'30 Rock' returns Thursday on NBC

Verne Gay
Newsday (MCT)

Why you should watch: Because you're a discriminating viewer, and you hate stupid sitcoms - of which there are (still) too many; this is not one. And, as if anyone needs reminding, Thursday's episode is "30 Rock's" first original outing in months. "The Office" returns Thursday night as well (no review video at deadline - sorry.)

What it's about: NBC's got a hot new reality show called " - Island" - the blank being an acronym for something entirely unprintable in a family newspaper. With a huge success in hand, Jack (Alec Baldwin) stands to become chairman of GE. "I've come a long way since that heart attack," he says. But there's this gossip item on Page Six in which someone from "TGS" refers to him as a "class-A moron"; that's bad because it threatens his promotion (says he, "If you Google class-A moron, my name pops up - so long, Randy Quaid") and his psyche. Apparently when he was a kid with a stutter, the Massachusetts Board of Ed labeled him a "class-A moron," which incited all sorts of ridicule (other kids "called me stuttermilk pancakes"). Who called Jack a moron, and why does he want Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) to write a reality-show spin-off? Important questions will be answered. An added bonus: Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit) battles a food-dispensing machine - and loses.

The bottom line: Strike? What strike? "30 Rock" has emerged from its three-month time capsule as fresh and as funny as ever.





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