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Monday, May 25, 2020

TV Rewind | 30 Rock: When comedy didn’t offend viewers

30 Rock starred Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin in the lead roles. The show had a seven-season run starting in 2006.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: May 5, 2020 2:13:46 pm
tv rewind 30 rock 30 Rock started in 2006 and lasted for seven seasons.

These are dark and uncertain times. All we need right now is a good laugh and for that let’s revisit one of the best comedies of all time, 30 Rock.

30 Rock is a comedy show set behind the scenes of a live comedy sketch show, similar to Saturday Night Live. Alec Baldwin plays the corporate executive and Tina Fey is the showrunner who is trying her level best to put up a great show while also managing her personal life.

Created by Tina Fey, 30 Rock premiered in 2006 and faced competition from Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip during its first season. It was clear that only one show could survive and somehow, Tina Fey’s first show won the race. And even though the two shows were at loggerheads with each other, Sorkin made a cameo appearance in 30 Rock a few years later and also acknowledged the cancellation of his show.

What is 30 Rock about?

30 Rock is a workspace comedy, but unlike The Office or Parks and Recreation, this isn’t a traditional office. Here, creative people get together to write comedy sketches that could be politically incorrect, and sometimes even be insensitive. But amid all these different voices, it is Liz Lemon (Fey) who is the voice of reason. The show follows Lemon as she puts up a weekly show. She has to deal with her eccentric actors Jenna and Tracy, filter all the noise in her writing room and deal with her disastrous love life.

As the show opens, we meet Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy who is a network executive. Even though his arrival could be bad news for Liz’s show, the two eventually strike a friendship.

30 rock actors tina fey and alec baldwin Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey in a still from 30 Rock.

Best bits of 30 Rock

30 Rock took some time to find its footing but once it did, the show simply soared. For me, the best bits of the show certainly include the track where Jon Hamm plays Liz’s boyfriend. He is a man who is so beautiful that he never really had to learn anything in life and trust me, it is truly the most hilarious thing to watch someone struggle with a tennis racket. The track that had Salma Hayek as Jack’s lover was another firecracker.

While the show delivered some great tracks over its seven-season run, some of its best episodes were the ones that were done live. Much like Saturday Night Live, two episodes of the show were performed live in front of a studio audience.

Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell had one of the strongest parts in the show. Kenneth is often portrayed as someone who doesn’t know anything. However, he is the one who will make you laugh as well as make you pause to think.

With Tracy Jordan, the show addressed how the lowest common denominator of the TV viewing audience just wants to get entertained and how for them, political correctness is not really a thing. And with Jenna Maroney, the makers included the ‘blonde actress’ stereotype but made her humane enough from time to time.

30 Rock often addressed controversial subjects and dealt with issues like workplace harassment, sexism and casteism. Although they made light of such serious subjects, they were never really offensive..

TV Rewind | House MD | The Newsroom | Parenthood | Gilmore Girls | Bojack Horseman | Gossip Girl | Fleabag | The Americans | Mildred Pierce | How I Met Your Mother | Boston Legal | Death Note | Heroes | Felicity | Small Wonder | Breaking Bad | That 70s ShowAHS Roanoke | Friends | The West Wing | Sharp Objects | Patrick Melrose | AHS Murder House | Arrested Development | Two and a Half Men | Girls | The Good Wife | Dead Set | Dexter | Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip | The Office | Parks and Recreation | Fringe | Broadchurch | Seinfeld | Lost | Mad Men | Sex and the City

30 Rock was never one of those ‘ha-ha’ comedy shows. They relied on their smarts and delivered intelligent jokes hoping their viewers would get it and luckily, they did.

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