The long summer without "30 Rock" is finally over, and tonight's season premiere promises another top-flight comedic season with at least one studly pilot. But where will it take us?
While "30 Rock" was all about massive developments in the characters' lives which culminated in a madcap season finale, the big theme of the new seaon will be dealing with these developments.
"Last season we had these big changes and this season will be about how these changes affect everyone," executive producer Robert Carlock said in a press conference. "We're picking up all of these threads and the fun will be seeing how it all reverberates."
Some key pointers.
Matt Damon: Perhaps the most important point is that Matt Damon will continue as Liz Lemon's too-good-to-be-true love interest (too good except that he's named Carol).
"We have an ongoing relationship with this guy Carol, so Matt Damon is going to be coming back," Carlock said.
While something is bound to go very, very wrong very soon in the relationship with her perfect pilot (not to mention Damon has a day job or two), it's too much fun not to enjoy it for a couple of new episodes.
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Elizabeth Banks and Alec Baldwin: Alec Baldwin has made noises about leaving the show after the season, so savor every Emmy-award winning moment as Jack Donaghy continues to sparkle with his business news host Avery Jessup (Banks).
No doubt, this relationship too will run into trouble quickly now that the love triangle/competition with Julianne Moore's character has ended, but every moment these two spend on screen together sends off comedic sparks. And who really needs love when you have that?
What's best is that the two would seemingly have to work it out somewhat since Jessup, as we saw at the end of last season is (allegedly) pregnant. Stay tuned.
Great guest stars: Other than Damon, Rob Reiner will appear on an episode as himself, Paul Giamatti will be an NBC editor in episode two, Queen Latifah has a multi-episode arc as a Congresswoman who tangles with Jack. Expect many, many more on the show that competes with "Glee" for the most sublime celebrity cameos.
The Live Episode: On Oct. 14. the cast will perform not just one episode live, but a second for the West coast. In two words: doubly awesome.
Kenneth Parcell: While super-page Parcell (Jack McBrayer) was fired in the last episode, the competent glue of the show will never be too far around.
"McBrayer didn't take the hint of us firing Kenneth. He's still here," Carlock quipped. "But at least we get see him wear something other than a page uniform. It's jarring."