30 Rock: The Beginning of the End (Season Premiere) Review

The gang is back and we couldn’t be more excited to see them.  30 Rock premiered it’s farewell season with a welcome return to form.

After an uneven sixth season, the NBC comedy is up to its old tricks with a truly hilarious first episode.  The show opens with Liz Lemon holding what appears to be a bundled baby, proclaiming that she finally has it all.  Of course, this is too good to be true and the camera zooms out to reveal that she’s on a film set trying to instruct Tracy on how to perform a scene.

What unfolds are three strong plotlines that set up some exciting things for the rest of the season.  First, Jack fears that his boss Hank Hooper is leaving the sinking ship that is NBC.  In retaliation, he decided to tank the network in order to rebuild it from the ground up by coming out with a slew of terrible new TV shows for the fall lineup.  In what is almost definitely a jab at NBC’s real-life attempt at reaching a wider audience–Guys with Kids, Chicago Fire–Jack unveils some hilariously awful shows such as the game show Homonyms and the drama God Cop, in which he also stars.

At the same time, Jenna let’s everyone at TGS know that she plans to be a total bridezilla during the months leading up to her wedding with paul.  In a terrific scene, she dumps a box of dead doves on the writers desk, claiming they all died while being shipped to her.  Don’t worry, she didn’t purposefully kill them.  She got them from dead dove store, duh!

Jenna asks Liz to be her maid of honor, something Liz is reluctant to do since she’s busy with the show and trying to have a baby with Criss.  After struggling to meet Jenna’s ridiculous list of demands, Liz decides to take Jack’s advice and tanks her maid of honor duties by creating a terrible bachelorette party (what, you guys don’t party with clowns and a marathon of God Cop?  Weird…).  After another great scene in which Jenna literally descends upon Liz with pure fury, the two agree that she should be her own maid of honor.  That way, she gets double the attention.

Finally, in a smaller plotline, new couple Kenneth and Hazel invite Tracy over for dinner at their apartment.  It’s clear from the start that Hazel is really only interested in getting a part in a movie from Tracy’s new Tyler Perry-esque movie studio, and is using Kenneth to get to him.  After our favorite page goes to grab desert, Hazel throws herself at Tracy, with some undesirable results.  The story doesn’t really resolve itself, as Kenneth is too nice to notice he’s being played, but it definitely gave way for an interesting new dynamic between the three of them.

The episode ends with Liz deciding to help Jack destroy NBC, as the two clink glasses and drink to their twisted new plan.

Overall, the seventh season of 30 Rock premiered with a strong start.  The three plotlines featured in tonight’s episode were all strong and chock full of the show’s usual snappy humor.  The only weak point is that not enough attention was given to Liz trying to have a baby with Criss (James Marsden’s character is absent from the episode entirely).  After last season’s finale where this seemed like it would be a major storyline, it’s a shame to see it was pushed to the back burner for the first episode.  That being said, I’m sure it will come up very soon.  Cheers to you 30 Rock.  Looks like you’re going out with a bang.  Grade: B+



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