Last night’s 30 Rock picked up a couple plot lines right where they left off…a couple episodes ago. Until last night, Jack (Alec Baldwin) as “Kabletown Savior” had been on hiatus because of his kidnapped wife and her made for TV movie. Until last night, viewers had been pseudo-led to believe Hazel (Kristen Schaal) was off to follow her dream somewhere else, mostly due to her absence in back-to-back episodes last week. Both plot lines are back with gusto, as are the regulars: Liz (Tina Fey)’s neurosis and Jenna (Jane Krakowski)’s paranoia.

We start off with Liz at her accountant’s office on April 14th, and although she’s got a box of receipts, Liz is an accountant’s dream based on the fact that although she insists “this year will be different” it never is; her life is a routine down to the day. The only thing that’s changed is that she’s gone from buying an onion ring maker to eating the onions in her onion rings to eating the lettuce underneath her onion rings. Other than that, nothing’s changed over the last three years.
She goes to Jack to complain as always, but he doesn’t have time for her issues (or does he?) because he’s got bigger fish to fry: Hank Hooper (Ken Howard), head of Kabletown, is set to cut the shareholders in by paying a dividend from the network’s profits from broadcasting high brow entertainment like “Costume Parties for Dogs.” Jack wants to convince Hank to dump the money back into the company, but he’ll need a great idea if he hopes to succeed.

He discusses the “Shower Principle” with Liz – the term scientists use for coming up with eureka moments because when the cerebral cortex is distracted (say, in the shower), cognitive inspiration is born. Jack sets off to find his principle while Liz goes to put out the daily fires. Today her issues are four-fold:
1. Jenna always takes springtime (and the lack of clothing it affords young women) out on Liz. Today Cerie (Katrina Bowden) is grabbing things off the top shelf for the writers and Hazel is wearing a bra – and only a bra.
2. Pete (Scott Adsit) always tries to come up with a nickname around this time of year and has already put in for a letterman jacket with “The Germ” stenciled on it.
3. Tracy (Tracy Morgan) made way too much money last year and is forced to take a movie in Alaska (5nowdog5, Disney’s unfortunately named 5th sequel to Snowdogs) which threatens the show’s progress, just like he does every year.
4. Hazel attempts to maim Jenna to get closer to Liz, but even this feels like old hat to ms. Lemon, as she’s just another weird page.

Finally Liz admits her pathetic predictability and breaks out her diary to predict the future and declares that, today, she proves the world wrong – she’s not predictable (just like she did last year. On set, Jenna is set to play Lady McCheese in a TGS Macbeth sketch, and rather than put up with her drama (Jenna refuses to do the sketch based on the expertise she gained at the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks), Liz balks and gets Cerie to do it, unlike she did last year. The journal predictions are beginning to come true.

In the hall Liz bumps into Jack who admits he still can’t find his idea; he’s tried putting golf balls and swimming at his club, but all its gotten him is a shot of Lou Dobbs stepping on his own testicles. Liz insists that meditation – her new, unlike-last-year hobby, could be helpful to him, but he’s not sure based on her “Summer Horse Grave” scented meditation candle, and declares that meditation is ultimately useless – like learning French or kissing after sex.

Back on set, Cerie is killing it as Lady McCheese, and Jenna can’t handle it so she storms the stage, declares the crew “the greatest non pornography crew” she’s ever worked with, sings a few bars of “Amazing Grace” to drown out Hazel’s star turn and declares she’ll do the sketch. However, on her way off stage she snaps a heel, is almost hit by a light, and breaks a chair. Could the Macbeth curse extend to a tasteless parody involving fast food characters? Nope, it turns out Hazel was trying to injure her. Not murder her, necessarily, (“It’s not like I can afford a 3rd strike”), just to hurt her enough to open up the job of being Liz’s best friend. For some reason no one seems to ultimately mind and Hazel isn’t even reprimanded, let alone fired.

Liz’s own meditation isn’t working; she cannot hear her own mantra, just Tracy saying “5-now-dog-5” over and over again. She gets angry and blames everyone within earshot for making her life a monotonous hell. But as always, Jack is here to save the day. He has tried meditation, and it worked: his inner guru has told him the answer is behind him. And it is. He’ll convince Hank to open up a factory and dump the profits into Kabletown couches – the one part of the viewing experience they don’t currently make money off of. Hank is thrilled and agrees.

But here’s where Liz comes in – Jack wasn’t able to have his breakthrough until she was complaining about her problems. He needs her and all of her nonsense because it distracts his brain right into moments of genius. He asks her to meet him in a warehouse where he admits her necessity and reveals his plans to turn the building into a couch factory – that is until their conversation is interrupted by the dumpster rats pulling Liz into their clutches.

The episode closes with a brilliant rendition of the “Tomorrow, Tomorrow” speech from McCheese, complete with the little-known ending: “It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing…Would you like to try our apple dippers?” Sort of fits as a description of 30 Rock as well: depressing with just the right amount of hilarious.