Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Fall ‘07 Season TV Blitz, Days 9-10: The Return of TV’s Sophomore Sensations

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on October 6, 2007

The Carpoolers and Big Shots of Next Year

30 Rock

(Thrusday Night, 8:30-9:00 PM, Thursday Night–likely to change)

New Cast: Jerry Seinfeld, Irena from The Sopranos (first episode only)

Where We’re At Now: Liz attempts to show everyone how well she’s moved on from her break-up with Floyd at the end of last season (she breaks down even quicker than usual), while Tracy’s wife kicks him out, forcing him to move into the studio with Kenneth as his “Office Wife”. Jack discovers a way to make it seem like Jerry Seinfeld is starring in all of NBC’s hit sitcoms, much to the chagrin of the man himself, and Jenna gets fat after starring in Mystic Pizza: The Musical.

Thoughts: The 30 Rock S2 premiere is little more than a comeback vehicle for NBC retired-jersey Jerry Seinfeld, who unlike the majority of super-famous 30 Rock guest stars, actually plays himself–probably a good thing, since even in his most famous role, Seinfeld was only playing a barely fictionalized version of himself. It’s always nice to see Seinfeld back in his element, though most of the meta-references surrounding his appearance–Kenneth mimicking the show’s score when Jerry makes a particularly Seinfeldian remark, Jack promising NBC airtime for the upcoming Seinfeld-voiced Bee Movie–fall strangely flat. Turns out 30 Rock can’t really handle a cameo from a personality bigger than any of theirs, so it’s probably best the deal with Seinfeld is (probably?) one time only.

Besides his appearance, there’s not too much to note from this episode. Tracy and Kenneth’s incomparable dynamic has been better exploited in past episodes, Liz’s “I’MNOTMELTINGDOWNI’MNOTMELTINGDOWN I’MMELTINGDOOWWWWWWNNN!!!” schtick is a little tiring, and even Jack seems off his game a little bit. And, somewhat more to my chagrin, there’s no one particularly memorable quote or scene to take with you–though Mystic Pizza: The Musical is pretty chuckleworthy.

Still Hot / Worth Sticking With?: Most likely. The S1 premiere was among the worst episodes of that season as well, and from there it only got better and better. Some shows just need a week or two to pick up their stride again, and once 30 Rock hits theirs once more, I’m confident it’ll go back to being the best comedy on TV. It’s even got the Emmy to prove it, now! Just like Everybody Loves Raymond!!!

Friday Night Lights

(Friday Night, 9-10 PM, NBC)

New Cast: There’s a new coach and a new love interest for Julie in there, but I don’t know who play ’em

Where We’re At Now: Tami has her second-born just in tame for Eric to get back from TMU to see the birth. Julie resents her father’s moving, though, and partly takes it out on Matt, ignoring him to focus on her lifeguarding summer job and to lavish her attention on a dreamy indie-rock Swedish co-worker. Meanwhile, the Panthers have a new coach, one with far less compassion than Coach Taylor, much to the chagrin of the increasingly hedonistic Tim Riggins, and of new prospective Panther Landry, who’s also kicking his move-putting on Tyra into first gear. Oh, and Lyla finds religion.

Thoughts: First thought: Man, is it good to have this show back. With the end of The Sopranos and the seemingly endless delay of The Wire, there’s simply no other drama on TV right now that can hope to compare with ’06’s Rookie of the Year. The show might’ve felt a bit incomplete, initially (What’s the deal with Smash and Waverly? How’s Coach’s new gig going? Where the hell did they find this new guy?) but even at its worst, FNL still resonates in a way badly missed by this season’s new batch of clever-clever nerd showcases and precious child-like fantasies.

But oh man, that ending. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to ruin it for you (too much, anyway) but goddamn if it didn’t wipe the smile right off my face. It’s an ending with the kind of cheap drama that you’d think this show would generally be beneath, and why it exists at all as a subplot will likely continue to be a mystery for even the show’s most understanding fans. Maybe the way it unfolds will be more in keeping with the show’s methodology, maybe it’ll get resolved somehow, but right now it seems like a very unwelcome stumbling block in the path of an otherwise perfectly compelling new season.

Still Hot / Worth Sticking With?: Well, hell yeah. Shitty as this new development was, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little interested to see how it plays out, and the show still leaves a ton of other unanswered q’s (Is it the end for Matt and Julie? Is Riggins gonna batch things up with the new head honcho? When the fuck is Coach Taylor coming back?) that I can’t wait to get the answers to. The show’s eyes might’ve gotten a bit muddy, but here’s hoping/speculating its heart is still full.

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3 Responses to “Fall ‘07 Season TV Blitz, Days 9-10: The Return of TV’s Sophomore Sensations”

  1. Brent said

    The new coach is played by Chris Mulkey, aka Hank from Twin Peaks. Hard to tell with the sunglasses and all but it’s him.

    As for the Landry-Tyra thing, I’m skeptical but given that a) Jesse Plemmons and Adrienne Pallicki acted the pants off that last scene and b) despite the high drama it felt more real than it should, I’m not gonna pass judgment just yet. It’s certainly got more potential than born again Lyla as far as new storylines go.

  2. Andrew Unterberger said

    wow yeah, I would never have guessed that. Awesome.

    Apparently Glenn Morshower (Aaron from 24) is gonna be playing Landry’s dead sometime later in the season, as well. Suddenly things in Dillon aren’t looking quite so gloomy.

  3. […] …Blogged about at Fall ‘07 Season TV Blitz, Days 9-10: The Return of TV’s Sophomore Sensations – intensities in ten suburbs, […]

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