’30 Rock: The Return of Avery Jessup’ Review

As the title suggests, Elizabeth Banks makes a brilliant return to 30 Rock this week as Avery Jessup. Jessup’s return adds humorous color to this otherwise average episode.

When Jack picks Avery up at the airport, he senses romantic signals coming from Avery towards a fellow captured journalist. In an attempt to guilt Avery into admitting to an affair, Jack slowly reveals his own infidelity with Avery’s mother. Similar to the episode in which Jack and Avery conflict about their wallpaper, it is revealed that Jack’s confession was Avery’s plan all along. Although the return of the Jack-Avery ultraconservative super-team is comical in itself, the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Admittedly the way the two bond over conflict is both funny and, in a way, cute, Bank’s return is really what makes this part of the episode shine.

Meanwhile, Liz and Criss continue to plan for having a child together. When Criss frets over Liz making more money than he, he decides to make an attempt at “wearing the pants” in the relationship. Earlier this season, the show struggled with recycling old plotlines. Thankfully, this story and most stories in recent episodes, demonstrate that 30 Rock still has a lot to offer in its unfortunately shortened life. However, other than a hilarious fight between Criss, Liz, Jenna, and some off-brand muppets, the story itself lacked comedy.

Krakowski, though she has been outstanding this season, was a bit off this episode. When Jenna is asked to do a commercial in a southern accent, she makes an attempt to bring back her Florida upbringing. In a new, outrageous storyline, Jenna’s character had a lot of potential to be even whackier than normal. Unfortunately she did not meet this potential.

The real strengths of 30 Rock come in two, possibly three forms. One is the characters. Between Jenna and Tracy’s acting out and Jack’s conservative, businessman persona, 30 Rock has garnered a lot of laughs. Two is the witty, snappy humor. And three, a personal favorite, is the chemistry between Jack and Liz. This episode, save several excellent moments, did not display these three great qualities.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting, exciting, and undoubtedly hilarious to watch the season finale next week. Rating: 7.5/10

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