30 Rock Is Back, and It's Better Than Ever

30 Rock finally returns tonight, and it's about damn time. It's been a depressing year, what with the economic recession, the healthcare debate, and too much bad comedy on television; who better than the cast of 30 Rock to address the issues by skewering them on TV?

Tonight's Season 4 premiere (which is called "Season Four," by the way) kicks off by tackling the economic downturn's impact on NBC parent-company GE. Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is faced with the prospect of taking a government bailout, and Kenneth and his fellow pages (Jack McBrayer) are dealing with overtime cuts. But when mailroom cutbacks result in Kenneth receiving Jack's (hefty) year-end bonus check, the ever-loyal page is outraged. Naturally, he rallies the pages for a strike against NBC. Meanwhile, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is dealing with less-than-positive reactions to both her new book and Jack's mandate that she and Pete hire a new cast member for TGS. The usual Lemon-has-to-babysit-everyone hilarity ensues.

All told, it's a strong episode. Like, Bounty towels strong. The sharp one-liners and product placement that made the show famous are as funny as ever -- be sure to stick around until the post-credits last scene, because it contains one of the best jokes of the episode -- and we're confident that a solid season lies ahead. Guest stars Steve Buscemi, who plays Jack's private investigator, and Will Arnett, who plays Jack's arch nemesis, will reprise their roles, and there's no doubt that current events will continue to provide funny-because-it's-true plot fodder. As long as the premiere is a sign of what's to come, there aren't any dealbreakers in sight.

30 Rock premieres Thursday, Oct. 15 at 9:30 pm on NBC.

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