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'30 Rock': Jack's Back!

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Will_l

Will_lJoy! Rumors of Jack Donaghy’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. One week after his undignified meltdown at the feet of Jerry Seinfeld, the savvy network exec is back to what he does best: Plotting world domination. When General Electric CEO Don Geiss (Rip Torn) hints at retirement, Donaghy positions himself for succession. But he’s outflanked by gay corporate rival Devin Banks (Will Arnett, pictured), who conveniently proposes to Geiss’ homely middle-aged daughter. Arnett’s return — yes, he still has the hots for Kenneth — sparks the entire episode, as he threatens Jack’s recovering heart with rich cuisine, and playfully wrestles with a sweaty hunk (“Oh God, you’re having your way with me! Your back is like a barrel of snakes”) at a corporate picnic. More importantly, the man simply brings out the best in Jack. Their whispery mano a manos are like some gloriously-warped vision of Glengarry Glen Ross, if David Mamet had been replaced with Adam McKay. I only hope Banks’ engagement to the Geiss crone sticks, if only to keep him around 30 Rock as Jack’s own personal “Newman.”

Thankfully, Tracy and Kenneth’s own “marriage” of convenience didn’t last. Let’s be blunt: cosmically and comically, it simply wasn’t meant to be. Kenneth’s domestic servitude after Angie kicked Tracy out of the house was a disappointing thread in the season premiere. At least their swift break-up treated us to Kenneth’s excruciating come-ons, when he awkwardly hit on Angie (“I’m a real good sex person. I do it all the different ways.”) Ummm, maybe Banks shouldn’t give up on his crush too quickly. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Kenneth).

Plus, I’m grateful for any opportunity to sift through the loony binof Tracy Jordan, and his marital separation provided severalopportunities. We now know that he lives on Da’ Crib Avenue and has avanity license plate that reads “ICU81MI,” which makes perfect senseonly to him (“I See You Ate One, Am I?”) But the real gems were his”Thriller”-esque video for “Werewolf Barmitzva,” and the honorary keyto the city of Gary, Ind. That’s pure gold, Tina Fey.

Speaking of: Where were you, Liz Lemon? Last week, I suggested theshow give her some room to breathe, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.Her role was, quite literally, toothless, as she suffered some dentaldiscomfort, and encouraged Jenna to quit her Japanese porn star diet(just eat paper) and come to terms with her undigested pizza. Do youfeel like Liz Lemon took a back seat, and if so, did you mind? Baldwinand Morgan get the laughs, but like the Tracy Jordan Meat Machine, 30 Rock requires three distinct flavors. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in the Lemon.

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