30 Rock Review: "Season 4" (Episode 4.1)

The question as each subsequent series of 30 Rock has aired is whether or not the show is as good as it used to be. Like a lot of classic groups, the show will always have its fans who say that they liked the early stuff but then it became too commercial, too pandering, or whatever else that's code for too mainstream. 30 Rock's increasingly ridiculous number of Emmy nominations has done little for its cult status as the heir apparent to Arrested Development and with this, has given it a fair share of haters. Surely, the logic goes, if people say it's that good, then it must be going for the lowest common denominator.

The surprise of each subsequent season of 30 Rock is how it's stayed true to its roots and, if anything, become more reliant on in-jokes, absurdity, and longtime characterization. It's much more difficult to jump into now than before, since its exposition is long since out of the way. Season 4 does little to disappoint and in fact starts the show off on much stronger footing than the first couple episodes of season 3. With countless quotable one-liners and set pieces just as ridiculous as ever, the episode shakes off early season jitters and heads towards a neat level of confidence, even if it won't inspire any non-believers to join in the fun.

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