Danny Pudi, Joel McHale, Donald Glover Danny Pudi, Joel McHale, Donald Glover

A very selective look at the shows and various other TV odds and ends that stood out for me this week:

STUNT OF THE WEEK: Live from New York, it was 30 Rock. (And the following comments apply only to the early version. Couldn't really imagine sitting through it again to see how and where they tweaked it.) Much as I wrote many years ago when ER pulled off a similar stunt, I hope they take a nice bow and promise never to do it again. There were some inspired moments, as there usually are on this show — and I couldn't get enough of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' surprise cameo as "Flashback-Liz" (as real-time Liz notes, "My memory has Seinfeld money"). But most of what worked had little to do with the thinly sliced meat of the actual episode. Jon Hamm's hilarious transplanted-hand ad, Dr. Spaceman's "Love Storm" CD pitch to cure erectile dysfunction ("It's not just a dog problem anymore"), all would have been right at home on Saturday Night Live, which is what this episode looked and felt like, for better and worse, with its harsh "Mexican soap opera" lighting, shaky camerawork and uneven timing, exacerbated by the live audience hoots and hollers. (And I'm not talking about the moments when the camera whizzed back and forth to the blackout sideways gags. Those generally worked.)

Tracy's ham-fisted attempts at breaking up on camera, and Kenneth milking the self-conscious giggling, only tended to remind me how much I still miss the authentic theatricality of The Carol Burnett Show (non-porn version). Jenna's threats to "slip a nip" made me want to zip her lip. All reminders that whenever the show looks away from Liz and Jack, it tends to suffer. At times it was if they were taking the "no more laughing" directive to Tracy a bit too literally. What I liked: Jenna putting words to a live rendition of the theme song (and at the final bow, being heard saying, "Are we still on the air?"), Rachel Dratch as the bullet-brained cleaning lady, and Matt Damon's request during Carol's turbulent flight for Liz to "TiVo Bones for me in case I survive." Which, to be honest, I did, but because of this, won't get to watch until later.

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