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NBC Rocks, For 30 Minutes At Least: "30 Rock" Returns

Returning with its first post-strike episode, NBC’s 30 Rock doesn’t just come back in top form.  It hits the ground in full stride, more confident, audacious and laugh-out-loud funny than ever.

30 Rock opens with a fake NBC promo for a fake NBC show, one that 30 Rock has mentioned before, in an episode guest starring Jerry Seinfeld.  Many daily newspapers won’t even print the name of this show within a show, a jiggle-TV variant of Survivor – but since the NBC broadcast network has no problem enacting the ersatz show, as well as displaying its title and building a 30 Rock episode around it, it should be fair game here.

Yes, folks, it’s the big finale episode of “MILF Island.”  (If you don’t know what the acronym stands for, be careful whom you ask for clarification.)  The other main story line of this fresh 30 Rock is an insult quoted in a New York tabloid about Alec Baldwin’s Jack, the boss of Tina Fey’s Liz. Jack wants the flush out the culprit. And in a complicated series of twists, these two stories run parallel, as Liz, like the ladies on MILF, tries to stave off elimination by outwitting, outplaying and outlasting those around her.

Baldwin, once again, commits to his role with a comic abandon that walks the tightrope between bravery and insanity. This time, Jack reacts to the bad press by developing a stutter. But just like the promos and program segments for “MILF Island,” things on 30 Rock are not always what they seem. They are, however, always hilarious.

With 30 Rock back in the NBC lineup, it not only seems like Thursdays again.  It seems like television again.