Season Premiere: 30 Rock – “Seinfeld Vision”

“Seinfeld Vision”

October 4th, 2007

What is Seinfeld Vision, you ask? Well, it’s Jack’s plan to digitally capture Jerry Seinfeld and place him in all of their primetime shows in October. And Liz, freshly single and quilting, returns to Jack’s master scheme with a fresh outlook on life. Meanwhile, Tracy has marital problems while Jenna got fat starring in Mystic Pizza: The Musical on broadway. Welcome back, 30 Rock. I missed you ever so much, Seinfeld or no Seinfeld.

There’s a lot to like about the return of 30 Rock: Kenneth as Tracy’s Office Wife, Kenneth in an elevator with Jerry Seinfeld, Kenneth making Seinfeld sound effects, Kenneth in general…did I mention Kenneth?

To be serious, the show properly dealt with the show’s best elements: Jack’s big business schemes, Liz’s relationship insecurities, Tracy’s life problems, and Kenneth’s awesomeness. Adding Jerry Seinfeld to the equation doesn’t change the solid structure the series has established. The problem with the premiere is that it has to handle all of these elements, unlike other episodes which can focus on one or the other. Still, I’ll say it: the best comedy on television is back.

Seinfeld’s appearance on the show led to some great exchanges with Jack, as well as some great interactions with Tina Fey. It didn’t revolutionize the series, but he remained both funny and relevant enough to work in the end. Plus, the image of Jack attempting to bash Jerry Seinfeld’s head in is worth the price of admission alone. He’s there to pimp Bee Movie, sure, but he’s also a funny guy.

The rest of the episode was fine: Liz being unable to hold it together following breaking up with Floyd felt normal, Jack was back in fine form, and the series remains on the right track. Jenna and Tracy were handled as comic foils, Kenneth was used for a quick gag here and there, and the show certainly presented itself well.

And really, unlike the hour-long Office which proceeded it, 30 Rock doesn’t have time to create plot and often slowed to a crawl when it did. Here with have a single scenario in which these characters operate that never felt clunky and stayed as fresh as one could expect. And really, in terms of Emmy Winning comedies, I’d say it’s just the right balance to strike.

Cultural Observations:

  • I missed the whimsical harmonica music of 30 Rock, greatly.
  • The shows Seinfeld Vision places Jerry in: Law & Order SVU, Heroes, Deal or No Deal and (unseen) Medium, the Biggest Loser, ER…and MILF Island.
  • Oh no, Tracy’s wife got Griz in the breakup! This is a serious issue, Tracy needs to apologize for trying to get transsexual prosititutes into computer school (What’s with all the transsexuals in television).
  • Jenna’s nickname: Mr. Michelin. Which is awesome.
  • WWKD (What Would Kenneth Do) if he was in an elevator with Jerry Seinfeld? Well, we have our answer.
  • Liz’s childhood image of marriage (Teddy bear Husband with a child from a previous marriage who cheats on her with a lamb) was great.
  • Jerry Seinfeld’s show of choice: Lost. Oh, Jerry.
  • Estimated cost of purchasing NBC: $4 Million. Number of proposed sharks that were probably dolphins Jack Donaghy saved Jerry Seinfeld from: one. Number of Bee Movie commercials: 1, plus the internal plug.b
  • “There are no bad ideas in brainstorming, Lemon” from Jack when preceded by “Fake a Hurricance and interrupt all normal programming” as a solution to Seinfeld Vision? Thumbs up.
  • “Did a korean person die?!” from Tracy was his first strong line, he definitely took a back seat.
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