30 Rock Review: "Into the Crevasse"

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Last week’s episode of 30 Rock could really have come out at any point in the show’s continuity. Sure, it agreed that the events from previous episodes happened, but there wasn’t really any sort of play or acknowledgment of the show's past. The show has always been somewhat ambiguous with its own continuity, able to deal with multiple-episode plots but never really willing to let its characters grow or change. They’re stuck at a permanent point, even if the show makes some concessions to plotlines.

This makes “Into the Crevasse” a bit odd. The entire episode is based upon what has happened before it, though nothing that was in last week’s premiere. If last week’s episode was a good, though not great, representation of what the show is in order to attract new viewers, this later episode seems geared towards the realization that at this point no one new is going to start with the show from season four. There’s not even an explanation of what “that’s a dealbreaker” is all about, which plays a large part in the episode’s development and gives it a lot of its better jokes.

As the show begins, Liz is treated to a harsh review of her new book, which is seemingly a book-length list of various relationship deal breakers that women should dump men for. This leads to every other man, in a relationship or not, hating her for apparently using them as dealbreakers … though it’s kind of hard to figure out whether the cart came before the horse here. She singles out having a husband wear a diamond neckalace that says “Open Marriage” like Tracy’s, but in her defense that is a pretty good dealbreaker.

When Tracy’s wife reads Liz’s book, he’s kicked out and moves into Liz’s apartment because … uhh … it’s a sitcom, I guess. Tracy irritates the hell out of Liz, which causes her to do anything in order to get into his and Jenna’s, who’s still angry about the new cast member, graces.

Meanwhile, Jack Donaghy is dealing with somewhat unexplained difficulties in his microwave oven business and enlists several of TGSautomobile. Donaghy is defeated and must admit to Will Arnett’s character that ultimately he’s unable to succeed without a government subsidy, which the two quickly agree upon.

Overall it makes for an adequate, though not spectacular, episode. Which was a bit more acceptable last week, but now that the show seems like it’s beginning to coast is a bit disappointing. Whether or not a more continuity-heavy episode of 30 Rock is your preference, I think we’d all agree that just plain “good” isn’t really the 30 Rock we’ve come to love and quote endlessly. Of course, it’s still early in the season and last year the show started out pretty rocky too, by its standards, but there’s still some fear in the back of my mind that maybe this time the magic won’t be back. Prove me wrong, 30 Rock, prove me wrong.

Random Observations:

-I’ve never seen a bookstore that has a cut-out of anyone. Seriously—can you imagine a Cormac Mccarthy cut out?

-That Jack actually treats Liz’s rather insane retainer comment seriously is pretty great. That's a bit of the old 30 Rockshining through.

“Lemon numbers among my employees.”

“Did that happen?” - Liz about the microwave song from the 50s that didn’t exist.

-What exactly IS the “pants for zoo animals” program?

“A book hasn’t caused this many problems since Where’s Waldo? went to that barber pole factory.”

“Oh yeah there’s a garbage bag with a reef shark in it. Just put in the bathtub with a reef.”

“The donkey died—you’re the donkey now, Kenneth.”

-Ireland is the world’s gayest country? Sure, why not.

“I will cut the baby in half.” “And I will take the top half, for that is that half with the face.”

-Alec Baldwin and Will Arnett having a sexy, deep voice off is well …. Uhh … I’m just going to trail off here.

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