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'30 Rock': An episode for Devon, Jack and John

April 25, 2008 |  7:55 am

30rock Sometimes the writers on "30 Rock" outdo themselves, but not necessarily in a good way.  Last night's episode felt like three episodes folded into one.  First, Devon Banks (Will Arnett) returned to antagonize Jack (Alec Baldwin) by marrying the daughter of Jack's mentor, Don Guise (Rip Torn).  Then, after being told that he in fact would be inheriting the company, Jack started grooming Liz (Tina Fey) for his former position.  In the meantime, Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and Frank (Judah Friedlander) endured an "Amadeus"-like drama as Frank served as the Salieri to Tracy's Mozart as he tried to create a porno video game in order, of course, to make his children proud. 

Whew!

With so much going on, the standout moment in the show turned out to be the hilariously simple, ridiculous yet beautifully shot sequence of Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell) running down a hall with an extravagantly long cape unfurling behind him. 

The episode was funny and face-paced, but sometimes it feels as if "30 Rock" is at its best when it focuses only on one major storyline at a time, leaving more breathing room for funny asides and laugh lines from each of the characters.

Of course, there were plenty of bright moments last night: the show is usually good for a laugh when Jack invites Liz into his corporate world: last night he taught her that being both "business drunk" and "rich drunk" still mean that it's legal to drive. 

--Claire Zulkey

(Photo courtesy NBC Universal)

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