’30 Rock: Nothing Left to Lose’ Review

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Without a doubt, the problem with this season of 30 Rock has been that his been recycling plots and jokes. Viewers have been beginning to doubt if Tina Fey and her writing staff are still as original as they once were. Tonight’s episode put an end to any such doubts.

Tracy and Liz become involved with the most original plot of the episode when Liz realizes that Tracy has lost his sense of smell. After a hilarious visit with Dr. Spaceman, who removes a ring from Tracy’s nose and restores his smell, Tracy smells Liz, whose scent reminds him of his father. In trying to impress the father he never had, Tracy works harder than ever on Liz’s show. Ultimately, however, Liz must end Tracy’s absurd delusion and return him to his real family. Now, there are undoubtedly some unoriginal aspects in this plot (mainly, the idea that Liz’s actors are finally working well, but she must stop them from doing so). However, the whole notion of Tracy becoming attached to Liz as he was in tonight’s episode is entirely new. Furthermore, Morgan gives his funniest performance of the year so far, giving new life and interest to Tracy Jordan’s character. Overall the story was refreshingly brilliant.

Although somewhat original, Jack’s story was perhaps the most bland of the episode. In the episode, all NBC employees must fill out self evaluations. After reading Jenna’s surprisingly self degrading evaluation, Jack reads Pete’s evaluation. When Jack realizes that Pete has no ambition, he tries to help Pete get his ambition back. In a classic “I’m only trying to help” story, Jack’s efforts result in Pete’s broken nose and shaved head. The culmination of the story is the most humorous part as Jack applauds Pete for his newly gained ambition while Pete throws Jack out of his office. The story was moderately witty, but its highlight is that it gave Pete a chance to shine. And indeed, his character was as funny as ever.

Jenna’s story gives new life to a relatively unoriginal plot. As they so often like to do, Frank and the writers decide to pull a prank on Jenna. In retaliation, Jenna decides to prank them back. Rather, she decides to prank most of them back. After Jenna leaves Lutz out, comically stating that he “doesn’t matter,” the writers inform Jenna of Lutz’s self-esteem problem. Hearing this, Jenna reacts in a genuinely heartfelt way, and decides to prank Lutz after-all. As it turns out, the whole thing was yet another prank, but the important thing here is Jenna’s character. After five and a half seasons, this is the first time Jenna has left her typical haughty role, and it is nice to get a sincere look into her emotional issues. Moreover, Jane Krakowski gives an excellent performance, adding a strikingly sentimental element to a typically silly show.

30 Rock fans can breathe a sigh of relief after tonight’s episode. Not only did the cast give some of the best performances in a long time, but the episode also gives proof to the fact that 30 Rock has still got fresh life in it. Rating (8.5/10)

One Response to ’30 Rock: Nothing Left to Lose’ Review

  1. Tits McGee says:

    I disagree. Both plotlines were cleary recycled from previous seasons.

    Remember the episode where Jack gets Tracy to behave by convincing him he’s Tracy’s father during a therapy role-play? Tracy said to him “You’re the only family I need, Jack”. Basically the same thing this time around, but with Liz. Tracy even says “I’ve got all the family I need right here, LL.”

    And then there’s the Season 1 episode where Jack attempts to help Pete get his mojo back by convincing him to wear a wig. Exact same schtick here, except this time he gets him to shave the little hair he has left.

    If anything, this episode was the MOST blatant example of plot recycling so far this season, made worse by the fact that they didn’t make any winky meta ‘comment’ on it, like they did in the previous episode.

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