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Spoiler Alert Thursday: Disappointment

I think it’s fair to say that the current season of 30 Rock has been disappointing. Somehow everything is falling flat for me, though there have been some amazing moments, most notably the following:

  • When Jack responds incredulously to Banks’s claim to prefer cold pizza: “Better than hot pizza? That’s insane!” I have long felt that the whole cold pizza fetishization has been overdone, and it’s good to see some push-back.
  • When Dot Com poses as Liz’s belligerent boyfriend to try to get rid of her roommate and says: “I’m gonna be coming over here all the time now, acting jealous, taking things out of context…”

Feel free to contribute some of your favorites. Perhaps I’ll learn that I’m being over-harsh.

The only other shows I’m keeping up with are House and Dexter. The latter really has me hooked this season, though the disaster of last season’s conclusion still has me cautious. The Trinity killer somehow manages to get creepier and creepier every episode, so much so that it’ll be a shame when Dexter finally kills him. (The previews seem to open up the possibility, though, that this will actually be a two-season plot arc.) House is doing its typical mid-season thing — kind of developing the plot, kind of trying to hold back on developing the plot — except for the most recent episode focusing on Wilson’s case, which I found to be an interesting break in the normal frame. House and Wilson’s transformation into a full-fledged gay couple continues to be fun to watch.

Glee is also getting bogged down in the mid-season doldrums, with every plot element in a weird holding pattern — it’s like they address various issues every episode or so, not so much to advance the story as to remind us of which balls are still in the air. The only moment that’s really standing out to me from recent episodes is when the wife’s sister breaks with the typical alarmism about alcohol consumption during pregnancy: “Avoid rum-based drinks.” The thing with the deaf choir where all of the regulars joined in and started singing for them was pretty amazingly annoying, as was Finn’s decision to announce that he’d (supposedly) knocked up Quinn via singing a song to her in the middle of dinner.


December 3, 2009 - Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays


  1. I also keep up with Always Sunny in Philadelphia, by the way. Not sure why House and Dexter get all the glory in the post.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | December 3, 2009

  2. The current season of “Dexter” has been the best since the first. Dave’s accusation that “Dexter” has jumped the shark was clearly premature. Besides, it’s not “jumping the shark” if you never come back down. I made the mistake of watching a couple episodes of “The US of Tara” on demand last week. I do not recommend anyone do this. Despite the comments of those who criticize shows they don’t even watch, I’ve enjoyed the first half of the current season of “Supernatural.” Lucifer has grown on me and Castiel is likely the best character in any show currently on TV. As much as I support LL Cool J, I find myself very uninterested in “NCIS: Los Angeles.” I remain excited that “Dollhouse” has been canceled, but despite knowing that no new episodes will be produced, I still dread seeing as of yet unaired episodes. I am not sure what I’ll do once December repeats begin across the board.

    Comment by Craig | December 3, 2009

  3. The whole Lucas/Cutty thing is so lame and makes no sense.

    Comment by Anthony Paul Smith | December 3, 2009

  4. “30 Rock” is disappointing this season, but still a step up from last season, which was actually a bit more disappointing. I think I’m starting to accept the fact that this show was only ever really firing on all cylinders in its first season, when all of its elements seemed in perfect balance: Jack as the overbearing asshole boss with dreams of becoming the grand corporate overlord, Tracy as the unhinged and unpredictable but still indispensable movie star, and Liz trapped in the middle.

    Subsequent seasons have seen both Tracy and Jack seriously defanged, with Tracy relegated to Jenna/sidekick status and Jack made cuddly (although having him arbitrarily fuck around with the show this season, and reintroducing Devon, gave him back a little bit of his old assholishness), and Liz just bouncing from random plot to random plot like Homer in some late-era Simpsons episode.

    Some of the show’s tics are starting to wear pretty thin, too. The self-conscious product placement thing was funny the first time, and by now is just annoying.

    Comment by stras | December 3, 2009

  5. Glee is also getting bogged down in the mid-season doldrums, with every plot element in a weird holding pattern

    Did you see this week’s episode, Adam? It’s like the show suddenly turned into Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for like five minutes. Then it reverted back and broke into song.

    Comment by jms | December 4, 2009

  6. I did watch it last night, and it falsifies my claim above. One thing I wondered: how did his mind jump straight to a fake pregnancy?

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | December 4, 2009

  7. I wondered about that to, but it does make sense in a way — for months, Teri’s been acting nuts and refusing to allow him to touch her or look at her belly, and won’t let him attend her prenatal appointments. He knows something’s wrong, but he can’t put his finger on what. Then he sees the pad and everything clicks.

    Comment by jms | December 4, 2009

  8. The guidance counselor’s claim that at least Teri loves him if she would try to pull off such a crazy scheme reminds me of a friend of mine’s comment about the common claim “if he beats you, he doesn’t love you” — “No, I think he really does love you — but if that’s what his love means, you don’t want it.”

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | December 4, 2009

  9. I agree. I thought the transition from farce to serious drama in this last episode was a mistake. It was fine* when the show played Teri purely for laughs, as a lunatic who cooked up a wacky scheme to invent a baby, because the storyline was obviously just fantasy-comedy, and the show didn’t encourage reflection on real-life implications.

    When they switch over into something approaching a realistic take on Teri’s actions – with Will crying in shock over the revelation – you’re confronted with the fact that in any sane world, Teri’s deception isn’t just nutty, it’s psychologically abusive and totally damaging. Once the show allows that perspective, Emma’s response of, “oh well, she only did it because she loves you so very much!” seems pretty fucked up.

    *Well, not really, but I’ve registered my objections to the misogyny in the show’s depiction of Teri in another thread.

    Comment by jms | December 4, 2009

  10. Just saw the latest episode of Dexter: holy shit. (By latest, I mean the episode that aired last week).

    It looks like it’s going to get pretty suspenseful, which will at least make for good TV. I thought that the early development in episode 10 was a bit forced, but I can forgive it for accelerating the plot so much, which is something that can’t be said of a lot of other shows.

    It could be great if Trinity doesn’t get killed this season. If the whole thing is resolved, then Dexter seemingly will have all things under control (home life, etc). I’m not sure where they’ll take it from there, so I’m making the guess that Trinity will live past the season finale.

    Comment by dave | December 5, 2009

  11. Adam, et al, not sure if you’ve seen this:

    Comment by dave | December 6, 2009

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