episode. Maybe this is to further Mabel’s frustration with her new co-workers, but why does Kenneth have to be mean? One of the great endearing qualities of 30 Rock is that while some characters may seem heartless or stupid, deep down they are really caring and kind people (even Tracy) and they’re starting to lose that.
Does she have to be a creepy stalker person? I thought she would be a female Kenneth and the two would have lots of fun adventures together, and it would be great! But no, apparently she’s actually a crazy body snatcher the writers don’t know what to do with. She seemed like a nice idea at first, but she’s already gone dry.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but 30 Rock is still not a terrible show. Even when’s it been bad before, I’ve still enjoyed it, I’ve still laughed. However, I felt a little pushed by this episode. I know I didn’t spend much time summarizing the plots of the episode, but there really wasn’t much point to it. Lutz couldn’t hook up with anyone and Jack had a Graduate-like situation with Avery’s mother. So pretty much it wasn’t that interesting. I’m starting to repeat myself week after week with these reviews, but 30 Rock has better get back to business, and soon.
Grade: Somewhere between a B- and C+.