30 Rock: Season 5, Episode 23

Respawn (5 May 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy
7.8
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Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) summer vacation is interrupted when Tracy (Tracy Morgan) shows up.

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Title: Respawn (05 May 2011)

Respawn (05 May 2011) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Liz Lemon's (Tina Fey) summer vacation is interrupted when Tracy (Tracy Morgan) shows up.

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Comedy

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5 May 2011 (USA)  »

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References Judge Dredd (1995) See more »

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You Can't Spell America Without W-O-O-L
(uncredited)
Performed by Jane Krakowski
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Season 5: Starts great but falls off into the "silly but not that funny" in the final third of the season
5 July 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

When I watched season 4 of this show I found it hard to shake off the feeling of it operating just below the level of the previous three seasons – it was funny but just not as consistently funny as it had at first. Season 5 returns with a force that mostly made me think that it had turned it round and got back to the former high ground. The Cabletown purchase provides a decent enough frame to the early season and it allows the funny, random lines to come thick and fast and for the characters to all do their things. Despite a few weak episodes here and there, the show generally carries it off for the early season and I enjoyed it as such.

Around the halfway mark things start to stutter and the strain comes back into it. The gas leak in the 100th episode, Tracy pretending to be in Africa, the Korean kidnapping etc etc, all of them are funny but still weaker than they should be. The problem seems to be that the plots are less inspired daftness and more strained silliness. This silliness in the plot infects the comedy and it often seems too silly to be clever or funny. This was how I felt for the final six or seven episodes were a noticeable dip on the rest of the season. They are still funny but at times I was sitting waiting for the laugh – kind of smiling as I did the work for it, waiting for the material to catch up. It is still good enough to drag regular laughs but there is still a dip in quality here and it is noticeable.

The main cast are not responsible in terms of their performances though, because mostly they are as funny as ever. Fey is great as she has great comic timing and no ego when it comes to what she does. She is very well supported by Baldwin who equally has great timing and also sends himself up really well. Morgan may well be being himself, but he does it very well and he is given loads of great lines. Krakowski, McBrayer, Adsit and so on – the supporting cast all do good work and it is to the show's credit that they are all well served – those that are forgotten about for any period of time are turned into a joke as well. The many cameo appearances are not as good – some of them work, some don't but in a show this short, they tend to stand out and not in a good way. OK they have impact but this is mostly to do with who they are rather than what they do on the show (Rice being the best example of this).

Overall the fifth season of 30 Rock starts well, maintains it for half the season before it starts to slip away in a final third that drew laughs but not as consistently, inventively or cleverly as it can so. The quality may dip towards the end but there is still enough life in this show for me to enjoy it and look forward to a sixth season – but perhaps 20+ episodes is just too much for them to be able to deliver on?


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