TV Review: 30 Rock Season 7 Premiere

daniel cohen gets rocked…

Plot: Liz (Tina Fey) is concerned when Jack (Alec Baldwin) starts green lighting terrible new shows for NBC, but unbeknownst to Liz, Jack has a hidden agenda. Liz also deals with the horror of being Jenna’s (Jane Krakowski) maid of honor. Hazel (Kristen Schaal) uses Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) to get in good with Tracy (Tracy Morgan).

And thus begins the final season of 30 Rock. This is the first episode where I said to myself, ‘Yeah, it’s time.’ All the actors seemed to be going through the motions, even Tina Fey. But as much as the actors were going through the motions, it’s really the writing that felt tired. Don’t get me wrong…I still got a solid amount of chuckles within the half hour episode, and that’s more then I can say for a lot of comedies on television.

Some of the more disappointing jokes were the randomly thrown in TV/Movie references. Now 30 Rock has been no stranger to this style of humor, but in the past, it seemed more clever. Jack has a line about Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, and hey, I’m as big a Batman fan as they come, but this felt like they were trying to hard to get a Batman reference in there. Although, Kenneth does have one funny line about the nineties HBO series Arliss that got me laughing pretty hard.

Speaking of Kenneth, he’s always been a character I’ve never liked, and I’m just not a fan of how Jack McBrayer plays him. While all of the characters are one note on 30 Rock, he’s the only one who’s never been able to pull it off. Kenneth is easily the worst part of the episode, especially at the end when he delivers a terribly unfunny written monologue.

The most one note character on the show has always been Tracy Morgan as Tracy, and he still makes me laugh. He delivers some great one-liners like he always does, including one about an owl. Jenna is as self-absorbed as ever, and now because she’s planning a wedding, the episode brilliantly has Jenna declare that even she doesn’t know the levels of selfishness and ego this will take her. There wasn’t enough Frank in this episode though, a character who never gets his due.

The best part of the episode though, and a storyline that seems fitting for the final season is between Liz and Jack. I can’t really go into it without spoiling anything, other than it has a real ‘Bringing down the House’ vibe.

The premiere is a solid 30 Rock episode, but I can’t shake the fact that it’s starting to feel ‘tired.’ Some of the funniest jokes though do arise from what 30 Rock does best, which is random sketch cutaways like God Cop, and a hilarious game show premise. While 30 Rock was always heralded as being ‘clever,’ that term is slowly starting to evaporate, but I think it has just enough gas in the tank for one last season.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10 (Slightly better than ‘meh’)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.