With her red-hot Sarah Palin impressions and her glittery haul of fresh Emmys for NBC’s 30 Rock (best comedy, best writing, best actress, with co-star Alec Baldwin winning one as well), Tina Fey couldn’t be hotter. But will all that heat transfer to tonight’s third-season premiere of 30 Rock, or will it continue to be the most undeservedly ignored quality show on broadcast TV?
Here’s hoping Fey Fever continues – and that many of the viewers who gobbled up her Palin appearances on Saturday Night Live, and when she popped in for those Thursday “Weekend Update” specials in the 30 Rock time slot, will tune in to see her as perennially flustered TV producer Liz Lemon.
The first two shows of the season are an absolute delight. Tonight, Megan Mullally guest stars. She and Fey could have spent the hour doing “Dueling Palins,” but they had other things in mind. (Remember when, on the original SNL, John Belushi and guest host Peter Boyle did “Dueling Brandos,” to the tune of Dueling Banjos from Deliverance? Probably not – but trust me, it was hilarious.)
Mullally plays an adoption-agency representative checking out Liz, and her workplace, to see if she’s a fit candidate as an adoptive parent. Next week, Liz shares a plane ride with guest star Oprah Winfrey. Both episodes showcase these women brilliantly: Winfrey never has been funnier, and Mullally has a blast. And as testament to the show’s clever writing, both shows serve up tasty twists, ending up far from where you might expect.
The 30 Rock team certainly has done its part, for two years now, serving up one of the finest, freshest, funniest comedies on television. It’s well past time for the audience to step up – and watch.