Thursday, October 15, 2009

Workin' on my night cheese: 30 ROCK returns tonight!

30 Rock has a lot to live up to when its 4th season premieres tonight on NBC. Still an award-winning critical darling and heir to Arrested Development's you're-just-not-clever-enough-to-get-us audience, the ratings-challenged show returns to a beleaguered network that recently canceled a critically acclaimed series to make room for five nights of Jay Leno. As Tina Fey put it in her Emmy acceptance speech this year: "We want to thank our friends at NBC for keeping us on the air even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show."

"Tweaking the network that carries it is one of the many pleasures of 30 Rock,” writes Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times, "and right now pointed jabs at corporate blunders and executive misdoings are all the more apt and amusing."

Indeed, 30 Rock is at its best when it digs its teeth in and focuses on smart corporate satire and character development. Last season was admittedly a little uneven, relying far too heavily on stunt casting while ignoring many of its extremely talented regulars. NPR's Linda Holmes offers some spot-on advice for how season four can steer clear of those pratfalls. If such advice is heeded, we could easily be looking at a fourth Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 2010. I can't speak for everyone, but I want to go to there.

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