by Samantha Rullo
via The AV Club
This week’s episode of “30 Rock,” which well past its spring premiere and still a few weeks away from the season’s end, was really a “filler” episode. Though it had plenty of funny moments and its signature self-aware wit, there was not any real plot development.
Tracy and Pete’s characters were the two main focuses of the episode, and usually aren’t the most prominent characters of the show. Tracy’s storyline was refreshing, because while still funny and borderline ridiculous, it actually had some sentiment. Usually examples of his poor upbringing serve as jokes, but this episode actually took it a little more seriously. Morgan was able to portray the mix of humor and emotion well, and even if his line deliveries aren’t always perfect, he gave the show some of its best material.
The plot that dealt with the always-depressed producer Pete was also a nice change of pace from the usual main characters. Pairing Pete with Jack for most of the episode was an especially smart choice, since they almost serve as foils to each other, with gloomy and unlucky Pete just trying to get by while the successful and confident Jack is always trying to get ahead. The two actors also worked well together and kept their scenes lively and entertaining.
But “Nothing Left to Lose” did have a problem. Though it is not uncommon for “30 Rock” to have episodes without many developments that instead focus on short-lived funny storylines, this episode essentially ignored some ongoing arcs. Most notably, Hazel the page was mysteriously absent with no explanation or mention of her. While she is an extremely annoying character that the show would be better without, she has been heavily featured in recent weeks and there should have been some acknowledgement of her absence.
Another issue was the storyline involving the prank war between Jenna and the writers, Frank, Twofer and Lutz. While it was funny at times, it just didn’t contribute much to the episode and had much more potential, considering that there have been previous episodes about the writers’ pranks, and they were much more extreme and entertaining than those featured this time.
Still, one bad storyline and some missing explanations weren’t enough to detract from the overall quality of “Nothing Left to Lose,” which brought enough laughs and sharp humor to more than make up for the small missteps. Hopefully, as the show moves closer to the end of the season, there will be some more episodes that continue the intermittent character arcs of the season. Almost every episode of “30 Rock” is filled with laugh-out-loud moments, but it is when they are part of a relevant, continuing plot that the show truly shines.
Samantha Rullo is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.