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What's on My Mind Grapes? The Return of "30 Rock," Natch

What's on my mind grapes? Naturally, it's tonight's second season premiere of Emmy Award-winning comedy 30 Rock, even though I am currently half a world away.

Thanks to the fine folks at NBC, I was able to take an early look at 30 Rock's season opener ("SeinfeldVision") last week and I certainly wasn't disappointed. The episode features the return of Jerry Seinfeld to the Peacock, but I have to say that his appearance, while funny, was probably the least interesting element of the episode.

So what do we get to see when 30 Rock (and its fictional show-within-a-show TGS) returns from its hiatus? In addition to Seinfeld popping up at the Rockefeller Center offices of NBC (thanks to a dastardly plot of Jack's to insert the funny man into episodes of Medium and Heroes), there's the gargantuan (literally) return of Jenna to the show after a summer spent eating pizza on stage eight times a week as part of the cast of Mystic Pizza: The Musical. Liz Lemon has spent the summer trying to get over her failed romance with nice guy Floyd and has instead focused on herself, even wearing flip-flops in public (daring, Lemon, daring) and now has to help Cyrie pick out a wedding dress.

But the very best subplot of this season premiere has got to be the one involving Kenneth becoming Tracy's work wife when the actor is kicked out by his wife Angie after being photographed with a transsexual... who is misattributed in a magazine as his wife. (Ouch.) I won't reveal too much about this but will say that Tracy has now coined one of my favorite quotables from this series: "You can be a freaky deaky AND do data entry." You'll see what I mean.

It's this storyline that serves to remind me of why I adore this smart series: it's equal parts absurd, hysterical, and timely. Watching our favorite page and the has-been movie star play house is the perfect way to set the stage for what promises to be another loopy, densely-scripted, and celebrity-skewering season of this brilliant series.

Two final words: MILF Island.

30 Rock's second season premieres tonight at 8:30 pm on NBC.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: China (CBS); My Name is Earl/30 Rock (NBC); Smallville (CW); Ugly Betty (ABC); Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (FOX)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); The Office (NBC); Supernatural (CW); Grey's Anatomy (ABC); Don't Forget the Lyrics (FOX)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Big Shots (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Ugly Betty.

On tonight's episode ("Family Affair"): Betty finds herself in a dilemma when Wilhelmina's new bodyguard (guest star Rick Fox) is getting a little too friendly with his employer and faces a new situation with Henry; Amanda receives her inheritance; and Hilda comes to terms with recent events.

8:30 pm: 30 Rock.

What's on my mind grapes? It's the second season of the Emmy Award winning comedy. On tonight's episode ("SeinfeldVision"), Jack thinks Liz isn't over her feelings about Floyd, Jerry Seinfeld shows up as part of a plot by Jack to insert footage of the comedian into other NBC shows, and Kenneth becomes Tracy's work wife.

9 pm: The Office.

Season Four of The Office continues tonight with a one-hour episode ("Dunder-Mifflin Infinity"), Ryan, newly promoted to corporate, returns to the Scranton branch to bring it into the digital age, while Angela is still distraught over the untimely death of her beloved Sprinkles.

10-11 pm: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on FX.

FX's hilariously subversive comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia continues tonight with two back-to-back episodes. On the first ("The Gang Sells the Bar"), the gang agrees to sell Paddy's when they get an offer that's too good to be true. On the second ("Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire"), the gang creates their own newscast on a public-access channel and makes a splash in the local club scene.

10 pm: Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on Bravo.

See the style maven make it work on his own fashion series, where he and supermodel Veronica Webb take on one hapless fashion victim and make them over into a sartorial superstar. On tonight's episode, Tim and Veronica take on the challenge of remolding a woman who was scarred in an injury.


The CineManiac said…
I loved it, the Kenneth/Tracy storyline was hands down the best part of the episode, with Kenneth's silent run-ins with Seinfeld coming in second.
Jack McBrayer has some amazing facial expressions which make me laugh with joy.
BTW I know what McBrayer's did on his summer vacation, and it's Hilarious! I caught a sneak preview of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and McBrayer steals every scene, he's in, simple amazing!
Anonymous said…
Cinemaniac - How was the rest of the movie?!? It's one that I hope does well since I love Kristen Bell and the Apatow guys and another success for the latter might finally give birth to a Martin Starr feature.

Also, as for Tracy's wife, I think the way it actually unfolded on the show was funnier. The magazine ran a picture of Tracy and his wife but the caption read that it was Tracy and the transexual. That's FAR worse.
The CineManiac said…
The movie was great, and you can check out my review on my blog, instead of my typing it all here, and taking over Jace's blog.
But I thought it was the other way around, didn't they run the photo of the transexual and say it was Tracy's wife?
Great beginning to a new season. The Kenneth "work wife" plot definitely stole the show. The Seinfeld bits were funny but not as good as I had hoped. I think my expectations were just too high. But a fantastic ep. overall.

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