30 Rock season 1 episode 2

After the first week's rocky start, things are as they should be over at 30 Rockefeller Plaza ...

30 Rock: watch it. It's great.

I felt a little sheepish writing the pilot review last week. After shouting from the rooftops what a great programme 30 Rock is, the pilot was not good. So congratulations to people who put up with my bad advice and struggled onto a second week, as last night’s episode The Aftermath was hi-larious.

Fortunately, it was also a lot more like the rest of the series. Tracy is running amok in the studio. You can’t quite work out what he or Jack are doing, but by God, you wish you were doing it with them. And the dialogue is now zippy enough that you find yourself shushing your RIDICULOUSLY LOUD housemates so you don’t miss a line.

Line of the week – hell, make that line I stole and passed off as my own for a year – “Relax your balls, Pete.” I love that phrase, especially if you say it to girls. But now it’s been shown on British TV I feel like I probably shouldn’t use it as it’s not ‘mine’ anymore. Thanks, television.

Still, back to last night, and The Aftermath is the first time you really get to see what the three stars of TV-show-in-a-TV-show TGS are like. Now, you may think that starts and ends with Tracy. One minute he’s dancing with go-go dancers on stage. Next he’s outsmarting Harvard guy Toofer (“How you doing, Theo Huxtable.” “I’m doing good.” “Na-uh. Superman does good; you’re doing well. You need to study your grammar, son.”) And then he bites Dakota Fanning on the face (“When you hear Tracy’s side of the story, she was kind of asking for it.”) Britney is less fun than Tracy Morgan.

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But keep an eye on Josh, who’s a dense but fun presence through the background of the show. His voice is a rattling, Ray Ramano-style drawl that makes funny happen. He was also one of the radio station callers on Grand Theft Auto, which was the only good thing in the game. So getting him as a bit-parter in a sitcom is a little like getting Barry White to voiceover an animal in a Herbal Essences ad – it’s just spoiling us. He doesn’t get many lines, but when someone’s voice is that great, who cares?

But then there’s the faulty leg of the tripod, stumpy Jenna Maroney. Jane Krakowski was always great as Elaine in Ally McBeal (yes, I watched that as well, before people start heckling me for watching crap TV again) because she was a stupid, glossy trimming to the show who occasionally had sort-of poignant moments. There’s not much chance of that with Jenna. There seems to be a little bit too much similarity between Jenna and Krakowski in their need for attention. The few laughs she raises through the series are half-hearted at best. Although “Paranoid? Well, that just confirms all my suspicions!” was a pretty class line yesterday.

You may let Jenna put you off the show, but don’t. Just relax your balls. The best is still to come.