‘MILF Island’: Deborah Defeats Debra

Tina_410

All season long, Deborah had been portrayed as the one to beat on NBC’s chart-busting “MILF Island.” But in the unprecedented tri-elimination finale, who would have thought that the Deborah-Deborah finale would create such …

Okay, we’ll stop right there.  “MILF Island” is just a fictional show within a fictional show – not that it wasn’t hard to tell the difference between its bikini-laden fake scenes on “30 Rock” tonight and NBC’s real skimpy-clothed ads for “Deal or No Deal.” But “MILF Island” (produced, if you noticed, by Jack Donaghy and Jerry Seinfeld) did provide an effective backdrop for the Liz Lemon’s own struggle to out of harm’s way on a rousing post-strike return for the Emmy-winning sitcom.

Michael_410It was interesting to see series creator Tina Fey push her Liz character to what for her was a darker place – willing to put other people’s jobs in jeopardy longer than usual just because she was fed up with being the fall gal. (Sort of like seeing Mary Tyler Moore really give someone the stinkeye.)  Her poker face when she forced Kenneth to take the blame for calling Jack a “Class A moron” was absolutely perfect, and the exchanges between the three carried the episode. Less effective was the subplot involving Pete getting his arm caught in a vending machine, but even those scenes didn’t drag the episode down.

As for “MILF Island,” as phony as it looked, how easy was it to imagine as a show that would actually air? More importantly, how much pure fun was Jack’s enthusiasm for it?

Immediately after “30 Rock” came the return of “The Office,” and though both shows remain the funniest on TV, the contrast between them is striking.  Never in a million years will “30 Rock” go as dark and brooding as “The Office” did in depicting the transcendent dysfunction of Michael and Jan’s relationship. (Those who haven’t bought into or enjoyed Jan’s descent into craziness will have been frustrated tonight by that being doubled-down, but I’d argue the groundwork has long been laid.) In any case, babe, you had to love the setup that drew Jim, Pam and the others to Michael’s condo for the dinner party to truly end all dinner parties. 

All in all, it’s good to have our friends back.

– Jon Weisman

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