Hello, and welcome to TV Tuesday! Today I’ll be talking about the first three seasons of NBC’s hit sitcom, 30 Rock.
Oh 30 Rock, where do I begin? My first thoughts on the show is I believe it to be like fine wine, it has an acquired taste. At first I didn’t really care for it, but as I got to the end of season one it actually started to become funny, and have some heart.
So the show is based around our main character Liz Lemon; I didn’t realize her last name was Lemon until maybe five or six episodes in, and I was super confused as to why everyone was calling her Lemon, I thought it was a strange nick name.
Anyways, she is the head writer for a show called The Girlie Show (TGS) on NBC. Each episode is another plot into the ins and outs of running a TV show. Just like Studio 60, only this show got more traction, somehow.
That means there is a cast of characters in her life. I do have to say they are all very different, yet somewhat stereotypical characters.
We have Jack Donaghy, who in the first episode it’s his first day at becoming Liz’s boss pretty much. He is the network executive who has to deal with unusual events at TGS, which is quite often. He also is the head of promotions to small appliances at GE. He comes in and is very authoritative, and continues to be throughout.
Then there is Tracy Jordan, who is also new to the scene in the first episode. He comes in to give the show more popularity, and Tracy’s movie star career is kinda tanking so he needed something.
Jenna Maroney is your typical blond (sadly) who just wants to be famous, that she’ll kind of do anything. She’s an actor for TGS.
Kenneth Parcell has got to be my favourite character. He is so naïve, and oblivious to things around him. He lives to serve and is happy doing absolutely anything. He’s truly funny to watch, and a little cute too.
Frank Rossitano is one of the writers on TGS, and he looks like a wanna be Bubbles from
the Trailer Park Boys. His character doesn’t really do anything for me.
Pete Hornberger is the producer of the show, and he gets along well with Liz.
And James “Toofer” Spurlock, who is also a writer for the show.
There is also Dr. Spacemen, although he’s not a real doctor, but everyone seems to take his word on things. His character confuses me; I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be funny or not, because he’s not, at all.
I can’t forget Johnathan, Jack’s secretary. He’s a little odd, and a little too much attached to Jack.
Now that I’ve kinda given an intro to the cast, for those who haven’t seen, and want to be spoiled I want to start off with Toofer because they say they gave him that name because he’s black, but wishes he was white. This show deals a lot with race. I don’t know if it was just because of the time period (the USA was in the midst of electing their first black president) or what, but they really went to town with it. Tracy played the race card so many times. And even Liz went on a date with a black guy named Steven Black (haha so original right?), and it just felt so over done. I get it, we need to address race issues because even in 2016 we still have them (because now the USA are in the midst of electing Trump as their president). But it felt like they really hit their viewer over the head with it.
Back to Liz, because that’s a lighter note, I think. So she’s supposed to come off as the hard ass boss, who looks kinda manly that men don’t like, and who everyone thinks is a lesbian. I don’t really care for this subjection of her, because she’s good at her job, and doesn’t wear the proper “girl” clothes doesn’t make someone gay.
You can see why I had troubles getting into it. I also thought the jokes weren’t landing very well to start, they just kinda fell flat to the floor. The only one who was actually funny was Jack’s character; it was like they gave him all the funny parts to stand out.
BUT, I’m glad I stayed for more than just the first eight episodes because as the first season drew to a close, the show opened up and found its footing, and actually became funny.
So we mostly follow around Lemon and her hard days at working, trying to please everyone, and then to her outside life where she tries to date people. We first meet her on again, off again boyfriend Dennis who is shall we put it, odd, rude and just blame stupid.
I’m glad she left him. She accidently dates her cousin, dates a black guy (as mentioned) and finds out she has nothing in common with him, and then finds the guy, but he has a girlfriend already; that is until Liz gets the opportunity to fire someone. It just so happens “Flowerman’s” girlfriend works in accounting.
She gets a little crazy in her firing power (she fires all of the accounts) so Jack has to make it right, and because he likes Lemon that much he promotes the girl she fired, sending her to Connecticut, bye-bye girlfriend.
Although it’s not that easy, she finds out 1) his name is Floyd and 2) he’s a recovering alcoholic. She lies to get to him, but when she finds out he won’t date her, she tells the truth, and a of truths, and now they’re together… sort of, as he got a promotion which has taken him to Cleveland, making them long distance.
It’s a good thing she’s got friends to support her. They keep hinting at Jack and Liz (as much as I think they work so well together) to become a couple. She pretended to be engaged to him so upset his ex-wife, she’s even marked as his emergency contact. I hope they don’t go down that route.
Anyways, Jack has his mismatch of lovers, I’m going to call them. Until he meets Phoebe, a weird, gold digger, fake British woman. She’s odd, but he is set to marry her; until he has a heart attack, and the machine hooked up to his chest turns into a lie detector and she finds out that he doesn’t love her (oh shocker).
This is also where we meet Jack’s mother, and she is quite the lady. It makes Jack look loving ha!
There is something wrong with Tracy every episode, from him seeing weird blue people, to the “Black Crusaders” are after him. He’s supposed to be comic relief, but so far I don’t find him funny.
As the first season draws to a close, Tracy is on the lamb, who ends up being kidnapped by Kenneth’s crazy pyscho uncle Jesse, and it is Kenneth to the rescue (as always). Liz I trying to put on the best show with Tracy, that is until he comes to save the show, and Jack has had a heart attack. All the other characters are so background that they don’t have continuous plots other than to run and be in the show.
But as season two starts, characters start to branch out more. The second season starts off a bit of a train wreck, but it works for the show and it’s actually very funny. The show has found its place in the world! I’m glad it didn’t take three seasons or more.
So we start with everyone coming back to work after the summer holidays. We find out that Liz has broken up with Floyd, and she kinda took that badly (buying a wedding dress, and wearing it around work). Jenna gains some weight where it’s quite noticeable, and affects the show. They take this as an opportunity to tell their audience about body image, and that women should love who they are. I agree, don’t get me wrong, but it was portrayed in a more humorous way that made it feel heartless, and that they really didn’t mean what they were saying.
I guess it’s just odd for a sitcom to talk about issues seriously, while trying to be funny; 30 Rock hasn’t pulled it off, yet, or if they ever can.
By the fourth episode she has lost the weight, and it’s no longer an issue. OH, what’s noticeable this season is that Jack isn’t the only funny one. All the characters are throwing one liners that are actually making me laugh out loud, instead of making me roll my eyes.
Tracy is having marriage problems; he almost gets a divorce from his wife Angie. I still can’t believe he’s been married seventeen years, as they keep claiming. So he gets Kenneth to become his work wife, and that just gets weird, as Kenneth is already weird. But Kenneth is having a great season (aside from Jenna burning his page jacket, yikes!) he goes gaga when Jerry Seinfeld shows up for an episode, and when he tries coffee for the first time- that episode is golden, but for the most part he’s just glad to be running errands.
Tracy and Angie do end up getting back together, under one condition, she be around him all the time. He can’t be out of her line of sight for more than a second. This obviously causes problems for the show, as Liz has to pitch stories to Angie, and she gets pissed when they are all stereotypical black roles. When Liz lets Tracy go to a strip club, Angie flips her shit, and a full out fight almost happens, but Tracy steps in and Angie loves his authoritativeness, and they are back together for good.
They have a weird plot where Liz’s role model Rosemary is in town, and Liz asks her to become a guest writer. This turns bad fast because Rosemary pitches crazy ideas, because she’s drunk all the time, Liz looses her job for five minutes, but she sees her future, or what it could be if she continues on with the life she’s leading. She’s now growing her money.
It makes you think that Liz may grow up in a sense, but well she still has her moments. She finds herself with a younger man, uhm 20 years younger… and Frank is gay for him.
They really seem to explore his sexuality a bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up gay, on a side note, I’m actually warming up to Frank’s character; I don’t know what it is, but he seems funnier.
Because Pete is having issues with his marriage, he moves in with Liz, ha! Pete and his wife got married so early they never had time to date, so now they are dating, interesting. I still think Pete is a wish-washy character; he does nothing for me, he’s neither funny, nor good looking. I think he’s supposed to be Liz’s best-guy friend, but we barely see him.
Half way through the season, Jack finds himself a lover, where he actually falls in love. A woman named Ceecee, who happens to be his competitor so he must meet her in secret, until he can’t stand it anymore so he lets the world know. Only a relationship takes a lot of work, and Jack knows he has to either choose his relationship or his job, and he has a lot to loose if he chooses the girl. That is why he chooses his job because he really wants that promotion. But easily enough she understands because she would have done the same; it was like he was dating the female version of himself!
But that promotion goes downhill fast. He is told that he has it, but it was a secret, because of that no one knows. So when Don Geiss goes into a diabetic coma he no longer gets the promotion.
It falls to his competitor, Banks, a gay weirdo. Okay it half goes to him; it goes to Kathy, Geiss’s freak of a daughter who Banks is getting married to, just for the position. Talk about crazy. Jack is then demoted and it tears him apart, so he quits GE and heads to Homeland Security, where it’s a mess. He’s pretty much held captor at this job.
Jack tells Liz that she must own land, I guess as part of growing her money. So she puts a deposit in for an apartment, they approve, but she mucks it all up. They do an interview for the place, and she talks way too much; then when she hasn’t heard from them she calls them one too many times, while drunk, yikes!
Liz’s really dumb ex, Dennis returns, and she almost falls for him again; thank god she doesn’t. Then Floyd shows up, and they almost get back together, but at least they end on happier terms.
Then what happens, she finds herself pregnant. Who’s the father? She believes it to be Dennis, ugh. I just love how ready she is to be a mother, when she finds out she’s not, is actually a little sad. Turns out the weird Spanish cheesies she was eating have bull sperm in them. I also love how she told Jack of this in the form of voice messages; I swear Jack is her bet-guy friend. He’s so worried about Liz that he wants to help her adopt; this should be fun.
The show has it’s fill of crazy.
Tracy ends up making the first ever porn videogame, and Frank is in awe. Jenna helps with the voicing; when she finds out she won’t get any compensation, she turns on him, and they go against each other. They try to decide if it’s harder to live as a white girl or a black man in America, and that just gets weird.
Season three starts with Jack finally coming back to NBC, trying to get his old job back. He
starts in the mail room, and makes his way up, by getting with Kathy. Talk about awkward.Liz is trying to adopt, but you knew she was going to blub her interviews. Her old friend Claire (played by Jennifer Aniston, I’m counting how many Friends characters will end up on this show). She is insane, and she falls for Jack, and he can’t get enough of her, even though he knows she’s crazy. He ends up being arrested, and that ends things pretty quickly.
Kenneth tries to get this old TV show, Night Court back together; that plot in itself is just odd. Speaking of odd plots, Liz goes out with a guy who turns out to be on house arrest, then later on high on some sort of pill and she thinks she meets Oprah when really it’s a teen names Pam.
When she goes to her high school reunion, she finds out she was the bully and not the nerd she thought she was. On top of that she has baby fever; thinking she rubs the head of a kid, turns out it’s a short man (Peter Dinklage). They go out have a good time, until he finds out she has baby fever. It ends rather quickly.
Jack accidentally runs his mother over with his car where he breaks her hip. That’s when he falls for her nurse, Elisa.
Elisa’s grandmother had an issue with Jack because of a character on her telenovela. The bad guy looks a lot like Jack so he goes to great lengths to make the character a good guy. On Valentine’s Day Elisa makes him go to church where he hasn’t been in a while; he also goes a little over board I’m confession yikes!
They have a huge fight, but they get back together because they both end up at McDonald’s.
Liz meets a guy in her building, Drew. (John Hamm, it’s really weird to see him a sweet role since I’m so used him as Don Draper for so long.) In order to get with him she reads his mail and finds out a lot. So she pretends to loose a dog, then fakes a party for him, and roofies him. Things do not look good. But then he reads her mail and figures out he might actually like her so they try again, and the date goes horrible- so bad that his mother dies in front of Liz.
Kenneth has some crazy plots. He falls head over heels for a blind girl. He can’t talk in front of her so Tracy talks for him. In the end she leaves him.
Tracy and Jenna try to compete for attention and I guess it’s suppose to be funny, buuuut it’s just annoying, like they make Jenna go crazy for this EMT and in order to see him again she almost kills Kenneth.