You know, living with someone who can look up Nielsen ratings so that I don't have to try to figure it out is super cool.
That's how I know that 30 Rock placed 53 during the May 2010 sweeps list of the top 100 broadcast shows. Really, people? Why aren't you watching this show with me?
Simply the most important thing that you need to know about this show is that Tina Fey is behind it. She's the series creator and star of the show. It's basically loosely based on her experiences as head writer of Saturday Night Live, and takes place behind the scenes of a fictional sketch comedy called TGS with Tracy Jordan (originally The Girlie Show). They work in the GE building at the NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, hence the name of the show.
Tina plays Liz Lemon, a sarcastic and self-deprecating woman who is attractive and doesn't know it. She thinks of herself as a geek who will never outgrow the torment of her youth.
Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) are pretty ridiculous in their roles. Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) usually ends up helping them set fires that Liz Lemon has to eventually figure out a way to put out. She's a mess, doesn't hold herself together that well, and is always looking to her boss, Jack (Alec Baldwin) for advice. But, she remains the heart and brains of the whole operation.
Liz and Jack have an absolutely fabulous relationship. She looks up to him as a father-type figure, someone who can get things done, and who everyone respects. Jack thinks of Liz as his pet project, trying to shape her into a useful human being, and hoping that one day, she will be worthy of being called his protégé. Jack somehow pulls of totally arrogant, yet extremely likable.
Just with these five characters, so much shenanigans occur. Every week it seems like a miracle that their live show airs. Liz is barely holding them together, yet they are so much like a dysfunctional family.
I think the best part about the relationship between Jack and Liz is that they have absolutely no sexual tension. Jack is way out of Liz's league. He is constantly giving her advice, especially about men, and none of it is ever really good.
The show is smart, quick, and kinda zany. It doesn't just make you laugh, it also makes you think. It frets over what it means to be funny. And, another gem it has going for it - this show has amazing continuity. You'll really notice it if you marathon the episodes back to back. Really, I love the continuity on this show - and it's only rivaled by How I Met Your Mother. Also, they have some pretty great guest stars. (Like Princess Leia.)
30 Rock has won 3 Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and in one of her acceptance speeches, Tina Fey thanked "the dozens and dozens of viewers" watching 30 Rock. In November of 2010, she was the youngest-ever winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
What makes this show great is it's a comedy with a woman in the central role. (Wow, I said that about Freaks and Geeks, but you know what? It's true. There have been far too many leading man roles, and quite frankly, I'd rather watch a show about a woman because I can identify with them more.) Under Tina Fey's writing at SNL, she brought out the talents of Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer. Think of the show today. Can you name one outstanding female actress (besides Kristin Wiig)?
But, just singing 30 Rock's praises probably won't be enough to convince you, so watch this compilation of clips that someone put together... If you don't fall in love with Liz Lemon, then this is not your type of humor and you really shouldn't be watching anyway.
There are two other very specific scenes I love from the show, but sadly they are nowhere to be found on youtube, and aren't able to be embedded from hulu. Also, the scene I found there wasn't complete, and I'm not going to try any harder because you should just watch all the episodes anyway. But, specifically, watch season 1, episode 3 "Blind Date". Jack sets Liz up on a date with Thomas... Gretchen Thomas, assuming wrongly that Liz was gay. This scene is near the end of the episode after Liz ponders over the situation:
Liz Lemon: What do you say, we make a pact? If, say, in twenty-five years, neither of us has found somebody, we'll move in together and become roommates. And even though I am... not into the sex stuff, if it helps you, I would let you... do stuff to me.
Gretchen Thomas: I can't be around anymore. Bye Liz.
Liz Lemon: That's funny. That's what the guys always say.
The other episode is season 2, episode 10 "Episode 210". Liz falls in love with a piece of real estate and tries to buy it, because of a piece of advice from Jack. When she's waiting to hear from the co-op board, she panics, drinks several bottles of wine, and proceeds to drunk dial them. It was hilarious and if you've ever gone through the stress of buying a house, you will love this scene as much as I did.
And I haven't even mentioned that they sing every once in a while...
I just adore her and this show. It is one of the funniest on right now, and it's definitely the funniest one you're not watching.
Here's what others think: