30 Rock season 3 episode 1

30 Rock rolls out its third season opener and it's slow going for Liz and Jack, but the laughs come fast and furious..

If you need a refresher on where 30 Rock left off, have a quick catch-up here. If you’re fully up to speed with the series, dive right in to the third, highly-anticipated season.

Spoiler minefields ahead…

1: Do-Over

Jack’s back. And he’s primed for a fight. We get dueling deep voices at (close to) dawn when Jack confronts Devon at the NBC offices. Devon’s phoney fiancée, Kathy, has replaced her comatose dad as CEO of General Electric, allowing Devon to take Jack’s place at NBC and run TGS with Tracy Jordan while Kathy watches soap operas, surrounded by cuddly toys, at Jack’s old desk.

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Jack spots cracks in Devon’s veneer and decides it’s worth restarting at the bottom of the network, in the mailroom, working his way back up to executive heights – a master plan he hopes to accomplish in nine years time.

A lunchtime chance encounter in the park with a dishevelled, shoeless Devon and two male ‘friends’ emerging from behind a large rock, all three adjusting their belts, is a tip-off to Jack that Devon isn’t handling the pressure of his job, or his feigned heterosexual lifestyle, very well. Devon reveals that he plans to shut down the corporation for two years to drive up lightbulb demand. Devon’s already put GE in jeopardy. Evidence of that fact: he’s sold the ‘E’ to Samsung. “They’re Samesung now.”

When Jack goes to see Kathy to offer help, he finds she’s looking for something more than words of comfort or wisdom and she gropes for his “swim suit area”. That makes Jack very uncomfortable .”It’s not at all erotic and fun like when men do it to women,” he tells Liz. But it did get him thinking about a possible faster track back to his old job. He considers becoming Kathy’s “fancy boy”, a decision that means sleeping with a woman in “Dora the Explorer panties that were clearly made for an obese child.”

Meanwhile, Liz is anxious about a home and work inspection from the adoption agency. After a grueling, and surprisingly probing, set of personal questions, success boils down to an assessment of her work environment and routine. Which means relying on her moronic employees’ off-the-cuff comments to seal the deal.

Of course, she’s doomed and their idiotic remarks make her adoptive mom canidacy look less than ideal. Things are made worse by sophmoric fighting among the cast when Tracy refuses to share the profits of his hugely successful (it’s “selling through the riznoof”) porn video game with the voice talent, namely Jenna, who supplied the ooh-and-ahh-grunt-and-groan soundtrack. A fortuitously-timed swing of a set of solid gold nunchucks gives Liz the reprieve she needs: the chance of a do-over interview when the adoption agent (a guest starring Megan Mullally) is knocked loopy and memory-free.

A little later, Liz rescues Jack from a shudder-worthy fate with her extensive knowledge of soap opera plots and a bit of on-the-spot acting for Kathy’s benefit. The pair’s staged scene paves the way for Jack to regain his seat in his old office by becoming Kathy’s strawberry lipgloss-less business advisor, rather than her scented lover.

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Unfortunately for Liz, the adoption agent gets competent medical treatment, recalls the horrors she’s seen and Liz will be starting over with another agency on another episode of 30 Rock.

This season opener was everything I’d hoped (and paced the floor) for. Like each that’s come before it, it’s going to take at least a dozen more replays to catch every insanely funny line – they really do come at you that fast.

I hope you’ll join us next week for another synopsis. I’ll report in with the next episode’s highlights, right after my 30 Rock Anonymous meeting.