Oh, that Tina Fey! Isn’t her Sarah Palin impression great? Well, yes, but she’s much, much better as Liz Lemon, the unmarried and much-harried television writer on “30 Rock,” TV’s brainiest comedy, and therefore, one of its lowest-rated.
Its second season “ all 15 episodes of it “ was sharper than its first, thanks to making Alec Baldwin’s smarmy NBC exec Jack Donaghy an all-things-equal foil to Lemon, rather than a supporting player. Life in network TV continues to be tortuous for Lemon, including being forced to introduce an eco-friendly mascot into programming, appeasing an angry Jerry Seinfeld, dealing with her increasingly unhinged staff and coping with boyfriends, both ex- and never-to-be.
While “30 Rock” boasts a superb supporting cast (Tracy Morgan and Jack McBrayer among the highlights), it’s become known for providing showy guest turns for such visitors as Will Arnett, Tim Conway, Matthew Broderick and Edie Falco, who sheds her “Sopranos” stuffiness for a multiepisode story arc as Jack’s love interest.
If the shows are near-genius in comedic timing (and they are), the two-disc set’s bonus features leave a little to be desired. Deleted scenes number surprisingly few, and the live benefit reading of one episode during the writers’ strike is far better in theory than execution.
If nothing else, this sophomore season deserves praise for introducing two new touchstones into our collective pop-culture consciousness: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” and “MILF Island.” “30 Rock,” I salute you.