Did we like it?
Following Studio 60 from the Sunset Strip, 30 Rock (the title refers to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, headquarters of NBC) is another series set behind the scenes of a TV show, though it drops the drama and focuses solely on the comedy. Written, produced and starring Tina Fey as head writer of The Girlie Show, we follow the loons that make up the cast and crew of the show. Some bizarre ideas and hilarious one-liners, plus a scene-stealing performance by Alex Baldwin as the slimy boss of the show ensure we’ll be watching the rest of the series.
What was good about it?
• Tina Fey as Liz Lemon – seemingly the only sane person on the show – is a likeable, funny protagonist.
• As a metaphor for the respect afforded to scriptwriters, when Kenneth, the studio tour guide points Liz out to his tour party she is met with complete indifference, apart from a colossal belch from a small boy.
• A superb introduction to Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). As an assistant holds up Post-It notes with his messages on, Jack responds with the following: “I’ll call her back – is she at the White House line?”; then “Tell them I need a 4am tee-off time.” And finally, “5 inches, but it’s thick!”
• Jack’s pride in being behind the launch of the Trivection Oven. “With three kinds of heat you can cook a turkey in 22 minutes! And that’s why the people upstairs promoted me – they sent me here to re-tool your show. I’m the new East Coast Vice-President of Television and Microwave Oven Programming.”
• Jack has decided the show needs a new star to appeal to the 19-45 male demographic, so puts forward Tracy Jordan, a black actor that we first see in a news clip running down a freeway in his pants shouting “I am a Jedi!” “He’s had his problems…” acknowledges Jack.
• Jayne Krakowski as Jenna, the insecure lead of the ‘Girlie Show’. “This eye doesn’t open properly because when I was little my sister peed in it!”
• Liz, tucking dollar bills into a lap-dancer’s knickers: “This is for computer classes!”
What was bad about it?
• It veered a little too much toward slapstick for our tastes in the last few scenes…