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''The Office,'' ''30 Rock''

By RD Heldenfels Published: January 12, 2007

Thursday night, the bride and I went to a University of Akron men's basketball game. (They won, though neither easily nor in entertaining fashion.) That required considerable recording of Thursday shows. Some will be considered this weekend; this morning I caught ''The Office'' and ''30 Rock.''

And, by that last shot on ''The Office,'' I was nonstop thinking, "This is going to get soooooo good.''

I mean, Angela at the window? Revenge awaiting? Just thinking about is cause for merriment. Beyond that, too, the tandem-sales stories were both funny and details in their individual portraits. Stanley laughs! The emotional whipsaw of the Phyllis-prompted makeovers! Michael's reaction to the botched sales pitch -- anger that came from competitiveness and a hatred of incompetence. And the great Jim-Dwight double-team, a move that at its climax told us they had done this before, that they were a good sales combination -- and that Dwight, like Michael, is good at some things on the job.

''30 Rock'' also had some terrific character bits, too. It's not on ''The Office's'' level, but it gets better and more self-assured by the week. I was thrown a little bit by Alec Baldwin's romance with Maureen Dowd; sure, this guy might date Dowd -- Condi Rice made sense, didn't it? -- but it felt a little like an extremely weird inside joke. (''30 Rock'' sending a shot to ''Studio 60's'' Aaron Sorkin -- who reportedly dated Dowd?) But I still laughed plenty.

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