30 Rock: Season 4, Episode 16
Reading the title of tonight's episode made me incredibly excited. Not only did it herald the return of Jason Sudeikis, whom I find frequently hilarious, but it hearkened back to a story from the golden days of 30 Rock when viewers only concern was whether the episode they were about to watch was very, very good or one of the funniest things they'd seen in months. Unfortunately, rather than marking a return to the good old days of the show, "Floyd" just pissed on my memories of better days.

Part of this may come from the fact that I, like Liz, thought she and Floyd might end up together at some point. The show has beaten Liz up for years, and when the series does come to an end, I tend to hope she gets a happy ending. So far, the only possibility of that the series has offered is Floyd, who was a great boyfriend and a good match for Liz. Tonight we learned, through a horribly over broad and miserably unfunny drunk scene, that Floyd really hated a lot of things about Liz, and is really in love with his new, more beautiful girlfriend he's about to marry on The Today Show. There are many problems, not the least of which that this episode went way overboard with the "Liz is a shrew" joke. I grant the show much of its Liz-deprecating humor, but at the end of the day, Tina Fey is a gorgeous, capable, hilarious woman, and putting her up against an anorexic blonde as the woman who bested her is patently absurd. Combine that with the aforementioned awfulness that was Sudeikis' drunk Floyd, and you have a flat out loser of an A-plot that not only failed to deliver laughs, but actively tarnished my hopes for where the show might go from here.

If only there had been anything to make up for it in the subplots. The B-plot centered around Frank, Lutz, and Twofer, who got into a prank off with Jack and Danny. Don't worry, no laughter ensued as they traded pretty stupid pranks that the actors couldn't make humorous no matter how hard they tried (not that they seemed to be straining for laughs. Baldwin especially seemed to be coasting through an awful script with a smile on his face). The C-plot, which had Jenna and Tracy being forced to listen to Kenneth for hours and then having erotic dreams centered around him was equally dumb, and while Tracy and Jenna beating up Kenneth and trying to fly away in real life was chuckle worthy, no one can say they didn't see that ending coming.

30 Rock is at its best when it mixes its absurdism with subtle writing so the jokes come at you from both sides. Tonight it avoided either of those positive tendencies in favor of a cartoonish over breadth that was more cringe-worthy than laugh inducing. The episode wasn't funny, which is bad enough, but it also took one of the better recurring characters and dragged him through the mud. "Floyd" was more than just an affront to 30 Rock fans, though. It was, for the most part, an affront to the comedy we've come to expect from the show.

Grade: C-


-After being harsh (though not overly so) above, here are a few winners that were laced throughout the otherwise plum awful episode:

-"And I NEVER call Tracy 'clean' and 'articulate'...why would I? He's not!"

-"I'm no stranger to japery..."

-"What's the most handsome animal? A silver panther."

-"So if my grandfather hadn't gotten on the train that day, he never would have met his wife...'s murderer."

-"I wonder what the Hawaii state quarter is going to be?No one knows, but here are a few hundred guesses...

-"The Early Show? What am I, in the hospital?"

-"I would never get you drunk on salmon...or ANY fish!"
Tags: 30 Rock
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