30 Rock – “Greenzo” and The Office – “Survivor Man”

NBC’s Green Week has been largely unsuccessful at actually convincing me they care about the environment, but last night my two favourite NBC shows joined the fray. While neither were entirely overrun by their environmental theming, I would argue that one was largely more successful than the other.


November 8th, 2007

This episode of 30 Rock has officially proven that Tina Fey’s series is perhaps the most versatile on television at this moment. Between the character of Jack Donaghy, the television network construct and a smart use of self-referential humour, the show effortlessly takes a theme and turns it into a sharp and succinct episode of television.

What I love is that, despite being forced to commit to a weekly NBC theming, the episode actually had the largest contribution from the supporting cast thus far this season. Kenneth’s party was a great way for us to get to see that this is actually, you know, a cast and crew of a TV show; it’s surrealistic turn at the end of the episode was just the right conclusion, especially because of Jack’s awesome, awesome hair.

The environmental storyline hit the right spot – David Schwimmer was good as Greenzo, Al Gore’s cameo was well-handled, and the aggressive tone Greenzo took was just the kind of mean streak I like to see from the show sometimes. It felt like just another strong 30 Rock episode that just happened to tell us about the environment.

Favourite Lines

  • “It combines my two favourite things: Boxing and Referees!” – Tracy on Foxy Boxing
  • “What do you do with the pop tart?!” – Liz making me dislike Pop Tarts more
  • “I don’t understand what’s happening!” – Kenneth
  • “Shhh…a whale is in trouble!” – Al Gore selling the line like a champ
  • “This earth is ruined, we gotta get a new one” – Liz when the Earth is…set on fire.

“Survivor Man”

November 8th, 2007

I’ve been watching some Survivorman recently, the TV show where a crazy guy goes out into the Amazon or some other dangerous location with only a match, a few things he can MacGyver, and his own crazy self. But, I now imagine a world where said crazy man left behind a dysfunctional group of characters who just weren’t the same without him. Not only was Michael Scott’s foray into the woods largely not that funny (except for Dwight), but Jim’s time alone in the office just wasn’t as sharp as it could be.

Michael’s storyline just never felt resolved: he went into the woods out of spite, ripped up his pants, and ate some mushrooms…that’s a resolution? It was actually similar to this week’s episode of House, scarily so: you take the show’s lead character of the equation, and leave the supporting players to settle their affairs. Inevitably, the storyline doesn’t work: neither Michael nor House really works with just some random set of new characters.

The storyline that was possible once Michael left the Office was Jim stepping into a leadership position and trying to amalgamate the staff birthdays. It was a bit clunky, mainly because Jim isn’t really all that funny; the storyline came to a charming conclusion with a Jim and Michael heart to heart, but the laughs were slim. I also think that they’re essentially picking up on the now long abandoned “Jim as a leader” storyline that got lost when he left the job interview in the finale. We should have been focusing on this during the one-hour clunkers, as opposed to waiting this far into the season.

Favourite Moments

  • Dwight. In general. Really the show’s only comic highlight (Creed had a few good ones as well), Dwight starred with his hidden weapons (Specifically, Mr. A Knife) and with his using the sniper rifle scope with the safety off. He got the big laughs, perhaps the night’s biggest.
  • Andy and Angela had a nice subtle moment: in choosing the cakes for the party, she included Andy’s choice even when it wasn’t his birthday.
  • Michael’s “Surprise” montage was also quite charming: I especially liked Kelly’s, although I don’t know why.
  • The episode opened with a lot of Toby, which is good, but it seemed like we got four talking heads saying exactly the same thing – didn’t feel necessary.

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Filed under 30 Rock, The Office

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