Normally I'm a big fan of the season finales on "30 Rock", particularly last year when they went out with probably their strongest episode of the season, but this year's season finale, "Respawn" fell flat for me. There were three major story lines -- Tracy ruining Liz's vacation, Jack using Kenneth as a surrogate Avery and Jenna and Paul trying to be normal to secure Jenna's wool endorsement deal -- and the latter two were a little too strange even by "30 Rock" standards while also dominating the screen time in the show.
Even with Victor Garber featuring prominently in the Jenna/Paul story, I just found myself wanting to fast forward through the entire thing. The Jenna-imitating Paul character works best in very small doses, and the weird sexual fetishes the two have as a couple have gone to unnecessary extremes. I get trying to push the envelope, but at some point it just stops being funny, and the show reached that point with the two of them awhile back.
Still, that story was practically comedy gold compared to the Jack/Kenneth debacle. I really thought Jack could hit no lower as a character than his weird fear of his nanny earlier this season, but using Kenneth as a creepy stand-in for Avery was just bad. Jack kept giving off a weird pedophile/serial killer vibe too, which I'm not sure they were really going for.
There were three things that kept this episode from being a total miss in my mind:
- Everything with Liz and Tracy. That whole story -- Liz going on vacation in the Hamptons, where it turns out Tracy is her crazy neighbor, forcing Liz to get sentenced to community service to get away -- captured the right level of crazy for the show.
- The writers playing "Halo" and constantly self-killing to avoid letting anyone get the upper hand. Not only did it give Liz the whole community service idea, but the joke in the tag with them having played the entire summer was great.
- Kenneth finally ending the madness with Jack by channeling Avery and standing up to him. Oh, and also, we got another "Give me mor time, Jacob" from Kenneth, which was also pretty solid.
Dr. Spaceman: Now, one final thing. Why aren't you wearing pants.
Liz: The other doctor told me to take them off.
Dr. Spaceman: Other doctor? [laughing] That's my brother Randy. Tomorrow, he's going to jail for the rest of his life.
Liz: You have NO summer plans?
Toofer: Well, David Eggers and I are designing a new font.
Liz: Oh, shut up.
Liz: What are you doing here?!
Tracy: I just bought everything around this house. It's supposed to be a nice area, except for the "new element" everybody keeps talking about.
Tracy: If I start screaming in my sleep, do NOT wake me up. I will attack you.
Tracy: Can borrow a cup of sugar. I'm trying to get a hummingbird to drink out of my penis.
Tracy: Good thing you had to move out of that house. Some idiot rammed his boat that I was driving into it.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.