Remote Patrol: 30 Rock

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's hard not to compare 30 Rock with Parks and Recreation.

Both NBC comedies star former SNL luminaries, and this season, they're both relying heavily on current headlines for storylines.

While Amy Poehler's Parks and Rec is busy mocking hate-filled pageant beauties and philandering politicians, the flailing economy is on everyone's minds over at Tina Fey's 30 Rock. NBC's microwave division is subjected to the same government scrutiny the auto industry got, and Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) organizes a strike when he realizes Jack (Alec Baldwin) chose to keep his bonus while cutting overtime pay.

The difference? 30 Rock is a critical and Emmy darling, while Parks and Rec left both critics and viewers underwhelmed during its first six-episode run.

This year, Poehler's show is working hard to show it's worthy of acclaim, and it's paying off. Parks and Rec has made me laugh out loud more than any show this season.

Fey's is coasting. It's still plenty funny, but it's not getting better. The first two episodes of the new season provoked just a few giggles.

Among the laughs is the continued milking of the "that's a dealbreaker" schtick, like Tracy (Tracy Morgan) realizing much of Liz's best-selling book is about him ("If your man owns a diamond necklace that says 'open marriage,' that's a dealbreaker").

But more than a couple storylines fall flat, like Liz writing the most boring porno ever about her own life.

Admittedly, it's hard to improve when your first season was pure comedic brilliance. I'll never give up on 30 Rock, I just expect more from it.

"30 Rock"

9:30 p.m. Thursdays, NBC

Grade: B